Thank You for Sharing
The HR Doctor is dictating
this article while driving along next to a person who insists
upon sharing some of the loudest, booming music ever recorded
in the history of mankind. Even on one of the
consistently hot and humid days in South Florida, the land of
the air conditioner, this person is kind enough to keep her
windows rolled down to insure the maximum impact of her
musical choices on other people.
It makes me realize that one
of the characteristics of our 21st century lives is the
increasing difficulty we face in finding escape from the
sensory intrusions foisted upon us.
It is very difficult to go
out in public, or even remain in our offices, without soon
being treated to another persons loud mobile phone
conversations or at least one side of the chat. Even if
the call is a wrong number, we get to experience the latest
ring tones followed by the loud Hello. Its no
different on the mobile phone front than it is listening
inescapably at a stop light, or in a
traffic jam to deafening sounds emitted by the person in the
car to my immediate left.
All that is missing from the
perfect storm of intrusion is for that person to be speaking
on a cell phone, while simultaneously putting on her makeup,
not wearing a seat belt and veering into my lane.
Perhaps, I worry that I am
getting curmudgeonly after all these years. Perhaps I
have subconsciously stepped up the search for sanctuaries or
retreats relatively free from the Invasion of the Ear Drum
Snatchers. I dont really know.
I do know that thoughtful,
quality time with good friends, perhaps over a dinner full of
conversation and trading of hopes and dreams, is too rare in
our busy lives. The same, of course, applies to our
interactions with colleagues at the office, or with members of
our own families for that matter.
Helping someone else develop
and grow personally and professionally, or developing ones
own skills, involves sharing experiences, new perspectives,
stories of failures and successes, and recommendations with
another person. This is the stuff of mentorship.
This form of sharing is best
accomplished by invitation rather than by intrusion.
Finding a great mentor might
well mean approaching this person and asking for advice and
help. Overwhelmingly, the person will respond with
a great desire to help. That is less likely when the
request for help takes the form of a demand, an entitlement
to your time or unproductive whining.
Invitation rather than
intrusion is the primary lesson Im taking away from my
fleeting encounter with the lady in the white car next to
me. However, what should I do to keep whats left of my
hearing, i.e., to respond to an unwanted intrusion? I
could respond with noise rage by honking the horn,
gesturing, and otherwise attempting to get the ladys
attention, as she apparently has gotten mine.
Most of the time, however,
that glandular response is driven more by testosterone than by
emotional intelligence. Besides, the Florida
Legislature, in its latest example of testosterone excess, has
denied employers the right to restrict employees from bringing
guns to their employers garages or parking lots. The
lady next to me, for all I know, may have a Glock 40 caliber
handgun on the seat right next to her waiting for someone to
dare comment about her taste in music.
I could respond in kind by
opening the windows of my yellow Jeep and turning my musical
selection up as loud as possible to send out an invitation
to her to expand her musical tastes.
Unfortunately, that quid pro
quo response will also be unlikely to have any impact.
First, she couldnt hear me anyway. Second, Im not
properly equipped to defeat her in an Extreme Sub-Woofer
Fighting TV reality show. Third, Bach and Mozart, both
wonderful companions on nerve-wracking morning commutes, are
not at their best when cranked up.
The simple act of smiling if
she looks my way and perhaps pointing to my ears with a friendly thumbs up may be the best,
least threatening approach. I only hope the little child
in the car can have more effect in getting the noise level
reduced. On the other hand, I can be thankful that this
person is my neighbor for only a few seconds. Id have
a major rethinking to do if she lived right next door.