Witwithwords Blog

Archive for November 2010

For years, Thanksgiving literally meant “over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house we go….” I’ve made that trip too many times across the Hudson River with my son and 1000s of other travelers over the Tappan Zee Bridge to Northern New Jersey for a huge turkey feast with my family.

We soon learned that if you wanted to avoid delays, you had to get up real early, drag everyone out of bed, to zoom across the soon-to-be-congested highway.

But it was worth it – it is one of the few holidays where my whole family (30 at last count) could get together and really connect with one another. Grandma, my Mom, would cook two turkeys, borrowing my sister’s oven for the second bird. Everyone else would bring the stuffing, the veggies, the breads, the pies and the wine. My parents would borrow extra tables and chairs from the local volunteer fire department.

When we arrived, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade would be on TV and relatives would arrive, carrying all sorts of scrumptious favorites from family recipes – two types of stuffing (regular and Pam’s sausage special,) homemade cranberry sauce, Linda’s sweet potatoes and blanched green beans with almonds, Grandma Stagg’s homemade white and nut breads, my Mom’s creamed onions, Cyndie’s crab dip, Darcy’s apple pie, Linda’s pumpkin pie with its legendary crust and my family’s rendition of Nesselrode pie – minus the fruits but with the dark chocolate shavings – nicknamed Mistletoe Pie by one brother-in-law.

We’d always eat after the local high school football games were over. One of the children present would offer grace and then we would dine, amidst laughter and kidding. After dinner, we’d help clean up and give guests a breather before setting out the desserts. Many of the football fans would retire to the family room in front of the TV and often fall asleep in their chairs with all of that tryptophan and food. After dessert, many of the helpers would take a very needed walk in the cold weather or join the kids in touch football.

Once my parents were no longer up to hosting that feast, the holiday was taken over by my oldest sister. She has such a big family, Thanksgiving was just a more festive holiday, with a few more mouths to feed. Once my parents were no longer with us, Pam carried on the tradition proudly. Now that her children have families and in-laws too, she decided to keep couple squabbles over where to go to a minimum and decided that she would resolve the problem by holding her Thanskgiving on the next day, Black Friday.

So this year, like the three others before it, Thanksgiving will be a day later. Cars on the road will still be as high, only now we’ll be trying to avoid the mall traffic on Black Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

One interesting aspect of job hunting is the personality test. I’ve taken these before and recently, one employer asked me to take another.

It consisted of about 175 multiple choice questions, which supposedly unmask whether I am a follower, or a leader, whether I truly like working on my own, or whether I am better suited to collaboration, whether I am an Introvert or an Extrovert, whether I am a dominant personality or a wallflower, and other parts of my personality.

I know some companies find these psychological questionnaires very helpful. I remember from my journalism days that CEO Fred DeLuca of Subway used to swear by them. In fact, the human resources department there used to attribute its low turnover in staff, even in good economies, to these tests.

My niece, who works for another big corporation, says that her company uses them all of the time. They help human resources decide which department you are best suited for, she said, whether you would be a good fit. (It should be noted that she never took one, as she was hired because she knew several people in the company and they needed her skill set.) She’s been there for quite some time, and really enjoys her job, despite having not taken that personality test!

Experts in the HR testing field caution companies to not use the Myers Briggs personality tests for matching job to candidate. Actually, the Criteria Process Inventory, CPI, used for matching jobs to personality measure the “Big Five” personality traits – Agreeableness, Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Stability. (See http://blog.criteriacorp.com/tag/bigfive/ for more expert information.)

I have no problem taking any kind of test for employment, if they are appropriate to the position. Of course, like 95% of the population, I want to do well, if not excel at the test and I am interested in the results. But please, don’t have me take this test and then not provide me with the results. It’s like asking for your opinion and once you provide one, it is not acknowledged!

By the way, since I have taken a couple of personality tests before, I can tell you that they show me to be agreeable and conscientious, open to new ideas (my creativity) and extroverted. And my experience proves that I have led projects and teams of people before very successfully and have also been part of several teams who produced dynamite work! So does that show up on these test results?

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