On the Handrail into the Decision-Making Circle – The Application

So, a posi­tion in the cor­po­ra­tion after all? For him, this was his first real appli­ca­tion ever. He pre­vi­ous­ly nev­er had to apply for­mal­ly, it always hap­pened some­how. One just knew each oth­er. He absolute­ly need­ed a cov­er let­ter, that’s impor­tant for the HR depart­ment, accord­ing to the Inter­net. So that one stands out from the crowd and is not imme­di­ate­ly sort­ed out. 

But there was­n’t any dan­ger, not for him, not in this case. One already knew each oth­er. He had met the respon­si­ble head of depart­ment only last week. They had talked for a long time about the job and how well he would fit in. They want­ed him, that was pret­ty clear. It was agreed. And he already knew many employ­ees of the depart­ment, had already worked togeth­er with some in dif­fer­ent projects, with some he was actu­al­ly friends. And yet he now need­ed a cov­er let­ter. What a use­less exercise.

The process demand­ed it this way, his future boss had told him, it must be like that. The process seemed to be impor­tant in the cor­po­ra­tion, every­thing was well reg­u­lat­ed and orga­nized. It’s not a bad thing, this order. We did­n’t have any rules and process­es in our small com­pa­ny, he thought. And some­times they would have required some, not so many, but a few would have been good. A process like that was slow, but at least you knew exact­ly where you were.

So how does a good cov­er let­ter work? He was­n’t in the mood. He was not in the mood for this wast­ed life­time. Maybe that was just a kind of apti­tude test for cor­po­rate life. Any­way, he was­n’t in the mood. Not for the cov­er let­ter and even less for the resume. At least the cov­er let­ter was not com­plete­ly in vain as he had to explain his moti­va­tion in it. Why did he want to join the cor­po­ra­tion? Was it not enough for him to work in projects there again and again? And was­n’t that even bet­ter to be able to leave the cor­po­ra­tion again?

But he was­n’t in the mood for a resume. First of all, one had known each oth­er for sev­er­al years, but not the lady of HR, which did­n’t both­er him, he had noth­ing to do with her. But also for her the resume was in his blog and at LinkedIn, updat­ed again and again. None of this makes any sense, he thought, just let them look online. Was­n’t that their job, there at HR, to find out about the candidate?

The cov­er let­ter they should get, he decid­ed, with a link to his resume online. And a few more links. On his blog of course and some of his ini­tia­tives. This could be done with rea­son­able effort. The cov­er let­ter was a kind of overview. And the appli­ca­tion sys­tem did­n’t explic­it­ly require a resume, that was a can, not a must, as he read it. That’s how he want­ed to do it, to min­i­mize the effort for this point­less for­mal­i­ty. After all, one already knew each oth­er. And there was agree­ment. It was just a brief offi­cial vis­it to HR.

Tomor­row this for­mal inter­view. And now the call of his future boss. He had nev­er seen him so excit­ed and ner­vous before. Why he had­n’t uploaded a resume? The per­son­nel offi­cer would be very irri­tat­ed. Why does­n’t she sim­ply read the cov­er let­ter? Was that use­less, too? She should sim­ply click the damn links in the cov­er let­ter, then she would have her resume. But that would be rather dis­ad­van­ta­geous now, his future boss sug­gest­ed, to attract atten­tion so unpleas­ant­ly right before the inter­view. There were process­es and rules. (Many of them!) And they would have to be fol­lowed. Would he not be able to write and upload a resume quick­ly? For the sake of the process.

He now was even less in the mood for a resume, so not at all in the mood. And he was­n’t real­ly in the mood for an inter­view with a recruiter who was­n’t able or will­ing to click on a damn link. Why did he both­er with the cov­er let­ter? Ok, ok. upload­ing is ok, but with­out addi­tion­al effort, just quick­ly upload the online resume as PDF. For the process and for the lady from HR, who he already did­n’t like although he did­n’t know her yet.

