One of our part-time canine members of staff has recently left to pursue a new career with her original breeder. Poppy does not seem to like being an “only dog” when she is at home; a reduced appetite and general air of ennui suggest that she misses her colleague (despite the occasional bullying that was the reason for Snippets’ departure), so Lou is now looking for a suitable candidate to fill the vacancy.
As anyone who has ever recruited staff will know, this is a time fraught with questions and decisions. Before even beginning the search, it’s essential to consider the precise nature of the position and ask yourself what is important to you about the ideal candidate; what values and attributes should they possess in order that they will be the right one for the post? Is the position one that involves any reception duties, for example, and if so does this include any requirements of an auditory or vocal nature? Will they be expected to undertake any secretarial duties such as paper shredding or mail collection? Is the role of personal trainer an important part of the job, or just someone to assist with the steeper hills? Does existing training for the position matter, or are you happy to undertake their CPD (Continuing Puppy Development)? Would an older candidate with more experience be more suitable? Are you looking for the curious, innovative type, or someone who has a strong interest in sofa-based inner contemplation?
Would you prefer someone with a marked disinclination for going out in the wet and a deep and abiding fascination for researching how long they can stay in bed? Are any gardening duties required, such as clearing fallen apples and plums, digging the borders or scratching moss from the lawn? Is the occasional pilfering of supplies of, say, coal, going to be a problem? And, of course, there are the needs of any existing staff members to consider; what are they looking for in a colleague? Are there any roles they would enjoy sharing, or perhaps passing on to a new member of staff? Do you have someone who is already in a managerial position who might resent you employing someone of a higher grade, or are they the laid-back and gregarious type with little interest in hierarchy who just loves networking and making new friends? Are you going to include them in the interview process?
Looking through the various recruitment (ie adoption) agency websites is a good place to start your actual search and, as with any CV, you have to read between the lines and match as many of your required values and attributes as possible… Eventually, Lou has drawn up a shortlist of candidates for her vacancy and interviewing has begun…
Yesterday’s interviewee seemed very promising indeed on paper; we arranged an appointment at his foster home and took Poppy to meet him. Unfortunately, however, Poppy’s values concerning, for example, the purpose of her tail, were in direct variance to our candidate’s sustained suggestions, so that a radical and, I might add, vociferous difference of opinion occurred. Poppy said no – and we listened.
Here in Wydale it might sometimes seem as if time stands still while the rest of the world passes us by (which is why it’s such a good place for a retreat centre!), but of course even here we are not immune from change…
A recent change, which might seem small in the scheme of things, was chronicled in The Teachings of Dog No 16 – our full-time canine members of staff are now down from five to three and, it has to be said, things are a lot quieter round here…! It is remarkably interesting how differently the dogs behave depending on who else is around, and this sudden reduction in their numbers has really brought this to the fore. Theo and Lily now play and chase as they used to do before Poppy came along – when Poppy visits, Lily is more or less ignored by Theo. Lily will vociferously defend me against “intruders” (aka “visitors”!) if Theo is around, but without Theo she becomes quiet and welcoming. (Daisy remains pretty much Daisy, regardless of who is there!)
What about us? Do we also behave differently around different people? We certainly do... I was speaking with a new client this afternoon who was wanting help with some problems he is experiencing at work. Most of the time he is fine, but when in the company of certain colleagues he goes to pieces and loses his confidence completely; we’ve probably all experienced something similar at some point in our lives.
In NLP terms, this is known as “Perception is Projection” – in other words, we project our own “stuff” onto other people, which is then reflected back at us. For example, if a person unconsciously reminds us of someone we met in the past who made us feel a certain way, we are likely to recreate those feelings without consciously realising why – we project the attributes of the original person onto the new person and have the perception that they are the cause of our feelings.
Snippets the poodle gave an excellent demonstration of this – when she first came to us she was afraid of men, so any man who came into the house was, in her perception, a truly terrifying being.
When we become consciously aware of an unwanted projection it then becomes possible to do something about it, either by acknowledging that this person is not the same person as the original person who made us feel this way, or by addressing the underlying “stuff” within ourselves (often a limiting belief) that created the feeling in the first place.
Amongst the canine members of staff, however, doubtless Theo will continue to be best friends with Lily unless Poppy is around; Poppy will be very, very quiet when by herself, but act as a noise catalyst (or should that be “dogalyst”?) when with the others; Lily will have to be forcibly restrained until visitors are safely inside the hallway if Theo is around, and Daisy will remain Daisy, regardless of all the rest of us… until such time as another junior canine member of staff arrives, to shake up the mix yet again!
...and the Canine Members of Staff