Monday, June 02, 2008

That Whacky Corporate World

Just in case any of you think that you’re too “out there” for the corporate world consider this oddity. A few posts below you’ll see a call for a writer by a company called Strategic Insight. You can read it and see what they do. I can tell you that they have their own brand of “insight” and apply at your own risk.

Since I have strung words together for a variety of business entities and I used to sell variable annuities and mutual funds, I thought I’d be a good match. After I sent them my writing samples, resume` and let them know that I knew the market and mechanics of variable annuities they thought so too. Then I was asked to fax a handwriting sample. I thought, well, this is odd, but what the heck. Since they’re going to spend money to have it analyzed I counted it as a good sign. I didn’t hear from them for a week so I called Tomiko Toland (her of fine literary genes) and asked of my status.
“They passed on you,” she said.
“Oh. Okay. May I ask why?”
“Loved the samples, loved your knowledge of the product, but...”
“But what?”
“The handwriting.”
No interview. No references. Apparently my handwriting alone revealed a less-than-stellar character. What insight! It’s funny how the legal authorities in the state of Connecticut and the countries of America and China didn’t catch these flaws when I applied to adopt a baby girl from China. Neither did the voters of my town when they reelected me to take care of their budget; the students of WCSU that I taught and tutored had no idea they were dealing with a flawed individual; neither does my wife, Mary Ann (check out Mary Ann Lamb’s pics, by the way on search The Visitat the Signature Theater) or my children, or the senior citizens and school kids that I do volunteer service for, and I’m certainly glad I got my MFA before they found out about my handwriting!!!

Google handwriting analysis and you’ll see it placed on par with astrology and tarot cards. But don’t tell that to Strategic Insight. And I saw their material. It’s poorly written and abuses the rules of English – but as a friend said, “I bet they all have neat handwriting.”

This is a longwinded venting to warn you to tread carefully if you are answering any ads for employment from this company. For what it’s worth, the young lady that I dealt with, Tomiko, seemed pleasant and fair. I plan to submit an article to the Wall Street Journal on my experience – typed, of course: I wouldn’t want them finding about me too.
Best Wishes!


ccpl said...

What kind of handwriting sample did you send, just out of curiosity? A Birthday card? A crossword puzzle? Or something written for the occasion? What color ink?

DLowe said...

They asked me to write a short response to how I might be a good employee for Strategic Insight. I'll write you a letter sometime and you'll learn that I'm a "backward slanter" and I cross my t's low -- hell, sometimes I even miss them altogether! That's the kind of terrible person I am! My i's are dotted poorly, I fear too. Little hope for me.

Handwriting analysis is really deep stuff: for instance, if your a's are square? It reveals a personality that is square. If they are round, then you are a "rounder" personality. Who'd a thunk. Now, I happen to have a very long, thick and erect capital L and, well, I'm pretty sure we all know what trouble THAT might bring to the workplace. No wonder they passed on me.
The ink color, by the way, would be dictated by their fax machine. I'm certain that a company as insightful as Strategic Insight spent a great deal of time and energy into the choosing of their fax ink. I'm guessing chartreuse...yes? (By the way, they have an imprint company called Strategic Elvis Sightings.) Don

David Holub said...

Too funny, Don. That is, if it weren't so tragic.

Prof. Clements said...

Don, GREAT idea to write a piece about this! Let us know when it's out in WSJ.


DLowe said...

Here's the link to Playbill. I just realized that my instructions for searching with regard to The Visit were incorrect.
Best Wishes,

Laura H said...

Apparently, I was also (hand)written off the list of candidates for the Strategic Insight job shortly after I sent the cursive fax. And this was just after Mickie in HR told me she was "putting the paperwork in motion." Too bad I gave so much thought to the question I answered in script: What could I offer to SI? What chance does informative, accurate, and concise writing have when it's being read for character traits? Had Tamiko (the job seeker)told me the SI CEO was buddy-buddy with "a leading handwriting analyst" before requesting the handwritten fax, rather than after, I wouldn't have altered my loopy and angular scrawl(probably indicating a naive trust in WCSUMFA job blogs).Instead, I would have nixed the fax and redubbed the company Strategic Insult. Good Luck with your WSJ piece Don. I hope the only thing you have to sign is your pay agreement.

DLowe said...

Yeah, loopy and angular...according to the science of handwriting, "loopy script" means a personality who tends to walk in a looping route to work (often late), or possibly, someone who annoys their fellow co-workers by singing "Hang On Sloopy" ot "Little Latin Loopy Loo" repeatedly under his or her breath.

"Angular", I think, according to handwriting experts is definitive for a person who would climb a church steeple with an automatic weapon and just let the chips fall where they may. And you thought your ample writing skills were enough?

Seriously: sorry your time was wasted. Their loss.
Best Wishes,

Avi said...

To add some color to this discussion.

I am the director of reserach, a fellow writer, and the co-founder at Strategic Insight. Our firm has used handwriting analysis for over 20 years and benefitted from the observations of our expert, the president of the National Society for Graphology and one the nation’s foremost experts in this field.

This prarctice is not well understood in the US, but it is a standrad hiring practice in other countries, including France and Israel, for example.

One of the keys to hiring is how a particular individual would fit within a team. Sometimes they do, sometimes their analysis suggests they may not work well within a small team based on the personalities of other team memebers. Hiring such a person would be unfair and harmful to them.

By the way, there are 2241 entries on for books about handwriting analysis. Their writers, many that have graduated from a similar programs as yours, may disagree with your criticism.

DLowe said...


If book hits are what you are using for validation of handwriting analysis (2,241) then maybe you should consider one or more of these: (Incidentally, all three are used in various industries to evaluate people for hiring.)

There are:
10,081 hits for Tarot Cards.

73,650 hits for Astrology

6,545 hits for The Color Test

Look, you can use any analytical tool you want, I don’t care. I am aware of how difficult it is to hire people and how expensive and unproductive it can be if you get it wrong. I know how business works, particularly the financial services industry. And, by the way, I did not take your rejection of me “very hard” as you described to my friend David who recommended me. I took having my time wasted “very hard.”

How would you like to spend, say, eight hours of your time (that’s what I spent) securing a new client for Strategic Insights only to be told at the end that your prospective client only works with Libras? Wouldn’t you have appreciated having that information provided to you from the start?

David speaks well of you and I’m inclined to believe him. But you’re a money-man so you can certainly understand the value of time. I spent 8 hrs @ 35/hr = $280.00. You can send a check to:
Don Lowe
17 Chapel Hill Road
Sherman, CT 06784