Curious Balance

Coworker: I just got an email that it’s a half-day does that mean we leave at noon?
Me: Yes.
Coworker: Do we have to, I’m a contractor?
Me: No, you don’t have to leave but if you don’t you have a delicate balance.  Staying reminds others that you’re effectively a second-class citizen or makes them feel that their work isn’t important.
Coworker: But if I leave they might think my project isn’t as important as it actually is or they’ll say “look at the contractor, taking every opportunity to leave”.
Me: Exactly, life gets tough when your firm tries to be nice.
Coworker: I got it, I’ll leave now with the rush of people, get lunch and come back so the other people who think their stuff is important will think my stuff’s important.
Me: Now you’re thinking.