The Subtleties of Religious Discrimination

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This story is likely to be the opposite of what you’re thinking based on the title.  When I left my first consulting position, I cast a wide net, seeking to land a job with a larger consulting firm. I was pleased to be contacted by Arthur Anderson Consulting, and looked forward to my scheduled interview.

On that evening, I met a man named Roger in one of the restaurants downtown. Roger was staying there for a long time while working with a client in the area.

From the outset, Roger wasn’t as cordial as I had assumed someone in his position would be. He seemed to take an immediate disliking to me for one reason or another. A bit into the conversation, I understood what was occurring. Roger was fishing around to see whether or not I was of the same faith that he was.

Adept at Discrimination

Roger was smart enough to not play his cards outright, but I was sufficiently aware to determine that this interviewer was seeking to reject me, and apparently all others, who did not share his faith. Roger was adept at discrimination, with such a subtle manner that one could never make the claim. In carefully chosen words, he let me know that I didn’t have “what it takes” to be an Arthur Anderson consultant.

Still, the discussion revealed, if anything, that I was abundantly qualified. Indeed, on critical consulting issues, I was more qualified than Roger. Of course, when someone is predisposed to discriminate in a job interview, it doesn’t matter how qualified the applicant might be. In this case, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I was the more competent of we two; on some level, Roger knew this to be the case.

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As years passed, I bore no ill-will toward Arthur Anderson Consulting. Moreover, in my travels as a management consultant with an another firm, and then as an author and speaker, I had encountered numerous Arthur Anderson Consulting partners and associates in my audiences. I found it to be particularly rewarding to receive “raving fan” type letters, kudos of high praise from such individual.

Arthur Anderson Consulting subsequently filed for bankruptcy following the fallout from the scandal at one of its major clients, Enron. Nevertheless, I proudly displays my Arthur Anderson kudo letters when a consulting firm inquires about my services.

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