She had real­ly done it. She had real­ly print­ed out the Inter­net! Resume and cov­er let­ter were neat­ly print­ed out in front of the per­son­nel offi­cer on the small meet­ing table where he sat down with his future boss and her. Of course this explained a lot, so she could­n’t real­ly han­dle the links. The dig­i­tal appli­ca­tion process there­fore result­ed in a pile of dead wood for this inter­view. It was a sense­less waste of resources, of trees and of his time. After all, there was already agree­ment. Only this for­mal act.

And then this ques­tion. He had antic­i­pat­ed many things, but he had not expect­ed to be asked why he had­n’t put more effort into his resume. It had­n’t mat­tered to him, too much sense­less effort for an unnec­es­sary process, this it had been in his eyes, because there was agree­ment after all. But he could­n’t say that so clear­ly. Espe­cial­ly when this lady was so easy to irri­tate and when his future boss slipped back and forth a lit­tle ner­vous­ly. She prob­a­bly had an impor­tant role in the process after all. He opt­ed for diplo­ma­cy. The resume would always be up to date in his blog any­way, so for the sake of sim­plic­i­ty he would have tak­en it and then it would look like it — on the Inter­net bet­ter than on paper, for which it was nev­er made. It just had to go fast. She did­n’t seem par­tic­u­lar­ly pleased about this explanation.

This was the first chap­ter of a nov­el about life in the cor­po­ra­tion with the project title “On the Handrail into the Deci­sion-Mak­ing Cir­cle”. This nov­el is an exper­i­ment for me that lives from your feed­back. Is it worth writ­ing this nov­el? What could I do bet­ter and what should I do differently?

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Chris Philpott 15. August 2019 Reply

Servus Mar­cus,
An won­der­ful start to a nov­el about the bureau­cra­cy that is imbed­ded in large cor­po­ra­tions which is total­ly incom­pren­si­ble to out­siders, who use log­i­cal thinking.
There is one thing I do not under­stand though and I have read the Ger­man ver­sion to see if it makes sense, but that did­n’t help. I’ve used Google trans­late and that did­n’t help. So could you enlight­en me as to what you real­ly mean, please.
Und war das nicht sog­ar bess­er sich auch wieder ausklinken zu kön­nen? => And wasn’t that even bet­ter to be able to leave the cor­po­ra­tion again?
Then there is the state­ment in the first paragraph;
“One just knew each oth­er” = could be writ­ten as “they knew each oth­er already”, how­ev­er after sev­er­al re-reads your phrase has grown on me, so per­son­al­ly I would keep it the same.
Final­ly in the last paragraph;
“It just had to go fast.”  — I think this refers to the CV had to be done quick­ly, but maybe I’m wrong.
Mit fre­undlichen Grüßen
P.S. Does he get the job?

Marcus Raitner 15. August 2019 Reply

Servus Chris, thanks for your feed­back on the idea for this nov­el and you sug­ges­tions for the Eng­lish ver­sion. I must admit, that this kind of writ­ing is more dif­fi­cult to trans­late than what I usu­al­ly write. 

The “Und war das nicht sog­ar bess­er sich auch wieder ausklinken zu kön­nen?” refers to him work­ing as a con­sul­tant for the cor­po­ra­tion for a long time, but being a con­sul­tant only on a con­tract basis and this kept him detached and able to leave easily. 

I also think I will stick with the “One just knew each other”.

And you are right, the “It just had to go fast” refers to the CV being done quickly. 

And yes, he gets the job. Unfortunately.

Chris Philpott 15. August 2019 Reply

Servus Markus,
Sehr gern.
Should you want to look for sup­port in check­ing trans­la­tions, please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact me.

Marcus Raitner 15. August 2019 Reply

Servus, Chris! Thanks a lot. I will. My first focus is the Ger­man ver­sion, but I will prob­a­bly trans­late every­thing right away and then your feed­back will be high­ly appreciated.

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