The Rule of Law and The Law of Averages
by Cathy Faye Rudolph
e offered the job applicant neither food nor drink, and just spare moment enough to sit in the armless chair in front of the desk. The lamp on the desk cast only shadows on the applicant, so he drew wide the drapes and let the cold winter sky pour its weak light through the glass.
The interviewer sat down at the desk, and peered at the paper before him.
"You appear to have the necessary skills for this position, young man," he began.
The applicant straightened a bit in his chair.
"However," the interviewer continued, fixing on the applicant with an intense stare, "I have a few more questions."
The applicant clenched his teeth, causing a muscle along the side of his jaw to twitch.
"The firm has a financial responsibility to the whole of its owners and investors," the interviewer lectured. "A single case of employee indolence could impair the growth of the company. Therefore, it is our rule, our law, that we hire not the average, but the most dedicated employees, to serve the company."
The applicant bobbed his head in enthusiastic agreement.
"We must be sure that your energy is being completely focused on the tasks at hand. No distractions, no commitments to outside interests."
"I realize that this is a full-time position," the applicant affirmed.
"That is only the start, young man" the interviewer said, pushing back his chair with a sudden movement, and pacing behind the desk. The applicant's eyes followed his course.
"To achieve the maximum return on our firm's investment, we find it is best to hire only those individuals who are free from distractions in their personal lives. Often outsiders, those who contribute nothing to the well-being of the company, feel entitled to demand time or resources from those who are employed with us. Therefore, we conserve our resources and productivity through a very careful selection process."
"So," the interviewer sat down at the desk again, and drew the pen from its desktop stand, "I'm sure you appreciate our position on this matter. Now, no position with another company?"
"No," answered the applicant.
"No membership in any politicial or social action organizations?"
Concern brushed the applicant's face. "No, I have no interest in politics or social activism, sir."
The interviewer wrote the answers on the paper. "Good, good. Just three more questions. Are you married? Children? Are your parents living?"
The applicant's leather case slid off his lap onto the floor. The applicant leaned forward and began to gather the spilled contents. His answers were somewhat muffled.
"No, no. My parents, that is, my mother and father are both deceased."
The applicant settled in his chair once more, his gaze on the front edge of the desk.
Replacing the pen in the holder, the interviewer rose from his chair, and crossed to clap the applicant on the shoulder. "Excellent! No unworthy distractions to keep the company from profit, or to keep you from developing your skills for the company. You start tomorrow, young man. Be here at 8 o'clock, ready to work."
Apparently overcome with relief, the applicant mumbled his thanks, nodding his head deferentially, and hurried out into the corridor. The interviewer watched him leave, then walked down the corridor to a corner office.
The interviewer picked up a bound ledger, and sat at his desk. "Only the last applicant was qualified and fully dedicated, according to those questions you suggested. The questions were a stroke of sheer genius."
His partner brushed the compliment aside with a careless motion of his hand.
"Yes," said the interviewer, "I think our Mr. Cratchit will turn out just fine." He settled to work, then paused, pen in mid-sentence, as a thought occurred to him. Jacob Marley turned to his partner.
"There isn't a chance that the applicant was not completely truthful, is there?" Marley asked.
"No, Jacob," said Ebenezer Scrooge. "Not a ghost of a chance."
from Beyond Understanding © 1994, 1995 Cathy Faye Rudolph.
Contents © 1994, 1995 Wayward Fluffy Publications.
Last revised: August 16, 1995 by Wayward Fluffy Publications.