Taking down the sukkah after Yom Tov, I was approached by the newly married son-in-law of the neighbor who was looking for something to do. He kindly asked me, “Can I help you with your sukkah?” Since I wasn’t expecting his help, and not really being too comfortable with him, I kindly refused his help. I smiled and (lied to) him that my sukkah is a one-person sukkah, and I’ll finish it myself.Truth is, I could’ve really used his help. Why did I refuse it?
Yes, I was somewhat uncomfortable to start working with someone I hardly know. But thinking more about it, I realized that had he offered me differently I would’ve easily accepted.
His offer was, “How can I help you?” That means I had to realize that I have a problem that needs to be solved, or a need that requires solving. But I didn’t know that I had a problem or a need, since I was expecting to take the sukkah down on my own.
Instead, had he come with his hammer and drill and said, “Let me help you with this beam or tying up the s’chach,” I would’ve gladly accepted his offer. I would’ve finished the job earlier and easier, and would’ve made a new acquaintance in the process.
When you look for a job or career, keep this in mind. If you approach business with the attitude of “Can I please help you?” you are only going to find takers from those who already know they need help. For every company or business that knows they need help, there are countless others desparately need the help you can give them but don’t even realize it.