Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When Bad News Is Good News (And People Won’t Deliver It)

I wrote this post yesterday. Then I deleted the entire thing. What came out of my hands onto my keyboard was very angry and reactionary. It was also immature. I should expect better of myself.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you know the news you’re likely to get is bad? Of course you have. But have you also wished that the shoe would just drop so you could get on with your life? But the shoe never drops. The call never comes. And it all boils down to people not keeping commitments.

Last Monday, I got a call. It was for a possible job. It sounded very exciting. This company was looking to branch into something that I have some very direct experience in. I also happen to be available to help them with it. There were drawbacks, like a 60 mile commute. But I was excited about the possibility.




The manager that I spoke to said he’d shoot my resume over to the group and would call me by Thursday.

Thursday came and went.

Then Friday came and went.

Then the weekend, followed by Monday.

I knew I wasn’t going to get the job. They would have gotten back to me by that point if they were going to consider an interview. But I’ve always been taught when you say you’ll call somebody, you call them. I would have been happy to get the call on Thursday, find out the job wasn’t going to happen, and move on.

But a part of me couldn’t move on without that call.

So I called the manager yesterday after class. I’m taking the Real Estate pre-licensing class. Sure enough, the news was what I expected. No matter how much direct experience and knowledge I might have with the exact program they want to start, my Bachelor’s degree doesn’t have the words “Mechanical Engineering” written on it. I can’t be considered. I could probably make a quick alteration with a Sharpee, but I guess that doesn’t count.

And I’m OK with that. It’s their company. They have no obligation to grant me an interview. But I was told I’d get a phone call. And sure enough, the manager said “Oh, yeah. Sorry I didn’t call you. I was going to.” I responded with some foppish, passive-aggressive “Oh, that’s fine”.

Then I ended the call and dealt with the waves of disappointment and discouragement rolling over me. I dealt with the urges to bash out my window, punch holes in my walls, scream, and all the other things. Come on, you’ve been there too.

I wrote a long, nasty blog post about the situation. But I realized I can’t post it. No way I want somebody coming by my blog with the possibility of hiring me and see a post like that. I put it in my journal instead.

The moral of the story:

If you have bad news to give, just give it. Get it over with. Somebody else might need that bad news to be able to move on. Don’t hold on to it like there will be a shortage someday. Trust me, bad news is a renewable resource. We’ll never run out.

And

If you tell somebody that you’ll make a phone call, especially in a professional capacity, then just make the phone call. Guess what’s going to happen if that company calls me again? “Oh, yeah, you’re that company that can’t return a phone call. No thanks. If you can’t do something as simple as make a phone call, how long until you screw up my paycheck? What other information will I not get from you when I need it?”

First impressions go both ways.

And finally:

If I expect to make it in Real Estate, or any kind of freelance business, I better get used to disappointment.

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