And The Red Ribbon Goes To . . .


I think I have mentioned before that I am currently job searching. It is one of the pitfalls of the career I have chosen. I’m in politics, and I have been unemployed since Election Day this past November. It’s what we political operatives and staffers do. We work our tails off from about April to November, 7 days a week, 12 hours a day on all cylinders. Then after the election we take a well-deserved break which is cool because we get to spend the holidays relaxing with our families. However, after the first of the year almost like clockwork, the phone starts ringing again and the campaigns come a calling.

So far this week I’ve had an interview just about every day, lots of nibbles but no bites yet. Since I am currently in the foothills of NC, all of my interviews thus far have been telephone interviews with firms and campaigns from across the country. On Monday, I was on the phone with a firm in Ohio for nearly an hour fielding your usual, run of the mill interview questions. What is your greatest strength? What sets you apart from all our other applicants? Where do you see yourself in five years? Things were going well, and then the owner of the firm said, “Ok, Monica, I’m going to throw you a bit of a ‘curve ball’.” Uh Oh.

Before he threw the pitch, he asked me, “You follow North Carolina basketball, right?” I replied, “Yes, very much so.” Even though I was thinking to myself, “Duh, it’s only like my obsession.” I guess I wasn’t the only one who had done research before the interview. Then he delivered the question, “Who is the second best player to come off the bench for UNC?” Now, of course me being the rabid fan that I am, all these questions and qualifiers came to mind. Does he mean who was the second best player actually coming off the bench who wasn’t a starter? Does he mean the second best player in college or the NBA? I mean to be honest, I had never really thought about it. But, I had to think and think fast.

Now in a telephone interview with a prospective boss, one cannot really sit down and take a look at the stats and come up with a calculated, scientific answer. I guess this is what he meant in the job description by wanting someone who can think on their feet. The first names that ran through my mind were Worthy, Ford, Daugherty, and Perkins primarily because these were the players I idolized when I was a kid. Luckily, my interviewer realized he had opened up a colossal can of worms and that I was struggling with dilemma, so he did me a favor and revealed the purpose of his question. If I were to be hired, what is it about me that would make me the second most valuable player on his team? Immediately, I understood what he meant, and I could now answer his first question. Which Tar Heel would I like to epitomize through my work and career? That’s easy. Tyler Hansbrough.

If you think about it, if UNC had been a company and Hansbrough a worker, he would have been a model employee. He possessed loyalty staying all four years despite winning the Naismith award his junior season. By Roy Williams on admission he put in the most effort in practice and has called him, “the best player I’ve ever coached”. By the end of his illustrious, college basketball career Hansbrough had become the ACC’s all-time leading scorer and culminated his senior season with a National Championship. In a world that does not always reward hard work and perseverance, Hansbrough is the perfect combination of talent and drive that made him a pleasure to coach, an asset to his team and an individual star. He was the MVP, Mr. Congeniality and Teacher’s Pet all rolled into one.

In the end, I think that’s what we all strive to be in our careers as well. We want to be the best and score individual honors, but we also want to gain the respect of our co-workers and employers. Despite all his personal accomplishments and accolades, Hansbrough was always a team player, and he made those around him better. In my opinion, his undeniable talent and scoring ability as well as the way he conducted himself on and off the court are what makes him the 2nd best player to ever wear a Carolina uniform. You can agree or disagree, but if I were an employer, I’d want to hire someone like Psycho T.

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