I was making one of my many trips to the paint store while I was working on one of my many home improvement projects. I walked in the store and two men behind the counter were cracking up. They had to struggle to pull themselves together to greet me.
I had to ask, “What’s so funny?”
One of the men apologized for his laughter and explained that a man had just come into the store, asked for the manager, and said, simply,
“I hear you’re hiring and shit.”
I joined in the laughter, after I confirmed what they said actually happened.
“Seriously?” I asked.
“I swear to God,” or some equivalent, was the answer.
It was funny, but it was also very sad. How is it that a grown man does not know how to greet people properly, how to present himself to make a serious job inquiry?
More importantly, how would anyone who hasn’t been taught this learn?
I learned from my parents. I was told to dress nicely and introduce myself and ask for an application and be ready with my information. Clearly this man didn’t know or didn’t care. He’ll be passed up for most jobs, except for maybe labor jobs that do not require any contact with the public. But what’s even sadder is that he probably doesn’t even know why.
I wonder if he even knew that he’d added “and shit” to a sentence that didn’t need it? Perhaps not.
This is why I don’t allow my children to swear in front of me. I’m not a prude, it’s not a religious thing. It’s so that they have had practice controlling their manner of speaking. Like it or not (and contrary to Reality TV competition shows), there are situations when we have to speak in a certain way or risk being eliminated from serious consideration. Do I expect my children to never utter a bad word? C’mon, seriously? No, of course not. But I do expect that they will be able to get through a job interview, a meeting, class, a debate while speaking properly and respectfully, and in a way that will not trigger laughter or pity? Absolutely. Can I get a Hell Yeah? heh heh heh (Oh the irony, I could have used the f-bomb but chose not to.)
I hope that somehow, somewhere, someone tells the paint store “prospective employee” how to inquire about a job, or at the very least that he shouldn’t say, “I hear you’re hiring and shit.” The dude was looking for work. That’s a good thing, but he needs to be ready.