A life lesson not taught in school….

We are in the process of hiring a few new people to work in our store in the city.   Specifically Joshua needs people to do data entry.    In the past we’ve had good results hiring through Craigslist, so last night I placed an ad for Data Entry.   By this afternoon, I had almost 100 responses.   When I place these ads, I always say that we are looking for detail oriented people who can follow simple instructions to the letter.   I then tell people to respond to the ad by sending contact info, two references and a brief description of their qualifications.   I give specific instructions not to send their resume, either as an attachment or copied in to the body of the email.   Simple, right?

Maya is very interested in how we find people to work for us, so I have her help me go through the responses to the ads.     The first thing we do is look for resume’s.  Those who sent them obviously did not read the ad and are deleted.    We whittled 75 down to thirty that way in only a few minutes.     Then Maya reads each response.    Spelling mistakes?  Delete.   Used spell check but still had errors? (Like one that said, “As per tour request…”  Tour?  Hmm, spell check didn’t get it, because tour is a word. )  Delete.   Use of texting abbreviations?   Delete.   Other heinous errors?  (For instance “Dear : Whom it may concern”  or  my favorite  “I am very detail oriented and am sur eto meticulos in my work.” Psst.  I think you mean, “…am sure to be meticulous in my work.”)  Delete.

Once we’ve weeded out all those people who clearly would not be ‘meticulos’ in their work, I start setting up interviews.   Out of 75 responses, we’re down to about 15 and will wind up interviewing 7 or 8.   Maya has yet to accompany me on interviews, but I’m thinking of taking her this time around.   She can’t believe that people are so careless when applying for a job, and sometimes catches spelling mistakes or grammatical errors that I miss.   I’d love to get her input after meeting the people who made it to the interview phase.

What subject would this fall under in school?   Is there a Life Prep 101 class in which kids get to screen applicants and watch actual interviews?  Having Maya (and Ben as well, as he listens to our commentary about each applicant) take part in the hiring process is a life lesson that I know she will never forget.   It will be foremost in her mind if and when she applies for a job.   She’ll remember her own astonishment at the carelessness of people who are supposedly trying to impress their potential employer, and she won’t make those same mistakes.     And when she has a business of her own (which she maintains she will and which I have no reason to doubt) she’ll already have experience in how to tell who might make a good employee.

The best lessons rarely fall under a neat subject heading, and are not learned in classrooms.   They are learned by living.   Knowing that is possibly the best lesson of all.

About Amy

Amy Milstein was born and raised on a farm in Indiana, but after 20+ years considers herself a full-fledged New Yorker. She is married with two kids, who do not go to school but are instead life learners. This means they learn by living in the world (real life ) instead of hearing about it and simulating it in a classroom. With her family, Amy loves to travel, read, watch movies, write, sew, knit - the list is endless.
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