top of page

It All Comes Out in the Wash

Written By: Lauren Howard

I knew they were going to fire me.

I was a part-time consultant, and I had done zero work in a month.

And they knew it.

My dad had just died, and I couldn’t get my brain together enough to send the emails or answer the phone calls or . . . any of it.

I just sat and stared a lot.

A lot, a lot.

It was so unlike me. I hardly took an hour off, much less days at a time because my brain was indefinitely in neutral.

I sheepishly reached out via email when my check arrived. I knew I had done absolutely nothing to earn it.

“Do you want me to just tear this check up or return it? I haven’t done any of the work that you asked. I can’t deposit it. I know I missed the mark this month, so I fully understand if the partnership ends here.”

I held my breath and waited for the response. They were right to be frustrated with me and to want to sever ties. I couldn’t do the work, and it was stupid to pay someone for work they didn’t do.

He emailed back a few minutes later.

“What? Why would we do that? You’ll catch up next month. The check has your name on it. It’s yours. It all comes out in the wash. ”

Those words stuck with me.

It all comes out in the wash.

When you do the right thing by people, it all comes out in the wash.

That literally drives everything that I do today, and I say it all the time. The interaction pushed me to accept the full-time role that I had declined with that company before because the integrity was on full display. I stayed there for many years after that conversation.

Give your time to people who could benefit from it without asking for anything in return. Why? Because it all comes out in the wash.

Support people who need a bump, even when there is nothing in it for you. Why? Because it all comes out in the wash.

Do the right thing by your customer, even if you make slightly less because of it. Why? Because it all comes out in the wash, and they will remember that you put them first.

That kind of integrity outshines the best product, the most genius ideas, the smartest people, all of it.

And it pays back unexpected dividends for years to come.


Founder & CEO at elletwo


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page