Act Like You’ve Been There Before


There’s a story of Ozzie Newsome, a famous college and professional football player who played for the University of Alabama, and spiked the ball after scoring his first collegiate touchdown. Ozzie, who played for the Crimson Tide 1974-77, was coached by the legendary coach Bear Bryant who asked him after the play why he spiked the ball. The basic message to the player was to display some dignity and Act Like You’ve Been There Before.


To me, Act Like You’ve Been There Before means to act composed, know you’ll see it or experience it again and show some class in the process.


The antithesis of Act Like You’ve Been There Before reminds me of certain work situations when certain employees are confronted with free food. You may have someone do a nice gesture and bring in bagels or donuts for everyone in the department. Other times, it may be pizza or deli sandwiches to be shared among department members.


You have some employees go crazy when they learn there’s free pizza on the second floor or go help yourself to multiple bagels and donuts in suite 3A. Regardless of the food, it could be bagels, donuts, or pizza; certain people will not hesitate to immediately grab some free food before it’s gone. Moreover, they may not hesitate to help themselves for a second time before all department members are aware of the free food available.


Full disclosure, I’ve worked in Corporate America for about 20 years.


I guess free food is not the only scenario where some people display irrational or rude behavior. I’ve been at other public events sponsored by companies or organizations who give away t-shirts, toys or other tchotchkes. Same type of behavior is on display. Certain irrationality occurs among some people who try to grab as many free things as possible – not thinking or realizing there are other people who may be standing in line waiting to receive a few free items.


Is that considered mob mentality?


What’s the motivation? Is it to save money or just the hunt – the fact that it’s fun to get free stuff and avoid a cost every so often?


My approach is to Act Like You’ve Been There Before. Be cool. Show some class. Not that you can’t have seconds on cake or pizza but don’t be so obsessed or focused on it. Let it come to you instead of you coming to it. Even if you don’t always get seconds on pizza, it’s no big deal. Besides, considerate behavior often will allow others to get something to eat. Indeed, if there are leftovers at the end of the day, help yourself but in the meantime, Act Like You’ve Been There Before.