Read D.F.'s bio and previous columns
September 1, 2008
The Curse of the
Her name was Brianna. She wanted to work for me, and she seemed perfect.
A little too perfect. It wasn’t long before I found out why.
Brianna wore a navy business suit – skirt and matching blazer, with a
white blouse underneath and navy pumps on her feet. She stood up, looked
me in the eye and shook my hand.
I thought to
myself. Don’t arm-wrestle Brianna for money.
“Mr. Krause, it’s very good to meet you,” she said. “I’ve put in some
time preparing for this interview and I’ve really been looking forward
That’s what she said. You may be wondering what her tone was. Or you may
not be. But I’ll tell you anyway. She had no tone. Every word was
annunciated clearly and distinctly, with no one word emphasized more
than any other.
That was a little weird. Besides, who prepares for meetings?
invited her to sit down while I took a quick look at my e-mail so I
could remember which position she was interviewing for. Oh yes. Account
“Brianna,” I said, “why don’t you tell me why you’re interested in our
particular company, and in this particular position?”
“Well,” she said confidently, folding her hands and sitting up very
straight, “I know that your mission statement speaks an uncompromising
commitment to the creation of customer value. I find that illuminating.”
We have a mission
thought to myself. Mental note: Find out who’s been messing around
with our web site.
also believe that in this particular position, I can exponentialize the
power of that value with a combination of my enthusiasm, skill and
commensurate commitment to customer value,” she said.
head was spinning. She was like one of those cybernetic organisms from
the Terminator films – probably the last one, with the girl
terminator who had dominatrix written all over her. And what the hell
did “exponentialize” mean?
“The last time I tried to exponentialize something,” I said, “I ended up
needing 14 stitches.”
Ha. I chuckled to myself. I’m so funny. I looked at her. Her hands were
“I’m sorry, Mr. Krause,” she said. “What were your action steps for
addressing that situation?”
“Your action steps for addressing the situation.”
face scrunched. “That was just a joke,” I said. “I didn’t even know
‘expontentialize’ was a word.”
“Oh, I see,” she said. “I guess I didn’t immediately glean the intended
humor, probably because I tend to be perfection-oriented.”
What the hell was that supposed to mean? I considered asking her, but I
decided to just think about it myself for a second.
Being perfect, I suppose, means doing everything right – not only right,
but the very best it can possibly be done. Every single time you do
anything. No one can do that. So if you’re “perfection-oriented,” that
would seem to suggest you would try to program yourself to take the
perfect actions, to use the perfect words and to choose the perfect
responses in each and every situation. You would have no tolerance for
imperfection in anyone, least of all yourself. You could be a real pain
in the neck to have around.
“Do you think your perfection-orientation could fit in if you worked at
a company where the CEO was kind of a doofus and people spend as much
time making fun of corporate America as trying to act like it?” I asked.
“Absolutely not,” she said with a smile. “That’s why I’m here seeking
employment with your company, Mr. Krause.”
the first flaw in her perfection was in the research department. If she
couldn’t see that I was a doofus, how would she ever pick up on things
that were less obvious – like, say, where the floor was?
didn’t hire Brianna. She was perfect, all right. Too perfect for me. If
I start surrounding myself with “perfection-oriented” people, I’ll soon
be moving with alacrity toward insanity-orientation – a destination
toward which many believe I am already well on my way.
© 2008 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
Click here to talk to our writers and
editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.
To e-mail feedback
about this column,
click here. If you enjoy this writer's
work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry
This is Column #
Request permission to publish here.