Have you heard the latest job interview nightmare that went viral on social media?

It seems a London subway car was especially crowded during rush hour. Matt Buckland, who works as a recruiter, had stepped aside to let another passenger on the Tube and inadvertently ended up in another man’s way. Immediately the man reacted by pushing past the recruiter and saying something incredibly rude.

Bad start to the day, but not a situation we haven’t all seen in one form or another, right?

Later that day, that very same recruiter has an interview scheduled with a job seeker for a job opening he’s in charge of. When the candidate walks in, the recruiter immediately realizes it is the same man who treated him so rudely in the subway car.

Would you want to be that job candidate?

Although the recruiter says the candidate wasn’t a good fit for the job and that’s why he didn’t land the position, you have to wonder if he even stood a chance after his tantrum on the train.

What’s the lesson here? It’s pretty obvious that being professional in all aspects of your life pays off. You never know when the person you interact with at the grocery store or on the road could be a key person in your future professional life.

Does that mean you always have to be on guard? Well, in a sense, yes. I recently visited a place of business and heard an earful of complaints from the very professional staff members. I was there on unrelated business, but I wondered all the way home why they just assumed it was okay to tell me what they did. What if the boss they were complaining about had been my neighbor or my cousin? How did they know I wouldn’t turn around and say something to their boss?

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In the end, they really couldn’t know if I would keep their complaints quiet, and I think that’s a risk that’s never worth taking. Whether you are actively looking for a job or not, acting in a professional manner in all aspects of your life is sensible. For one thing, being polite to people is the right thing to do. It sets a good tone and a good example. Even in times of conflict (your meal at a restaurant arrived and everything was wrong, for example), maintaining a calm demeanor and treating other people with respect is how to handle it.

Even if no one else sees you being polite, you will foster a reputation of level headedness as it becomes part of your routine. In contrast, if you’re someone who routinely blows at the slightest upset, whether at work or away from work, that behavior will follow you wherever you go. In fact, people may hear about it before they even meet you, and that can impact your career in ways you’ll never know.

So the next time you’re frustrated in a long line or irritated at the person on the subway who keeps bumping into you, keep your cool. You never know how it will change your life.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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