Monday, February 17, 2020

Microstory 1301: Transportation Inspector

Head Transportation Inspector: Hi, my name is Head Transportation Inspector, but you can just call me Head Inspector. Oh, firm handshake. We’re off to a good start.
High School Graduate: Yes, my uncle taught me how to shake a hand when I was a kid; never let me do it wrong.
Head Inspector: Is your uncle the one who raised you?
HS Grad: He did, yes. He took me in after my mother died, and raised me all by himself. He’s actually my dad’s brother, but we can’t find him, so Uncle stepped up.
Head Inspector: He got you this interview too, right?
HS Grad: He recommended I apply, because his friend works here, but I don’t think he’s had any influence on the process.
Head Inspector: No, no. I’m not suggesting he’s given you an unfair advantage. Even if he did, use your network; that’s what it’s there for. Never apologize for knowing the right people.
HS Grad: Sir.
Head Inspector: According to your résumé, you have a high school diploma. Now, there’s no judgment here—this job doesn’t require a college degree—but I would like to get to know a little bit more about your life. Were you unable to attend college?
HS Grad: That’s where it gets tricky, and honestly, sir, I’ve struggled with other interviews because of it. My friends tell me I should kind of bend the truth, but I’m an honest person, and when someone asks me a question, I want to answer it. I could have gone to college. My uncle had enough money, and I could have applied for loans. I can’t blame anyone else for not doing it but myself. I just didn’t feel the need to spend all that time and money. There are plenty of really good jobs that, like you said, don’t require it, and somebody’s gotta do ‘em, right? I guess I was just anxious to get into the workforce.
Head Inspector: That’s not a bad answer. Don’t ever apologize for being honest. In fact, it’s incredibly important in this line of business. People’s lives depend on you being clear about what’s wrong with the vehicles. You can’t leave anything out of a report.
HS Grad: I understand. And I’m very detail-oriented. I’m sure a lot of candidates say that, but it’s very true of me. I notice when a book is shelved wrong, or a tire needs just a tiny bit more air.
Head Inspector: So you’re good with cars?
HS Grad: I am. My uncle couldn’t change the oil to save his life, but the neighbor kid is a few years older than me, and taught me everything he knows. I wasn’t a natural; it took a lot of work for me to learn the ins and outs, but I did learn them.
Head Inspector: Have you considered just becoming a car mechanic? The pay is comparable, and it seems you already have the knowledge.
HS Grad: I did. My neighbor offered me a job at his place, but then I heard about this, and I find it so fascinating. It’s also, as you mentioned, so important. I want to be the one to make sure these vehicles are safe for the passengers. They rely on us to do that.
Head Inspector: Okay, okay. Where do you see yourself in five years?
HS Grad: So, I wanna be honest again, My ultimate goal is to become an airplane inspector. That requires a little more training, so I was hoping to gain experience here.
Head Inspector: You look worried.
HS Grad: I’m worried you don’t like that answer.
Head Inspector: Eh, there’s this widely held belief that employers only want to hire people who plan on working for them until the day they die eighty years later. That’s not practical, and I want you to have ambitions. I want you to achieve your goals, and I would be happy to help you realize them.
HS Grad: Oh, good. So I got the job? [smiles]
Head Inspector: [laughs] You haven’t taken yourself out of the running yet; let’s leave it at that.
HS Grad: I understand.
Head Inspector: All right, let’s talk about your work history.

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