her graduation from the University of Tennessee, she went to work
for the Tennessee Department of Criminal Justice as an investigator
in their fraud unit. She excelled and was promoted rapidly. She
applied to the FBI, and was offered a chance to interview. Her father
was elated. He did nothing to help her, as she wanted to "earn"
anything that she attained in life. She had an enormous dislike
for people who "scammed" and cheated their way through
things. She wanted to gain recognition for a job that she had done
well, not by what somebody did for her as a favor.
was offered a job by the FBI as a field agent and so she resigned
her position with the state of Tennessee. She would miss her friends
and coworkers, but she was really excited about her new career.
The training that Jennifer received from the FBI was very challenging,
but she did very well. She graduated at the head of her class from
the academy. Her father couldn't be prouder of her. He offered to
take her out to dinner to celebrate her graduation and number one
ranking in the class from the academy. She agreed enthusiastically.
father took her to dinner at one of Washington, DC's finest restaurants.
He had arranged to pick her up in a stretch limousine, which Jennifer
was thrilled by. The limousine came to new her apartment to pick
her up. The driver came to the door, and as Jennifer opened the
door to her apartment, the drivers eyes drew open wide, as Jennifer
was sporting a brand new dress, and had gone for a complete beauty
makeover earlier that afternoon. When the driver opened the limousine
door for Jennifer, her father's mouth dropped open wide. He had
never seen Jennifer so dressed up and made up before. He sort of
stammered, but told her how beautiful she looked. Jennifer smiled
broadly and thanked him. As she sat down in the limousine and the
driver closed the door, she felt a wonderful sense of pride in what
she had accomplished and how she felt right then in that magic moment.
Her life was wonderful.
the restaurant, her father spoke glowingly of how proud he was of
her. He asked her what her career goals were with the FBI, and Jennifer
said that she had never told anybody before, but all of her life,
she had wanted to be in a position to really "make a difference",
and be able to have a direct, positive impact on crime. She had
always imagined herself "matching wits" with a formidable
adversary, and coming out on top. Her father liked what she had
said and went on to tell her that with her drive, determination
and commitment, that he was sure that she would attain that goal.
After dinner, she and her father selected desserts from the menu.
He chose piece of Black Forest cake, and she chose a piece of Carrot
cake. As the desserts came out, Jennifer was astounded to see the
waiters bringing her a dozen red roses and a bunch of balloons with
"congratulations" and other things printed on them. Everyone
in the restaurant was looking at her and her father and smiling.
The maitre'd asked for everyone's attention in the restaurant. As
he got their attention, he slowly walked over to Jennifer's table,
smiling broadly as he approached. He told them that these things
were honoring the young lady, and that she had just accomplished
a great feat, in graduating tops in her class in a difficult school.
Everyone applauded loudly. Then the maitre'd asked Jennifer to stand
up, which she did. Everyone clapped loudly, intermixed with a few
whistle's. Jennifer was very embarrassed, but did enjoy it. She
had never had anyone publicly single her out like this. It felt
really good, and while she acted embarrassed, she thanked her father
very much for all of it. Secretly she wished that her grandfather
could see at this moment as well. She felt a twinge of pain in her
heart as she thought about her granddad and knew that he would be
very proud of her.
really enjoyed her new career. She did very well and she began to
advance through the ranks. As time went by, she was told of an opening
for someone to head up a newly created Urban Terrorism Task Force.
This interested Jennifer greatly, and she submitted her name for
consideration. There were many veteran FBI staff that were interested
in this newly created position. There were, much to Jennifer's disgust,
people who were trying to "pull strings" and do whatever
they could to be selected for the position. It annoyed her greatly,
but she simply went about things in her own way. She was, much to
her surprise, among the final three candidates for the position.
Her father came to her apartment to meet with her. He was very proud
of her, and knew how she felt about people intervening on her behalf,
and he told her that he would do whatever she wished. She knew that
her father could probably guarantee her the position if she elected
to ask him to help, but she looked him straight in the eye, thanked
him for his support, and said that while she appreciated his offer,
she would either be selected, or rejected, solely based on her performance
and credentials. Her father smiled and told her again, how proud
of her he was. He stood up, told her goodbye, and wished her the
best of luck. She thanked him again and said goodbye.
days later, Jennifer was notified that she was one the final two
candidates for the position. She was stunned, but elated. There
would be a series of meetings, whereby the two remaining candidates
would be evaluated, and then the selection would be made. Jennifer
was very nervous, but quite confident. She felt very strongly that
her interpersonal skills would be a tremendous asset. The series
of meetings turned out to be very tiring and filled Jennifer with
an air of uncertainty. The interviewers had all been men, and the
questions had been thought provoking, yet intimidating. The scenarios
were all too real, and the effects of a miscalculation in the hypothetical
scenarios would have been disastrous. There were no clear answers,
she had been forced to think and react. She hoped that she had done
well, but the answers were uncertain. The results of the final selection
were to be revealed the following Friday morning.
was a bundle of nerves leading up to that Friday. The Thursday before
the big decision was due, Jennifer received notification that she
was to appear at the FBI Director's office at 7:35am "sharp"
the next morning. This brought renewed discomfort to Jennifer, as
she wasn't aware of the Director himself making the announcement.
