Several years ago I was sent this short story called Heaven Versus Hell. Everyone I shared it with always got a good laugh, because I think everyone can relate to what it talked about. We’ve all been there, wondering why the new job looked so ‘rosy’ or ‘glamorous’ while we interviewed, and then we discovered the grass wasn’t really that much greener on the other side of the fence. What happened? Well, all too often we forget that the interview is a two-way street, that as a candidate, we need to be prepared and ask questions as well. The candidate is trying to ‘sell‘ themselves as well as possible to the company; but the company too, is trying to put their best foot forward to impress the potential hire. With the company doing all this “posturing or selling”, sometimes we may not see the ‘warts‘…. So, the motto is, do your homework, research the company, ask around, about them and the managers; then, show up to the interview prepared, and have a list of questions ready to ask! It’s okay to have them see the list, you can pull it out to review, they will be impressed that you took the time to do your homework! Obvious questions you should cover include : (a) How will this position be reviewed? (b) What is the department/corporate structure, and how will I fit in there? (c) Opportunities for advancement/career path? … ask yourself this, “what do I wish I would have asked before I accepted my current or last job?”
Here is the story that makes this point; and hopefully will make you smile:
One day while walking down the street a highly successful Human Resources Director was hit by a bus and she died. Her soul was met at the Pearly gates by St. Peter himself. “Welcome to Heaven,” said St. Peter. “Before you get settled in, it seems we have a problem. You see, we’ve never had a Human Resources Director make it this far and we’re not really sure what to do with you.” “No problem, just let me in,” said the woman. “Well, I’d like to, but I have higher orders. What we are going to do is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in.” “Actually, I think I’ve made up my mind, I prefer to stay in Heaven,” said the woman. “Sorry, we have rules… ” And with that St. Peter put the executive in an elevator and it went down to hell.
The doors opened and she found herself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of her were all her friends – fellow executives that she had worked with and they were all cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks and talked about old times. They played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the country club where she enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner. She met the Devil who was actually a really nice guy (kinda cute too) and she had a great time telling jokes and dancing. Everybody shook her hand and waved good-bye as she got in the elevator. The elevator opened at the Pearly gates and she found St. Peter waiting for her.
She spent the next 24 hours lounging around on the clouds and playing the harp and singing. She had a great time and before she knew it her 24 hours were up and St. Peter came and got her. “So you have spent a day in hell, and a day in Heaven. Now choose your eternity,” he said. The woman replied: “Well I never thought I would say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great and all, but I think I had a better time in Hell.” So St. Peter escorted her to the elevator and again she went back to Hell.
When the doors opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and filth. She saw her friends were dressed in rags and were picking up the garbage and putting it in sacks. The Devil came up to her and put his arm around her. “I don’t understand,” stammered the woman, “yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and we danced and had a great time. Now all there is are wastelands and garbage and all my friends look miserable.” The Devil looked at her and smiled. “Yesterday we were recruiting you. Today, you’re staff.”