Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Eine kleine schadenfreude

Remember, it's only schadenfreude if you're ashamed.

Here's a cautionary tale I tell my students when they start applying for jobs in their chosen field. (I've changed names to protect innocent and guilty alike. Well, as I can't actually remember the names of the people involved perhaps I haven't. Disna matter.)

I received a phone call from an about-to-graduate BSc student. He wanted me to be a referee. I was a bit surprised because he was a dedicated slacker and had only just managed to scrape through with a degree.

'Send me your CV and your application,' I said.

'I can't,' he said. 'I had the interview this morning and they'll be calling you soon.'

Okay. I explained to him that he'd done everything the wrong way but ... well ... at least he'd got as far as an interview, so he must have written a good application. Then he told me exactly what he'd put in his CV.

According to this student---let's call him Alphonse---he had been working on one of my projects during the summer as a paid research assistant.

'But you haven't.'

'Yeah but no but yeah but ... Dr Schneckenkopf said we should pad out our CVs.'

'Not with lies he didn't.' (Knowing Schneckenkopf, he probably had. But one issue at a time.)

Alphonse then ran off a list of his purported achievements, a record that have would have made him the country's greatest polymath. (Or polymorph as the Townsville Bulletin once put it.)

'I'm not going to fib on your behalf,' I said. 'If they ask a direct question, I'm going to give a direct answer.'

'Yeah, yeah. Whatever.'

And the interviewer rang. And she asked a direct question about his work as my research assistant. And I gave her a direct answer.

'I see. So what about this prize for the best student?' she said.

'There is no prize.'

'And yet he appears to have won it. You know, I think he needs to come in for a second interview.'



Did Alphonse get the job?

Snail said...

I'd be surprised if he got out of there alive!

I don't think we ever heard from him again.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm trying again to post a comment here.
I just read this piece to the aAtherarf and we're both cracking up laughing :) Nothing much more to say cept thanks.