By: Rusty Wright

If you’re like me, you could use a good chuckle right now.

After all, times are messy.  The economy’s tanked, your 401(k) might be a 101(k), jobs are vanishing, Iran’s “democracy” rules, North Korea’s launching missiles, and Mark Sanford think he found his soul mate … or not.

To top it off, tragically, Ed McMahon, Farrah and Jacko all died within days of each other.

Maybe this real-life humour will help cheer you up.

With unemployment at a 26-year high, people need jobs.  Perhaps you need one.  There are good things to say in your job interview, and then there are statements like these, collected by from hiring managers who heard them from job seekers:


  • “If I get an offer, how long do I have before I have to take the drug test?”
  • “When you do background checks on candidates, do things like public drunkenness arrests come up?”
  • “I’m not wanted in this state.”
  • “I’ve never heard such a stupid question.”
  • “Can we wrap this up fairly quickly?  I have someplace I have to go.”

I’m all for transparency, but balancing honesty with tact can be tricky.  Those job applicants need some coaching.

So might embattled South Carolina governor Sanford.  I hope he and his wife can reconcile after his Argentine affair.  But communicating via separate Associated Press interviews is not the wisest reconciliation tactic.  Nor is it cool to tell the AP you found your soul mate in Argentina but you’re trying to fall back in love with your wife.  Save those pearls for your counsellor.

Of course, the right word can work wonders.  An ancient Jewish proverb indicates, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken in right circumstances.”

If you’re a job applicant, how about this in your interview:  “I’m not Superman/Wonder Woman, but I’d do my best to apply my skills to help advance this company’s mission.”

And for errant lovers:  “I’m sorry.  I was wrong.  Please forgive me.”  Then act like it.

I know how to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Once a close friend was upset over her high phone bill.  I examined it and realized the charges, though unexpected, were legitimate.  So I started to explain: Reason A, Reason B, Reason C.  Boom!  Big explosion.

Brilliant problem-solver that I was, I thought, “Maybe I didn’t explain Reason A clearly enough.”  So I began to clarify Reason A.  BOOM!

Finally, I tried something a counsellor had taught me: “You feel angry and cheated and betrayed and swindled and hurt by this bill, don’t you?”  The storm calmed.  I’ve since learned I wasn’t the only man who’d not yet taken Emotions 101.

Of course, if your well-balanced honesty, tact and emotional intelligence don’t work and you lose the job or the partner or the prize you want, you can cheer yourself up with more jobseeker blunderquotes, like these:


  • “I’ve never quit a job before, I’ve always been fired.”
  • “How big do the bonuses really get once you make associate? I hear it’s some serious cash.”
  • “So, how much do they pay you for doing these interviews?”
  • “May I have a cup of coffee?  I think I may still be a little drunk from last night.”
  • “You should probably know I mud wrestle on the weekends.”


Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents.  He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.

Copyright: ©2009-2018 Rusty Wright

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