It's been almost a year since the economy began to crater and people's worlds started crumbling. During this year, you've thought a lot about karma and generosity and how we all ought to avoid shame and blame.
But every once in awhile … a long ago colleague gets in touch, for the first time in a long time.
Come to think of it, for the first time since the last time he was out of work.
He wants to "pick your brain" about the job market. You wonder what that could mean, since the sum of your understanding of the job market is: It sucks.
He's a taker. He was a taker when you worked together—quick to ask a favor, slow to do one, always worried he would be taken advantage of.
You find takers bother you more now than they did before, because there is less to go around, because these days even the givers are in need.
You decide you're not going to get back to this fucking guy. Because you know he's going to ask you to give him a recommendation. And when he does, you might have to tell him:
For any job you might apply for, I can think of a dozen unemployed people who are more talented, harder-working, more pleasant than you—and frankly better smelling, too.
Robert J Holland, ABC says
This reminds me of a phone call I received, out of the blue, from an old high school friend a few years ago. He seemed so pleased to have found out how to get back in touch with me. We reminisced and caught up on each other’s lives. He seemed so pleased to have found me after all those years.
That was the bait. Then came the switch. He was “starting up a business” (you know, one of those “businesses” that depends on the investment of other “independent business people”).
Takers suck in any economy, but especially in this one.
This made me laugh. I joined LinkedIn last year, and I had to take weeks to work up the nerve to ask people for recommendations. And these are people that I’ve actually worked with, that I am in touch with on a constant basis, and who I consider friends as well as colleagues.
I’m just amazed at the chutzpa of some people to pop up out of the blue after you haven’t heard from them in months, or sometimes years, and the first thing they do is ask for a favour.
David Murray says
A lot of people see only themselves as existing, exactly. Others are just holograms … or LinkedIn connections.
Well, holograms gotta eat too. Hey narcissists: We’ll get back to you when things pick up again.
These are the same selfish asstards who go through the express check out at the grocery store with clearly more than 10 items in their basket. I hate those people.
David Murray says
Rueben: That happens in Canada, too?
Yes, I hate to shatter the favourable impression you had from your trip. But I’m afraid we do have idiots here too.
Poor David! First you discover that we do not, in fact, have nationalized tech support, and now this!
Please don’t think too badly of us Canucks! There are lots of us who DO fit the stereotype of super-polite, kind-hearted nice-niks . . . okay, not ME, but there are lots of nice people here too.
Joan H. says
I’m with you, Kristen. I wish Alaska could somehow attach itself to the Yukon and become its own country–we just GET each other. Maybe it’s the cold weather, the distances, the need to rely on each other, especially as you get further from “civilization” (is that what we call Los Anchorage?). It’s just wrong to need a passport to visit our neighbors. I’d be a Canuck in a heartbeat, and that’s not for lack of love for my home country, but for a deep appreciation of yours.