For some mysterious reason, I’ve noticed lots of recent references to chocolate in Tweets and posts by several different people. It didn’t take much for me to fall in with this trend and let myself be beguiled by it as well. At first blush, I figured the most pertinent association with offbeatcompassion would be the phrase,“death by chocolate.” It may be pertinent, but it does not evoke any memory or story,so no help there. Luckily a real link between chocolate and my career comes to mind: Just as there are plenty of stories about my patients, I have my share of stories about all the fascinating dynamics that took place in my hospice job interviews.
One of the most memorable was what I dub the “chocolate” interview. After going through the preliminary steps to being considered, I could see from the onset that the interviewer (let’s call her Constance) had virtually decided to hire me on, sight unseen, given my years of experience. She not only did not pummel me with provocative questions nor overstep the boundary between being curious and being intrusive, she scarcely talked with me at all about my qualifications. Instead, about 85% of the interview was about chocolate. Yes, chocolate. The joys of dark chocolate, favorite recipes, chocolate festivals, a certain line of brownies overpriced due to their receiving an award, and her policy to have chocolate at the ready for all her employees when they came out of the field and into the office for respite from facing death. “I believe in treating my staff well, “she asserted. “And chocolate is one important way of doing so.” I could not argue with that. Never mind the pay. When could I start?
Constance talked so sweetly (literally), I wondered when she would spring some trick question. I was almost letdown that she didn’t. Seems she was very focused on sweetening her offer with her appealing personality and lack of desire to lord it over me as my supervisor. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks after I was hired, Constance, who herself was brand-new and had even sold her home and relocated, was fired. The higher ups did not look kindly on her free spirit, nor mine, and it wasn’t long until every piece of chocolate as well as yours truly had disappeared for good from the premises.