“I just don’t know what I would say about you. I wouldn’t feel comfortable.” That’s what a clinical supervisor told me recently when I asked whether she would provide me a letter of recommendation. This supervisor went on to explain that after all, we had only worked together for approximately thirty days. I felt as if I had been slapped. Slapped across my face. Events from the past month, clinical, professional, and personal between the two of us, clicked rapidly through my mind’s eye. I responded, “yes, that’s true. We haven’t worked together very long. However, I believe that one can learn a lot about another person in just thirty days.” This supervisor asked if I wanted her to reconsider my request. I responded, “No.” I mean, what kind of letter of recommendation would I receive based on the initial answer. Limited. Limited in thinking, limited in breadth, and certainly limited in depth. Again, “No thank you.”
Since that conversation, the concept of what one can glean in thirty days about another individual has continued to dance around in my consciousness. My initial belief has not changed. I think that we reveal many things about ourselves in every interaction, even when we intend to be a blank slate or in our best attempts at neutrality. We expose our true selves through action, word, and deed, each and every minute of each and every day of our lives. Traits such as kindness, empathy, loyalty are conveyed full force in a single moment. A mean heart bared in a second.
So give me a month with almost any person that I have known thus far, whether at work or play, and I believe I could tell a person a thing or two about that individual.