Tuesday, August 10, 2010


“Do you own a yacht?” the interviewer wanted to know.

It seemed a question completely out of context, having no relevance to the middle-aged woman’s need for food.

“Excuse me?” she responded. “Do I own a what?”

“A yacht,” he said, rather snarkily. “Do you own a yacht?”

“A yacht?” she asked. “You want to know if I own a luxury boat? You do know I’m applying for some help with food to feed my children and myself. If I owned a yacht I probably wouldn’t need help with food.”

“So is that a ‘no’ answer?” he asked, still snarkily.

“You’re seriously asking me if I own a yacht?” Her question sounded like she simply couldn’t believe that such a question was even in the realm of possibility to be asked. “Why not ask me if I own a boat? Or maybe a canoe. Or maybe a rubber raft. One of those might be reasonable. But a yacht?!”

“If you just answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ we can move on to the next question,” he said flatly.

“The next question?” she asked rather sharply, her voice rising. “What’s that? Do I travel to the unemployment line in a Rolls Royce? Or maybe you want to know if I’ll be dining with the President this evening after feeding my kids with your free box of macaroni and cheese. What is the matter with you people?”

“Okay. I’ll put no yacht,” he said, completely unmoved by her vexation, as if he’d heard it hundreds of times before and simply didn’t care any longer. “Next question,” he continued. “Have you ever been arrested for prostitution?”

“You know,” she said as she stood up. “F#(k you."

The interviewer barely looked up at her. He simply grabbed a new set of questionnaires and called out, “Next.”

So permit me to offer this simple aside. If you’re working in the compassion sector and you find your days to be sadly similar to the one described above – change jobs.

Seriously. Find a different line of work, or at the very least, a different organization within which to work. You and the people you are there to help, will sincerely appreciate it.

Compassion, after all, is still about love. And last time I checked, love had nothing to do with upsetting someone to the point of such exasperation that the F-bomb is dropped.

Seriously. If that describes you, become a different you.

No comments:

Post a Comment