For my college graduation present, a girlfriend gave me a pair of underwear imprinted with pictures of little blueberries. I laughed – big mistake. This was not a gag gift.
She found blueberry colored underwear attractive, and she wanted me to wear it to remember her by when I left town for an upcoming job interview. Whatever happened to giving someone a snapshot or greeting card? I’d even have preferred to tie a string around my finger.
What if I was in an accident and ended up in the emergency room in blueberry underwear? I agreed to wear it, but I drove my car more carefully than I ever had before. No one was going to see those blueberries.
As I crawled into my hotel bed that night, I was tempted to cheat and put on my comfortable old boxers. Then I remembered the look of disappointment on my girlfriend’s face when I had laughed at her gift. So the blueberries stayed on.
I had fallen asleep when suddenly a sound at the door startled me awake. I sat up in bed just in time to see a shadow cross the beam of light coming in beneath the door.
Who was outside? I quietly slipped out of bed and put my eye to the security peephole. I could see no one in the hall so I crouched down and looked under the door crack. Nothing.
By this time my heart was pounding. I carefully unlatched the security chain, unlocked the door, and opened it just enough to peek out. Still seeing no one, I opened the door wider in order to stick my head out.
I anxiously looked to the left and to the right, but the hall was completely empty. Still, I was a bit confused and frightened as I began to pull the door shut. Then I saw it: Lying on the hall floor was a copy of USA Today.
That was all I’d heard: someone dropping a newspaper in front of each room. With a sigh of relief, I stepped out to get the paper – and heard a terrifying sound.
It was the sound of the door clicking shut behind me. I was now standing in the corridor of a very nice hotel. Locked out of the room. Wearing skimpy blueberry underwear.
Unfortunately, I was traveling alone and had no one inside the room to open the door for me. After a moment’s panic, I began laughing. I gathered up the USA Today, wrapped it around myself, and made my way to the front desk.
Mercifully, the halls were empty. I got a new key and left the people at the front desk to entertain each other at my expense. The way I saw it, I came out ahead – they never saw the blueberries.
You may have already guessed that there are no deeply profound financial truths to be illustrated here. But there are still a few common sense lessons that we can learn from my experience: Watch where you’re going. Never shut the doors behind you. And for that matter, don’t burn your bridges.
As you find new opportunities, face new challenges and build your career, it’s not wise to shut out old friends, former employers and important networks. You never know when you’ll be knocking on those doors again. I’ve learned to be thankful for the little things in life – like USA Today!
Michael Chatman has spoken to more than two million young adults from coast to coast. As a teen and young adult financial motivator, he inspires his audiences to develop their personal greatness and take responsibility for their financial future. He is also the author of Mom… Dad… What Were You Thinking? Seven Ways to Build Wealth and Prove You’re Financially Smarter Than Your Parents. www.michaelchatman.com
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