Have you heard the expression that everyone has baggage? While we cannot see people’s baggage, we know that their past experiences and current situations fill these suitcases and impact how they act or respond to situations. Usually the “contents” of these suitcases are negative experiences that are heavy. And on some days, they suitcases have to be dragged.
I believe that we also all have balloons. The moments in our lives that are so positive that they lift us up and we feel so exhilarated that we almost feel like we are walking on air. In a perfect world, our balloons would be able to lift us higher than the weight of our baggage. But on many days for most people, this is not true.
When we apply for a job or go to work, our baggage and balloons do not go away. If we are lucky, others around us at work will see our more positive balloon side or see our great balancing act. Fake it to you make it anyone?
But our baggage has a way of weighing us down when we least expect it or need it. During a job interview. While in an important meeting. Writing an email. And what we say, how we act, and what we do is slightly tilted, off center.
The hard part in today’s workplaces is that interviewers, managers, leaders, and even peers forget that everyone is walking around with baggage. We move fast. Change happens quickly. Demands needed to be handled yesterday. We forget to realize that everyone has an off day or needs extra time to process through the barrage of requests thrown at them. We fail to recognize that our job candidates and employees need more helium in their balloons or at minimum, need us to recognize there are balloons above them.
Forgot about the balloons
I personally caught myself forgetting about someone’s balloons during a recent phone interview. I was talking to a candidate about why he had left his two previous employers. Laid off. Company moved out of state. He used words line “embarrassed” and “ashamed” to describe these glitches in his resume. His answers to the questions that followed were, well, bordering on poor. After a few minutes, we turned to his accomplishments and the enthusiasm in his voice raised. He was more confident in his answers. I had a candidate who was a potential good fit for my position. If I ended the call before giving him more of a chance, I would have only evaluated him on his baggage and not his balloons.
I ask that in a world that is quick to judge, we give our employees, potential employees, and peers a few extra moments of our time to try to find their balance for that day. Who knows when our own suitcases seem extra heavy or a balloon pop. Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone recognized this and allowed us the time and effort to try to find the balance in our day?
What did you do at work when you realized someone’s baggage was extra heavy? Share your stories with us. #WorkplacePositive