Saturday, August 30, 2008

RR and PLU

We enjoyed an evening with new friends last night. We had cocktails here then went out to late dinner. The conversation was fast and furious; we had plenty to talk about. We discovered similar interests and mutual friends and different experiences. We also discovered areas in which we could learn from each other. It was just a fun evening. "They are PLUs", Tom said as we returned home.

A friend of mine, a businesswoman who is one of the most dynamic people you'll ever meet, is one who has interviewed lots of people over her career. She interviews to hire for her own business, and she also interviews to give experience to young people who are just entering the job market. She told me that she has some little codes that she puts in the corner of some applications. One code is RR. It stands for "raised right". She uses it when she discovers young people with manners and values and work ethic and respect for others and other traits that she considers essential. Later, when she reviews that application, with RR in the top corner, she knows that person was someone that she would want to hire.

Another code she uses is PLU---for "people like us". Again, she uses that code to identify those people with traits similar to her own and those of her other employees---smart, congenial, hard-working, creative, enthusiastic. It might be a vendor or a potential client or an applicant for a position in her company.

I think those codes work in lots of situations. While it might be a little tricky to define RR and PLU, we all know what those traits look like. At the College, I come in contact with all kinds of students---some young, some not-so young, but I can tell you if I think they are RRs. I know it when I see it. (I surely hope that my friend would use RR to describe our children were she to interview them.)

We use PLU a lot---as we did to describe our new friends last night. PLU has nothing to do with their color or socioeconomic level or education. Instead it has to do with how comfortable we felt with them, how easily the conversation flowed, how many experiences and interests we shared, and whether we wished the evening could last longer. As it turned out, we overstayed our welcome in the small Japanese restaurant. We were talking so intently that we didn't notice that we were the last customers and the staff had begun sweeping up. We apologize, Sakura!

We enjoy meeting new PLUs!

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