Tuesday, May 10, 2011

He's Not Even My Boss Yet, and He's Already an Overbearing Jerk

Dear Grace,

I recently interviewed for a job that, on paper seemed a good fit. It was in a remote location, so all the interaction occurred via phone and email, and it was clear that that is primarily how the job would be, too. The employer seemed to be in a huge hurry, wanted me to basically drop everything and set up the interview on almost no notice, then asked me to produce a product for him using technology that was totally unfamiliar to me by the next day. (This was, in essence, my "audition".) I cleared my calendar, stayed up very late that night to create the thing, and sent it to him, along with a request for a phone appointment to ensure that I was going in the right direction and to address some technical questions I had. Again, he did not accommodate my schedule, but we finally picked a time the following day. When he called, he had not looked at my work, and all he did was lecture me on how he couldn't hold my hand on every little thing. I was furious! The way we left it, after a rather unpleasant exchange, is that I am supposed to finish the project and/or inform him next week if I want the job. I like the idea of the job, but I don't think I like him. Mostly, I want to tell him where to go. Your thoughts?

Grace Says:

Never, never, respond in anger. Especially around the workplace. I can't advise you whether to take the job or not--it sounds like the boss might not be your cup of Darjeeling, and depending on how much exposure you would have to him, this could be hell. Most employers are especially nice during the interview process--one wonders if this is his "good behavior" what type of terrorist he could become when you join his payroll. If, on the other hand, the work is exciting and you would have very little to do with this rather quixotic individual, then maybe it would be worth a try.

What I can definitely, absolutely, positively tell you is not to burn the bridge. If you don't want the job, then you can simply tell him (or write/email, if that is the format you have been using to communicate) "Mr. Rude, It's been wonderful exploring this opportunity with you. I have thought a lot about it, and in the end, I don't think it's a fit for me. I wish you much success as you go forward with this venture, and I thank you for offering me the chance to learn about it." You never know. He could turn out to be the next Bill Gates, and do you want him to remember you as that woman who seemed competent and he tried to hire, but then you got tetchy and sent him a howler of an email vehemently declining his job offer? I think not.

I know, it's tough not being an heiress, but the vast majority of us must earn our keep by working for a living. Grace is a major workplace asset. Practice it. Cultivate it. Spread it. Trust me, it makes your (and everyone else's) day much more pleasant, and in the long run, will serve you well. When you're neck and neck with a co-worker for a promotion, Grace wins over Grunt every time.

Found this clip of workplace mishaps rather amusing....enjoy.

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