Monday, April 24, 2006


I don't believe there is any such thing as a coincidence. I didn't always believe that. But I have learned that everything in life happens for a reason. The reason isn't always clear at the moment but becomes clear as time passes. Or, sometimes, time passes and then something happens that explains something in the past.

In one of my previous posts, I related a story about my experience with the HR Executive at the company where Rick worked when I informed him that Rick had developed another romantic relationship with a woman at the office. The second time I spoke to Frank I told him that I thought Rick's pattern of behavior showed a profound lack of professional integrity. He responded by telling me he thought it was "a case of poor judgement". I did not agree with his assessment.

More than two years later, I was driving to an appointment and stopped for gas. It was November 5, 2004 to be exact. As I was pumping my gas, I realized that I had forgotten to bring along anything to read in case I had to wait for my appointment. There was a newspaper box at the gas station so I purchased a USA Today to take with me. The only time I ever read USA Today is if I am traveling or it is dropped at my hotel door. I arrived at my appointment and pulled out the Money section of the newspaper and there on the front page of the Money section was an article entitled "Business Scandals Prompt Look Into Personal Lives - Some executives facing legal trouble also hit marital rocks." The article stated "In a quest for more ethical leaders, recruiters are increasingly looking into executives' personal lives for evidence of womanizing, and other behavior that raises questions about their integrity. While there is no scientific proof that a philanderer if more - or less- likely to be involved in financial fraud, many executives implicated in recent corporate scandals exhibited other forms of questionable moral behavior along the way." The article went on to quote Thomas DiBiagio, the U.S. Attorney for Maryland, whose office prosecuted Nathan Chapman. Chapman was sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison for defrauding the state of Maryland's pension fund system and looting three publicly traded companies. Three former mistresses testified at his trial. DiBiagio is quoted in the article "If their life is a lie, it's not confined to their personal life. If they are lying to their wives, there's huge potential they are also lying to their colleagues, their board of directors and potentially their auditors." Other executives mentioned in the article who had affairs - Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers, Jeff Skilling and Jack Welch. A psychologist, Janis Abrahams Spring, said in the article that there are some common personality traits between those who cheat in and outside the office. Spring says high level executives grow used to special consideration in everything they do. She said "some people lie a lot and break the rules a lot - it's a way of being. They see themselves as entitled to get their needs met, so you may see these behaviors across the board.

I found the article fascinating and it confirmed for me that there are other people that also believe that executives who engage in office dating while married show a lack of integrity. I wasn't crazy when I spoke to Frank and in my opoinion, Rick's affair with Gina wasn't just poor judgement.

Even more fascinating to me was the way I happened upon the article in the paper. What are the chances that I would purchase the newspaper that day and find that article? Most would say it was just a coincidence. I don't believe that! Everything happens for a reason. There were other things that happened not long after my divorce that seemed like a coincidence. One day, I received a telephone call from an acquaintance. She mentioned that she had played golf that weekend with a woman that had worked at Dialog during the time my former husband was there. She asked me for the name of the woman that Rick had an affair with and when I told her, she told me that her golf partner had been Gina's manager. A coincidence? I don't think so.

Things happen for a reason. I believe that even my experience with Rick happened for a reason. What I learned from my experience is invaluable to me today - both what I learned about Rick and more importantly, what I learned about myself.