A Jar of Clay

There were many applicants. It was the time of the year when graduates would try their luck with multinational companies. Why not? There is no limit to dreams. “Dream big,” they say. So why not start with the big companies. “Who knows, this may be my lucky day,” said one young graduate.

Little did the graduates know that for this year, this big company changed its criteria for getting people to ride the Training Bus. In the past, chance and luck were only for the guys with good scholastic records from the most reputable schools. So the guys who were in the waiting area were not the usual profile of candidates for hiring in a big company. But they were called for this important interview. What a surprise this was for most of them.

Some of them looked so naive. Some looked so simple. Some were sweating. Some were anxious. Some were looking through their files over and over as if they were memorizing. Just by looking at them one could see that they were simple people.

I sat down with them. “Are you nervous?” I asked. One guy who was sweating said, “I really don’t know why they called me here. Maybe, HR made a mistake.” I asked, “Why?” He answered, “I don’t think I belong here.” He looked down and he was staring at his shoes as if he was telling them that they did not fit here. “Why do you say that you don’t belong here?” I asked again. He was a little irritated with my question. “This is a big multinational company,” he said. “Do you really think they will care for someone like me? I did not have good grades in College. I did not have time for extracurricular activities. I did not belong to any organization. I was never one of those guys who would make it good after school.” He seemed sad that he missed a lot of things when he was in College. “But you graduated; right?” I said. “That should be enough to get you in and the rest would be up to your attitude.” I added. He looked at me again and instead of looking down at his shoes, he looked towards the sky and closed his eyes.

All the others were silent while waiting for their turn to be interviewed. They also looked confused. I left them saying, “Chill guys, maybe you are here for a reason.”

That year, the hiring criteria was changed. The company used to hire those with gold; they would add more value to the treasures of the company. That year, the company wanted to make a difference in the lives of some people. The company chose to hire jars of clay. The company wanted to give a good chance to those who persevered in school: working out late hours, cramming for exams after work, running to school after work so as not to be late, looking for means to pay school tuition, creating good reasons and excuses for not attending school activities, and never having contributed to class activities. Those who weathered the storms in their lives would be given an opportunity to make a difference.

And so the interviews went on. Happy faces came out of the room. Not one of them expected that while they were sitting outside that room their resumes and life stories had already been read. The waiting was the test. And the interview was the reward. They all got hired. After a year they all passed the management training program.

Challenges and difficulties are great teachers. They awaken Courage who would rather sleep at times. They alert Understanding who would be gloomy most of the time. They sharpen the Mind who sometimes would be out of focus. Most of all, they whisper to Emotion and tell her, “Come on, we have been through this a million times before. We can do better this time. We will persevere. We will be passionate. We will succeed.”