Monday, June 16, 2014

What goes around comes around

In The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner, the character played by Will Smith, is desperately trying to fix appointments for the broking firm where he is working as an intern. During one sales call he manages to get a twenty minute appointment with a potential but a very busy and important client. What is striking about the scene is that the decision-maker at the other end of the line agrees to give Chris, a struggling salesman and a complete stranger, a few minutes of his precious time. There is no need for him to entertain Chris in the first place, and yet he does. Now this is only a film.

In real life how many actually listen to sales reps when they call leave alone give them appointments? Many do, often patiently, but most don’t, often showing their ugly side.

That ugly side can mean anything from shouting and abusing to disconnecting and slamming down the phone to accepting the call and putting it aside, to all of these.

When you watch the down-on-his-luck Chris Gardner putting the best smile on his face and doing the best he can to extract an appointment or two from a long list of names in front of him, you know life at his end of the line can’t be easy. You feel for Chris who dreams of giving his young son a good life.

But the irony is that while you want Chris to get a few appointments, you bang down the phone when the real Chris Gardner calls you and pleads with you to spare him a few minutes of your time. All he wants is for you to listen to him.

Every one of us is in some way or the other a Chris Gardner, begging, pleading, coaxing, cajoling, demanding…something out of someone.

Chris is doing his job, and so are you. He has a product to sell, and so do you. What happens to Chris can happen to you. And what goes around usually comes around.

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