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RJ Dupre column: When work is a partnership

In each profession there are different levels of relationships between employers and employees.

However the mantra in which "One should die for the Glory of the Empire," is outdated and oppressive. The foundation of a healthy work atmosphere is based on loyalty, honesty, ethics and fair cooperation.

As a self-employed person, I am lucky to work as a cleaning lady. My job requires skill, care and confidentiality. I treat each household as if it were my own. My clients trust me and let me in one of the most private and personal area of their lives -- their homes. I help them by making their environment clean and pleasant to live in. But my work relationship goes beyond the mere execution of those tasks.

Through the years, a human connection is created. Their children grow up and leave the nest, illness and death occur and success bless their homes. I have been honored to share with them these milestones. Some of them move away and we work together, cleaning, packing, sharing memories. It is a sad time for both of us, but what a wonderful thing it is for me to see a healthy, respectful working partnership getting transformed into personal friendships.

I realize that many careers do not evolve this way. The most important lesson is to know that, regardless of the position you hold in your job, you have the right to be respected, appreciated and to do the best you can without giving up your integrity.