Open or Closed Boxes

There was a chill in the air again this morning with the dampness of yesterday’s rain and lower temperatures which gave me an urge to stop and pick up a cup of java from a local convenience store and happened to run into a woman with whom I shared several college classes a great number of years ago. We played catch up again since I normally don’t see her maybe once every two or three years. Her life is yet another sad example of how very intelligent women who are not of the glamorous type, seem to get passed over by companies who’d likely have benefited greatly by their fine minds and honed skills. Seems today’s business world is smeary with heavy lipstick, bleached teeth and dyed hair. Barbie Doll looks don’t always create better mouse traps and increase a company’s productivities. I believe everyone should look their best when working in the business world and simply leave it at that. Looks are only skin deep but personality and intelligence goes to the bone.

I say this today in remembering the absolute fine mind this woman had during those college years. She was either first or second on the list of scholastic achievements and never seemed to rest on her laurels. Once she learned the depths of one subject, she was on to begin a new journey on a completely different subject of which she knew nearly nothing. I became more friendly with her in one particular class where we seemed to challenge each other’s abilities in teasingly clever ways. Our final marks of that class came in as her first and myself second. It was a memorable competition between the two of us and from that created a distant but lasting friendship. After graduation from college she worked hard at getting hired in several of her best fields of expertise but time and time again she was passed over by corporate managements. I think she finally gave up and resigned herself to being employed at jobs far below her levels of knowledge and understanding. After a number of years, I ran into her employed at a place of business I’d never dreamed. She was terribly embarrassed upon seeing me because she likely must have thought me disappointed in her. I was deeply saddened to find yet another example of a woman being excluded from the boy’s club simply because of looks.

After several more chance meetings with her, I was at least pleased to hear she’s still filling her mind with more knowledge and traveling to exotic lands whenever she’s saved enough get-away money from her meager salary. I’m sure her deceased father who held a very prominent position would roll over in his grave to see how corporate preferences have changed from back when he started climbing his ladder of success. Before she left the convenience store I teased her a bit with several passages I remembered from the class where we conducted our scholastic tug of war. We both got a good laugh early this morning. I’m sure the clerk must have thought, “What was that all about?”

Isn’t it strange how we proverbially choose the two boxes that are open in fear of the three un-opened during the process of interviewing someone? We unknowingly prefer visuals over that which we can’t see, touch, taste or smell. Too many surfaces have gone un-scratched simply because of appearance. Sometimes, it’s just too sad to think about.

Joe Chodur

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