non sequitur

I’ve been thinking for a while that I should broaden the scope of this blog to include bits of my life that are not about my (sputtering) writing efforts.

I have been posting accounts of the races I’ve run, and they seem to be appreciated. (Here’s a link to all of them.)

I’ve also started posting some things about this little guy:

bath time

(He’d just had his bath, and his hair was out of control.)

So in the spirit of diversification, let me share with you a non sequitur I experienced recently.

I was at a table with a man maybe ten years older than I. I’ve known him casually for a dozen years. He’s a nice enuf guy, but his orbit is far different from mine, so we don’t have much in common. This man is something like a business consultant. He travels the globe, telling companies large and small how to run their businesses. His advice is apparently much liked because he lives well and has many nice things. (Cars, homes, clothes)

This man was telling me the latest hiring advice he was giving his clients. He said that when an applicant came in for an interview, the first thing you should ask the person is what time it is. Likely he/she will either look at the watch on his/her wrist or pull his/her phone out of his/her pocket. And this man went on to say that if the applicant referred to a cell phone for the time, don’t hire the person!

Why is this?

Well, it seems there is a body of thought that says people who have watches on their wrists — and so in their faces much of the time — understand the passage of time better than those who must pull time out of pants pockets or purses. You can count on the former to BE ON TIME and the latter to have a lackadaisical attitude toward promptness.

He was absolutely serious about this assertion.

It has its appeal. It gives the interviewer an easy answer to a tough decision. And it has the scent of old-time work ethic-ness. Such easy answers, such sweeping generalizations are why advertising and religion work so well. They tell you what to buy, what to think, whom to hate, and so forth. You don’t have to think for yourself, at least about complex things like human interaction and morality.

Of course it’s bogus.

Before the advent of the cell phone, not everyone was absolutely prompt. I suspect the ratio of promptness to lateness was no different fifty years ago than it is today. (I don’t wear a watch, and I am chronically early.) Furthermore, many people I know with cell phones have them in their faces far more than they have their wrists in their faces. They have more ready access to the time than their counterparts.

And what would the hiring manager conclude if the applicant pulled a pocket watch out of a waistcoat pocket to check the time?

Explore posts in the same categories: Ramblings Off Topic

7 Comments on “non sequitur”

  1. Annam Says:

    Your post made me laugh!

  2. WalkToRio Says:

    hahaha the pocket watch question is fantastic!
    I’m always early and the only wrist watch I’d wear is my stop watch and only wear it for my workout.

  3. I used to use a pocket watch because I was overly obsessed by time and would check my wrist 5,000 times a day. Now I rely on my cell phone and I too am chronically early (except when I go somewhere with the man I married, who is chronically late).

  4. PS Love the kid’s hair!

  5. emily Says:

    I love not wearing a watch anymore. It is true- I am a less obsessed with time this way. It is easier to be mindful I think. But we have clocks on all the walls at work, I can see them from anywhere I am- I really don’t need to be wearing a watch or looking at my phone. I never liked the way watches felt on my wrist either. I don’t think I could wear them anymore because I have developed a nickel metal contact allergy. Or maybe they would just have to be very expensive watches (or pocket watches).

  6. I suppose one could consider themselves lucky to lose at those interviews. When people have those preconceived, “This it the way it is, and if you do this other thing, I know all about you.”

    I’m hard-pressed to think of a time I’ve been late to something. When I’ve gone on interviews, the weekend before the interview, I drive to the location. The day of an interview, I’m there early with a book. I read in the garage and then I’m usually at the front desk 15 minutes before my interview. In the age of smart phones, instead of a book, I have an e-book. And, if I desire, alarms to alert me to things so I’m on time (if that were my thing).

    Really, though…when I need to be aware of time, I am. But the rest of the time, I go by the sun or the moon and stars because really, my life is at a pace I like and I don’t have to make time this huge priority. At work, Outlook reminds me of the [often] wasteful meetings I must attend. I rarely hear the alarm clock because I wake up naturally. I can’t think of any managers I’ve had in decades who didn’t appreciate me. I like to travel light and, as much as I LOVE timepieces, I have not worn a watch in ages. Most people I know interviewing for a position in any office environment is never far from computers. I have two computers before me, and both have the time right where I can see it.

    In other news, Ken’s hair in that photo is great! I hope you have a great visit to New York in February!

  7. Congratulations on Ken, he is a handsome little dude!

    I find the watch vs. phone debate to be very stereotypical and an unfair assessment of work ethic. I almost never wear a watch, and I pride myself on being early.

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