Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Being Pleasant

Being pleasant pays. Last year I rented a house to a lovely couple who was downsizing and wanted an area that they could walk to various shops, yet a house big enough to have their children and grandchildren over for the holidays. Our house was perfect for them and they sought a long-term lease.

Throughout the year I had met their children. They were as pleasant as their parents, except for one daughter who wore a scowl whenever we met and always looked as if she was sizing me up. For what reason, I had not the slightest idea. But I didn't let it bother me. C'est la vie.

This morning I received a call from our tenant's son-in-law. His wife is running for city council in a city where I know the mayor, police chief, city council members and other government officials, many of whom are friends. She sought my help. Hmm? I wondered if this was the husband of the same dour daughter.

As it turned out, this was indeed the daughter who is seeking public office. And guess what? I do not have the slightest desire to help her. First, why didn't she call instead of her husband? Second, and more importantly, how would she treat her constituents? Do you think she would be a servant leader?

Being pleasant is just a good thing. But it also pays. You never know who can help you down the road.

6 comments:

Linda S. Socha said...

Exactly. I believe I would likely feel the same way
Linda

Judith Ellis said...

Linda - I have not thought about her since our meetings many months ago now. But her disposition was unforgettable. When I got the call I just thought it odd that such a one would want to be a public servant. This is the problem as I see it with politics. I think politicians miss the all-important point of service and go into politics for many other reasons.

Brosreview said...

Yes! I would feel the same way you did.

Judith Ellis said...

I think many might have this same reaction, Ajey. But I must admit that it wasn't so much how she responded to me but the position she was seeking, one of a public servant, that made me feel the way that I do. I have not thought much of her. My feelings of her might change if I got the opportunity to know her, but sometimes first impressions are the best ones and this is an opportunity that I would not necessarily seek. To me, this is one of the reasons why it is important to be pleasant: We miss opportunities.

Ryan Freed said...

I agree, it is very important to be pleasant. She also should have called you herself.

If she had such a lovely family maybe she could have been a nice person as well. I agree with what you did, however I still might have given her a chance because of her caring family. Who knows how she could have turned out to be if you got to know her.

Judith Ellis said...

Ryan - Thanks for your comment. It's a gentle one. I actually met up with the mom this morning to pick up the rent and we had a nice discussion about her daughter's aspirations. She's in her mid 50's and is a registered nurse with a MBA in finance. Good credentials, but I would be equally impressed about those other things that are not often measured in business school and should be in hospitals such as being caring and positive.

I am always willing to give others a chance, often times time and time again. (My mom used to worry about this. But it wasn't that I wasn't aware, I felt tremendous compassion in some cases, but in other cases--NOT!) Others have been patient with me. But I am also equally as judicious about recommending people to others, especially when I do not know them and after not getting the best first impression.

I told the mother to have her daughter call me and IF I can help I would be more than willing to do so. The mother was pleased with my response. But the IF will depend largely on the daughter's attitude and goals for wanting to be a public servant. Perhaps if she would have caught me a year or so ago I would be in a somewhat different place. But after what's going on in the culture in public and private offices today, I admit to being more than a little ticked about the arrogance, attitudes, and actions of some.