Earlier this week I spoke with a long-time acquaintance who I’ve always viewed as one of those ultra-competent, ultra-productive and ultra-nice people who have a way of bringing out the best in those around them.
I last spoke with her several months ago when she called to ask for if she could use my name as a reference in her employment application with a local company. Naturally, I agreed enthusiastically as any organization would, in my opinion, benefit mightily by having her as part of its team.
So I was somewhat surprised to hear from her this week when she called to ask if she might once again use my name as a reference. I asked about the last experience and she told me that she had not been the successful applicant.
What she told me next really surprised me.
At the same time as she had sought my permission to provide a reference, she had also contacted several other people to ask the same favor of them. One of those people was a person with whom she had worked in a previous company for many years and in whom she had wholeheartedly placed her trust.
When she called him he’d asked several questions about the name of the company she was applying to and what the job entailed and then told her he would gladly provide a reference for her.
Imagine her surprise when several would weeks later, upon learning that she had not been the successful applicant, she discovered that this person who she had trusted and who had promised to provide her with a strong reference, had applied for the position and had been the successful applicant
I understand competition exists in the world and that competing for what we want has the potential to make us better, sharper, and stronger and certainly when she applied for the job she did not do so with an air of entitlement that the position would be bestowed upon her. She was fully aware that she would be competing with other candidates,
It just seems to me that when a person is asked, and agrees, to serve as a referrer for another person there is implied trust that the person will do as promised. It is assumed that the person who made you aware of this position and sought your service in helping them obtain the job did not expect you to compete with them.
This person who committed to provide a reference for my friend was unaware of this employment opportunity until she told him she had applied for the job.
In my opinion what he did was an act of betrayal that reveals his true character.
There are no words of contrition that can be offered by way of an apology – not that any were offered – that could make this deed acceptable and it is unfortunate that his new employer does not know how untrustworthy and underhanded this person is. My sense is that if we are deceitful in one area of our lives we are probably deceitful in many others and his new employer may well regret the decision to bring this person on board.
My friend remains undeterred and enthusiastic as she always is, and has rebounded from this disappointment. There is no question in my mind that she will soon find the kind of job she is seeking and will be an enormous asset to any organization fortunate enough to hire her.
I just don’t get how this can be okay in the mind of the person who betrayed my friend. It makes no sense to me, and how that person could ever again look in the mirror without cringing in shame is beyond my comprehension.
I find this type of behaviour abhorrent.
What do you think?