According to John Donne, “No man is an island.”
As much as we might sometimes like to just hibernate in a cave, most of us don’t have that option. Living as part of a society requires the ability to work well with others whether at work, in the grocery story, the church parking lot, or on the drive to and from work. We have a basic expectation that everyone follows the rules.But what happens when things seem to fall apart? The driver next to you cuts you off? The shopper beside you throws their single item on the checkout counter just as you approach with a buggy full of groceries?Our initial reaction might be to give back exactly what we received. And while that might give you a fleeting moment of satisfaction, deep down, you’ll be disappointed with yourself and worse, you might possibly need that very person’s influence sometime in the future.
Remember the story of a family heading to Disney World, cut off just as they approached the entrance? The driver pounded on his horn, and flashed a hand gesture universally known to be rude and crude. Later that week it turns out the man who cut him off was the hiring manager for the job he applied for. As you may have guessed, he didn’t get the job.
In polite society, we learn to control our tempers, and perhaps even give the benefit of the doubt to people who might be rude to us. Why? Because our entire world revolves around relationships. Every interaction we have with another human being depends on a relationship built somewhere.
Many people are having trouble finding work today. Those who do find jobs discover that it depends on who they know to get them in front of a hiring manager.
The use of basic manners makes everyone’s life easier. But the deeper issue is the development of relationships. With all the computer systems that answer our customer service calls, most people indicate that they would much rather talk to a human being.
The next time you have the inclination to just blow your top, remember that everyone is a human being, and might need your compassion. Or they could be that hiring manager who will remember your behavior in the Disney World parking lot.