A colleague recounted a story of when she met a new person and he talked all around the question when she asked him what he did for a living. She heard about volunteer pursuits, community involvement and hobbies, but nothing about his job.

His wife finally intervened and said: “Tell her what you do.” With all the secrecy and build up, you may expect an answer like “spy” or “FBI agent” or something undercover. No, the man is an oral surgeon! He has chosen not to share his profession because when he does, invariably everyone has a bad story to share about their oral surgery experience.

How sad that a man with an admirable profession and a substantial amount of training has gone silent about his accomplishments. I think about airline employees or police officers or others who also may become quiet rather than risk the wrath of disgruntled customers who have a story they want to tell.

The next time you want to relay a horror story about a procedure or a profession, remember that there is a person behind those tales. Tell the good stories in addition to the bad.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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