A Tale of Summer Jobs and Generosity

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While it may seem at times that we are inundated with stories of difficulty in the world, every day there are people looking to make a difference in the lives of others. It may be as simple as holding the door for, or smiling at, a stranger, or taking time out of one’s day to listen to a friend in need.

Sometimes the assistance provided goes above and beyond. It is worth sharing these experiences, as they offer hope, as well as a model on which to live our own lives.

I am currently teaching a course in my area of professional expertise – real estate. Recently, with April well under way and only a couple of months before the end of the term, some of my students were still looking for summer jobs and sought advice from me. With the current state of the job market, many know that being eager and hard working does not always guarantee a position. These students were applying themselves to the task, and looking for a summer position to advance their personal growth.

I wanted to do something to help, so I reached out to my network of professional contacts. The result was encouraging to say the least. Many replied quickly and with great enthusiasm to help where they could. While of course I did not expect everyone to reply (many of my contacts have been busy or simply had nothing available), I was quite touched by the many people who were able to try to help.

What is even more impressive, is that many of these business men and women who reached out to help were not necessarily “close” contacts” While some were surely people I consider friends, or people with whom I communicate on a regular basis, many were not. Some are casual acquaintances, people with whom a particular deal had been worked on once, and in some cases, quite a bit of time in the past. These were not people who owed me favors or for whom there was some personal advantage to be gained.

These people, despite their limited connection to me and busy lives, answered a call to help. The students were strangers to them and yet they wanted to help someone in need.

We can choose to see life, business, or any number of other areas as a series of opportunities to exchange favors and act only when it suits us. In Latin, the expression “quid pro quo” means “something for something”, and is used to imply that we give when we can then get in return. Those who offered to assist clearly do not subscribe to that philosophy.

We at hope we can all learn from the example of these contatcs, these men and women who acted not because of a desire for personal gain, but because helping another person is the right thing to do. We can choose to follow their lead and help others without thinking of what we will get in return. Life is much better for all of us when we look for where we can be of service to others.

In closing, I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to those who responded with an opportunity or a desire to help these students find jobs. Besides the enrichment such employment will provide, and the opportunities it will afford these college students; the act of trying to help, or even expressing a desire to do so, provided a powerful example of kindness and generosity that will benefit all of us who take the time to reflect on it.


Jason D. Greenblatt


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