It’s been quite a while since I went for a job interview.
About 20 years in fact.
That’s one of the perks of being 60, I guess. Having been entrenched in the working world (at least off and on) for the past 40 years, I’ve made enough connections in my field that I really don’t need to interview for any of the kinds of work I might want to do.
I’ve been there and done it for so long, pretty much everyone in the business knows my qualifications.
But say I wanted to change fields completely. Say I wanted to get out of the writing/editing business and go to work as a — well, for the hell of it, let’s say I suddenly decided (after a lifetime’s aversion to the sight of blood) that I’d like to go to work as a brain surgeon.
I take my resume of 40 years worth of writing and editing, of managing departments, of overseeing other writers, of working as a freelancer, and apply to the University of Michigan Medical Center, which is pretty much the gold standard of hospitals around where I live.
“I’d like to apply for a position as brain surgeon,” I tell the Human Resources Department. “I think the neurosurgery department in this hospital is a diaster. All your current doctors are liars and thieves. I have a plan to do so many groundbreaking surgeries! I am going to save everyone’s life! This hospital is going to be great again!”
Okay, you see where I’m going with this.
Right now, in America, we have the equivalent of someone like me with a lot of experience doing one fairly simple thing who is trying to sell us on the idea that he can suddenly do something completely different and a million times more complex.
Of course lack of experience isn’t the only problem Donald Trump has. But let’s say for a moment that we could all forget all the rest of his faults (it’s hard, I know, but try) and pretend that he is just a normal guy with the normal amount of flaws.
Let’s each of us pretend that we are the head of Human Resources for the United States of America. Because, in a sense, each citizen with the right to vote has the responsibility to conduct their own personal interview of the candidates to determine their qualifications for this particular job.
The one where they are become the leader of the most powerful nation in the Free World.
Donald Trump has never held an elected office. He has never performed any public service. He has not studied law. Or government. Or foreign relations. He has not served in the miliatary. He does not speak any language other than English. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the Wharton School of Business, whose alumni magazine named him “The Best Brand Name in Real Estate.” He started out with a boatload of seed money from his father, and spent his life running numerous business ventures (like casino’s, hotel’s, shopping complexes, and beauty pageants) with varying degrees of success.
Hillary Clinton was a political science major who graduated with honors from Yale Law School. She has spent her entire career in public service of one kind or another. She was the First Lady of Arkansas, the First Lady of the United States, a Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. According to President Obabma, she is the most qualified from an experiential standpoint of anyone who has ever run for the office of President. She grew up in a middle class Republican family, worked her way through college, and spent most of her pre-politics years working for law firms who championed Constitutional law issues, specifically civil rights and family law.
I don’t know much about Human Relations or hiring practices. But I find it hard to believe that any HR Manager worth their salt would consider that Trump’s resume reflected the qualifications necessary for the job he’s applying for. No matter how successful he might be at running casino’s and hotels the job of POTUS is nothing at all like the job of CEO. A President needs to be so steeped in the history of this nation that it oozes from her pores. She needs to have a quicksilver mind that can grasp every nuace of a legal or diplomatic situation. She needs to act with dignity and strength toward foreign leaders from diverse cultures. She must be willing to put the best interests of the nation and its people ahead of her own self-image. She must be strong enough to confront her opponents, but open-minded enough to compromise for the common good.
Let’s say you’re still not convinced. You’re tired of “politics as usual,” tired of the way things have been done for the past 240 years. You want something “different.”
May I suggest that different is not always better? May we return to that brain surgeon analogy for a moment? Let’s say you have a large brain tumor that’s going to kill you in the next six weeks unless you find an extremely skilled and innovative surgeon to remove it. You visit several well-respected physicians, but something about each one of them all rubs you the wrong way. You hear one of them once used his private e-mail to send HIPAA protected medical records. Another one lost a patient on the table a few years ago. And then there’s that woman who wears such godawful unstylish pantsuits…
So you decide to try someone new and completely different to operate on your tumor. Someone told you about this amazing plumber who replaced all the plumbing in their house with top of the line equipment, and did it all at rock bottom prices. Their plumbing had been a Disaster for years! And he came to meet them with a great Plan! And he made it all Great again!
Maybe you want a plumber slicing open your brain.
I sure don’t.
The United States of America is great country, with great potential. I know politics is not always pretty. Neither is running a business. There are always some deals to be made, some corners to be cut, some people who will not get a fair shake.
But the complexity of this nation and it’s relationship to the wider world requires a person of intelligence, integrity, and most of all experience.
That’s what’s known as being qualified for a job.
And there is only one candidate who meets those requirements.