By PAT WATSON
Could we go through this provincial election focused on the fact that the people campaigning are in effect seeking to be hired for a job? Could we avoid having to hear how awful the other applicants would be for the job?
If a person being interviewed for a job enters into the process by belabouring what poor prospects the others are, then what any reasonable employer would hear is that particular interviewee may otherwise have little in the way of assets pertaining to the job, and is therefore staging a diversion. Such intellectual dishonesty is not a desirable attribute in any skill set.
It speaks poorly if the best one can do to impress a prospective employer is to put competitors down.
If a person is sincere about being hired for a job, the standard exercise involves elaborating on career achievements and proven skills. So, for those seeking election – essentially asking to be given a job, or to have the contract renewed by the electorate – what is required is a solid presentation about what you have done concretely in your career as a politician and any other pertinent accomplishments. Honesty and integrity matter as well. Make a solid case for your vision, for what you expect to accomplish if you are to be hired or rehired. Bear in mind that while it can be engaging, no one is, nor should be, hired on ideology alone.
It would also be worthwhile to present in the best possible light the qualities one genuinely possesses that are compatible with the requirements of the position. These would include strong analytical aptitude, ability to listen thoughtfully and to grasp the multiplicity of any given issue, the ability to delegate while choosing the best candidates for important public service positions and the good judgment to recognize when partisanship and ideology must make way for practicality.
It is also good practice to come prepared with thoughtful questions to ask the prospective employers. This strategy is an indication that significant thought has gone into wanting to understand well the electorate’s/employers’ issues and concerns and how they can best be met.
As with any job interview and in accordance with standard job application practice in Ontario, a job seeker’s marital status, family life, race, religion and sexual orientation are not, strictly speaking, matters of public interest. However, detailed employment histories, along with reliable references, are.
Another important point – and it is necessary to mention this because it has become such a bad habit for political campaigners – please spare us the false promises. Aiming to attract our votes with pie-in-the-sky promises is a cheap trick. That strategy has run its course.
Currently in Toronto we are reeling from the letdown that there is no ‘gravy train’, and contrary to a well-used mayoral campaign promise, there will instead be service cuts.
So, yes, we are interested in your vision, but we don’t need any more promises that will inevitably be broken. That strategy only adds more bricks to the wall of mistrust that taints the relationship between the general public and those who set themselves apart as politicians.
If not absolutely certain of the follow through, resist the urge to gain an advantage over your competitors by using this device. Learn from past experiences that unmet promises can come back to haunt you.
In any case, you should know that in the old country we have a saying: “A promise is comfort to a fool.”
A note on a matter of perspective…
For a lifelong pedestrian, it was marvelous serendipity on a late summer weekend to be caught up in the sounds of what must have been thousands of evangelical Christians joyously proclaiming their love for Jesus as they marched, some dancing, eastward along Bloor Street.
The annual Jesus in the City parade did not however seem to go over as well with motorists as they tried to navigate through the downtown intersection at Bay and Bloor Streets and other intersections along the way. But since we all have to make room for each other in the big city and in respect of priority needs, the one vehicle that was able to disrupt the steady eastward stream of religious revelers was a Toronto Fire Services truck, barreling through southward with sirens blaring.