Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I NEVER LET MY SCHOOLING INTERFERE WITH MY EDUCATION
During an interview, the person interviewing me was the Plant Superintendant. There were no females working in manufacturing management and I felt very insecure about my chances of being hired although I had a good manufacturing management background.
The interviewer asked this question: "Which do you value more--your work experience or your education?" I paraphrased Mark Twain by saying, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education." He smiled and I assumed that he knew the original quote.
Of course, I knew nothing about the interviewer; I just ASSUMED that he was highly educated because of his position. After I was hired, he shared his background with me. He had started to work at the company during World War II when they were hiring 16-year-old guys. He had lied about his age; he was a tall, strapping lad but he was only 14; fortunately, they didn't check those things carefully then, and his mother signed the work permit. He didn't graduate from high school, let alone attend college until he went into management.
He told me that my answer to that one question was the reason he chose me; he said, "Personnel wants me to hire all those Joe-College guys, but I want people who know HOW to work." I often thought, "What if I'd answered another way?"