When I was young... back in the good old days... I believed that people were clever because of the simple reason that humans are smarter than monkeys. Slowly, through many interactions with fellow human beans, I realised that having opposable thumbs and advanced vocal cords does not equate intelligence.
But people still amaze me.
One example - people who need a smack on the back of the head before they remember they have to pay for their goods at the supermarket. While their goods are being swiped, they stand with their heads lolling slightly to one side, vacantly gazing into the distance as a string of drool slowly dangles from their mouth. The teller rings up the total and then - only then - do they stop excavating their nasal passages long enough to produce a wallet (which inevitably holds nothing but 5c pieces or saving coupons). Does it come as a surprise that you have to pay? Are you hoping that if you take long enough, the teller will lose interest and wave you through?
Another example: some of the candidates that I deal with on a daily basis. At the moment, I am being stalked by a particularly bright speciman.
Delphine applied for a position, which she wasn't qualified for. I phoned her to explain that she didn't fit the bill because speaking native French was not the same as speaking native Dutch, but we discussed her experience in more detail. Standard procedure. At the end of the conversation, I told her to keep checking the website, apply for positions that she is suitable for (including language requirements) and wished her all the best with her job search.
Del decided that we were best friends. She called me twice a week. She emailed me three times a day. She asked me what I thought of jobs which were not advertised through our agency. Should she apply one at a time, or should she apply for more than one? Do I think she should focus on positions in Dublin, Amsterdam or London? I gritted my teeth and explained that I was not her personal recruiter, that she should back up a bit. She did. For a while.
Then, Del came back to tell me that she had been offered a job. Fantastic - I was genuinely happy. Now she could stop harrassing me. She was a bit confused though, because she didn't remember actually applying for the position...
Del had received an email. In email was a 'contract' (one page in block letters) detailing the following: she was offered a position of Secretary to Beck's Beer General Manager in London. Five thousand pounds a month. Five year contract, two weeks notice period. Twelve weeks holiday per year. She didn't apply for the position and she didn't interview for the position, she just received a job offer. Please sign on the dotted line and send us your details. Warning bells, anyone?
Then, she admitted, she had called me (in my personal recruiter capacity) to discuss the fact that these people wanted four hundred pounds from her, in order to secure her work permit. "But I thought you said I don't need a work permit for England because I'm French?"
You don't, Del, you blessed imbecile. Please do not send any money.
Here's the kicker. Del is 44 years old. According to her CV she has worked in several different countries, including South Africa. When does naivety become stupidity, and how can someone like that actually reach the age of 40 without accidently driving over her own head?
Anyway, Delphine is back. She sent me one email, which I chose to ignore, having more pressing things to do with my time. She sent me a second email, asking if I had received her first email. I replied that I had and explained, again, that I had other candidates and clients to deal with on a daily basis and would get to her inane query in due course. She replied to that very email, sending me the third in one day, asking if I had received her first two emails.
I replied, with the blessing of my manager: "Del, please see my previous answer (email below yours). We cannot justify responding to any more of your emails. Good luck with your job search."
Is this woman stupid, or just emotionally retarded?