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Crash, My Life This Week

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Image: Bob RosnerThis week I was in two accidents in 48 hours. My car got hit in the rear and in the front and probably won’t emerge from the shop for days. And it didn’t ruin my week. Let me tell you why and what this has to do with the workplace.

On Monday I was driving to pick up my daughter at school. Stopped at a traffic light suddenly a woman rammed into the back of my car. I collected my thoughts for a moment and then got out of my car. Greeting me was the woman who hit me saying, “I’m so sorry. It was all my fault.”

All I needed was one more bit of information to hit the accident trifecta, to find out that she was insured.

Yes, yes and yes.

My hope for humanity was revived when the woman who hit my car did something that hardly anyone does anymore, accept responsibility.

A scant 48 hours later I was driving to pick up my kid at school. Suddenly out of nowhere a car flashed across the intersection and I t-boned it. Badly damaged both the front and back passenger side doors. And my bumper was only hanging on by a thread.

I sat in my car in total disbelief for a minute. Then I was greeted by a woman saying, “I’m sorry. It was all my fault.”

But this time it was a bit more complicated. She gave me her phone number and insurance information at the scene but it wasn’t the correct phone number. I sweated for an hour and then decided to call her insurance company. They told me that the policy number she did give me was correct and that I could file the report.

A friend told me that he saw a study that said that 90% of people change their story after an accident. But thankfully I ran into the 10% of people who tell the truth and accept responsibility.

The trouble is that I think far more people are like these women than we realize. People mostly can be trusted to do the right thing, but that doesn’t make for great TV or radio or rap songs or novels. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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Do You Trust People Where You Work?

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Image: Bob RosnerPlease don’t tell my boss, but I hit Netflix hard this week. Among the movies I saw were, Casino Royale, The Departed, The Good Shepherd and Wall-E. As different as these three movies are, they all seem to revolve around the same point—that you can’t trust anyone. Ever.

It’s clear that Hollywood is picking up on our general discomfort and disillusionment. And they’re running with it at a dead sprint.

So what does this have to do with us working stiffs? I’m going to propose a radical strategy. Something that is probably going to suggest to you that I’m either naïve or crazy. But probably more likely, both.

My suggestion is that we all need to start trusting people. Just by writing that sentence guarantees that I’m going to get a flood of emails from people who disagree. No, who really DIASGREE! The emails will outline in graphic detail stories of abuse, cruelty and general nastiness. How people used to trust others at work, but have learned the hard way that they can’t. And how it’s crazy to either forgive or forget.

I understand how hard it is to do what I’m suggesting. To trust again. Pardon me for going all “Oprah” on you, but if we allow ourselves to get painted into this cynical corner, we end up being the very enemy we decry. Because to others it will appear like we are isolated and only looking out for ourselves.

First a personal admission. I’ve been burned. Big time. And as I’m writing this blog many of the past burns are coming back to me. But I’ve decided that I’m going to try to rise above them. Because I don’t want that to define who I am. Or how I approach my life.

I’m not saying that we all should trust people who’ve already earned your trust. Or who haven’t yet violated you trust. I’m suggesting that we all reach out to people who we aren’t sure about. Heck, while you’re at it, to people who’ve burned you in the past. Offer them a hand of friendship. Give them a second chance to prove themselves worthy.

I can hear what you are thinking, why take this risk? Okay, now I’m going to get really touchy-feely. Pardon me. But the key reason that we should take this risk is because chances are that if we were in the shoes of the person that you don’t really trust, we’d want someone to give us a break. Right?

Sure some will disappoint you. Maybe even a majority. But think about the people who will come through in a way that you would have never expected them to. Think about how that will inspire you and introduce new possibilities in your career and in your life.

I’m willing to bet if you take my challenge, you’ll experience far more gains than losses from this experience. You’ll have renewed faith in the human spirit. Either way I’d like to hear your thoughts. Are you willing to take me up on my challenge? And if you do, what happened.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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