Interview – A Parable

A man had an interview for a very important job.  It was the third round of interviews and he was quite confident he was going to be offered the job.  Plus, a close friend within the company had pretty much guaranteed

“You have all the qualifications.  The job is basically yours.  All you have to do is show up.”

He did everything that morning to look his best.  He shaved including a thorough trimming of his nose-hair.  He showered, shined his shoes and spent an hour meticulously perfecting the part in his hair with brilliantine.  He was proud of his clothes most of all.  He wore a white business suit, tailor made and bought especially for him by the same friend working within the company he was interviewing with.

It was time.  He stopped at the little desk near the front door and grabbed the portfolio there.  He opened it to make sure he had all he needed:  resume, references, identification.  He grabbed his keys, opened the door, closed and locked it behind him.  The interview was ten blocks away but luckily for him, the weather in the city was clear, cool and a bit breezy, unlike the rain storm from the day before.  It would be a nice stroll since he left an hour early for the interview.

As he passed the first block, he heard a low grumbling ahead.  Reaching the next intersection, he found a shiny, restored 65 Mustang with bright rims, tough tires and tinted windows idling angrily on the street.  He thought of how wonderful it would be to have one of those again.  Within seconds, he was nineteen again, sitting inside his 65 Mustang on a Friday night with friends.  Suddenly, the Mustang peeled out, burning rubber, fishtailing and spewing dust all over the man’s white suit.  He never saw it coming as he was paralyzed with nostalgia.

“Great,” he sighed, throwing a dirty look at the speeding car and wiping at his suit profusely.  Although none of the dust had been wet, little spots here and there were perceptible to him and surely they would be perceptible to the interview panel.  Then he thought, “If I get the job, I’m going to buy one of those cars.  I swear it!”

He checked his watch.  He still had plenty of time.

He continued walking, passing shops, trendy boutiques, bakeries, and coffee houses.  The sidewalk turned into cobblestone and everywhere he looked, the people sitting outside the shops, commanding attention, seemed propped up, content and plastic.

As he passed a clothing shop, he caught a glimpse of himself in the glass.  He stopped, looked around nonchalantly and approached his reflection, hoping nobody would notice.  And then again, he fixated on his clothing; rubbing at stains and spots incessantly like a drug addict scratching at imaginary bugs crawling on their skin.  But then, his eyes focused on the clothes inside the shop.  Everywhere he looked, he saw the nicest and newest clothes: piles of neatly folded jeans, fine shirts, plump cashmere sweaters, scarves, and hand-made leather shoes.  The next thing he knew, he was inside the shop, in front of a wall of dazzling business suits of all colors and styles.  The price of everything was grossly outrageous.  And then, he wondered if his suit was good enough.  It was a fine suit for sure but nothing like what he saw before him.  Perhaps, he thought, one of these suits would be much more impressive in his interview than his white suit.  In a flash, he grabbed a handful of suits and found the nearing dressing room.  He tried one, two, three suits.  An associate came over to butter him up

“My sir, if I must say, you were born to wear that suit!”

“Ya think?”

“Oh definitely!”

Then he remembered about his interview.  He looked at his watch and all the extra time he had earlier had dwindled to nothing.

“I’ll be back later,” he said to the associate.  “Hold them for me,” he said, shuffling through clothing racks, almost knocking a few over.  As he hurriedly left the shop, he ran smack into a man carrying a tray of coffee.

“You idiot!” yelled the man with the coffee angrily, shaking the hot liquid from his hands.  “Why don’t you watch were you’re going!”

“Oh sorry!  I’m so sorry.  It was an accident.  You see I’m late for an interview and I’m in a hurry to get there.”

“Yeah well, I hope they go with someone else,” said the irritated man.  “Good luck with that dirty suit!” he said, angrily walking back the way he came.

Now he was really late.

“Okay, no more stopping.  I have to get to my interview,” he told himself convincingly.  He moved up the sidewalk like an Olympic speed walker, passing slow walkers and gaining time yet completely unconcerned about the muddy puddles from yesterday’s storm that he stepped in so indiscriminately, further sullying his precious white suit.

“I know I’m dirty but they’ll understand I’m sure,” he told himself.  “Plus, my friend said the job was pretty much mine.”

He reached the building with five minutes to spare.  He took the elevator to the fifth floor and entered the lobby of a nearby office; he walked right up to the receptionist’s desk.

“Good morning.  I’m here for a ten o’clock interview,” he said, trying to calm his rapid breathing.

“You have an interview?” she asked, puzzled by his appearance.

“Indeed I do,” he replied.  “There is my name right there,” he said, pointing to a list on a clipboard in front of her.

“Okay sir.  Please have a seat.  We’ll call you in shortly.”

The man sat down in the lobby with others waiting for their interviews.  Suddenly, he noticed they too were all wearing the same white suit that he had.  However, their suits were immaculate and pristine.  They looked at him, puzzled as well, that he would arrive for such an important interview so dirty and filthy.

A door clicked open and a woman emerged.  She looked at him, saying, “They’re ready for you sir.”

“Thank you.”

He stood up with an oblivious smile and passed through the door.

“Right this way,” the woman said, leading him to the interview room. When they got there, two men stood waiting for him.  The woman smiled smartly, motioning him inside with an outstretched arm.

“Good morning,” he said to the two men standing before him.  He shook their hands and they urged him to sit.  He sat up straight and proper, eager to answer any question they had for him.

One of the men held up a manila folder and brought it to his mouth, leaning toward the other man to whisper something.  The two men looked him up and down.  Finally, one of them spoke.

“Sir, were you aware that you had an interview today?”

“Of course.”

“Were you aware that we were also going to offer you this position?”

“Well sir, I had a hunch that would be the case.”

“Don’t you think it would’ve been smart to arrive not looking so dirty, so defiled?”

“Really?  I didn’t think it would matter?”

*

1 John 2:16:  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

James 1:27:  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

 

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