Monday, January 24, 2011

I've Found the Silver Lining, and Oh, How Bright it is!

So I do believe I have found the silver lining.

Today was the first day of interviewing at work. There were papers scattered across desks and tables, printers beeping and jamming up, heels clicking on the tile floor of our itsy-bitsy hiring trailer, and several cups of coffee littering the counter-tops. Each potential employee came into the (again) itsy-bitsy hiring trailer, closed the door gently behind them and politely gave their name while sitting in a folding chair against the wall. I greeted each and every one of them with a big smile in an effort to hide my true expression; one that would have shown that I was completely in over my head.

I lead each person into a room where I asked a series of totally expected questions like "how did you hear that we were hiring?" and "describe to me one time you had to deal with a difficult customer or frustrating situation." And of course there is my favorite "from your point of view, what do you think makes up a good work environment?" Please, you try to keep a smile on your face when you see how puzzled people are by this question. Near impossible.

After I am done grilling them and listening to their voices quiver as they try to give that perfect answer, as if any word will be the one to make or break them, I get to stray from the "procedural" question sheet and talk to them like they are a person. And let me tell you, they all have a story to tell. Some are older with children and grandchildren, trying to get a job to support a growing family. Some are young and want to earn some spending cash. Some are trying to show their parents how responsible they are. Some are captains of sports teams and on the honor roll. Some are applying to college and need a flexible job for the fall. Some are playing guitar and are looking for something to tide them over until they make it big. Some are retired and want to get out of the house. Some are looking for a second job to pay the bills. Some have been  out of work for a year. Some want to be teachers or lawyers or butchers. Some want to spend more time with their sister by working together. Some just need to work near their home so they can get to work by foot or public transportation. But despite what the story is, you can bet they are excited to tell you about it.

After we talk about their passions and stories that I so love to hear, I get to the part when the sun starts to poke out a bit from the side of this big-gray-"this is not my dream job"-cloud. I say to them, from across my big desk covered in papers and coffee cups, "I think you're wonderful for this job, and we're excited to have you here." And then it happens. There is this beautiful moment where they begin to realize what they just heard. They begin to see flashes of birthday presents and proud parents, college classes and arenas filled with people, the bill pile shrinking and the amount of time spent with their sister growing. They begin to see themselves as a success, they start to feel a bit of relief. And then after this second of blissful shock has worn away they look up and they smile the most genuine smily you could imagine. They say "thank you, thank you, dear lord thank you" over and over while small tears well up in the sides of their eyes. And it is because I had the honor of telling them "you're wonderful."

This job is not for me. I don't belong behind the big desk shuffling papers from folder to folder, or answering phones and making photo copies. This big-gray-cloud is just not for me. But despite that, today I came home on a high of knowing that I was the reason that sixteen people were able to go to their families today and say "I got the job;" and in the next two months I will get to give this gift three-hundred-and-thirty-four more times. I will be physically tired and emotionally drained, and I will most certainly be begging for a classroom by then; but knowing that I had the opportunity to tell three-hundred-and-fifty people "you're wonderful" just may be the brightest silver lining anyone could ask for.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you've found joy in this new job of yours. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking some time to smell the sneezeweed!