Friday, June 22, 2007

my multicultural workplace

As you are all probably well aware, I work in a transitional housing facility for the homeless mentally ill. Lately, there's lots of staff shifting, with a couple folks leaving, folks moving into new positions, and vacancies that must be filled. For the past two days, I've been involved in group interviews for two different positions.

Wow, watching people being interviewed is interesting. So far, I've been to four interviews and all four women were so completely different. The first woman we interviewed yesterday was so nervous, the whole half-hour was like watching a terrible train wreck. She couldn't actually answer any of our questions, she rambled and babbled and mostly made *no* sense.

At first, we were all giving her the benefit of the doubt, recognizing that she was nervous and perhaps not articulating herself very well. But somewhere near the end she started talking about "riff-raff" and it all went downhill from there. (Riff-raff?? We work with homeless people. We don't usually refer to them as riff-raff.) She also rambled on about being an antiestablishment, feminist, conspiracy theorist. And... you know... that's fine if you're interviewing to be the editor of the next addition of the Anarchist's Cookbook, but for pretty much any other job, you don't want to highlight what a contrarian whack-job you are. At least wait till you're hired and we're all hanging out drinking beer after work to start spouting off your weird left of left political views. Don't do it at the interview. Jeez.

The last woman we interviewed today, however, was the absolute polar opposite of the first. She was articulate, extremely professional, comfortable, and really, really well-informed. Her answers were so thorough and so perfect, she kept leaving us all speechless. Barring something unforseeable, she's got the job. And that's a good thing.

But I noticed one thing as we did the interviews today, and I wondered if the interviewees noticed too. Of the 7 people conducting the interview, only three of us were American. The other four were from: Australia, New Zealand, England and Russia. In addition to these four, we've also got a woman on staff from China and another woman from Nigeria. That's six different countries, all represented by our relatively small staff. It's pretty interesting, really, to work in such a multicultural workplace. I wonder if that fact (and all the different accents) struck the interviewees as interesting or unusual.

Anyway... I guess that was kind of boring. Sorry. It's just something I was thinking about. I'll come up with something more interesting in a bit... I promise.


Blogger stumptown dreamer said...

hey rpp
i always liked that about the staff at The Oasis. In our less altered and unusual states we had that international diversity of accents and styles that created altered and unusual states amongst us as a staff. i will never forget Kiwi in meetings coming out with reactions and language that left the yanks aghast, and her saying 'oh, i'm from the south island of NZ, we talk like that all the time - sorry!'...
and also the diversity of the americans. you from the south, others from the Pacific NW, midwest, Arizona... that too...

12:42 AM  

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