Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh the Mendacity!

Sunday afternoon I took a little time to myself and went to a screening of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" at The Kent Stage. It was truly fun to watch a young Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor doing what made them so famous. And it was, like most Tennessee Williams plays, another family drama where you never quite know what the motivation is until it all comes out in the wash at the end. Or, not.

I was a fan of Williams. I enjoy his writing and in college very nearly decided I would take on his work for my senior thesis. In the end I was swayed to a different dramatist from a far off country. But, as with my affection for Faulker and his long, loose dramatically painted lines, Williams' writing breathes and oozes the brutal honesty of the South.

I've learned that brutal honesty is just not always all that popular with northerners, or city folk. My own boss, who himself grew up in rural Louisiana, has always had to struggle with "speaking truth to power." But once you've done it, it doesn't matter if it falls on death Northern cityfolk ears. When you don't apologize for the truth, or for being a person who tells it, that's just how it is.

I don't know if this is part of what makes me uncomfortable about Cleveland. It's always seemed that there is an overarching long and drawn-out passive aggressive nature to everything. My friends all joke that my mother was very good at it, but not quite to the degree that I witness it around here; there's a difference between suggesting that someone might want to put on a sweater, and not answering an email for four weeks despite reminders. I'm trying to be more discreet, well mannered. But I'm not a faker, I suck at veiled anything, I'm not a shallow person, and not much of a game player. I don't find the challenge of manipulating other people all that interesting, at least I haven't for a very, very long time. It's not worth risking their trust, and I have no reason to. As a recruiter, people are my bread and butter. It's because of my interest in people and my ability to relate with people that allows me the privilege of making my living the way I do.

I've been through a lot of weird things and tough times with my own family, which is fairly spread out across Ohio, down on into Tennessee and then again as far east as Baltimore. We all have our moments, all our families do. As much as I worry for my own children being torn apart while caught in the barbed wire of unpleasant family business, I'm sure I learned a few tricks growing up myself from situations that weren't all that perfect. A sad compromise: if I can't stop what's happening to them, can I teach them how to use the lesson? If I could, what exactly is the lesson?

I've had the iPod on Shuffle for about two weeks. Just as I was driving into work this morning I thought, "I bet Donna Hughes has a song for this post." And just almost at that moment -- no kidding, now -- this tune popped up in the rotation. I've posted it here before but it's a song most of my friends recall from days gone by when we were all kind of fond of Cyndi Lauper. She kind of got out in front with her own thing and had this sort of honesty about her, a way of being herself at a time when music was just busting open with the video age. "Time After Time" is one of those songs everyone kind of knows, I think. It always makes me think of my kids; lines like "If you fall, I will catch you, I'll be waiting...time after time" are sentiments that are always on my mind. It's also a good standard tune for unconditional friendship and love, something that is surprisingly rare when it should be the standard, time after time.

Time After Time


At October 23, 2008 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go for the "NO."

Leave the person a message informing that this is your final message to them, let them know something pleasant, like "Look, we had some great conversations and I certainly am looking forward to helping you with your (whatever it was), I know we're both busy and I certainly don't mean to waste either of our time, so this is my final message - if you want to proceed forward please call, we still have a great opportunity we're working with and I think you would find this a facinating opportunity as well, cheers and >click<."

You will have accomplished a few things with that call:

1,) let them off the hook, they were wasting your time

2.) freed yourself up for more interested and engaged prospects

3.) Put the burdon on them; are they really interested right now?

Odds are, half the time they will not call back, and the other half they will call and this time be committed to moving forward - they know that you do not play and are serious about working with them.

Try it!


At October 23, 2008 12:40 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hello there,
Oh it's not potential candidates with whom the problem exists. I've never had a problem getting a call back from someone and if I do we just stop chasing them. The problems are of a more personal nature. I once had to say, "If the President of the [pick one] Symphony can take time out to call me back about something while dealing with new NSA regs that compromise his tour, why I can't I get a response about Y?" Maybe it's just a difference in attitude but it seems like so many people walk around with a ginormous chip on their shoulders and then the burden is on you to play 20 questions to figure it out. As you say, there are lots more interesting and engaging things to be doing with the little time available. I'm no longer accepting responsibility for other people's misery, gripes, real or imagined slights, bad decisions, good decisions.....you get the picture. I just feel bad my kids don't have the years of experience or the wisdom to protect themselves in the same way.

Whatever you do, Drew, keep your sweet family together!


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