Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Have you ever said something negative about someone, only to discover that person was in earshot from you?  I confess, this has happened to me more than I care to admit. 

While watching a high school baseball game I made some critical comments about one individual athlete on the home team.  I spoke about the lack of talent and intelligence in this young lad (putting it nicely).  A few moments later, I noticed the player's mother was one row in front of me.  Open mouth, insert foot.

Last week, I said some unflattering things about a parent, only to realize the parent's son was right next to me.  Then it dawned on me.  Just about every time I open my big mouth to cut another person down, it bites me in the rear.  I don't necessarily think the negative outcomes are a coincidence. 

On the flip-side, it seems to me, that treating others well can have some unintended positive consequences.  

During my college years I shared some education classes with a girl named Kathy.  Kathy was a fun-loving gal with a good heart.  During the course of a semester I got to know Kathy better and became friends with her.  Turns out Kathy grew up just 25 minutes from my hometown of Jordan.  She lived in Le Sueur, the land of the Jolly Green Giant.

After college, Kathy and I lost contact and went our separate ways.

Seven years pass after college, and a posting for a community education director opens.  In Le Sueur.  Kathy's hometown.  Before this opening I had been applying for community education director positions at many school districts in the Twin Cities metro area, only to receive numerous rejection letters.  For the better part of 11 years, I had been putting all my efforts into becoming a community ed. director.

For whatever reason, the job in Le Sueur felt promising.  So I sent in my cover letter and resume.  Weeks pass after the application deadline, and I don't hear anything.  Not a good omen.  Then on a Friday morning, I received a call from the Le Sueur-Henderson school district superintendent asking for an interview the next week. 

In between rehearsing answers to possible interview questions, and researching the school district, our family decided to go to chutes and ladders in Bloomington.  Funny thing happened there.  I ran into Kathy, the only person I've ever met from Le Sueur.  "I think this is a sign," my wife mentions to me.

It gets better.

Naturally Kathy and I discuss what we've been doing the past seven years, and I bring up that I have an interview at the school in Le Sueur.  Then Kathy says, "Did you know my dad works for the school as the district accountant?"

Are you serious!  What are the chances of running into Kathy, and her dad works for the district I am applying to, and has strong connections with the man who will be hiring me!?  Unbelievable!

When we returned home that afternoon, we found it humorous to see the legion baseball team just happened to be playing Le Sueur.

A day after the interview, I was offered the job.  Coincidence?  I'm not sure.  I like to think God had something to do about it.  Did Kathy's dad put in a good word for me?  I don't know.  However, I do know that if I was a jerk to Kathy, her father would have raised some red flags about me, and I wouldn't have been hired.  

Talk about a reason to treat people with love and respect.  You never know if the relationships you have with others, or the way you talk about others, will open or close doors for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment