Chutzpah in Job Interviews

I have written before about Chutzpah (see for Joys of Yiddish full explanation). The phrase is used to describe a specific type of person. Audacity would be the closest english equivalent word.

Many years ago I was interviewing for a job in a very interesting group. I had heard of the leader of this group, but didn’t really know him personally. When he called me for an interview I was very happy to come in and chat.

The interview seemed a little stunted in the discussion. It was mostly this person pontificating about his views on how technology was going to go in the future, but having been to many interviews I didn’t think much of it. I asked a few questions to keep my interviewer going. My opinion is the more an interviewer talks, the better the interview seems to go. I asked open-ended questions as follow ups to his statements, and time seemed to fly by, with me saying very little (of substance).

There was a pause, so I felt obliged to throw in another open-ended question to my interviewer. I asked, “What kind of person are you looking for to fill this job?”.

Ask “The” Question

This is an excellent time-wasting question for an interview. Most interviewers don’t really have a clear answer for that question. If they are very confident like this chap, the answer can take up to 10 minutes. All you do as a candidate is point out how you are that exact person (a trick I learned long ago).

Sure enough this interviewer ran on and on about someone who could create symbiotic technology concepts, and show an ability to create a fused capability delivered cross-domain in the pike position,etc., etc., etc.,. I noted the catch phrases being used. I was formulating my follow-up to this statement when the interviewer completely de-railed me with a statement.

Don’t get “The” Answer

It started off with the phrase, “If I could sum up what I am looking for in a candidate for the team, I’d have to use a word I learned a while ago, it’s a Jewish word…”. I fought the urge to point out that it would either have been Hebrew or Yiddish. I figured that as long as he didn’t say “Schmuck“, I was ok, but what he did say was entertaining.

“The word that describes it best is someone with CHOO-TS-PUH…”, (I spelled the word phonetically so you could get the gist of this story). Now the word chutzpah is pronounced HH-oo-tzpa (along those lines at least), and the CH is most definitely not pronounced as CH. I must have had a bewildered look (it was actually the look I have when I am attempting to not burst into laughter), because the interviewer proceeded to give me an explanation of chutzpah (a relatively correct one).

I sat there using all of my inner strength attempting to:

  1. Not correct this individual on pronunciation, because he seemed positive that he was correct.
  2. Not burst out laughing at the mis-step (very bad form for a job interview)
  3. Figure out whether I really wanted this job.

There was a long pause at the end of the interviewers ramble and I felt he was expecting me to respond, so I carefully responded how I fit the bill of this kind of person without actually saying the word out loud, for fear of offending this individual. After summing up, the interviewer then had to recap by saying, “So you think you have this CHOO-TS-PUH, do you?”, again, I fought hard to not burst out laughing.

Am I That Guy

My only way to respond was, “Yes, I think I am that guy.”.

I didn’t get the job, but I did get an interesting anecdotal story that I tell sometimes.

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Who Green-Lit this Tom-Foolery ?

This is a homogenized version of an expression I have picked up from Letterkenny Problems, and I feel it is something that you can use in your financial life as well. So many times folks try to explain to you about financial things that you know are wrong, and this turn of phrase works for me.

Letterkenny
Wayne is curious who Green Lit this Financial Tom-F**kery ?

Who Green-lit this financial Tom-F**kery ?

  1. Selling an 85 year old woman a leverage hedge fund? Who Green-lit this Tom-F**kery? Most likely the investment sales-douche who needed to make their commissions for that quarter, is my guess. “Give your head a shake“.
  2. You bought a Corolla and signed up for 7 year financing. Who Green-lit that Tom-F**kery ? The car is a good one, but you really want to amortize a $22,000 car over 7 years? If you can’t afford it in 4 years, you shouldn’t be buying it at all. “That’s a Hard No!“, on that contract.
  3. An acquaintance claims they have made a fortune on a pyramid-sales scheme, and wants you to join in and be rich like them. “You want to blow smoke, go have a dart“, don’t include me in your pyramidal sales stupidity. I buy my soap at the Wal-Mart.
  4. You plan on getting married so you ask the invitees for cash only as gifts to pay for the wedding, or worse you set up a GoFundMe page so that you can pay for it.  “Oh I’m stomping the brakes, put that idea right through the f**king windshield.”
  5. The government allowing various firms to claw away more than 20% of someone’s disability tax credit? If they did it themselves it would have cost nothing, so what services do they offer that can add up to over $10K in fees? “What’s the nature of that, David Suzuki?”

Still Have Issues Squirrely Dan?

As you can see this turn of phrase is quite useful in your day-to-day financial dealings. I encourage folks to use it, if not just to see the reactions of the folks your saying it to. If you still have a problem, go have a Puppers.

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Festivus Financial Airing of Grievances

You better believe I got a lot of Grievances this year!!!

Now that we have put up the Aluminum Pole (with no distracting tinsel), it is that time in Festivus for the Financial Airing of Grievances, and there have been a lot of things that got on my nerves this year, so listen closely, don’t make me repeat myself!

  • COVID19 you better believe I am PISSED OFF about that! What the hell! Pandemics are fair game for Festivus airing of grievances!
  • Housing Bubbles, what is up with this stupidity ? What morons are getting into these bidding wars for tar paper shacks down by the lakeshore ? No one needs a house that badly! Learn some self-control, “I really want it” is a bad reason to overspend on a house.
  • Fintech , taking the same bad investing concepts, implementing them on a computer using a little Artificial Intelligence (AI), and claiming you will get better results? C’mon man! Until someone explains to me (a programmer/geek) about what Fintech is doing for me, I am not drinking this Kool-Aid. Fintech almost seems like an excuse to hide more of the decision-making process from the end-user.
  • Good Debt , if I hear another financial talking head say that there is such a thing as good debt I will be using the aluminum pole for something more than just Festivus. Debt is a financial tool ( a bad tool ), but it is not good. If you can’t afford something, maybe that is for a reason. Why can’t I have a house like my parents? Your parents lived through 20% inflation, you didn’t! Stop whining¬†and live within your means.
  • RRSP or TFSA , if you are losing sleep over this topic, but you are still carrying debt, you need to give your head a shake. Pay off your debt, then put money in your TFSA and then put money in your RRSP (or your kid’s RESP or RDSP), yes it is that simple.¬†Pay off your debts.
  • Adulting, seriously ? It’s hard being an adult, and no, nobody is going to spend a lot of time trying to train you either, you are going to learn by trial and error, and you are going to make mistakes. This is what being an adult is all about. Each generation learns this way, luckily you guys will do better than my generation, relax.

This year has sucked, let us hope that next year is a better year, or I am going to have a longer list for the financial airing of grievances for next Festivus !

Next, financial feats of strength! Let’s rumble!

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8 Holiday Ideas to Save Money

Given the Holiday spending season is upon us, I thought I’d help out with some great Holiday Ideas to make sure that save money so the Grinch isn’t waiting for you in January, to foreclose on Whoville.

Save Money
The Spirits of Xmas: Santa 75% off with a Monkey in a Palm Tree
  1. Convert to Judaism, a sudden religious change will throw off your family and save you from Christmas, however, you will still be on the hook for Chanukah so keep that one in mind (8 Crazy nights of Chanukah).
  2. Regift, regift, regift, the importance of this at holiday time cannot be underestimated. Other folks have worked hard to thoughtfully buy you something, so you should repay their thoughtfulness by giving that thoughtful gift to someone else (and saving money).
  3. Declare bankruptcy now, and beat the January rush. No one will expect you to buy them a gift if you are bankrupt (and you might make out like a bandit with gifts of cash), whether you actually declare bankruptcy is up to you (you could save money by simply stating you did it).
  4. Abide by the Christmas Rules , if someone asks you what you are buying them for the Holidays, answer with, “That puts you on the naughty list” and then don’t give them a gift. The rules of the holiday are clear about who does and does not get gifts, and it helps save money.
  5. Honest Mistake Option, on Christmas morning when everyone is handing around the gifts and such, and they turn to you and say, “Where are the gifts that you are giving”, put on your best act and say, “I FORGOT! OH MY GOD, I am SO SORRY!”. It is easier to beg forgiveness (as always).
  6. Play Christmas Chicken, don’t buy gifts for people you don’t think you will see over the holidays, and if you do see them, carry an emergency gift card from a gas station that you can give them (beef jerky, a gift card, or maybe a window scraper).
  7. Christmas Roulette, claim that you took all over your Christmas money, went to Vegas, and gambled it all on the Roulette Wheel (if you want you can say you put it on Black and it came up Green), and thus you have no money left for the holidays. Be very effusive about the things you would have bought folks had you won.
  8. The Reason for the Season, stop worrying about the gifts that you are buying folks, and just do something nice for them that they need done (that they maybe can’t do themselves)? The idea of Christmas is not to bankrupt yourself and drive yourself crazy trying to find the last GI-Joe (with Kung Fu grip) (or that Hatchimal thing), I know I go to Church. You know what says “I love you” the most? You saying, “I love you!”, surprisingly.

Don’t I sound Grinchy? Send me a lump of coal by Paypal if you wish.

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“It’s not quite what I had in mind” (Financially)

Translation: “What the bloody hell is this??!?”

It's not quite what I had in mind

Someone please buy me this shirt (my size is XL)

For those of you who don’t know Very British Problems, sorry for the rudeness. There is even a series on Netflix to explain things better.

What does this have to do with money? Everything!

How many times have you talked to a financial planner or an investment broker and they hand you their final report, you cannot tell me you did not think:

“What the bloody hell is this?”

yet, you most likely said something much more, socially acceptable like:

“Could you explain to me your reasons behind this?”

or better still, if you really get a dose of backbone,

“It’s not quite what I had in mind.”

Seriously, this has never happened to you? I had one investment person tell me, “There is this new interesting stock that you should look into, it has got some really good press, it’s called BRE-X“. Even I (at the time pretty much as naive as a new-born babe when it came to investing) knew this was dodgy. I had another chap try to convince that Enron would be a good place to put my hard-earned money.

Never, ever, feel that you cannot be incredibly blunt with folks when it comes to your money. Do not tip-toe around folks’ feelings when your hard-earned income is involved, say what you mean, no need to be rude, but, no need to be overly vague either. You worked hard for your money, stand up for it.

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