She wondered what the meaning of it all? That night was very long,
with very little sleep.
was at the Director's office at 7:35 am "sharp". Making
sure to walk through the door at exactly 7:35. Much to her surprise,
Jack McManus, the other candidate finalist was already sitting in
the lobby waiting, apparently for the Director. The two exchanged
polite head nods and artificial smiles. Jennifer registered with
the Director's personal secretary and sat down a couple of seats
away from Jack. They were both fidgeting around nervously. The time
began to slip by in an uncomfortable manner. The first disappointing
time that each made mental note of was 8:00am. Then it was 8:30
am. Then it was 9:00am. Each wondered, what was going on? When 9:30am
rolled around, they both jumped as the Directors personal Administrators
phone buzzed loudly and the Directors voice directed her to "Pick
up please!". The Administrator spoke softly with the Director
for a moment, and looked briefly at the two of them and nodded a
"yes" type of head movement as she spoke to the Director.
Then she hung the phone up and stood up. She walked over to the
two and much to Jennifer's surprise, she asked her to go immediately
into the Director's office. Jennifer's mind was racing a mile a
minute. Did she get called first with Jack still waiting because
Jack was going to be selected? She would know the answer soon enough.
she walked in, she noticed that the Director, Mr. Jed Bookings,
was looking down at some papers on his desk, and did not look up
at her as she entered. She felt awkward, but summoned up the courage
and strength to say "Good morning, sir!" Slowly, Mr. Bookings
began to raise his head and eyes, and their eyes met. She could
not read his response, and he had yet to acknowledge her greeting.
He said gruffly, "Have a seat." Immediately Jennifer sat
down, now feeling very uncomfortable. Mr. Bookings lowered his eyes
again, and seemed to be reviewing some paperwork in front of him.
Again, time began to pass in an uncomfortable fashion. Jennifer
was doing the best she could not to seem nervous, or anxious. She
sat perfectly still, waiting for the Director to make the next move.
She sat still for over an hour. Finally, the Director, who had been
turning page, after page, after page, stopped and looked up at Jennifer.
Her eyes popped open wide. She managed to force a sterile looking
smile at the Director, who just looked at her rather seriously.
He finally spoke, saying, "Ms. Ashby, you have selected as
one of two finalists for the extremely important position as Director
of our new, elite task force on urban terrorism. Ms. Ashby, this
position is dangerous, and the effects of a flawed decision could
put tens of thousands, and perhaps even millions American citizens
in extreme danger. I am a member of the "old order". I
have served the FBI for 30 years. I am personal friends with your
father. He amazed me by telling me that under no circumstances am
I to use that relationship as anything in this important decision.
These words he told me came from you. Is that true, Ms. Ashby?"
Jennifer responded immediately to the affirmative. The Director
continued, "Ms. Ashby, there is a gentleman waiting in the
lobby. He also would like to be selected for this new position.
He has a lot more time in the Bureau than you, doesn't he Ms. Ashby?"
Jennifer nodded her head meekly to the affirmative. The Director
continued, "You see Ms. Ashby, you and he both went through
the same intensive interviewing and scenario response questioning.
Although he has so much more experience, you graded considerably
higher than he did. This, Ms. Ashby can be the only criteria that
should be used to select the person for this position. I do however,
have the absolute right to make any decision that I feel will best
serve this important role. That is why you are both here this morning.
That is why you both have had to wait so long. You see, Ms. Ashby,
it is very important that I make the correct decision...the first
time. Do you honestly feel that you can outperform this man...under
fire...and under the most stressful conditions imaginable...Ms.
Ashby?" Jennifer looked at the Director and spoke, "Sir,
with all due respect, I know that I am the right person for this
position, and it has precious little to do with Mr. McManus, and
his abilities. He is a legend, sir. However, you know in your heart
that I am the right person, and I honestly believe that you will
make the right decision."
Bookings looked puzzled for a moment, but then a sly little grin
began to appear at the corner of his mouth. He said, "Ms. Ashby...you
have truly amazed me. You see, in the field, I cannot have anyone
who may hesitate. While Mr. McManus may not hesitate, I truly believe
that you will not either. Your response here this morning, coupled
with your scoring, has convinced me that it's high time I quite
looking for reasons not to give the position to you, but to move
forward, as of this moment, with you as the newly appointed Director
of this important task force. Congratulations, Ms. Ashby. You are
the new Director of the Urban Terrorism task force." Jennifer
stood up immediately and moved to shake the Director's hand. Both
had smiles stretching from ear to ear. Jennifer politely thanked
him for his decision. Then the Director said, "Ms. Ashby, as
Director of the task force, your first item of business is to inform
Mr. McManus of my decision." Jennifer's head tilted to the
side with a smile as she tried to read the Director's face. Surely
he was kidding. After a moment, he let her know that he was kidding.
He asked her to sit back down, because he wanted her present as
he relayed the decision to Jack McManus. Jennifer felt slightly
awkward, but respected the Director's decision. The Director picked
up his phone and asked his personal secretary to tell Mr. McManus
to come in.
Part 8 To Be Continued
2003 Geoff Hampton
Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and
business consultant. Hampton is the Executive Director for St. Mary's
Health & Fitness Center in Powell, TN and is also a regular
columnist for the wellness/fitness Website www.fitcommerce.com
as well as Canku Ota. He can be reached by E-mail at GEOFFLHAMPTON@aol.com
His national anti-obesity/diabetes campaign, The Wellness Wakeup
Challenge can be reviewed at www.fitcommerce.com/wellness