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L. K. Craft - Hisayasu

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By L. K. Craft - Hisayasu
Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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(Photo by L. K. Craft)
Fragility is the part of us left shatter at the bottom of a wall we could not scale.

By L.K. Craft-Hisayasu
Turning off the alarm, I’m anxious about the day. After all, today is my first job interview. It’s been two weeks since high school graduation and I desperately need to land a job before entering college.

I stumble to the shower talking to myself, "today I must give the performance of my life."

As the water rushes down my body, my thoughts are flooded with questions I’d surely be ask. I say them out loud, so I can hear the sound of them . . .

"Ms. Thompson, why are you a good candidate for this position? Tell me about your education and qualifications? What are your career goals and objective and how does Clayton Enterprise fit into them? What makes you the right person?"

I dry off and am panicked as I formulate my answers.

Quickly the morning gets away from me.

I take a deep breath as I enter the lobby of Clayton Enterprises.

"Good Morning, I’m Elizabeth Thompson, I have an interview scheduled with Michael Conway."

"Yes, Ms. Thompson, please have a seat. Mr. Conway will be with you shortly."

My anxiety increases and I take a breath and remind myself that I am well prepared for any questions.

"Ms. Thompson, please come in, I’m Michael Conway, management supervisor for distribution. Have a seat. So Ms. Thompson, may I call you Elizabeth?"

"Yes, please do, " I say,  as I look about his office in an attempt to find something comforting to contrast this rather cold looking man.

"Let’s get right to it. Ms. Thompson, how fragile are you?"

I am caught off guard. What to hell kind of question is that? At this very moment I feel more fragile than I have ever felt in my life. How do I answer it? What have I already revealed by my shock and body language? How do I regain my composure? I am stunned, somewhat immobilized and trying to claw my way back into this very important interview. As I look up, he is staring, waiting for my answer.

"Well that’s not one of those typical interview questions we are taught to be prepared for, but let me attempt to answer it . . . I don’t believe I’m fragile."

He jots something down, pauses, and then looks up.

"Ms. Thompson, thank you for applying, I still have many more applicants to interview and you will be contacted either way."

Mr. Conway stands, offers his hand and walks me to the door. In less than two minutes my interview was over.
(A fictional depiction of a real experience.)

* * * * *
Twenty-eight years later, the memory of that interview is still powerful. I have spent endless hours analyzing why he’d ask such a question.  I now realize that it serves as a good orientation to the nature of the workplace. Today I credit that experience as a key to my professional growth and ability to handle adversity and not waver at difficult times.

How fragile are you, addresses one’s weakness and vulnerability. It asks, can you be easily broken? Do you need to be handled with care? Are you too delicate, overly sensitive, or susceptible to confrontation? Can you handle difficult situations and change? Do you disintegrate easily, fall to pieces, lack physical or emotional strength? Can you handle criticism, and conflict? More importantly, are you tough enough to handle the pressures of this work place.?

Since that day I have interviewed hundreds, if not thousands of management candidates for various positions. I’ve come to understand that fragility in the rawest form, magnifies vulnerability, weakness, fear, and impedes one’s ability to perform. Today, as a corporate consultant, I recruit top management positions. After I greet the applicant, I quickly move to my first question, how fragile are you?

Fragility is the part of us left shatter at the bottom of a wall we could not scale. 
 © Copyright 2006 L.K. Craft


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