Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I could ace this. I was sure.
The cheery interviewer directed me to a little room with a computer desk and chair. I was about to complete the final step of the interviewing process.

"Your English is excellent," she had complimented me earlier. "I don't foresee a problem with a placement if you pass this test."

I was at an employment agency in Toronto, being screened for my first official job in Canada, and I was ecstatic to go back to work in the professional world. The University of Toronto had assessed my degree as being comparable to one earned from a Canadian university, and my application to teach was being processed by the Ontario Teacher's College. In the interim, I wanted something to do.

I listened to the interviewer's instructions carefully and noted the time given. Then came the question of application: Word Perfect 6 or Word 7?

The higher number sounded smarter and my answer came easy. "Word 7."

I had never worked on Word 7 but it couldn't be so different from Word 6, could it? I had used Word 6 but that was not an option at the employment office.

Insight: Don't try to impress or show off at an important first time event. Be especially mindful of time and place.

I clicked the START button. All was well until the warning came up that I was to use another method and not the shortcut menu I had used for the previous two answers. Pointing to the toolbar, I picked the corresponding option from the Home menu. Two questions later I was requested to use yet another method.

Another method? Whatever happened to knowing one method and sticking with it?

Insight: Default to a particular way of doing things if no alternative is asked for. This will allow you to save time or use other resources more productively.

I did not know the keyboard shortcuts. I was not familiar with some of the new elements of Word 7 that formed the majority of the test.

Insight: There's a very short distance between brilliance and stupidity and it takes a nanosecond to plummet to the stupid end.

My palms were sweaty and I hated the computer at that moment, but more than that, I loathed the creator of the new version of the software. I could not figure out the new changes to the menu as the clock ticked. Cruel slave driver! Time ran out before I could finish the typing test…
(An excerpt from 10 1/2 Sketches: Insights Into Being Successful Right Where You Are by Susan Harris, releasing on January 2, 2015 as an ebook.)  
Find Susan at:
ABOUT: Susan Harris is a speaker and former teacher, and the author of Remarkably Ordinary: 20 Reflections on Living Intentionally Right Where You Are, Golden Apples in Silver Settings, Little Copper Pennies and Little Copper Pennies for Kids. Her first submission to Chicken Soup for the Soul is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What? edition as Smokey's Lockout, and was released August 19, 2014. Remarkably Ordinary was released in print on November 1, 2014. Her new picture book, Alphabet on The Farm was released on December 1, 2014. Susan was born in exotic Trinidad but now lives on the Saskatchewan prairies with her husband, daughter and the unpredictable cats.


Peter Black said...

Frank and forthright, Susan! Made me smile. But what valuable insights for navigating through the maze that life often is. Your first highlighted one about trying "to impress or show off . . ." is as well learned when young, isn't it? I'm sure I've made the mistake more than once, though. Sigh . . .
"Tread softly" - My late dad's words echo down through time. ~~+~~

Susan Harris said...

"Frank and fortright". Love it. may I use that description in my blurp, Peter. You dad sounds like a wise man, and the gene did not skip you, Peter. Thanks for the comment. Merry Christmas.

Peter Black said...

Blessings be multiplied to you and your family, Susan. A marvellous and merry Christmas to you all! :) ~~+~~

Popular Posts