The ''je ne sais quoi'' clause

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 1:07pm

Anyone who has ever visited Connections Halifax knows it’s a special place. Connections provides vital supports and a sense of community to people living with severe, persistent mental illness. But it’s not just what they provide – it’s how. One member sums up his experience of this “je ne sais quoi” that Connections team members possess:

“Hey, I've kinda noticed: all the staff around here seem to have that "something else" that makes them... a bit above most people. Now, I don't know anything about the hiring practices, or whatever it is that's needed to FIND these people. I always assumed there was some kinda "je ne sais quoi clause" in the interviews - - though I have NO IDEA how that gets put into policy stuff...”

“It's like meeting people on the bus – you meet some people, and they're cool. Fine. Chat a little. Okay. Get off at your stop, whatever, and your day goes on. Then there are these OTHER people you meet, and you joke, and you laugh, and you talk about things that STAY WITH YOU, and you might even share one of those 'moment' things... And then, like, five days later you run into them on the street, and you say, "Oh - -HEY! Hi! How are you?! Good to see you - - y'know that thing we were talking about? Yeah, you were totally right! It's awesome! And there was also this whole other..."

“...The conversation continues, quite happily, and there's a very human connection. And those are VITAL. That's why I see that particular spark in Connections staff. EVERYBODY here has 'SOMETHING' that sets them apart. Makes them different, in a good way. Nobody AVERAGE works here. I can see how that would be important in a humanitarian cause, and... well, you hafta work with some pretty raw cases involving humanity. Life, death, struggle, success, despair, hopes and goals... yyyyyeah, I'm happier to have some exceptional people on hand to address things like that. Pretty heavy.

“'Exceptional', maybe – but I see most of the staff as having SOMETHING ELSE, even though I can't name it or put my finger on it. I can't see paperwork defining this ‘je ne sais quoi,’ but somehow people get hired with it. Beyond me, man... I don't get it, but it's a really good thing.”