Everybody is on their own journey throughout life, and there is no reason to think they are not taking steps in their own betterment. People learn, evolve, rise. Just like you and I.
Some time ago, I was interested in a particular position at a multi-billion dollar corporation. I decided to contact an old colleague, actually, former boss. He’d done particularly well, rising from mid-management of a small division to becoming the regional president of this company I was interested in. It must have been at least half a decade before when we worked together.
Lots of water goes under the bridge in six or seven years, and as I said, he did extremely well. I had gone myself through my own journey.
I was really pleased when I found out that he was kind enough to have a conversation with me. When the day of our appointment came, a few minutes into the conversation I noticed something was off. While I did walk him through everything that had happened in my professional life after we went separate ways, he kept asking me questions and making comments as if I was my six-year younger self. At that point, I realized it would be extremely difficult to convince him that I was the right person for the job, so I proceeded to continue the conversation for the sheer enjoyment of catching up with an old colleague.
The fact that we knew each other really well had actually worked out against me.
From there on, I made a pledge that every time I would run into an old acquaintance, I would try to be curious and not hold them too much against the image I have of them in my head. Curiosity not only killed the cat, but it also often kills prejudice.