Oswald Letter

Karma crumples rude commuter’s chance at a job

subwayby Dan Oswald

Have you ever wondered why good things happen to bad people? I know I have. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but I must admit that sometimes I scratch my head and wonder how someone with questionable character or who demonstrates unethical behavior seemingly ends up on top.

The other day, I heard a story that made me smile. For me, it was proof that karma does exist and that sometimes the jackass reaps what he sows. Here’s the story.

Matt Buckland was riding to work on London’s subway, known as the Tube, one morning last week. As he tells the story, “I stood to one side to let a lady get by, and ended up blocking a man momentarily. He shoved past me, almost knocking me over, and shouted.” What the man shouted isn’t appropriate for a family audience. Let’s just say it involved a four-letter word that begins with F.

To most of us, this story isn’t all that surprising. We all encounter rude people on a routine basis. Who among us hasn’t had a similar thing happen to them on their way to work? But Buckland’s story didn’t end when the jerk pushed by him. In fact, that was just the beginning of the story.

You see, Buckland is the head of recruiting at UK-based Forward Partners. Later that day, he was scheduled to interview someone for a developer’s job with the company. Guess who walked in the door for the interview? You got it—the jerk from the Tube.

Buckland tweeted that day, “Karma—the guy who pushed past me on the tube and then suggested I go F myself just arrived for his interview . . . with me.” You gotta love social media!

And in case you’re wondering, the jerk didn’t get the job. Big surprise there!

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Well, in this case, the man on the Tube showed his true colors when people were watching—he just didn’t know his actions would come back to haunt him. Who knows if he might have received a job offer that day if he hadn’t acted as he did? It does make you think about our interview processes and how we can get fooled by well-behaved candidates who know how the game is played. I can’t imagine the man would have behaved the same way in an interview as he did during that morning’s commute.

We want to hire team players who can get along with those around them and treat others with respect, and how someone treats other people—all people—tells you a lot about that person’s character and goodness. In this case, Buckland and Forward Partners dodged a bullet. We should all be so lucky as to have a chance encounter on the subway with every person we interview just to see how they respond when they don’t think anyone who matters is watching.

4 thoughts on “Karma crumples rude commuter’s chance at a job”

  1. I love this! I wish more employers (or potential future ones) had the opportunity to actually view the behavior of others before hiring them. I know people that put on their best ‘face’ when the employer is present and then ‘Jekyl and Hyde’ syndrome magically appears when the ‘boss’ is gone!

  2. Great Story!!! There are several occasions which I wish I could have had a multi-day interview with people….just to verify their personality.

  3. I received a resume from a lady who is a judicial clerk handling the jurors at the county courthouse. She applied for a position working closely with people who are low income, elderly, etc. I served jury duty a couple months back and she was the judicial clerk assigned to my jury. She was rude, short, refused to answer juror questions or allow jurors to contact family when a case went much later than jurors had been told it would go. This was not a murder or rape or drug trial – nothing big time. Now she wants me to consider her for a job where she will need to be nice to people who may not have the most desirable life style. Right!!!!

  4. Love this story !!!!

    I can imagine that Buckland got straight to the point, asked the jerk a situation question as to how the candidate would behave on the Tube when someone stepped in front of him.

    I can imagine the clueless jerk lying and saying he would be nice about it, etc , etc….

    I can imagine Buckland dropping the hammer, simply telling the clueless jerk : ” The interview is over.” Period.

    Behaving like a jerk is bad, but lying about it…..ooooooooooooooohhhhhh !

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