Tale Of Two Kellys And Two Work Behaviors

You’re probably familiar with the story of two talented quarterbacks under one family tree. One was a football Hall of Famer and the other, a disgraced Clemson Tiger who was asked to leave before his senior year of college. Despite sharing the same athletic skills, the two Kellys differ immensely in their approach to the game. The human capital observer in me is always fascinated when the media broadcasts a story that I can relate to in my own small corner of the employment world. Rarely do I witness the demise of a talented career due to a person’s inability to perform. In fact, 95 percent of the job loss I’ve seen has been a direct result of bad attitudes and undesirable work behaviors.

Credit: static.nfl.com

Credit: static.nfl.com

Jim came from a crowded household of six rowdy boys and two loving parents who prided themselves on upholding strong Christian values and treating others with respect. Apparently, that same integrity didn’t resonate with Chad, Jim’s nephew, who was suspended from Clemson University for conduct issues. His former coach, Dabo Swinney, reported that Chad exhibited “a pattern of behavior” that was inconsistent with the values of their program. However, this “pattern of behavior” wasn’t new to the young athlete who had been dismissed from his football team twice in high school before relocating to Buffalo, NY. If that wasn’t enough to prove his bad character, Chad ignited a cyber war on twitter with the son of former NFL quarterback, Cliff Stoudt, to insult the young player’s talent and prove his own supremacy on the field. Did I mention this took place before stepping on Clemson’s home field for the first time?

In a job market that demands a collaborative team approach, those closed-minded professionals who have only one question on their minds – what’s in it for me – will surely disappoint any employer, regardless of talent depth or experience level. I meet them everyday, both old and young. Sometimes they talk a good game, but, like Chad, they often prove to be disappointing in matters of consistent execution. They’re all looking to build a sustainable career, but are completely unaware that they’ve developed behaviors unbecoming of a valued employee. For many, it’s tough to take responsibility, and so the economy becomes the culprit behind bad job search results and harsh bosses take the blame for short tenures.

Although us fierce fans like to think otherwise, it was never Jim Kelly’s dream to play for the Buffalo Bills. But after the World Football League went under, Jim swallowed his pride and kept an open mind. Without his time with the Bills, Jim wouldn’t have his esteemed reputation as legend and beloved hero he holds now.

The other day, while I was engaged in my evening routine, the relevance of the two Kellys to my own experiences hit me. I was perched on my coach with my laptop when a short clip streaming on the evening news caught my attention. A swarm of Buffalo Bills fans, which in my biased opinion are the loudest and most loyal kind, were congregated at a small private airport dressed in fan garb. The crowd greeted him like it was 1986. Weak from chemotherapy, Jim no longer appeared to be the strapping, robust athlete they remembered, but it didn’t matter. Jim was humbled by the overwhelming support from his fans and the comfort of being back in his hometown.

I wondered why Chad hadn’t seen what was so apparent to those amazing fans. After all, Jim is the type of person everyone rallies around, supports, and, in this case, prays for. But it wasn’t Jim’s incredible talent that won Buffalo over – it was his character and sincere approach to the game itself. People who run their careers with only one agenda in mind (“me”) as opposed to contributing to a greater cause miss out on precious moments like this one.

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