There are two neighbouring bed and breakfast homes. One is home to a young-ish man who, for the most part, appears to be easy-going, and seemingly lazy when no one’s looking. The other is an older woman who believes in being as busy as possible, never leaving any imperfections in appearance and utility.
One day, the older woman sees a couple leaving the younger man’s home with smiles on their faces. They look pleased, don’t they? the woman thought to herself.
Over time, she began to notice that the young man was gradually getting more and more guests. She herself had always maintained a steady base of guests, so the trend was rather surprising to her. She finally gave in, and headed over to the young man’s home to see how his operation worked.
She rang the doorbell, and within a minute, the young man was at the door with a smile on his face. He spoke, “Welcome to my home. Please come in.”
Strange, she thought, he should have asked for my business first. Despite her confusion, she entered his house, and was immediately surprised to see that it looked rather, as opposed to professional, like a home. She had always fashioned her own bed and breakfast as being a more focused version of a hotel. For her, everything had to be neat and tidy, and when a customer was in, she had to appear to be doing something at all times. For this young man, it appeared to be the opposite.
“Please have a seat,” the young man said, making way for the dining table which lie solely in the kitchen area. “I apologize for the appearance of things, I have yet to begin cleaning after my previous visitors.”
Ignoring her want to tell him that he should always be ready, she instead said, “I have noticed that you are becoming quite popular recently. May I ask how this happened?” The young man appeared a bit quizzical.
“Well, I suppose it’s because I give them a smile coming in, and give them smiles through and out.”
Remarkable, the older woman thought. Simply remarkable. “So then, you don’t have a business plan?”
“No, madam, I do. When they come in, all I care about is letting them into my home. If you think about it, they’re your potential employers. You must impress them with who you are. They don’t ask for qualifications, and judgments can be reserved about the state of the home. The most important thing is that I be likeable.”
“That’s preposterous!” stated the woman, unable to hold herself. “You can’t run a business on personality!”
“No, madam, you are correct. When they come in, I only care about being likeable. But when they have chosen to stay with me – ‘hired’ me if you will – I focus on doing my job. And when on the job, you are defined by what you do, rather than who you are. I suppose you could say, you need to be recommendable. And I would suppose that that’s how I’ve come to garner some popularity.”
“But,” he continued, “I don’t worry about such things. I simply remember my motto: a smile coming in, a smile through and out!”
[This analogy was thought up by myself just recently. When entering the workforce, your likability is very important, as there are very likely a great number of others with approximately the same qualifications. When moving on from previous work, being recommendable plays a greater role, and personality is no longer used as a primary judge for employment. But in either case, your goal should always be to do a good job, not to keep your job.]