There are individuals whose sensibilities and general wariness about causing offense can seriously damage their chances of making the best of their situation or talents. I am reminded of a famous, though receding event in the history of mankind when the Kingdom of Crème de Postonia got embroiled in an unfortunate war with its neighbour over some awkward misunderstanding concerning postage and the reliability of railway timetables.
As sometimes happens during wars, the two armies were assembled, and by some odd chance, again possibly the result of faulty timetables, the Postonia Army, much smaller than the opposition, arrived at the agreed location very early on the morning of the battle while the opposing army was still asleep. An opportunistic Colonel, who went on to make a considerable fortune as a Yoga guru and Merchant Banker, whispered in the ear of his commanding officer, “Let’s attack them now, while they are still asleep. They won’t know what’s hit them,” “I don’t think so”, said the general. “It would be unnecessarily disturbing to attack an enemy before they have a chance to wash and enjoy a good breakfast.”
Needless to say, the Colonel was stunned by his commanding officer’s response, and sure enough, their army was destroyed in the ensuing melee. Postonia vanished from the history books. The General, a decent chap by all accounts, with a developing reputation in the world of Orchids, was stabbed to death by an enemy soldier as he asked him if he was lost.
Moving forward to the high fuelled, driven modern job market, we drift into an interview room where a gifted university graduate is seeking his first position at a pharmaceutical company. “OK tell me Geoffrey” ( His name was actually Geoffrey Jeffries as a result of his father’s weak sense of humour and growing friendship with beer ), “What qualities do you feel you can bring to this post”. There is a brief pause. “I don’t think it’s really for me to say sir” says the well-mannered candidate. “Pardon”, says the startled interviewer. “This is an interview dammit. Your meant to put your best foot forward”. “I quite understand”, says poor Geoffrey, ” And I have no wish to offend,but I wouldn’t like to unfairly influence you one way or the other”. Needless to say, regardless of his excellent qualifications, he failed to get the job.
Of course, care must be taken not to veer to far in the other direction in order to correct the disadvantages incurred through an over developed sensibility. Back to the interview and the opening question, which I will repeat for those like me, who spend too much mental capacity thinking about sausages at the expense of their short term memory. The interviewer asks Geoffrey, “What qualities do you feel you can bring to this post”. Geoffrey leans forward and says, “Shut it Mister. I start on Monday, and don’t fob me off with a desk at the back of the office”. Apparently he conducts the rest of his interview in the company of security guards while being guided to a new position on the pavement, or sidewalk depending on the location of your exit.