Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

The Microsoft and Tomatoes Story…

By Mark Wilkinson | Mar 19, 2015 | Friday Funnies

We all spend endless hours ‘researching’ on the web and anybody who works in recruitment will inevitably have come across the story about the man who was turned down for a maintenance role at Microsoft thanks to his lack of an email address.

In a true rag to riches story he then goes on to make his fortune selling tomatoes.

Surely it has to be apocryphal bunkum?  It is.

If the hiring manager at Microsoft really wanted to give someone a job they would sit them down right there and then and furnish them with a free Microsoft email, securing a customer as well as an employee.

It is the last place on Earth that the lack of an email address would stop you getting a job.

But there are still lessons in the story, so if by some chance you haven’t seen it, sit back and enjoy one of the web’s most heart-warming employment tales.

And bear in mind the morals of the story:

1.  There’s a job or a path out there for all of us, even if you got turned down today.

2.  Hard work can reap rewards, no matter where you start from.

3.  Technology isn’t everything.

4.  Don’t believe everything you read on the web

The Microsoft Cleaner Story…

An unemployed man goes to apply for a job with Microsoft as a cleaner.  The manager there arranges for him to take an aptitude test, where he swept the floor to perfection.

After the test, the manager said:

“You will be employed at minimum wage.  Let me have your e-mail address, so that I can send you a form to complete and tell you where to report for work on your first day.”

The man protested.  He had no computer or email address.  To this the MS manager replies,

“Well, then, that means that you virtually don’t exist and can therefore hardly expect to be employed.”

The man looked at the last £10 in his wallet and took a big decision, bulk buying tomatoes.  Within less than 2 hours, he sells all the tomatoes individually at 100% profit.

Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost £100 before going to sleep that night.  And thus it dawns on him that he could quite easily make a living selling tomatoes…

Getting up early every day and going to bed late, he multiplies his profits quickly.  After a short time he acquires a cart to transport several dozen boxes of tomatoes, only to have to trade it in again so that he can buy pick-up truck to support his expanding business.

By the end of the second year, he is the owner of a fleet of pick-up trucks and manages a staff of a hundred former unemployed people, all selling tomatoes.  Planning for the future of his wife and children, he decides to buy some life insurance.

Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances.

At the end of the telephone conversation, the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically.

When the man replies that he has no e-mail, the adviser is stunned and said,

“How on earth have you managed to amass such wealth without the Internet, e-mail and e-commerce?

Just imagine where you would-be now, if you had been connected to the internet from the very start!”

After a moment of thought, the tomato millionaire replied:

“I would be a floor cleaner at Microsoft!”

- Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson

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