Driving 3 hours home from a Buffalo Bills game, I found myself agitated. My agitation was not caused by the loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but due to the dumb @#* behind me who insisted on riding my bumper. Where the crap did he think he was going to go? There were only 65,000 other agitated fans trying to get home too. What I found even more annoying was “Mr. Rogers” who let every car in the neighborhood cut in the line ahead of him. Ugh, doesn’t he know the simplest of merging rules? I don’t want to be his neighbor, I just want him to only let “one” car cut in as long as the traffic exits. Geez Louise, it is not a “neighborly day” when you are trying to get the heck out of the stadium lot after losing and some knucklehead is letting everyone cut ahead. It wasn’t a beautiful day in my neighborhood as I sat stewing for an hour. I had visions of wrapping a cardigan around his back bumper and tying it to the nearest goal post and then see how beautiful his neighborhood would be.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Mr. Rogers! When I was growing up, there weren’t many shows to watch, and his was one of my favorites. I remember the good old days when we played outside in the neighborhood, unlike today where most kids stay inside creating a virtual one. Oops, was that out loud, darn, now all I can hear is “OK Boomer.” For those of you that haven’t heard the phrase “OK Boomer” it was created as a retort for older people who according to the younger people “just don’t get it.” Basically, kids use it as a comeback to pretty much anyone over 30 who says something condescending about the younger generation and/or the issues that matter to them. Apparently, as the phrase is being more widely used, it has lost some of its light heartedness; I say we all need to learn to laugh at ourselves a little more.

As times have changed, a common concern I hear as I travel around the country is the difficulty in hiring someone who is willing to commit to a career that demands almost 100% of one’s soul. Our calling is not for everyone and because of this maybe, just maybe, we should consider an interview that is a little unique, just like we are. In the beginning of this article I touched on a few ways people choose to drive and whether you were aware of this or not, how we drive often determines what kind of person we are. While researching these personality traits I came across a column written by Geoffrey James a contributing writer for Inc.com. His ultimate finding was that if one was obnoxious behind the wheel more often than not, they would be just as obnoxious at work. These common bad driving traits are typical of someone you may not want to hire; Unless of course you see yourself in them, lol. I honestly know I am guilty of a few.

• Rolling Stops: People who don’t come to a full stop at a stop sign can’t be trusted to handle details. They literally and figuratively cut corners, both on the street and in the workplace.

• Tailgating: People who tailgate (i.e. leave less than one car length per 10 mph) are unimaginative. They assume that nothing can go wrong and are caught by surprise when the unexpected happens.

• Road Hogging: A road hog insists on going either below or at the speed limit rather than pulling over and letting a line of cars pass them. This is classic passive-aggression; Road hogs will bog down any and all initiatives at work.

• Finger Salutes: People who feel it necessary to express profanity at other drivers (especially while driving away) are usually frustrated and a bit cowardly. At work, they can be counted on to backbite and gossip.

• Over-honking: These are people who honk longer than necessary, like a full second (rather than a polite tap) at a driver who hasn’t noticed the light has changed. Over-honkers tend to be both overly critical and overly sensitive to being criticized.

• Texting: Driving while texting is more dangerous than driving while drunk. Anybody who texts or emails while driving is a dangerous fool and cannot be trusted with any responsibility whatsoever, at work or anywhere else.

• Speeding: Habitual speeders are like my former boss. They don’t really care about other people and they don’t think the rules apply to them. At work, they are the jerks that make everyone else miserable.

On the flip side there are some obvious traits of a good driver that equate to an outstanding employee:

• Patient: Patience is one of the most important traits a driver can have. Heavy traffic, road construction, parking, and the actions of other drivers will test patience on a daily basis. Impatience can lead to aggression, bad decision making, and ultimately on the job costly mistakes; patience is a virtue.

• Considerate: By definition, a considerate person is one who is careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others. Considerate people exhibit good driving etiquette. They let people merge, follow the speed limit, yield to pedestrians, and use turn signals. What they don’t do is equally important. They don’t honk when not absolutely necessary and they don’t tailgate. Even though these “Mr. Rogers” type people may be somewhat annoying families love them.

• Defensive: In this context defensive applies to anticipation. Anticipation is the ability to read what is happening around you and respond accordingly. Those that constantly analyze their surroundings and take note of the small details perform well on the road and at work. As a driver, they constantly keep changing their line of vision between short, medium and long distances. This provides a bigger picture of what is happening around them, and thus they are able to anticipate an accident before it happens. If you take precautions on the road you are sure to take them at work.

• Knowledgeable: Those that start off on the right foot (or gas pedal) by taking drivers education begin a more successful driving career with less accidents. Those that educate themselves on the ways of the road have a natural thirst for knowledge, who wouldn’t want an employee that wants to be good at what they do?

Experience has found that courteous drivers make the best employees as they are the easiest to get along with and don’t get flustered when confronted with tough situations. Often thinking on their feet, they are the perfect problem solvers. Who knew a simple “road test” could help solve finding the next “employee of the year?” So, what am I suggesting? Something that obviously is not for everyone, something that has many of you rolling your eyes, and maybe just maybe something that has a few of you saying, “Hey it might be worth a shot.” So, what should we call this innovative option? How about, “Mobile Interviewing,” “Interviewing on Wheels,” or possibly “The Road Trip Interview.” Hey, drastic times call for desperate measures.

It is not easy to find the right fit for our business, and it appears that there are slim pickings out there. But I do know they are out there, it is just a matter of finding them. For those of you who are still looking, I wish you all the best of luck in finding that patient, considerate, defensive, knowledgeable driver.. um, oops.. I mean employee, heehee. Now, don’t think I didn’t see that finger salute, lol; I still love you and Happy Valentine’s Day! FBA

Ann Marie St. George, CPC, a first-generation funeral director has worked for the past 20 years as a Regional Manager for Cooperative Funeral Fund, a preneed and cemetery care fund management company. Thriving in the industry for over 35 years as a funeral director/embalmer she was pulled into the world of national disasters starting with 9/11 where she lived 11 blocks north of the World Trade Center. She is a Mortuary Officer for both DMORT Region II and Kenyon International Emergency Services. The devastation and grief she has been exposed to has contributed to her unique sense of humor which she does admit may also be due to genetics. She encourages anyone reading her articles to reach out by email at [email protected] Or you can call 800-336-1102, or visit www.CooperativeFuneralFund.com. Suggestions for topics are always encouraged.