Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why I Need A Good Recommendation!

The other day I was chatting up a friend who has been out of a job since late last year. I was surprised she was still out of a job as a few weeks earlier I had been told that her former employer had been interested in re-hiring her. So why didn't they re-hire her? I posed. Apparently she had received one bad recommendation from her former immediate supervisor. It was not the kind of recommendation that that said she had been incompetent or something like that. Actually the general recommendation was decent but her supervisor had pointed out one negative thing about her performance. Two other recommendations from within the same department had actually been glowing. Because of the one negative, she did not get the job. The supervisor later admitted that if he had known that the one honest appraisal would cost her the job, he would not have written it down as he would have liked to continue working with her. Who knows? She apparently will now find it very difficult getting future employment within the UN system.

This led to another discussion about how someone else had been employed in the same organization and had apparently done such a good job that the supervisor and the organization were greatly impressed. He was earmarked to be a star and many saw him soon taking over the running of the department. Then word came in from HR that after some months of investigation, they found out that the college he had gone to was not officially recognized and therefore doubts were cast on his qualification. They were all sad to see him go and everyone agreed that it was sad to lose such talent.

I am writing this because at times I wonder when should qualifications and rigid rules on processes give way to common sense and experience? I have employed someone with an academic background on science (Botany to be precise) on a community education dealing with social and health issues and he turned out just fine. I ignored the academic background and instead focused on experience. If you have the right experience and aptitude for a certain job, should the fact that you don't have the correct academic background or one bad recommendation out of several good ones stand in your way?

Image from Internet

In other news, commitments at the work place has meant that there has been no time to go over your blogs of late, so don't worry if you have not seen me visiting your blog. I will be passing by soon. In the meanwhile let me sign off and get back to work, before I get a bad recommendation.

Friday, August 5, 2011

On Friends, Compliments & Sincerity

Recently I happened to be asked to act an emcee(it was put in a such a way that I could not decline). I said yes and promptly forgot about it until a day to the event. Then I was surprised with some "talking points" that I was supposed to memorize. I was even given exact lines to introduce some film. I still took everything for granted until the last minute when backstage, I saw all these people that were to make some speeches busy rehearsing their speeches. It was then that it occurred to me that I needed to be rehearsing and that there was no room for mistakes. This made me tense throughout, a situation that was made worse by the blinding stage lights. Needless to say, I got through it unscathed, meaning I did not introduce people using wrong names and did not refer to the US Ambassador as being from Iran or something like that (the highlight for me though was having to help Alfre Woodard down the steps - they kept reminding me how to pronounce her name. Would she have strangled me if I got it wrong?)

Anyway, the point of this is that after the event I was obviously concerned that I might have made a fool of myself on stage. But as usual, friends came and patted me on the back saying stuff like 'that was good' etc. It is actually only one person who upon my probing told me that I looked rather nervous at the beginning...This made me reflect on how many mornings that my wife asks me how she looks like in a certain attire, and without thinking, murmur that it looks ok. In deed, how many times do I pass compliments without actually meaning it, just because I am expected to be nice. I see a musician friend of mine perform and clearly the performance sucks but I just say "well done, that was brilliant!". I think being sincere in compliments is perhaps not as easy as it sounds, most of the time we will not tell our friends the truth. Perhaps it is only husbands who get to hear the truth from their wives concerning their dressing, something that at times we do not take lightly!

Finally, "Real friendship is exchanging secrets, rolling over like a puppy and exposing the soft underbelly. You tell your friend the truth, and you feel the friendship growing - like a bank account - with each upfront opinion you give, with each honest answer you hear". Adair Lara, Cosmopolitan