When I was a freshman in college, my dad gave me this advice: “Don’t sign up for classes. Sign up for teachers.”
I took this counsel to heart. I remember sitting in front of my computer at 12:01 a.m. on the day of registration one semester, praying not that I would be able to find an afternoon session of English 252 but that Ron Bennett would have an open seat in any class. For the right professor, I was willing to take anything. Welding 280? I’m in. I was even up for wearing those terribly unattractive goggles. Horticulture 287R? Hand me a shovel and spade.
I was lucky enough to have my interests line up with some of the best professors on campus. But what meant more to me then, and now, than the lectures they gave or extracredit assignments they offered was how they treated me. I could immediately sense when a teacher cared about my life beyond the classroom, and that made my college experience invaluable.
As I’ve moved past college and tackled career choices, housing options and even weekend activities, I’ve continued to find that basing my decisions on the WHO is so much more important than the where or what. Sure, careers with corner offices, apartments with hardwood floors and Friday night Lady A concerts are great, but they don’t matter anywhere near as much as the guy in the office next to you, the girls you share the kitchen with or the friends who mosh with you.
|These are the wonderful whos I call co-workers. Logan (front left) has moved on to bigger and better things, but he’s had a lasting impact on my life.|
I’ve been blessed to know some pretty incredible individuals since taking this people-based approach to life. I was separated from one of them this week, a co-worker who has been my best friend for the past three years, and I’ve been reminded of just how much more relationships mean to me than pay raises, promotions or benefits.
The drawback to a who-based life is that change and separation come at a very high emotional cost.
But that’s not going to stop me. I plan to spend the rest of my life signing up for people rather than possessions or professions. It turns out the cliché is true. It really is all about who you know.