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Entry date: 12-7-2022 - Accidents happen - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

As a kid, I remember this day being something special and reverential. The anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing was a big deal in the 1970s, even though it had been over 30 years since the infamous day by the time I got to elementary school.

I’m guessing that my students will not have any clue about the importance of this day when I see them in a couple hours. Most won’t even know there was such a thing as World War II. On one hand, I know this is not a bad thing. I don’t believe that war should be glorified, but I also know that this was a day that lived in infamy for a long time. Have we passed the point where something that happened over eighty years ago that cost millions of lives doesn’t matter anymore?

Yesterday I wrote about working in the prison. I haven’t thought about those days very much for a long time now. It is not my favorite time of my life. The first year I was there, it was exciting to be part of a new company and working with people I didn’t know, but over time, the reality of the situation wore on me and wore me down in many ways.

I mentioned that I was learning on the job about how to do what I was tasked to do out there. The main part of my job was bringing in new hires and teaching them how to have a business conversation on behalf of Televerde’s high tech clients. New hires took two weeks to do the classroom portion and then two weeks of working with the new hires as they started making phone calls.

This process took more like five or even six weeks from start to finish. I was responsible for doing the interviews, too, and those were often the most interesting part of the whole shebang. There was a test and screening process that happened before the in person and phone interviews. If the ladies made it through the tests, they got to talk to me in person.

The test was an interesting one, actually. It was called Predictive Index and it shows what kind of employee you might be. I went through training to learn how to read and teach people about their results and that was pretty wild, too.

Predictive Index (PI) was based on how you responded to 72 words from the perspective of how you see yourself and how you think others see you. This seems like some hokum, I know, but it was eerily accurate. When I got my PI score, it was like someone who had known me my whole life had written about what it was like to work with me. During the two-day training at their office in Scottsdale, I really enjoyed getting to see how to use this tool.

Every applicant for the call center jobs in the prison, as well as jobs like I had for people who weren’t in the clink, had to go through this test. I was a very good candidate to be a training specialist based on my PI. I also had the ability, though, to give a good interview and got the job because of that in the end.

Once, I had a gal apply who literally had the perfect PI for the call center job, but she interviewed terribly. The CEO caught wind of us getting a candidate with the perfect PI and told me to hire her even though her interview was shit. I protested, as the CEO was a decent guy and seemed to like me for some reason, but he held his ground.

She bombed out before the month was up. Perfect test scores are not the whole story, apparently, and even though I really wanted to say “I told you so,” I kept it in. The CEO did admit he was wrong, though, and he never asked me to hire someone I didn’t want to hire again.

It was interesting, though, to see these results before talking to the women who applied for the job. There was even suggested questions based on the profiles they exhibited per their results and the questions were always interesting to ask. Sometimes the candidates would even be very shocked we were asking such good questions for them.

It was a really cool tool to use in the hiring process, but it was certainly flawed on occasion. Interviewing and hiring is a skill that is kind of rare. Most people don’t know what to do and hire the wrong people. They don’t realize that you have to read between the lines and also follow your gut, too.

I’m not saying I was perfect, but I developed a really good knack for seeing through the bullshit pretty quickly. I wish I would have seen it better with some of my non-orange wearing co-workers, but that is a story for another day. The women in orange jumpsuits were among the most manipulative you would ever meet. I even got threatened once.

This one gal made a point of telling me that her husband, who was apparently not a nice man, was very hopeful that she would get the job. The way she brought it up implied that she might have to tell him about anyone who “wronged” her. I did not hire her and I’m still breathing, so go figure.

It did occur to me that I was occasionally interviewing people who had killed people. I worked with people who had been part of a murder, too. That’s a strange one to wrap your brain around. I knew and even liked working with people who had taken a life.

During one new hire, I had taken the gals out to smoke one day and I was kind of minding my own business but overheard a woman talking about some previous work history. I asked, “What did you do?” Now, I was talking about what she did in the situation she was talking about, but she didn’t realize that I had heard her and thought I was asking about her crime.

“I accidentally shot my husband in the face,” was her response and she had a big, warm, welcoming smile as she said this.

Accidentally? That’s not the way I heard it later, but whatever. Some husbands might deserve it. Some stories might be different depending on who is asking and who is listening, too.

See you tomorrow.

We come to bury Humpty Dumpty, not to praise him.

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