Monday, August 24, 2015


But I want to.  I really really want to.

It’s time for another horse analogy and a short trip down Human Nature Lane.  An applicant for a position reinforced two really good lessons involving both horses AND human nature, or more specifically, desire.

Recently a key employee gave notice.  It doesn’t happen often and we are always surprised when this happens.  Our standard procedure, only standard because we haven’t thought of a better way, is to put an ad online and wait for the resumes to pour in.  We cull the resumes and call a select few applicants to set up interviews. We do a first interview and then request a second one for the really qualified folks.  

Our first interviewee was just about too good to be true.  His sincerity was overwhelming.  His answers to some tough questions were nearly perfect.  He left the interview with a warm handshake and the words, “I really want to work here.”  We were thoroughly convinced of his desire.  Only other person out of five or six was actually close in qualifications and he lacked the enthusiasm. 

We requested a second and final interview for the two qualified candidates.  The second one cancelled because he received another offer, so the only person we saw was the very first applicant.  Once again he was warm, sincere, honest, interested.  He gave us references that all gave him a glowing report, and that afternoon we offered him the job.  Since he was currently not employed, he said that he could start right away, just as soon as he finished up a couple of side landscape projects.  He told us that he couldn’t wait to start, though.  We set a time of nine a.m. two days from the acceptance date.  He was so excited that it was infectious.

On the first day of work, he arrived on time.  He was, he said, still involved in a landscape project and would it be at all possible if he postponed for a day.  I was concerned and at the same time glad that he was so dedicated to a project that he would actually want to finish it.  After all, so many people just walk away from the job.  This guy was impressive.  He said that this would be it and he’d be back the following day at nine.  He really, really wanted to work for us and he was so excited about the job. 

Nine o’clock the following morning we received a phone call.  He was still finishing.  The job took longer than expected.  He’d be in by eleven.  And at quarter after eleven, yet another phone call.  This time, he explained that he had to clean up and that it would take an hour.  After that, he would for sure be in.  And he was really (times three) looking forward to the job.

I rescinded the offer.  Wanting to do something just isn’t the same as doing. 

On to horse stuff. 

Horses like to make us wait on them.  They know that we’ll walk to them with their grain, their hay, their saddles.  We walk to them because we love them.  Horses stand there and take all of this attention in.  We think that they love us back.

Truth is, non-moving horses are demonstrating dominance.  Whomever moves first in the horse world loses.  If you want a horse to respect you (and believe me, you do want their respect because they outweigh you by oh, several hundred pounds and they have these nasty hooves and teeth that will hurt), then the first rule you learn is to make them come to you.  After all, you make your dog come to you and he is your best friend.  Your cat makes you go to him and he is therefore not your best friend.  Your cat, in fact, dominates the world and treats people as if they were the pets, not the cats.

People work the same.  They are subtle.  They use waiting in order to create fear, subservience and outright domination over others.  I refer you to our wannabe employee.  He wanted so badly to work for us.  He postponed his first day three times.  The reason that I broke off our relationship was not because he had to put us off.  It was because he made us wait.  He would have had the upper hand and we would never have been in control.

Look around the next time that you are late to a party.  Check to see who is last to a business meeting.  Who is in charge?  Does the meeting start without the last attendee or does it wait?  Who is actually in charge?

What I learned here was that I am no longer willing to be place on the waiting list.   Show up, don’t just want to be here and be on time.  We’ll get along just fine that way.
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