Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Every once in a while I do the right thing

I answered the telephone late one afternoon recently during a period when we were frantically recruiting both to cover those who'd left at the start of the summer (and been covered over the summer months by the returning students) as well as those who'd subsequently decided to move on for one reason or another.

The gentleman at the other end of the phone was enquiring about progress by him up our recruitment list. We tend not to receive curricula vitae. Instead we have people drop in; we take down their name and a few key details and get the rest if and when we call them in. As I couldn't find the recruitment book which was in someone else's office I took down his details on a piece of paper with the intention of checking and calling him back.

The moment he gave me his date of birth I had a pretty good (and as it turns out accurate) idea of why he hadn't been called in for an interview. Even he must have been harbouring his suspicions. "Is it an issue?" he asked in the silence after giving his year of birth as 1942.

I insisted it wouldn't necessarily be a barrier and at the first available opportunity I mentioned him to the Bulldog who, as it happens, had been tasked with dragging likely suspects in to be given the once over.

She admitted that she'd passed over everyone older than herself.

Now as it happens I'd heard a story about a bloke celebrating his 100th (yes his one hundredth) birthday with his colleagues at the depot where he is employed to clean out commercial vehicles of one sort of other - I didn't get the details, and they're not the point here.

I went into bat for the applicant, insisting that his age couldn't be grounds in and of themselves to disregard him. We spend most of our time moaning about the Kiddies - their stupidity, laziness, lack of practical common sense, rudeness, incompetence and sheer unreliability; then when someone older comes along do we show ourselves to be stupid, lazy, lacking commensense, rude and incompetent.

What really floored me though was the Bulldog's admission that she'd seen a TV version of the story I'd heard on the radio.

Within 12 hours the bloke had been in to be interviewed by the Sex Pest and offered a job with us. Of course if it all goes pear shaped I'll be blamed for sticking my neck out for him; but I still believe I did the right thing by insisting that he be given his chance.


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