Ronan’s Negative Numbers

(Excerpt from Keeping Score, the precursor story to Capturing Captain America)

God, where would that girl fall on a diagnostic psychometric measurement test on the DSM-IV? She is always noticing the negative. Maybe she needs a trip to the nearest St. Anthony soup kitchen or better yet a stint as a relief aid worker in Africa.  Ronan found himself perplexed by another rant from Kaja. They weren’t in class but she was outside the medical building speaking with one of the graduate student researchers. From what Ronan could hear Kaja wanted to design a statistical study one way while the actual researcher preferred another method. Kaja’s voice alone indicated intensity. It even seemed like she got tenser when she noticed walking by.

If she had been the approachable friendly type he might have added her as a facebook friend during that first month in class. Had he been a PhD candidate in clinical psychology he may have even diagnosed her as possibly anti-social but she had a fair number of friends. Some fellow classmates even described her as fun to hang out with. Rumors swirled on campus that as soon as you turned 21 to drive up to the bar she worked at and order a house Mojito. Kaja apparently was quite the mixologist in West Hollywood. So good that she was only 18 and able to serve alcoholic drinks legally. The owners and patrons found some loophole in L.A. County that gave her a permit. Kaja being such a control freak didn’t drink anyway. The idea of losing control scared her. Bartenders need good people skills to stay employed. Kaja was supposedly a favorite at Bleue Spinnakers. How come she was a stiff as a tree to him? Ronan didn’t like being judged unfairly. He wasn’t used to not being popular.

Ronan shook his head as he walked towards the business school. Intelligence and being good with figures didn’t make you CFO material. Playing politics did. Kaja was  pretty gifted at math. That was obvious. The odds in her favor were in decline despite that. Promotion grids measure not just test scores. They measured the ability to lead. Kaja’s loose cannon personality decreased the probability she would get past a manager role. If she were pleasant like his girlfriend Kendra she had the makings of a well paid financial analyst. He was certain she would get a CFA designation without much struggle. Kaja had potential but she reminded Ronan of one of the kids he coached at the Boys and Girls Club the summer after grade ten. The kid was named Jakob and his own worst enemy. Combative and opinionated Jakob was good on paper but lousy in person. He ended up a mechanic instead of an engineer. Ronan felt Kaja was heading in the same direction. A pity she didn’t learn some tips from someone like his Kendra. If so, she’d be primed for a position at a place like the Boston Consulting Group. Being a revolutionary wasn’t the road to a better life. Ronan wondered if perhaps Kaja would ever grow out of it. He gravitated to people with potential or at least wanted to help them reach it.

“The next time you talk to someone make sure you smile Kaja. You may just close a deal that way,” Ronan muttered under his breath.

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