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The Wedding-Crashers (A Story of hiring criteria)

Professor Samar Ahmed

By Professor Samar Ahmed

Professor Ahmed is an MD, JMHPE, FAIMER Fellow and faculty. She is the Director at Ain Shams Middle East North Africa FAIMER Regional Institute for Health Professions Education (menafri.faimefri.org).

Bells, music and dancing…. Fancy feed and attire…. love in the air and families in reunion years after a loss in the avenues of life… In weddings people dress up and become the mask they want to show and do not even have to feel bad about it. In weddings people get ready to catch up and celebrate with others achievements they have not necessarily accomplished. Conversations are open between people from the West and East and it is a safe time to brag about what you have and what you do not necessarily have. People meet and greet and know that it might be years before they meet again. Ladies want to be ready with the best physique and the most gorgeous dress, even if it is borrowed and Gents get ready with success stories and accomplishments they have not really got in the bag as yet.

A wedding is so much like the academic environment where everyone is putting on the act and believes deeply in their IQ that they are absolutely sure no one has them figured out at all. They meet and smile at each other when they truly can see through eachothers’ bragging and achievements. It is in this environment that we learn to accept eachothers’ lies and celebrate the masks. We congratulate each other on promotions we are sure we did not really deserve and pay respect to individuals we know for certain are missing ethics and values from within their construct.

The wedding dynamics are the exact same dynamics we use when we feel we are less that the academic position we were given. We dress up and act as though noone can read through our insecurities. Families in the wedding congratulate and bring up no questions or rhetorical feeling and demonstrate acceptance of those who will not see you again for the coming years…those who probably could not care less if you were the president of LaLa Land or just a dancer on the set of the movie.

It is all great and no one at the office will ever tell you how they actually see you… no one cares that much to say anything…. all until the wedding-Crashers arrive. They come into the team with energy that is foreign to the dynamics of the everyday office life. They demonstrate interest and enthusiasm and look you in the eye to read. They see your greatness and your weaknesses at the same time. They then make a conscious choice to ask… and pose inquiries that need diving to answer. To answer these questions you might need to do the dreaded reflection. You might have to look yourself in the mirror to understand and this is why you just hate them. You put guards at the door and tell them to take care of crashers. You make sure that everyone who enters the wedding is dressed for the purpose and falls under the “fitting model” that you are entirely believing in. You have them go through interviews and conformity tests before accepting them for the post…. You are simply keeping an eye open for crashers. Those who will disrupt your unique structure built on the social contract between people that even if you know you are being lied to…. put on the believing mask….no one wants to be asked..

Wedding crashers will go on to spread the fun and joy in the environment so long as you have not cornered them and tried to put them into a box. People look at them in amazement and want to understand how they have come into the day with such energy that is appealing to everyone but once they start labeling them, the crashers run. The wedding is not so fun anymore once they are gone…it goes back to being the normal uptight wedding with people lying to eachother in the open and not even regretting it.

Wedding carEveryone looks around for the fun and the amazing people that brought in the joy…but these people are gone… They left with the first question posed at them…”what part of the family are you from?” These people run once you try to assign them a role in the large scheme of lies that has become the social norm. They have their own matrix of lies they function within….lies that are meant to bring up everyone’s spirit and make everyone feel great about themselves… Their lies are not self centred and hardly use the mirror as the benchmark. These people look for faith and power in other peoples’ eyes and it is this small discovery that helps them build a plan to recover the lost identity of those in the identical tuxedos.

The crashers are meant to be kept out of the team when really they are what the team needs the most. They are the mirror that wakes the team up and shows them that they are not tied to the front wagon, they can create by non conforming. They are the people who show real admire when something is worth admiring and those who ask the dreaded question when egos are driving the decision making.

The problem is that all our hiring criteria and all the criteria we place to choose people within our teams are criteria designed to keep these people out. We have become so accustomed to what we have achieved and what we believe is the best way, that we act like white blood cells when a crasher tries to enter our well set matrix. We are programmed to defend this matrix as a spider would his home. We attack and shut down on ourselves when we see dynamics that are on the other coast from ours and we ignite the fight mode. Once set on “fight”, our systems react and halt the process of information processing. We stop listening to understand and start listening to react.

These foreign bodies in our system are our only available competency check in an environment that has become too comfortable to question. We need to rethink the criteria that are announced and those that are not announced in choosing management in a team of of administration and players within a highly efficient team. Criteria have to allow for the crashers to do their job and raise question and along side ignite the fun. The more we keep the crashers out the less we get to feel the real thrill of achievement. Bring them in before the clock strikes 12 and all you have left is a farewell speech that only your gloomy mirrors will be listening to.