So a few weeks ago, a young man came to my business and asked for an application. While state law says I have to give him an application, I told him he was wasting his time, as I had no positions available and, in fact, didn't have enough work for the employees I already had.
He sighed and said "I'm finding that all over" ...."Even the places that are hiring don't give me a second look....I'm fairly smart, hard working and I just want to work....I need a job". He was looking fairly discouraged.
Now this kid was indeed fairly well spoken, somewhat handsome, tall, clear of eye. He seemed earnest. But he was dressed like a ghetto hood. Pants too big, belt pulled tight. Hoodie with a baseball cap. Unshaven, but not yet a beard. Some weird sneaker type shoes. Bling on a necklace around his neck. Not the image I would want my employees to give.
"Want some advice?" I asked.
"Sure" he replied. "I'll take anything that will help"
I told him to follow me to the men's room. Once there, I said "look in the mirror".
He did so.
"If you were me, would you hire that guy?" I said. " 'cause to me, and to my customers, he looks like a hood".
"Wanna increase your chances for a job?" I asked.
"Then dress like you want a job. Dress for the position you are applying for. Don't show up looking like a Gangsta lowlife wannabe. Trust me, It'll help".
Thoughtfully, he nodded, said 'thank you" and left.
Truthfully, I had forgotten him until he returned yesterday.
I nearly didn't recognize him.
Shaved. Hair long, but neat. Polo shirt. Black jeans. Casual but decent shoes.
"just wanted to say thanks" He said...
"For what?" I asked.
"For telling me the truth. No one else did."
"Truth about what?"
"How to get a job.....It worked" He smiled."people looked at me differently... I got a job."
"Good for you"
"You were right. It did make a difference. So thanks."
I was actually somewhat moved. He took the time to come in and say thank you for the advice. Had the class to say thank you, even though he had been insulted. Apparently, no one else bothered. And I felt good.
And thus I pay it forward....
Then I realized that I have become my parents.