April 21, 2014

An ex-president goes job-hunting

How does a people person with excellent conflict-resolution skills find employment?

Not to forget: inspires feelings of great warmth among the common people © Associated Press

What's an ex-president of a major cricket board to do when time is finally called on his years of thankless public service? You've spent so long clinging on to office in a manner that makes stromatolites look as if they lack staying power, only to find something as trifling as your nation's legal process insisting you're booted out on your ear. There's no guarantee the ICC will want to keep you on in a nice cosy post, so you're left with no choice but to look for alternative employment, and to head unenthusiastically down to your local job centre.

Employment officer: Thanks for coming in. I'm just going to ask a few questions to see what sort of work you might be suited for. So, let's kick off with an easy one. What are your core strengths?

Ex-president: I'm a people person.

Officer: Oh dear, sir. You'll have to do rather better than that sort of empty sound bite. It's all very well saying you're a people person, but I'm afraid I'll need a little more convincing.

Ex-president: Fine. Would you like to become vice-president of a major construction firm?

Officer: Oh, that's very kind of you, thanks. I accept. Let me just note that down. "Excellent people skills." So, moving on. Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult colleague?

Ex-president: Well, there was this one chap who heads another cricket board...

Officer: And what did he do wrong?

Ex-president: He just got on my nerves a bit.

Officer: And how did you react to that?

Ex-president: I had him sacked, and bulldozed through the rescheduling of an entire Test series.

Officer: Hmmm, that seems a slightly disproportionate response.

Ex-president: As vice-president you'll get first dibs on the free lunch buffet.

Officer: Yes, I see your point now. If anything, you were too gracious with this troublemaker. I'll put "excellent conflict resolution skills". Let's crack on. I'm sensing you're a very humble person. Have you ever thought of perhaps doing charity work?

Ex-president: It's funny you should say that. I recently actually helped raise a lot of cash for a number of smaller cricket boards by allowing them to donate a large sum of money to me.

Officer: Right. I, er, don't quite see how that's charitable.

Ex-president: As vice-president, you'll also get free health insurance and one of those nice swivel chairs.

Officer: Yes, of course. Good, good. I'll just jot that down. "Altruistic. Not driven by financial incentives."

Ex-president: Thank you for those words.

Officer: My pleasure. Okay, so changing gears, I see here you've recently stepped down?

Ex-president: Aside…

Officer: I beg your pardon, sorry. Stepped aside from your position not once but twice, and the second time when ordered to do so by the highest court of your country. I note you've not mentioned that in your application. Why not?

Ex-president: Pressure of space.

Officer: Please explain.

Ex-president: The gushing character references already ran into several pages.

Officer: Okay. And these were from individuals with nothing to gain from being sycophantic about you?

Ex-president: Absolutely. They actually volunteered to write them in between their IPL commentary stints.

Officer: Fine, fine. So, next up. Employers these days love to look beyond the professional life. Tell me about you the man outside cricket. I expect family life is important to you.

Ex-president: I'm actually not married.

Officer: Um, okay. It says in my notes you have a son-in-law you're very close to?

Ex-president: Don't think so.

Officer: He's called Principal or something? That name means nothing to you?

Ex-president: Nope.

Officer: Okay, that's fine. I'll put "doesn't allow family problems to affect his work".

Excellent, so let's wrap this up. I must say you've given a super interview, but I have to warn you I'm personally too professional to be influenced by shallow patronage. Despite the new role you've offered me, the only possible job I'm going to be able to put you forward for is the vacant role of president of the BCCI. Will that suffice?

Ex-president: I suppose so.

Officer: Okay, great. I'll get your application typed up. Thank you so much for coming in.

Ex-president: My pleasure. And good luck in your new job. See you on Monday.

Officer: Cheers, boss.

James Marsh writes Pavilion Opinions. He is also a Tefl teacher whose students learn superlatives by being shown Graham Thorpe videos