Friday, February 22, 2019

She Leaned In; She Didn't Get the Job; She Was Offended

What do you make of this letter? The letter writer sent it to Miss Manners, a national treasure, to ask about an etiquette issue. So Miss Manners answered by commenting about the etiquette issue.

And yet, the problem lies elsewhere. If I were to have my say, I believe that the letter shows what happens when you lean in. A woman was approached about a job offer. She asked about the hours. They responded quickly. She leaned in. They ghosted her. And they did not offer her the job. So, she leaned in again, got snippy and wrote them a text criticizing them for not getting back to her.

Unfortunately, it’s what happens when you lean in. Here, without further ado, is the letter:

I received a text from an individual stating they had an opening with a certain company and would like to know if I was interested. When I asked what hours they were looking for, they responded fairly quickly.

But when I asked a couple of follow-up questions, one of which being could they match or exceed the pay of my current employer, I heard nothing. I assumed they were no longer interested.

The next day, I sent them a text stating that, while I wasn't so much upset over not being offered a job, I would have appreciated it if they would have just said so. They replied an hour or two later that they were out of the office and unable to reply. My response was that it was rude to leave in the middle of a conversation, regardless of whether in-person or by text, and that at the very least, if they had to go, they should have warned me by saying so.

I no longer have any interest in working for this company. Am I wrong to expect a semi-quick response? Even when I'm busy, at work or otherwise (when I'm driving, I have an app that does it for me automatically), I'm always quick to respond to messages with a "Can't talk now, I'll let you know when I can."

Basically, she disqualified herself. She did not express her interest in working for the new company. She did not offer to present a resume or recommendations. She asked what the new company could do for her. When she raised the issue of salary, for a job that she had not yet been offered, she ended the conversation. It was the wrong question. It showed someone who was self-involved and was unlikely to be a team player.

Evidently, in today’s overly litigious environment companies have little reason or interest in explaining why they have not hired a candidate. Our letter writer has contracted a serious case of leaning in, so she continued to assert herself, and threatened the company. She wrote another text telling them that they had an obligation to tell her that she was no longer in the running. When they offered an auto-response, she got huffy because they were being rude to them. In truth, when they did not reply to the second text-- the one about salary-- that was the message. It was the dog that didn't bark. It told her that she was not in the running.

Well, maybe they were. But, the truth of the matter is that she made a grandiose display of bad manners and defective etiquette. She got what she deserved. As Michelle Obama said of leaning in: that shit doesn’t work.


pacman said...

It's her world. She let's the rest of us live in it. It's an attitude that seems rampant today.

sestamibi said...

I can't say I blame her, but I would have waited it out a little bit longer before reacting the way she did.

And the reason I sympathize is because I had the same experience almost ten years ago. I had responded to an online posting from a headhunter for a position which would have been perfect for me. The company appeared to be enthusiastic and invited me for an interview, paying my airfare and all travel expenses. The interview went well, at least so I thought, but six months went by and I heard nothing from them, so I pulled the plug and really ripped them a new one. I was at the tail end of my career and was employed at the time, so I didn't need them either and had nothing to lose, but the pent up rage I felt after being treated like this for over thirty years finally blew up. I later found out that it took them a whole year to fill the position--which wasn't a real critical high-level job anyway, and that the person who got it lasted three years there, less than I would have stayed.

The way employers treat job applicants today is truly obscene. I agree that they have no obligation to respond to every inquiry (and many, to their credit, are up front about that), but if you invite someone for an interview (and sometimes more than one!) you damn well better make a decision within a reasonable time frame, like four weeks, and let the applicants know so they can get on with their lives.