A Lesson in Trust

Most of the time when you think of a lesson in “trust” it is usually a lesson in “mistrust” - of how someone did us wrong and how NOT to trust.  Well, that may be for some, but one of my best lessons of trust came when I was in my early 20’s….  

I had just moved up from the warehouse job to a more prestigious one in the Finance Department.  I was very excited, had never done anything like this job before, was nervous, but I was fairly confident in my abilities.  It was my job to review company applications for their credit standing and then tell them whether or not we should do business with them.  Some companies were approved and some were not.  As you can imagine, the companies that did not meet the parameters were pretty upset and would call to complain.  Most of the time I was able to explain very nicely to them that they did not meet the criteria and that they could try again in six months.  One day though there was a very irate man who called me on the phone.  

He was not accepting my answer that his company did not meet our parameters and screamed, “I want to speak to your manager!” 

I hesitated for a moment because I knew my boss could be a bit of a hothead himself.  In the end I said, “Okay . . . let me transfer you.” 

Putting the hostile man on hold, I called my boss.  I told him the situation and he told me calmly, “Just come to my office and give me your file.”

I walked in his office, handed my boss the file, he reviewed it for two seconds, and then picked up the phone to talk to the customer.  He didn't say anything to me so I had no idea how this was going to turn out.

Prior to this job I had worked as a cashier many places and for the most part when a customer was irate the manager gave them whatever they wanted.  This is what I had expected...  For my boss to wait for the man to finish screaming, tell him how sorry he was, that I had made a mistake, and he would approve his company.  

That is SO not what happened!

My boss was very quiet and patient while I heard the other man screaming from where I was sitting.  Then the other man became silent and then my boss spoke,

“Let me ask you something, “ he said calmly, “What makes you think I am going to trust what YOU say over my own EMPLOYEE?”  I nearly fell out of my chair in shock.

While the other man started to sputter on the other side of the phone my boss interrupted him shouting, “NO!  You will listen to ME now!  You have a poor credit score, you have liens and lawsuits against you, and my employee has done an EXCELLENT job of weeding out people who do not meet our criteria.  And YOU, Sir, do NOT make our criteria.  WE DON’T NEED YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS!”  and with that he slammed the phone down making the desk (and office) shake.

He turned to me, handed me the file back, and said, “Great job.  Now get back to work!”

I had never witnessed such faith at a job before.  He barely even knew me or my work, but it did not matter.  It was important that everyone knew how he supported his staff.  From that day forward my attention to detail was increased exponentially.  I wanted to do a great job for this man who supported me.  This was a more powerful lesson to help inspire me to the best job ever.  Sometimes it takes a little faith and trust to beget faith and trust.

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