Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can This Be Salvaged?

Something has been weighing on my mind over the past week or so. I know of a situation in which there is a job opening and three candidates have been interviewed. Of the three, one clearly ranked above the rest in terms of experience and consensus was that this person was the most personable and all-around best fit for the position. The position was not offered to this person because of this person’s appearance. This person would be going out to meet with people to get them involved with the organization and it was unanimously felt that this person’s appearance (more specifically, hair) was unkempt and disheveled and that this person would not present well to the public for this reason. This person is warm, well-spoken, and passionate about the cause that they would be speaking about. Everyone who interviewed this person liked this person and wanted to hire this person. Everyone on the interview panel agreed that it was a shame they had to discount the person for this reason.

In this economic climate, I can’t imagine that this person (who, like the other two candidates, has been unemployed for some months) would refuse to do something about their hair if they really wanted the job. This is probably hindering their job search considerably, so even if they are offended that this criticism is made, it just seems the decent thing to do to let this person know what’s up.

The person who ultimately makes the hiring decision has been agonizing over this for the past week, particularly given that another interview was held yesterday and the interviewee was not anywhere near the caliber of the first person. The interview panel now compares every interviewee to the first person and finds them lacking.

The hiring person really wants the first candidate. If you were in the position of the hiring decider (just made that up) how would you handle this situation? If you were the really strong candidate who is being passed over due to your appearance, would you want to be told? And how?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Beach Blanket Blah

Happy 6th of July. It’s chilly and raining here in Los Angeles. Maybe I should move to San Francisco?

Speaking of chilly, now that T-ball season is over, our Saturday mornings are free [That I even mention this tells you how enamored I am of organized sports and getting up and running out the door first thing on the first day of my weekend] and this Saturday, we decided to go to the beach. Some of us wore bathing suits with shorts and sweatshirts over them, while some of us decided why even pretend that we were going to get into the frigid and filthy Pacific. It was overcast, and “June gloom” (a weather phenomenon wherein Southern Californians wake to a morning cloud layer overhead which usually gives way to sunshine later in the day) has not been burning off until sometimes mid-afternoon, so we bundled up, threw all our crap into a wagon, threw the wagon into the back of the Jeep, and motored over to Santa Monica.

We arrived at the beach maybe twenty minutes later, removed the children and wagon from the vehicle, and trundled across the sand, where we staked out our spot. Let it be known here that the Blah Blahs are spoiled beach-goers, in that we generally go to the beach for only a couple of hours because we live close enough that it does not need to be an all-day affair. Also, we do not like crowds, so we like to get to the beach early, do our beachy activities, and then move on as the crowds start to arrive.

We laid out our blanket and promptly began building sand castles (Viva) and eating snacks (me) and placing teaspoons of sand into buckets (Ceeya*). We Blah Blahs are industrious folks. Sweet Dub sat in a beach chair and over the next twenty minutes or so, provided the following commentary:

Man, I wish I had a breakfast burrito right now.

Is anyone else hungry?

Man, it’s cold. I mean, it’s freezing!

Did you see that? Are those dolphins?

I’m wearing two T-shirts and I’m still cold. My feet are even cold. Are yours?

Man, it’s cold. This is really unpleasant. We might have to go home, guys.

So…I’m thinking we head out of here and go find a breakfast burrito. Anyone?

Honey, where was that place we used to go to that had those really good burritos?

Why are you laughing?

This is unpleasant.

Shortly after this we were treated to a gross display of extremely poor beach etiquette in which a family of five who were clearly from out of state arrived for their first look at the Pacific Ocean and despite there being very few people at the beach plonked their stuff down about two feet away from the people closest to us and then proceeded to yell back and forth to each other at great volume, from the water’s edge to the blanket to the teenage daughter who was hanging back near the car, a good half a football field away, draped in a blanket against the wind and the water spray.

Oh, dear Lord. I was fascinated yet simultaneously annoyed. I began to ruminate on the wisdom of posting some pointers at the beach, to wit:

First and foremost, most people go to the beach to relax and have fun. As much as possible, give your beach neighbors some space. This is easier when the beach is not crowded, but even when it is, keep at least 6 feet (i.e. one beach-blanket length) between yourself and the next group of people. We don’t want to know all your business, we don’t want to lie all on top of you, and we want some illusion of privacy.

If you’re going to play football or Frisbee, don’t do it right in the field of play. That is, don’t do it right at the shoreline, where people are entering and exiting the water and where people often like to take a walk. Sorry, but that’s unfair. Do it in the beach space behind where people are relaxing, i.e., furthest from the water.

Also, and this is related, don’t yell into your cell phone. Don’t blast your music. And for heaven’s sake, don’t set up your beach blanket and umbrella directly in front of someone who’s already sitting there. It’s rude. Finally, don’t smoke and don’t leave trash on the beach.

Whew, I feel better.

It's all a blur, but I think we lasted a full hour at the beach due to the cold and wind, rude beach neighbors, and lack of breakfast burritos materializing out of thin air. However, as I remember it, we nonetheless had a very nice afternoon chilling out in the backyard after the sun came out. I even seem to remember Sweet Dub later making a very scrumptious surf and turf dinner, so all was not lost.

* This is how our youngest says her own name. Since that is how Viva got her bloggy nickname, I am holding with tradition and will henceforth on this blog refer to Miss Celie as she refers to herself.