Friday, February 18, 2011

Worthy of recommendation

Throughout my life I have had various people approach me asking for assistance in obtaining employment. I am usually forthcoming with any assistance that I can proffer even if it is only mentoring in a very general form. I have done this many hundreds of times over the years. I think I have had only a handful of people ever offer even a small thank you for such assistance.

I helped a man once who was down on his luck, I had a contact that I shared with him. The man got the job because of my intervention. He went to work the very next week.

Do you think that I ever got a thank you? Not only did I not get a thank you, the man worked about 4 months or less and then quit the job to go chase something else. He has subsequently gone through dozens of jobs .

This man had not been worthy of my recommendation. The fact that I recommended him put my reputation on the line. The contact I had used was one that I had developed in my lobbying activity. Since I made my living as a government affairs manager, lobbyist it ended up hurting me.

Did I learn my lesson? No not hardly. I got a call at my desk long ago from a pretty high up government official who told me that he was looking at a resume' of a man who put me down as a personal reference. I actually really did not know the man very well. I attended a club with him that we had in common. However, I had a nice relationship with him over lunch and liked his sense of humor and friendly attitude. So I gave him high marks and he was hired.

I later learned that the person had a few screws loose. He ended up being dismissed from the agency he worked for and he later filed a law suit that was settled out of court I do believe. What do you think my reputation ended up being in the mind of this agency head?

Subsequently when I get people approaching me about helping them with employment I am very wary. I do not attach a personal recommendation to anyone that I do not know pretty well. You have to prove yourself worthy of recommendation. Nowadays when someone calls me about someone that I do not know well and wants me to recommend them I always tell them I am sorry but I do not know that person well enough to recommend them.

Also, when someone provides you the least amount of assistance in pursuing a job or appointment or any other form of personal recommendation, make sure you that have earned some degree of worthiness of their recommendation.

Oh and lastly, write anyone who sticks their neck out for you an e-mail or thank you note, thanking them for their willingness to help you. Even if you do not get the leg up that you sought. That is an absolute minimum requirement of good form.

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