262. What’s in a word?

262. What’s in a word?

Imagine this happening to you:

You are sitting at your desk busily doing what you do when the phone rings. The person on the other end identifies herself as an executive search consultant – a head-hunter.

She explains that she is seeking to fill an executive position in a medium-sized national company and your name has been recommended as a potential candidate.

Naturally, you are flattered and, as you have recently been giving some thought to the possibility of a career change, you express interest and agree to a meeting.

Over the next few weeks you meet with senior managers of the new company and sit through a succession of interviews during which you are grilled as to your aspirations and intentions in joining the company.

At every point along the way you make it clear that you have an ever-increasing interest in the position but are still unsure as to whether you are ready and willing to make a change.

Finally you receive a call from the person who will be your new boss telling you that the job is yours. You ask for a few days to make a final decision and you agree to do so by the following Tuesday.

Your potential future boss sends you an email confirming the agreement that the position will be held for you until next Tuesday and gushingly expresses her hope that you decide to accept her job offer.

On Monday morning, having made your decision, you call her excitedly to tell her how much you are looking forward to joining the company and to your absolute dismay she tells you she has given the job to another candidate because “she didn’t want to wait any longer.”

You point out your agreement, both verbal and in writing of her promise to wait until the agreed-upon date and her response is, “I’m sorry, but sometimes $#!^ happens.”

You are stunned by this development. You decide to wait a few days for your anger to subside and the pen an email to the CEO of that company expressing your disappointment at the treatment you received. You do not expect a response.

Four days later, to your surprise, you notice an email in your inbox from the CEO of that company. You open it and your surprise dissolves into disbelief as you read the content.

It states “… I am sorry that you feel the way you do about your experience in dealing with (Sally Smith).
“The disappointment you expressed in your email tells me she made the right decision in hiring someone else. You sound like a person who cannot manage disappointment, which is, as you should know, simply a fact of life.

“The fact that (Sally) committed to hold this position for you is irrelevant and to infer a lack of integrity on her part tells me you don’t have a firm grasp on the realities of the business world.

Integrity is a non-negotiable core value of this company. (Sally) did what is expected of her – she made a decision that is in the best interests of the company. That is her job and she does it very well.”

The email concludes with a recommendation that you grow up.

This happened in February, exactly as outlined above, to my friend Laura who has worked for the same company in Vancouver since 1992.

Through hard work, dedication and determination Laura moved up through the ranks and became a senior manager.

Her decision to consider a career change was driven by the fact that her company was moving much of its work to another city and Laura did not want to relocate.

She has since found “the ideal position” and is happily settled in to her new company.

My question for you, my dear readers is this:
Was Laura justifiably disappointed at what she perceived to be a lack of integrity by the person who broke her commitment to her?


Is this simply business as usual and Laura was naïve to expect that a person’s word (and written commitment) should drive their actions?

Let me know what you think.

Till we read again.

About the author

Pretium lorem primis senectus habitasse lectus donec ultricies tortor adipiscing fusce morbi volutpat pellentesque consectetur risus molestie curae malesuada. Dignissim lacus convallis massa mauris enim mattis magnis senectus montes mollis phasellus.

2 thoughts on “262. What’s in a word?”

  1. It is my opinion that Laura was indeed justified in her feelings of disappointment. I do however, base this comment on the information provided in your blog. There may perhaps have been a proviso stated to Laura, by the potential boss that she neglected to state. If all was100% stated as “a position that would be held for Laura, until the following Tuesday”, then I indeed empathize with her disappointment.


Leave a Comment