From the Time Machine: News You Can’t Use
Here’s a totally made-up collection of lines that famous figures in history, literature, and pop culture might say to a job interviewer today. The quips are the creative contribution of Jeffery R. Cox, who has a wickedly wild sense of humor. What do you think — would these quips bring home the job?
- Hester Prynne (fictional woman in The Scarlet Letter made to display the scarlet letter A on her bosom for her sin of adultery)
I offer a talent for marketing, with specific experience in branding.
- William the Conqueror (Norman general who conquered England)
I know I have reputation for hostile takeovers, but I like to think of them as friendly mergers.
- Don Vito Corleone (head of fictional crime family in The Godfather)
I was a good boss. I treated my employees like a family, and as you know, nothing is more important than family.
- Zeus (mythical Greek god-in-chief)
I have to go through a job interview? I used to be the King of the Gods, for cryin’ out loud!
- Buffy Summers (heroine of Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
hated my last job. Every day I felt like I was going to the gates of hell to try to keep the demons locked inside.
- Captain Kirk (Starfleet captain in the Star Trek franchise)
I boldly took my department where no one had gone before.
- St. Joan of Arc (French teenage general who won great victories before being burned at the stake)
I may look a little wet behind the ears, but I defeated the world’s greatest army, liberated my country, and changed the course of history — and my last boss called me a saint.
- Isaac Newton (super 17th-century scientist who explained gravity after seeing an apple fall from a tree and wondering why it fell down instead of up)
My last boss thought I took direction well. I didn’t need to be hit on the head to do something.
- David (biblical king who defeated the giant Goliath)
I’m not into size. When it comes to the competition, my thinking is, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
- Harriet Tubman (U.S. Civil War abolitionist who helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad)
My specialty is discreet outplacement.
- Julius Caesar (unrivaled leader of the Roman Republic who was fatally stabbed by Roman senators, including some of his pals)
My previous job involved a lot of office politics and backstabbing. I’d like to get away from all that.
- Cleopatra (last pharaoh of strife-driven ancient Egypt, who died from suicide by snake bites)
The office politics at my last job were a nightmare. I worked with a bunch of snakes.
- Tony Soprano (mobster boss of crime family in The Sopranos TV show)
Would I go after my boss’s job? Do I look like the kind of guy who would knock off his boss for a promotion?
- Genghis Khan (12th-century Mongol general who butchered entire peoples to create the Mongol empire)
My primary talent is downsizing. On my last job, I downsized my staff, my organization, and the populations of a number of countries.
- Albert Einstein (great physicist whose theory of relativity holds that time doesn’t flow at a fixed rate)
I brought my major research project with me. Do you have time for a demonstration?
- Pandora (woman in Greek mythology who released all of mankind’s evils by opening a box)
I think I can bring a lot to your company. I like discovering new things.
- Hannibal Lecter (serial cannibal in The Silence of the Lambs movies)
I was the victim of communications problems with my old boss. I had him over for dinner, and he practically disappeared after that.
- Odysseus (legendary Greek hero of The Odyssey who took ten years to wander home from the Trojan War)
We didn’t reach our goals overnight, but we got there . . . eventually.
- Michelangelo (genius Renaissance painter and sculptor who did a lot of artistry for the Vatican)
Can we negotiate on the Sistine ceiling? I’ll do the job for 50 percent less if I can use a roller.
- Pharaoh Ramses II (Egyptian ruler during biblical Exodus story)
My main accomplishment? My entire labor force walked out on me, but I still produced.
- Robin Hood (legendary British outlaw who rode through Sherwood Forest with colorful buddies)
My financial management accomplishment? Some may consider it stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but I saw it as creative reinvestment.
- Faust (German legend who traded his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge)
I had to make a deal with the devil, but I kept my department under budget.
- Cassandra (Greek mythological prophet whose predictions were ignored)
My greatest weakness? Perhaps it is my skill at seeing the future.
- Helen of Troy (in Greek mythology, a real babe whose abduction by her lover started Trojan War)
I’m not just another pretty face. Although I’ve been known to launch a thousand ships, I’d like to be known for the skills I bring to the job.
- George Washington (first U.S. president)
If I can lead a successful rebellion and a fledgling country, I’m sure I can lead your insignificant department.
- Moses (Hebrew liberator who parted the Red Sea, allowing the Hebrews to escape slavery in Egypt)
Red tape? I can part red tape to get the job done.
- Christopher Columbus (Italian explorer who, realizing the world is round, in 1492 sailed across the Atlantic looking for a shortcut to India and found America)
You bet I can open new markets for your company. Put me on the road, and I’ll discover a world of opportunity, the likes of which you’ve never seen.
- Napoleon Bonaparte (18th-century French military giant and emperor who conquered most of Europe)
Okay, I’ll start today in the mailroom, but tomorrow . . . the world.
- John F. Kennedy (American president who launched the U.S. Peace Corps, illustrating his commitment to public service)
In preparation for this interview, I asked myself not what this company can do for me, but what I can do for this company.
- Joseph Guillotine (French physician who invented a device for execution by decapitation)
I think I can give your company a head start on the competition.
- William Tell (medieval Swiss legend said to have shot an apple from the head of his son)
My last boss told me I always gave everything I did my best shot.
- Othello (stern soldier in William Shakespeare’s Othello who forgives no supposed misdeed by anyone, including his wife, and imposes ultimate sanction across the board)
I demand performance. Even those closest to me were axed when I was told they had let me down.
- Lewis & Clark (in the early l800s, two explorers who led an official expedition to map land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase, a big chunk of the American West)
Big land development plans? Yes, we have experience in scouting out new real estate.
- Richard III (in William Shakespeare’s Richard III, English king whose horse is slain in battle — he pleads for another horse, for which he promises to pay dearly)
A job! A job! My kingdom for a job!
- Leonidas (Spartan king who, against all odds, led a heroic suicide mission against the Persians)
Management said there was no way my team could produce a report in time. “Nonsense!” I told them. “This is where we stand! This is where we write!”
- Boris Badenov (spy character with a heavy accent in the animated cartoon Rocky & Bullwinkle who repeatedly tries to knock off “moose and squirrel”)
If I can make beeg trouble for moose and squirrel, I can make beeger trouble for your competitors.
- King Tut (Egyptian pharaoh in the land of the pyramids)
I understand your questioning my business practices, but where I come from, the term “pyramid scheme” has a completely different meaning.
- Gollum (a main Lord of the Rings character who began life as a good hobbit but — after murdering for possession of the ring — slid into slime trying to justify his actions)
Year after year, I would win our company’s highest award. But fat, stupid hobbits tried to take it from me, tried to take my precious ring from me. But I didn’t let them. It was mine . . . mine . . . mine . . . my precious!
- Achilles (fearless and determined warrior of Homer’s The Iliad who was invulnerable in all of his body except his heel)
When I’m going for my goals, I never let little things stop me.
- Count Dracula (vampire in Gothic horror films)
I sucked everything I could out of my employees, but I got them to produce. No mean feat, since I could only work the night shift.
- Maxwell Smart (bungling Agent 86 who thwarts various threats to the world, using shoe phones and other oddities, in Get Smart)
I am very versatile in the roles I can perform. Would you believe that my last assignment had me disguised as a stapler and loving it?
- Anakin Skywalker, or Darth Vader (fictional Jedi knight–turned–villain in the classic Star Wars saga)
My boss accused me of having a dark side, but I like to think of it as commitment to getting the job done.
- Lady Godiva (English noblewoman on horseback who rode naked through town as political protest)
So, this isn’t what you meant by “business casual”?