Equal value

October 1, 2022 - 12:00am -- Living City

I work in a medical laboratory at a public hospital. A few years ago, our pathology service was taken over by a private company. It has not been an easy transition and my workload has significantly increased, so I started looking for another job option. All my applications were unsuccessful. Then an oncologist from our hospital, with whom I have worked closely for many years and who was aware of my present difficult work situation pointed me to a job advertised in the paper. It was at the private hospital next door, where he also works. I sent in an application and was invited for an interview.

Two executive managers of the private hospital conducted the interview. As expected, it was challenging and arduous. They were looking for someone with very particular skills in a range of areas that I did not have. I emphasized my areas of strength, and they reiterated the need for the person they would appoint to not require any training or supervision from day one. At the end of the interview, I had already accepted that I would not be successful and was peaceful about that.

However, four weeks later, I received an email inviting me for a second interview, which really surprised me. The same Finance/IT manager was conducting the interview, this time accompanied by the human resources manager. I told them both that I hadn’t expected to be invited for a second interview because I had understood from the first interview that I wasn’t the person they were seeking, as I didn’t match their selection criteria.

They explained that they had changed the selection criteria and had re-structured the position: I would be more responsible for the administration side, while someone else would be responsible for the finance side. It seemed strange that they would do that, just to accommodate me. I asked about training in their systems. The finance/IT manager said he would train me. Again, I found it strange. And while I asked the questions, I noticed and felt a subtle resistance from him.

At the end of the interview, I was offered the job. I needed to give them an answer the following morning.

That same afternoon, the oncologist who told me about the job called me. He said he knew about my second interview and asked how it went. I told him that I was offered the job. But then I also learned from him that he actually co-owns the private hospital and had influenced the CEO to give me the job. I thanked him for his help, but my heart was heavy. Getting a job because of an unfair advantage went against my Christian values.

Now I understood the submissive and restrained attitude of the finance manager during the interview. He had been directed to hire me, even though we both knew I wasn’t the right person for the position. I felt his suffering, and I resolved to do what I felt was right for everyone involved.

In the morning, I called the HR manager and told her I could not accept the job. She was taken aback and asked why. I said it didn’t feel right to accept it knowing I had disadvantaged the other applicants by having the edge on them with the connection with the oncologist. I said that I needed to think of each of them having equal value. To have accepted the job would have also caused rivalry and competition among the managers.

The HR manager was struck with my openness and asked with much sincerity if it would be alright for her to call me in the future, should another position become available (they are building and expanding). That way, she said, I could apply for it without the help of anyone. This was really the hundredfold for me for staying true to my Gospel values. I know in God’s time he will help me find a better situation.      

By L. I., Australia