Thursday, January 31, 2008

Make a Good First Impression on Someone for Godsakes

Having done my time in Corporate America, I happen to be in a position to offer a few pointers on putting your best foot forward when first entering a office. But why listen to a simple man opine on business comportment when you can hear what the Almighty Lord has to say on the subject? Or, to be more precise, the Lord as interpreted by the Christian Stewardship Ministries, an organization dedicated to utilizing the Bible to teach career management. Think of it as your MBA by way of the G-O-D. Or perhaps as the business bestseller Who Moved My Cheese? with the subtitle God Did, and He Won't Give It Back until You Stop Touching Yourself. Or maybe the Left Behind book series as written by Dale Carnegie. Or as Tony Robbins with the gift of transubstantiation.

The following are just a few of the highly instructive examples from Christian Stewardship Ministries' purportedly helpful manual, "How to Make a Good First Impression." As you read each quote remember to keep asking yourself, "Do I feel bad enough about who I am?" According to the CSM, your answer should be a healthy and hearty "Oh man, not even close."

1. Posture and Carriage
"While posture and carriage may not seem very spiritual, they are definitely a critical part of a first impression. Work on one area at a time. For example, maybe you need to deal with excess weight. If so, you need to know how to do it. If you know God wants you to lose weight, then recognize your failure to take charge of this problem as disobedience. Confess it as sin and ask God to help you change your behavior."

So you know those ten extra pounds that you've been carrying around? The ten pounds you needlessly knock yourself about again and again only to make something completely inconsequential now seem utterly insurmountable? Well, apparently they're an affront to God. Yes, according to the wise folks of CSM, God wakes up in his--oh, let's say duplex since he'd probably enjoy the light from the 14' tall windows--and gazes down upon your form only to shake his head in disgust and perhaps mutter something along the lines of "Ewwwww."

In other words, it's religion as it was always was meant to be--in the guise of a jackass junior high gym teacher calling for "one more lap from the fatties."

2. Keep Grooming and Clothes Appropriate
"A somewhat controversial grooming example is length of hair. Some feel that the Bible disapproves of long hair on men. Others feel no such constraints. The critical question is: What does God want you to do? If you run the risk of causing others to stumble, the question may become not what your rights are, but what your responsibilities are. You may have the right to have long hair and still find that God wants you to surrender that right. And certainly, if you are trying to make a good first impression on someone for God's sake, and they would not be favorably impressed, you might want to rethink your position."

Upon first reading, one cannot help but wonder how late in the editing game was the word "hippie" removed from the first half of the paragraph. Upon a second reading, one cannot help but notice that the focus is solely on men. Apparently the CSM believes good Christian women should spend their time not in an office but rather at Wal-Mart or, if they are not so blessed, McRae's. And upon a third reading, one cannot help but ask just how long can one man's hair be to "run the risk of causing others to stumble"?! Has the Crystal Gale look suddenly become the must-have 'do for today's fast-rising male executive? Is the CSM given to hyperbole? Is it just being snarky? Or do they honestly feel that long hair on men is not only a threat against decent society but also one step closer to people engaging in sexual congress with machinery?

3. Converse with Genuine Interest
"Our conversation includes not only what we say, and, equally important, what we do not say, but how we say what we do say."

To which one can only say, "What did you say?" But the advice continues unabated and unprovoked:

"To the extent you can identify and share common interests with the other person, you will likely leave a good first impression. And to the extent that you can comfortably identify your relationship with the Lord in your conversation, you are likely to solidify a good impression. Even an unbeliever will be left with a good first impression if he senses that you are comfortable in being casually open about your relationship with the Lord."

For who among us has not quickly warmed to a new acquaintance who felt comfortable enough to say aloud, "If we're all going in on a pizza I'd like ham because God put us in charge of all the animals in His dominion, especially the tasty ones." Perhaps the only thing that could provide greater comfort would be if a stranger were to walk up to you with his pants around his ankles, holding a funnel and a ferret, and said, "Little help?"

In conclusion, should you truly wish to succeed in business, apparently you would do well to let God be your mentor...or wing-man or whatnot. Or, to put it in the words of the CSM:

"You cannot just decide to have God shine through you to another person. You have to concentrate on being who He wants you to be, so that He can make Himself visible through you."

Oh, and always make eye contact when conversing with a business associate. That way God can see directly through your eyes into the other person's soul to know if that individual is truly worthy of the Henderson account.


yellojkt said...

God Is My Wingman would be a great book on how to use pick-up lines in service of the Lord.

Unknown said...

I think the reference to "causing one to stumble" is some sort of coded reference to the well known fact that if a man sees another man with long, beautiful, flowing locks of hair, the second man could easily turn the first man gay, what with all the gender confusion running completely out of control.

Brent McKee said...

"Some feel that the Bible disapproves of long hair on men."

So obviously the Bible disapproves of Jesus, the long haired freak.

2fs said...

It's times like this when I think of that great work of religious dedication, written by the late Dan Fogelberg, whose chorus runs, "His blood runs through my instrument."

I can only hope Mr. Fogelberg did not play the slide trombone.

Anonymous said...

yeah yeah yeah. I get it.

You're funnier than me, are with a woman I'd never get, and get paid a lot more than I do. You're probably taller and can bench more than I can.

How much ya bench??

yeah yeah yeah...

Sara Benincasa said...

Ah, the magic of Mintzworks. I love how now he leaves comments for you and not me! The truth is, you post better stuff than I do.