When I travel, I try not to worry about how often I blog. For me, I’ve found it’s better to try to have some new experiences to inspire my posts. I recently returned from New York City, where I visit every year to meet colleagues and to see family and friends. I have a list of job search related ideas to consider adding to my blog. I already wrote about how the horse-and-buggy driver provided a great lesson about defining your unique value proposition.
It’s been a hectic week returning from being away, so I thought I’d re-share a post I wrote several years ago after visiting NYC. I think it’s still relevant. Stay tuned for a few more career lessons inspired by my trip to the Big Apple!
Recently, I had an opportunity to ride the New York City subway. I say “opportunity,” because watching other passengers and what goes on in and around the subway offers an array of ideas for my blog.
One passenger stands out in my mind. Anyone who’s ridden the subway knows that you rarely get from point A to point B without encountering someone asking for money. Sometimes, it’s in exchange for some type of “entertainment,” other times simply because the person is hungry.
While sitting and minding my own business, I noticed a man in a wheelchair making his way through the train asking for change. At the other side of the train, another panhandler burst into the car with a loud and boisterous call for assistance. “Uh oh,” I thought, “Dueling panhandlers. What now?” The loud newcomer immediately noticed the man in the wheelchair. He stopped calling for a handout and came to sit down next to me.
I watched him go through his pockets and pull out all of his change. He counted it. It wasn’t much – maybe several dollars worth of coins. He sorted and fingered through it as I watched on the sly. He stood up and approached the man in the wheelchair. “What now?” I thought. I lived in NYC and rode the trains daily for years, but I don’t remember ever seeing two people in the same train car asking for money. (Maybe this is a sign of the times and is now commonplace.)
I admit that I was pretty surprised to see the man who had carefully counted his change offer a portion to the panhandler in the wheelchair. Here was someone who clearly didn’t have much offering part of his take to someone else who may have an even more difficult life.
I thought this made an inspiring story. Looking for a job is tough and trying work for even the most intrepid job seeker. Stop and take stock: how can you assist someone who needs help even more than you?
I’ve suggested volunteering as a great activity for a job seeker, as it offers networking opportunities as well as a chance to really give back to your community. But the panhandler offering some of his “loot” to another really put a spotlight on the issue of helping your neighbor.
photo by Shuggy™