Dr. Stanzo circled the room to examine the look on everyone’s face.
“Remember this because this definition is critical: A core competency is something a business does better than anyone else that gives them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
Core competency. Important. Got it.
My hands ached from writing at lightning speed. Professor Stanzo taught lectures at a really high pace. Missing one thing made the difference between an A and a C-. The other four students seated at the group table struggled to keep up too.
“Alright. Now that you understand what a core competency is can you apply it? Does anyone in this class know what their core competency is?”
The posited question was clearly a challenge.
Yeah, I know what my core competency is. I’m fucking awesome! 😎
I kept this thought to myself to avoid public castration. No one else felt brave enough to take Stanzo up on his challenge, he tried again.
“Really? Not a single person in this room can tell me what their core competency is? Well you better figure it out because it’s going to show up on an exam.”
Morty, who sat directly in front of me, was swept up by a gust of courage. I watched in horror as he raised his hand to accept Stanzo’s challenge.
God bless him.
“Ah Mort, what is your core competency?”
With a gleam in his eye and fire in his heart Mort stuck out chest and answered, “Well I am an international student who grow up in Morocco. Because I’m from overseas I had to learn five languages. So, I would say my core competency is that I speak five languages.”
The not-so-subtle grin on Morty’s face indicated self-satisfaction in his answer.
Dr. Stanzo paused a moment to stroke his chin hairs as he deeply contemplated Mort’s response. The entire class waited to see how this would unfold.
“Well that’s nice…”
That was first time I’ve literally seen someone’s jaw drop. Stanzo’s words hit Mort like a proverbial bitch slap, but with a much harsher sting.
Stanzo continued, “I mean five languages isn’t bad, but it isn’t that great either. Sure, in a rural town like this where people barely speak English you’re at an advantage. If we dropped you in New York City you would be just another joe. ALSO, I bet the languages you learned are all Romantic in origin. Come talk to me when you have five languages stemming from different origins. Sorry. Good try though.”
Jesus! He just got his ass handed to him!
Mort, still mortified, (pun intended) just stared at Stanzo in disbelief. By now he was smaller than a California raisin. It didn’t help the that whole classroom stared at him in collective shock. Our brave hero had been slain right before our eyes.
A few minutes later I heard Morty mutter to himself, “I’m never raising my hand again.”
That’s probably a good idea – Barry