Getting Ahead In Social Relationships

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the FLorida Jewish News Eight pairs of eyes were starring at me, their expressions serious. “So, Miss Hirschhorn,” they continued their interrogation, “what would you say are your strong points?” I was being interviewed for graduate school and I knew I had to sell myself. “I’m organized,” I began, “I’m a hard worker; I learn fast; I’m responsible; I get along well with people; I enjoy helping; I like to write; I’m not stupid…” “Hold on, there,” the professor with the dark eyes interrupted. “Why did you do that?” I was startled. “Do what?” I asked. “It was positive, positive, positive all the way through your list until you got to the end. Then it was, ‘I’m not stupid,’ he pointed out. Why did you do that?” Oh, boy, now they got me. Caught red-handed with humility. What an awful time for that. How am I supposed to sell myself? Taking a deep breath, I said in a tiny voice, “I didn’t want to brag.” “Well,” piped up a petite lady with honey-blonde hair, “if you did want to brag, what would you say?” The air fizzled out of me like a tired balloon. “I’d say I was smart,” I admitted. I got in. Humility lost; boastfulness won. Well, I suppose there were other reasons I got accepted for doctoral work that fateful morning 15 years ago, but, clearly, these people wanted to hear what I thought was the unadulterated truth out of my lips, no beating about the bush. And so, the question is: Did I do the right thing the first time? Shouldn’t...
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