a second look – generosity 3

In 1985, I needed to find a real job. I was finishing my third year in grad school at UT-Austin. I was starting on my dissertation. It was time to grow up.

I got invited to an interview at a college in Fort Wayne. I flew up from Austin. I spent the night at the academic dean’s house and then spent the day talking with students and faculty, teaching a pretend class, and looking around town. It was a pretend class because it was finals week and there weren’t any real classes to teach. Some students and some faculty showed up in a room and I lectured.

Then I flew back to Texas.

I got a call from the dean. Richard said that some people wanted me but some weren’t sure. I understood that. The classes I was going to teach were in communication. The part-time faculty member they had was a stereotypical deep-voiced formal speaker. He was impressive. My style, on the other hand, was pretty relaxed. Rather than impressing students with my speaking ability, I was concerned with helping them overcome their fears and improve their abilities. And I’m odd sometimes.

Richard said he was flying to Austin to learn more.

It was a great visit. He met Nancy (which let him see the one normal person in our marriage). After one of my classes, a couple of students came running across the campus to thank me for a wonderful semester. He heard me teach at church.

I got the job.

Richard was willing to take a second look, to give me another chance, to spend time on getting to know the person rather than judging by an artificial performance. It cost him some money. It changed our lives.


This post is part of Robert Hruzek’s group-writing project.


10 responses to “a second look – generosity 3

  1. He was good at stuff like that. Thanks for the post. 🙂

  2. It’s a wonderful thing to encounter folks that are willing to consider the whole picture, rather than go with whatever the “usual routine” would tell them. I’ve constantly been amazed at the results I get when I’m willing to go that extra mile.

  3. Rick, it seems to run in the family as far as I can see.

    And that is what it is, Robert, a second mile.

  4. I’d say you were well-mentored, the, by Dr. D.–you have learned to often see what others don’t and to see it without having to take the second look…Would “heart expansion” be a good term for it? (To which Jon will reply, “It doesn’t need a term… the action is the thing.”)

  5. I’d say you were well-mentored, THEN……

  6. I have been, and continue to be, well-mentored. And for that I am very
    grateful…and am learning to pay attention to the mentoring.

  7. What a wonderful example of generosity. It’s not the sort of thing I would think of first, if I trying to determine how I could be more generous with others (which I’m going to be thinking about now!). But this idea of a second look and a second chance clearly gets to the heart of what a truly generous spirit is all about, and what Jesus was about. A person can act generous by giving money or compliments, but Richard gave you the real deal.

  8. well said, Kristin.

    As I think about it, the examples you give are important. However, they are
    gifts that encourage but don’t give a platform. He gave me a platform, a
    space. He did it several times for me and for others.

    And as he was dying a few years ago, he kept giving people opportunities.

  9. Pingback: Hiring Technical People » A Second Chance Audition

  10. The generosity of a second chance… perhaps the most important generosity of all, especially in this world of quick judgments that persist and follow an individual remorselessly. May we all remember this kind of generosity when we’d prefer to judge quickly and move on.