No Excuses

No Excuses

by David Raffin from the book Rhyme or Treason 

Dear friend,

If ever I use you as a personal reference, please do not tell the interviewer about the time I burned down that orphanage.

If you do, at least have the decency not to tell them I laughed.

I do not think I am asking too much.

You know I had my reasons. While you understand that my heart is not hardened, you also surely understand my sense of fiscal responsibility. While I am not made of stone, neither am I made of gruel. When a child asks for more sometimes it is just too much for me.

I try to avoid all such issues completely during job interviews. I find it is best to focus on the positive. My track record. My accomplishments. My hobbies. I mean, I do tell them about the orphanage—I just don’t tell them I burned it down. And I certainly don’t tell them I laughed. All I’m asking is that you follow my lead. Back me up here.

If it comes up, when it comes up, I try to handle it to the best of my professional abilities. I wonder aloud who was really harmed by such an action. I mean in the big picture. I also pose the question: who was harmed more by my action, the children or me? Who’s sorrier now? On whose shoulders did the repercussions fall? I think we all know the answer to that.

Luckily I am more well suited to bear this burden than the children ever could’ve been, with my greater maturity and grander sense of purpose and civic duty.

Really. Just don’t tell them. It will work out better that way.

They are never happy to hear about it. You wouldn’t want to make someone, some stranger, unhappy for no real reason —would you?

Frankly that’s not the kind of person I thought you were. I know that’s not the kind of person I picture myself as.

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