Movin’ On Up!


I see that it’s been nine months since my last post. No apologies, I warned you.

A lot has happened during that time. The thing that interrupted my flow was a promotion. It was almost a last-minute thing. I decided just days before the deadline to apply. There was a lot of studying to do, and a competitive interview over the course of a few days. About seventy-something people went in for the auditions, roughly two dozen made it to the list. I was number three.

I received offers for additional interviews to promote to other shoppes within the Company, but I was holding out for an in-house move up. One other person in my House interviewed. She was number two. Our scores were only a few points apart.

We were both turning down one offer after another, banking on the possibility that we hoped was more probability, that a current supervisor was going to transfer out. When that person did, all we had to do was hope nobody transferred in. When this supervisor did go, and nobody transferred in, we both accepted the invitation to interview.

I felt much better going into this one than I did the first one. Why? What made this one so much different than the last?

The first interview was virtually a regurgitation of facts. Did I know what to do if someone came in drunk, or engaged in sexual harassment, or was constantly late for work, or was injured on the job. That kind of thing isn’t really my strong suit. I never tested well.

This was going to be more personal. I’m not necessarily more comfortable talking about myself, but I’ve been in enough promotional interviews to know that I had to sell myself. I’d given a great deal of thought to the questions I’d thought they’d ask.

There was one question thatĀ I was anticipating that was never asked the first time. What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness. That question is almost always asked, yet I find that most people haven’t given a single thought about how they will answer it. Coming up with something that sets you apart is easy. Everyone is good at something that could be applied to virtually any position.

But what does one say about a personal flaw or failing? You certainly don’t want to say that you have no flaws. That sounds arrogant, and anyone who can’t admit to having made a mistake is a liability. That kind of person can leave a team, or an entire corporation, in a real lurch.

What do you say? Do you go all out about the worse thing that comes to your mind about yourself? “My memory sucks.” How will that look when retention and recall are vital to the position? “I can’t stand fat people.” Whoops, your potential boss is 300 pounds. “Gay people give me the willies!” Um, right. “I hate the color purple. Barney terrorized me as a toddler.” Don’t forget to shiver.

What I told them was, “Quite frankly, I’m a social dork.” And I am.

I have a hard enough time keeping up with conversation in a loud, public setting, I don’t need to compete for air-time. There are enough people present who are trying to talk louder than the next guy, the last thing I’m going to do is add to the cacophony. I can’t stand it when Sean Hannity does his thing with thirty people in his studio. Everyone thinks that they have something more important to say, or they want to shout down someone who disagrees with them. I can’t hear what any of them thinks.

This gets in the way when my wife and I end up at a dinner with a table full of people we don’t know. My poor wife ends up taking up my slack.

Now, if you ask me about something I care about, or know something about, I’ll jump right I there. Not a problem. I don’t even mind a good debate, as long as everyone can be an adult about it. But I’ve learned that when it comes to religion or politics, you’re not going to change anyone’s mind, and more than likely, they aren’t going to change yours, either.

What does that have to do with my desired supervisor position? I took the chance that it would make me appear weak. What I was counting on was that they had talked to my peers and former supervisorsĀ to find out I’m not a wilting wall-flower or just shy. I was not afraid to be heard if I had something to say. The thing I had to learn was where, when, and how to interject myself into the conversation in order to be heard.

The rest of the interview was more about my experience and style of supervision. It was very conversational and went better than any previous promotional interview I’d ever had. Probably because I was older, wiser, more mature, and had three decades of experience and history to back me up.

I don’t really know how well the other person who was vying for the same job did. She said she felt pretty good about it, but wasn’t sure. She’s much more personable than I am, and I’m sure she presented herself well. I think that my extensive time in the field is what ultimately put me over the top. I do think that the other person would make a great supervisor, and had I not gotten the job, I’m glad that it would have been her.

Here I am, eight months after my official promotion. Things have gone about as well as I could have expected. I am enjoying my job. It offers a lot more freedom than I had before. When I fill in, doing what I used to do, like today, I’m reminded do some of the reasons I decided that now was the right time to advance. Perhaps I’ll write more on that later.

There is a school of thought that I should have promoted into another House, then come back after a year or three. I don’t completely disagree with that. But I am not in a place in my life where that would be possible.

God has blessed me tremendously. Everything fell into place exactly as it needed to for me to slide behind the desk I now occupy. Had things gone another way, I would have decided that God did not want me to do that job. At least not here, or not right now. I would not have blamed God, or gotten mad at Him for taking it away from me.

God doesn’t do things on our clock. He may do what we ask Him to do, but don’t look for Him to do it our way or within the time limit we establish. What is supposed to happen, will happen. When it is supposed to happen. No more, no less. Not before, nor after. We have to adapt ourselves to God’s time table and methods, not try to restrict Him to ours.

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