Beyond the Shirt and Tie

March 11, 2013
by Michael Lee Joshua
shirt and tie

image courtesy of sxc.hu/Itz

The starched collar left no question that this was a serious matter. Job interviews always are.

As he stepped into the office, his mannerism was unmistakable. It’s not like he didn’t know. He knew that it was obvious to everyone who saw him.

He leaned into the owner’s desk, answering the questions as clearly and succinctly as he could. With a steadiness he had learned to master long ago, he made eye contact continually with his one clear eye. The left eye twitched no mater how hard he tried to keep it from doing so. With a solid resume, he certainly had all of the experience needed for the job.

But, everywhere he went, it was the same. “The position has been filled.” “I’m afraid you don’t have the skills we need.”

He knew what they really meant. They meant he would not fit in. That he couldn’t represent their firm with the problem. The oh-so-obvious problem.

He sometimes wished that he had taken his granddaughter’s suggestion and just worn an eye patch. She loved it when he wore it and carried on like he was a pirate just to amuse her. Stomping around and pretending that he had a parrot on his shoulder always made her laugh. The only reason he needed to get back to work after the layoff was to prove to this precious little girl that everyone had something to contribute to the world-at-large.

She was born with so many challenges. The wheelchair kept her from enjoying the things that other 12 year olds did. Anytime he could make her laugh was a wonderful day in his book.

But this, this was tough. Knowing that he was being judged unworthy because of something he could not control; well, it was just hard to take at his age. He’d been working, at something, since he was 14 years old. Now, to be out of work at 58 was a difficult place to be. After all, it was a work injury that left him with the damaged eye anyway. But no one really cared about that.

The odds were stacked against him. Even without the twitch, being hired at a new position at his age was a difficult proposition. Companies wanted younger workers, those who could be paid much less than someone with his abilities. Those who would work many hours instead of having an outside life. Especially grandkids.

He was pulled back from his reverie when the owner repeated himself. “How soon can you start? I know you will need to make some plans.”

“What? You’re offering me the job?”

“Well, sure, if you want it. You speak well; you have the skills we need. If we can agree on a salary, I’d like to welcome you on board. We need a person to help us manage our public affairs and teach us how to reach out to a broader audience. You certainly don’t sound like you’re afraid of a microphone.”

“I’m sure we can work something out. I’d like a week to make the transition. Although I’m not working, I’ve been caring for my granddaughter and I need to help my son make other arrangements for her.”

As the offer was sinking in, the Personnel Manager came in and handed a stack of paperwork to him. “Sign everywhere that is marked, so that we can get your information into the system and get your benefits lined up.”

Nodding, “Oh, here is a spot for a company representative to sign.” He pushed the paper across the desk toward the owner.

“I will do that,” she replied as she reached for a pen and retrieved the paper.

It was then that he noticed the white, red-tipped cane. As the owner shook it to unfold, he thought back to something his granddaughter had just told him when he was discouraged.

“You never know, Grandpa, just who is going to be in your life. Or who might impact it. Always keep your options and your eyes open.”

Blessings, sometimes are in disguise – sometimes they just don’t reveal themselves until the last possible moment. Look around, one might just surprise you.

 


1 Comment

  • Carla Williams says:

    absolutely true… thanks for the message this morning…. it’s been a stressful one… *hugs*

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