” So she told me with a sarcastic grin that I was not going to make it to a management trainee role any day- I lacked confidence, positive body language and basic communication skills.”
The audience listens quietly .
” As I moved out of the room, I heard her laugh and comment to her colleagues-what sort of losers do they send for interviews anyway?”
The speaker pauses, and then shaking off the bad memory, begins again, ” It took me three years to get over the trauma that her insensitive behaviour caused. I totally believed what she had commented about-that I was a loser. It took kindness, from great teachers and mentors, tears and grit, to get over her words.”
” Who was she?”
” Just a job interviewer- I was so naive and young, from a humble background. I thought these people were Gods and decided everything. My fragile self confidence had been shattered by a bored interviewer’s crude comments.”
I shift in my seat. I have memories of humiliation too-oh, just too many to count. I could absolutely relate to what the speaker was narrating.
” Seven years later, when she walked into my office, I recognised her instantaneously. One will never forget those who wound one deeply, if you have observed human nature. Not surprisingly, she did not recognise me. I had been just another fly , disturbing her coffee , in that routine campus interview. She had come to the office wanting me to extend the project offered to her company by another six months. It was a foreign nation and apparently her spouse had lost his job and she was the one earning a salary. If this project was not extended, she would go back with the team and her unemployed husband, and all their plans for a new life in a new country would fail. So would I somehow, extend the deal? You see, it was so critical that she would do anything for it!”
I can feel that feeling of revenge, that burst of exultant laughter tinged with a wild yessssss, right within my heart. I really , really want the speaker not to forgive the woman.
He is a better soul than me, it turns out.
” For a moment, I felt that moment of justice. I wanted to laugh at her and throw her out of the office after telling her who I was, and what she had done to me, all those years before. Then I felt sad, incredibly sad. Lord, did I punish myself for three long, cruel years, for the sake of what this ” small ” human being had uttered over a job interview? Who would give me back my beautiful youthful years that I spent in utter fear and trepidation of not being good? I told her the truth, that I could not help her since her company did not qualify as per the project norms .I did not want anything from her either. By the way, did she remember me by any chance?”
” She did not. I told her about a scared young lad, in his first job interview, being mercilessly bullied and humiliated by a petty interviewer, who was just whiling her time away. She had done a meticulous job of shattering his fragile self confidence.”
” I thanked the now pale faced woman, for making me what I was, today. But for her rejection, I would not have tried for a foreign scholarship. But for her evil, even unwittingly, I would not have taken the path to self discovery and met great mentors. But for her, as a life lesson, I would not be the confident person that I was today. But I told her that I truly regretted that she had financial hardship due to the project loss. Sorry, now would she mind if I bid her a goodbye? ”
My daughter and I , discuss about the topic.
” This is the world that we live in. A lot of worthless people rule our self-talk because we give them a stature far beyond what they deserve. The ability to see who speaks, for which purpose, and the self confidence to discern the wheat from the chaff, are very critical life skills.” I fall silent.
” So next time, someone passes a nasty remark, check if it is true or not. If it is intentional and malicious, respond assertively. If it is unwittingly said, but beyond her mandate, draw a line and let her know. If it is worthless and not worth your time, ignore. And if it helps to ponder, reflect. But never let it sink you,” I say, from my own life lessons.
My child smiles.
” You need to smile more often, ” she says wisely, ” What about a pizza dinner?”