Like the one this afternoon. I was in my Human Resources Manager’s office, working on an email to send out to all employees announcing our first quarter’s contribution to our new profit sharing program.
When the phone rang, caller I.D. showed the number in our Admin Building lobby.
I answered, “John Earle.”
A man’s voice stammered slightly, “Uh, yessir. Uh...God bless you... praise the Lord. Uh...do y’all hire women?”
I couldn’t believe that’s what he really said. I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand. What did you ask?”
“Do. . . y’all. . . hire. . . women?” (Spoken slowly, with emphasis on the last word.)
I actually laughed out loud. “Do we hire women?”
The caller said, “Yes sir.”
I laughed again and said in what I hoped was a friendly, man-to-man tone, “In today’s world, do you know how much trouble I’d be in if I said no?”
At that point he laughed as well. “Yeah, I guess that’s so. Mmm Hmm. Well, y’see, I’s looking for a job for my wife.” He sounded like a character out of Uncle Remus.
I almost asked what her skills were, but quickly decided I didn’t want to go there.
So I explained that my plant currently had four job openings, all of which were listed with the local office of the Texas Workforce Commission. I told him they were: two engineering jobs, and two skilled technician positions.
Not easily dissuaded, he then asked, “Well, do y’all hire men? My brother, he’s lookin’ fer a job too.”
I gave him the number for the Workforce office, and another for a local firm that hires laborers by the week. I told him he could use our phone right there in the lobby if he wanted. Just dial 9 for an outside line.
A bit later I walked past the lobby and looked through the glass door. The room was empty.
I wish him well. And his wife and brother, too. Hopefully he’ll find something for them, because the world can be a cold, dark place if you’ve little money and no job.
But I think that’s the first time in well over 20 years I’ve been asked if we hired women.
For a second I wondered if the call had come from 70 years ago.
The theme from The Twilight Zone began to play in my mind.
Then my phone rang again, and it was Carol. The room brightened. I smiled. Everything was right again.