Good morning! I'm John Smith.
Hello, John! I'm Toby.
As the new head of the Human Resources Department I have decided to build a skills database, that is a list of all the things that people are good at doing in this company. We can use this to impress our clients, fit people better to the work that has to be done. And very important, discover which skills are missing and put people on training courses to fill their gaps.
Sounds like a good idea, John.
Can I ask you a few questions? I want to make a skills profile for everyone.
Thank you! But I have a small problem, I couldn't find your personnel folder, as if you were not on the payroll. I know nothing about you, not even your family name. May I ask you a few basic questions first?
OK! What is your full name, date of birth, and colour of underpants. And your formal education – at which university do you get your MBA?
Oh, I left school at the age of seven.
You mean, you can't read and write!
That's right. I can't read or write.
Oh, I see, you are the caretaker, or cleaner, or work in the kitchen. But why are you wearing a suit?
Oh, I find a suit more comfortable than jeans and a sweater.
But working clothes, overalls, would be better for your work.
Oh, no! A suit is quite good for the mathematical modelling of financial systems that I do.
Mathematical modelling? But you can't read and write!
OK, OK, you do mathematical modelling. I have here a list of mathematical modelling methods. Take a look at this list and tell me which one you do.
Oh, all of them.
But you didn't read the list. How do you know...
Hey! I told you, I can't read or write.
Something is wrong here. You can't read and write, but you are saying that you are one of the best in mathematical modelling in the company.
Yeah, that's right!
I'm going to be blunt with you, Mr. er, I mean, Toby. I have been told that you are some crazy guy from the street who does nothing but sit here and drink coffee. Is this true?
Oh, yes, John! I do sit here and drink coffee.
If I told you that your colleagues have asked me to fire you, what would you say to that?
Oh, my colleagues have a good sense of humour.
Yes, they say that the head of the company has a soft spot for you.
Yes, that's probably very true.
I think that I could persuade him to change his mind. What do you say to that?
You could always try, John. Try it! Try to persuade me!