The Joys of Interviewing... and more!

Well, it would seem that spring has sprung, weather be danged. We’ve finally hit the shipping frenzy even though the weather isn’t all that cooperative. We went from cold and wet to warm and wet, pretty much overnight. I hate to complain because I know it won’t be long before we’re all praying for rain and cooler weather, but for now it would sure be nice to have some warm, sunny days.

I am in the middle of an interesting project at the moment in that I am interviewing candidates for a secretarial position here at the nursery. My old secretary, whom many of you knew, passed away a little over two years ago and left a gaping hole here. I have needed somebody in the interim but with the nursery business so squirrely (an academic term you only learn at Mississippi State) that I haven’t been able to fill the vacancy. Mrs. Pat, in addition to being a great employee, was something of a surrogate mother to everybody here. But for me, personally, her most valuable quality was her unerring ability to sniff out telemarketers. This is not as easy to do as you might think, as many of the new breed of telemarketers are craftier than Lucifer himself. But as long as Mrs. Pat was alive I never had to deal with any of them.

After having asked around a little among friends to see if anybody knew of a good candidate (nobody did), and totally against my better judgment, I put an ad in the employment section of our local paper. I expected to get maybe two or three respondents from which I could choose. So far I have had 18 people call to request interviews. As yet, I’ve actually conducted six. Five of the six have been legitimate candidates but that sixth one was a doozy.

As I’ve said before, confession might be good for the soul but it’s bad for the reputation. Having said that, I am guilty sometimes of judging books by their cover. Actually, as I think of it, there’s nothing in the world wrong with judging a book by its cover. What I do is judge people by their outward appearance. And not only do I do so, I make no apologies for it whatsoever.

For starters, the young lady in question walked in the door with black and white hair. And I don’t mean darkish and blond, I mean ink black and bright white. It looked for all the world like she had a skunk hide slung crossways over her head. In addition to the non-typical hair-do, she had holes in her earlobes you could have thrown a dime through. I see this a lot in young people and for the life of me I don’t know what statement they’re trying to make. To complete the set, she had never had a job before in her life and had the personality of a rock. It was a brief interview, as you might expect. I was just glad she didn’t break out a pentagram and convene a séance. 

I am fully aware that people who look like that, or even more outlandish, may very well be responsible, decent, intelligent human beings. They may possess all sorts of endearing qualities in abundance and need only the slightest hint of an opportunity to come into full flower as individuals. But when all I have to base my opinion on is a 20 minute interview and what I can see, they step into the batter’s box 0 and 2. Hopefully the remainder of the interviews won’t come with any surprises, or at least good ones if they do.

I have no doubt at all that every generation of Americans since the pilgrims has been convinced that the subsequent generation was going to lead the world to wrack and ruin. I certainly remember my own father’s utter disdain for my music, exactly as I detest my boys’ taste in what they call music. But I believe in my soul that good people, maybe even “normal” people, outnumber the bad ones by a long shot. And who knows, one of these days I might feel the need to speak to somebody across the divide. If so, I have the contact information for a young lady who looks like she could help. If that happens, you’ll be the first to know.

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