Ed Ackerman

Ed Ackerman The Optimist

My mom could be described as “salt of the earth.” So, too, could all of her siblings, my aunt and uncles. And that would have been their undoing if they’d wanted to work for Thomas Edison.

I’m talking about the “salt” part.

On Inc.com I read a piece last week about how Thomas Edison interviewed job applicants. He took them to lunch and ordered soup. He wanted to see if they put salt and pepper in their soup before tasting it. If they did, they would not be hired.

Edison reasoned that anyone who would salt their food without tasting it first relied on assumptions and preconceived notions when making decisions, and therefore, had no place in his business.

I immediately thought of my mom. She picked up the salt shaker before tasting anything. Salt went in soup and stews, on mashed potatoes and every other vegetable, and even on pizza and watermelon and cantaloupe. Her entire family did the same. I vividly recall as a young boy sitting down to breakfast following my cousin’s First Holy Communion and being practically badgered by my uncle to salt my scrambled eggs, which I refused to do.

Since my mom was only 10 years old when Thomas Edison died, the point is moot. But judging her by that salt shaker in her hand would have been a mistake on his part. He would have cost himself a mighty fine employee. Her high blood pressure aside.

Ed Ackerman writes The Optimist blog Wednesdays and Fridays. His column, The Optimist, is published every week in Greater Pittston Progress.

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