Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Welcome to Steve's Job Emporium! Take a number, please...

October 3, continued

I can't help but think that Lila was hoping for me to offer her a job, or at least help her find one. Part of me thinks that's why she called. But whether that's true or not, her call did come at an opportune time.

"What idea does that give you, Steve?"

"You remember how I used to have you do those new policy reports?"

"For Christine in underwriting?"

"Yeah. I would have you pull the reports-"

"And put them in three piles: Yes, No, and Maybe."

"Exactly! Wow, you remember, Lila!"

"Mm-hmmmm," she says, proudly. "So you are thinking I could come back and work for you running those reports again?"


"Oh," she says, dejectedly.

"Heidi would run the reports for you. You would do Christine's job."

"But Christine is an underwriter!"


"So, don't they make like, 40 thousand a year?"

"The good ones make more."


"I can't do that job, Steve! I'm not trained for it!"

"Lila, I taught you to put those reports in those piles for a reason. I wanted you to learn the rules of how we accept or decline new policies. I wanted to see how good you were at making those evaluations. I used to ask Christine how you were doing."

"And what did she say?"

"She said after a while, she didn't even bother checking them because she knew they were right. You were basically doing the work of an underwriter. You already know the job!"

"Oh my God! So you're going to hire me?"

"I want to. I really need an underwriter. But I don't know if it's going to be possible. You walked out on your job, you know."

"I know, I know."

"Here's what I need you to do. Start thinking about what you'll say to HR when they bring you in. I should be able to convince them to give you another shot, but you're going to have to put on a good show. They're going to ask why they should rehire you. Think about your answer. Practice it, write it down if you have to. Don't be defensive."

"K," she says, softly.

"Talk about rehab, talk about pressures at home, and so on. And whatever you do, don't mention you and me."


"And make sure you tell them about your underwriting training, and how you loved the work very much, and how you'd really love to come back. Be very positive and a little reserved. Ok?"

"Like when I used to get in trouble at school."


"So do you think you'll convince them to hire me?"

"I'll convince them to interview you. YOU'LL convince them to hire you."

"What if they say no? Can you just tell them to do it because you're the boss?"

"I should be able to convince them. I don't want to throw my weight around too much, or they'll get suspicious that something is going on. And if we can't make it happen here, I'll refer you to another company in the area. I'll give you a reference."

"Steve, thank you SO much," she says, a little weep in her voice. "You are soo sweet sometimes."

"You're welcome."

"Before we do this, you and I need to have a talk, Lila."

"About what?"

"About us. If you come back, there has to be zero drama."

"I promise, Steve."



"Are you ok with being just friends?"

"Yes. I like being your friend, Steve!"

"Me too! It's less complicated, isn't it?"

"So, are you still with that chick with the man's name? Isn't her name like, Ralph or something?"

"Very funny."

"George? Pete?"


"THAT'S it!"

"Yes, I'm still with her."


Uncomfortable silence.

"Is that her real name?"


"So why do they call her that?"

"When she was little, she was very shy. She hardly ever talked. They used to call her 'Tiny Tim', after the kid in A Christmas Carol, and the name just stuck."

"What's her real name?"

"I gotta go. Let me get started on this and I'll call you back. And work on your answers!"

"OK, Steve!"