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Make the cut?

[ 2011-07-29 12:59]     字号 [] [] []  
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Make the cut?

Reader question:

Please explain this sentence; particularly “make the cut”: Ask for feedback from the employer on why you didn’t make the cut.

My comments:

You didn’t get the job you were looking for, and you’re advised to call the employer and ask why.

You didn’t get the job because you didn’t “make the cut”.

The cut?

The cut is the point at which the distinction between selection and dismissal is made. A total of 35 people may have been interviewed for the job you were seeking, for instance, and they only hire five people. The fifth best score in the interview is therefore the “cut” line. In other words, if you have one of the top five scores, you’re in. You’re selected. You make the cut. In other words, you’ve made it. You’ve succeeded.

If your score is not among the top five, on the other hand, you’re out. That means you’re dismissed. You are no good. You have failed.

Or, opposite to making the cut, you’ve missed the cut.

I’ve always encouraged Chinese English learners, readers of this column at any rate, to learn English through context and by picking up terms in actual usage. That is, through reading newspapers and online articles in English. That way, you pick up terms and phrases in actual use – while automatically gaining the extra benefit of knowing how to use them if you yourself ever want to use them.

If you follow the game of pro golf for example, you’ll never have a problem with “make the cut”, or for that matter, “miss the cut”.

You may have a problem with it in the beginning, of course, which is as it should be but not for long. That is because in every report on every golf tournament, “making or miss the cut” is seen. In every tournament, some players make the cut while others don’t.

The game of golf, by the way, is played in four rounds, the first two being preliminaries, meaning only players with the best scores advancing to the second half, the third and fourth rounds.

A total of 120 players may have entered a tournament, for instance. But only 30 players are going to play in the second half, i.e. only the top thirty scores after the first two rounds “make the cut”. The rest, who are described as either “missed the cut”, or “failed to make the cut,” pack and go home.

For example, Tiger Woods, the best golf player in this young century and one of the best – if not the best – of all time, failed to make the cut at the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, in April, 2010.

That was big news because he shot a 79 in the second round, “his worst score on American soil as a pro and the second-highest of his career”, as AP reported. “His 36-hole score of 153 was the highest in his 14 years on the PGA tour.”

I use Tiger’s example to illustrate that even the best sometimes fail. All you need to do is ask the employer why they did not want you and move on. That particular employer may have the guts or they may not have the guts to tell you exactly what failed you. Either way, move on. Improve yourself and do a better job at the next interview. If you keep working on your game, so to speak, you’ll make it one way or the other. And you won’t mind having failed to make the cut on that particular occasion.

In Woods’ case, the guy won so much that nobody in the long run will begrudge him for missing a few cuts. Before failing to miss the cut at Charlotte, you see, Woods, whose formed dipped quite a bit after he was found cheating on his wife (whom he consequently divorced), had made the cut a record 142 consecutive times.

The point is, if you win enough, you won’t mind sometimes failing that much.

Anyways I expect Tiger Woods to put his personal problems behind and came roaring back on the golf course.

And I expect nothing less from you in your career.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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