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Why listening to others is so important.

I was watching a video about SixBlindKids last night and the mom mentioned that the dad was without a job once for six years! I almost fell off my chair.

I felt bad about myself during the 2009 recession when all the IT department was laid off. It took me awhile to find a new job. I couldn’t imagine having a family and not having a job. More importantly, I couldn’t imagine not working for six years. I would have done whatever it took to provide for my family.

Just to be clear, I am not criticizing the father of this family. I admire him and his wife. It is just to say that for me, it would be a difficult situation. I can only imagine he had to spend all his savings, borrow money and slowly repay the costs he has had. Tremendous costs of having a big family, and the stress it means.

Yet, to watch their videos they are happy and grateful. I must admit that I am touched by their love for each other. They accept and enjoy the life they have been given which is the best anyone can do.

By watching and listening to this family I learned that even highly skilled and motivated people might have employment difficulties. It is strange. I work often in companies where people are hired who shouldn’t be. They lack ambition, hard work, intelligence or any ability to contribute. Yet they always seem to have a job. Why? I must only conclude that HR looks for things that don’t mean success on the job.

Part of being successful at work is finding out what is important in a company and playing the politics. Failure to do that means that you won’t be working there long. I have seen the best employees leave because of the silliness of politics. I think the best job interview would be to admit the dysfunction as a company and ask if the employee can handle it.

Listen to others. They might have it worse than you and you realize how lucky you are.

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