Sunday, October 4, 2020

Checking the Boxes

While I admire those who are unashamed and unafraid to speak the truth in these difficult times, I also see the backlash and repercussions of doing so and am sad to say that I have let cowardice take the day in my own life. A recent attempt to engage in dialogue landed badly, and so the fear is rewarded. Nevertheless, silence is not the answer, and in order to speak up, I need to get my thoughts in order. Hence the blogging. 

A recent well-written and, if I may say, blunt post by Mama Needs Coffee called out those who have justified their positions as pro-life while abandoning the most vulnerable and marginalized among us. The idea that supporting a candidate who has done more to protect the unborn than any other in history means that I don't care for the environment, the immigrant, the impoverished, or the minority is as absurd as the idea that all issues are equal and that we should support the candidate who checks the most boxes, regardless of what those boxes are. 

Even our own judicial system doesn't believe that all sins are equal. Can you imagine the outrage if we suddenly started sentencing shoplifters the same as serial killers? There's a reason for hierarchy and weight because there are some rights that are essentially prerequisites to all others.  

As a hiring leader, this all-are-equal stance is akin to saying that I should place all desired candidate qualifications in a table and when choosing between two candidates, the candidate who possesses more than the other should be hired, regardless of the boxes left unchecked. My hiring qualifications may read something like: Doctorate of Pharmacy, Colorado pharmacist license, completion of accredited residency, experience in hospital pharmacy, experience in pediatrics, experience in codes, familiarity with our electronic medical record platform, communication skills, ability to receive feedback, a growth mindset, self-awareness, work ethic, attention to detail, demonstration of longevity, creativity, flexibility, ability to problem solve, and the list goes on. There are obviously "required" qualifications in that list, without which the candidate doesn't even get past the recruiter. They are non-negotiables. And I would argue that there should be non-negotiables in your moral compass. I believe the right to life to be one of those. Some of the other characteristics are still more important than others. I have never thought less of an applicant because they don't have experience with our EMR. It's a nice-to-have. But it will never trump self-awareness. I can teach pediatric nuances, or how to effectively provide medication support in a code, but I can't work with someone who has no interest in self-reflection and self-growth.

Some extremists might say that I should hire her only if she possesses all the qualifications. There is no such thing as a perfect hire, just as there is no such thing as a perfect political candidate. You will never find someone who has it all, and if you think you have, you haven't looked deep enough. But that doesn't mean they can't do the job well. I've watched colleagues sit on an open position because they passed over many qualified candidates who didn't fit their "ideal" only to watch COVID eliminate that open position in favor of financial stability for the organization. While I don't believe that you should fill a hole with any warm body, somebody probably would've been better than nobody. Our country doesn't have the option of sitting on an open position until the perfect candidate comes along. And sometimes you have to take your non-negotiables and learn to work with the gaps. This may look like surrounding the candidate with colleagues who possess strengths in those areas of the candidate's weakness (hmm, also seems to apply to politics and our checks and balances government).

For those who might not be with me yet, let me put it another way. If we look at marriage (again, realizing that for your lifetime partner, you would not settle for the better of two evils, but bear with me), many people generally have a list of what they are looking for in a spouse. Let's pretend I have two prospects:

Now, I'm not saying that candidate 1 doesn't have a sense of humor. But let's pretend that in objective comparison, candidate 2 is funnier, smarter, more active, etc. I hope I don't know anyone who would choose candidate 2 because he has more boxes checked. You could even move two more 'x's to the left and candidate 2 would still be numerically better. But it's kind of like "Mom's vote counts for three" when it's her vs. the two kids and they are deciding on dinner. Fidelity kind of trumps the other characteristics (assuming you believe in the sanctity of marriage, which I realize in current culture is not an assumption to make lightly). 

I don't ever want to be a one-issue voter, just like I hope to never be unwilling to think outside the box as a hiring supervisor. But until our country respects the dignity of the unborn, the tragedy of those millions of lives lost dwarf the tragedies of racism (though abortion is racist), poverty (though the poor comprise a significant majority of the aborted), police brutality, environmental destruction, and the issues of immigration, education, and healthcare. Standing for life is a prerequisite for standing for the family, which I believe to be the single most important change that needs to occur to turn our society around. The family unit, honored and protected and upheld, must flourish for our country to do so. 

I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.