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Why You Should Just Be Nice

We’ve talked about Googling yourself and self-assessment and acting politely and all those good things. Because what you do and say follows you. Remember that five year reunion? You’re going to walk in and you’re going to see somebody who maybe wasn’t cool enough to hang out with you in school or maybe it was that guy who wasn’t cute enough for you to date and all of a sudden he’s like the next Bill Gates. And he has created like the next, hottest game or Electronic Arts or Microsoft or Apple or something. Do you think his cachet will be a little bit improved to you? Yes.

This is why I encourage you right now in high school, just be nice. You don’t have to like everyone, you don’t have to invite everyone into your home. Just be nice. Then when you go to that five year reunion and you find out that someone works at Google and you want to work at Google, it won’t be a big drama to say, hey, help me out. Help me get in the door there. Because you will have been nice to them in high school.

So here’s the thing: When we first moved to Fremont my son was three years old. And this was our little world. Do you see this little bubble here? That was it. It was my husband and my son and me. And then all of a sudden my son decided he wanted to start playing soccer and baseball. So instead of living in this little bubble, now all of a sudden we are in this bigger bubble because we’ve got kids from the soccer team, kids from the baseball team. And then there’s 12 kids on the opposite team. So it isn’t just the three of us any longer but it’s this little circle that’s attached to this circle.

Now I have to tell you, that sometimes my husband can be a little intense. Meaning that he will be the one out there yelling at the referees, he will be the one out there yelling at a five-year-old on the soccer field, what are you doing? Okay? So just when you think life is easy and fine and your kid is five years old and obeys you and is terrific, okay, all of a sudden now we are in soccer and then all of a sudden these people over in baseball are like, oh, you’ve got that family on your team? Well, good luck with that. Because these people talk with these people who talk with these people who talk with these people. It gets around. So that’s why, just be nice.

Lies have feet. My mother used to say that to me all the time and it used to annoy me to no end. When I was in my 20s I had an opportunity to really use that advice. I was working for a health maintenance organization and I went on my very first business trip and was so excited. Had the business suit, the briefcase, the company was paying for the hotel, the meal, my trip down to San Diego. It was really exciting. So I get there, I have my dinner, I go to sleep and I get up the next morning and I show up to the meeting and the woman says, it was yesterday. No joke. This really seriously happened. So I had a choice to make. Now this is before cell phones because I am ancient. So I could have either gone back to the hotel room and called my boss and said, hey, meeting was great and I’m coming back up to the office or I could have called my office, talked to my supervisor and said, give me some other companies down here in San Diego because I’ve blown it. I was working for – we used to call her the Dragon Lady, she was a vice president of marketing – and I was scared to death of what she would do if I was honest with her and said, I missed the meeting. So, again, I called my supervisor and said, give me some names of companies down here because I have to make this trip worth this company’s while for the money that you have spent on it.

So I did that and I got back to the office and I told the vice president of marketing, my bad, I blew it. I blew the meeting. And she did not fire me, she wasn’t happy with me but she didn’t fire me because I told the truth. Why am I glad that I told the truth? Okay, here’s the vice president of marketing that I work with. And here’s the vice president of marketing at an HMO down in San Diego. And during the holidays let’s say they’re going to get together here for a cocktail party. And my vice president of marketing is going to walk in and here comes the one from San Diego who’s going to say to my vice president, hey, where was your rep in San Diego? I would have been fired after that party. Trust me. If she had been – if she had not been in the know she would’ve come back and fired me and she would’ve had every right to.

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