Are you offensive? Take a breath, be real with yourself.

I am in an interesting business. I love what I do, I feel it is my mission, and my team is passionate about helping and serving others.

BUT, JibberJobber users are dealing with some very difficult things.  If they are in a job search (I’d guess 80% of my users are in transition), they are dealing with a host of emotions.  At any given time they can be happy and hopeful, or in the utter depths of despair.

Most of the communication I get from people is cordial.  People are either nice or professional, communicate what needs to be communicated, and treat me and my team with dignity and respect.

They treat us like we are real people.

Sometimes, however, I get communication that is an utter embarrassment for humanity.  A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone who spewed vile and hatred and even threats.

Surprising, isn’t it?

Well, we deal with people.  And people are predictably unpredictable.

Instead of sharing the emails and messages I got from this sad unfortunate person, I want to share my observation as a service provider, which is this:


You may think you are venting.  You may think you are right, and have the right to put people in their place.  You may think that your [age/wealth/status/knowledge/degrees/etc.] qualify you to be the heavy-handed person to set the world straight.

The reality is that you don’t have the right to treat someone else like crap.  Further, you are on trial.  As soon as I see you, hear from you, or read something you wrote, I am judging you.

As a business owner I’m judging you to see if I want you on my team.  Even though I’m not hiring, I’m always looking for that “right” person.

I’m judging you to see if I want you as a customer.  I firmly believe in my right to FIRE customers.  My team comes first.  If you disrespect my team, you are fired.  The customer can come first if they are humane and cordial, or respectful and professional.  But when you treat someone on my team like crap, you are out of our life.  I don’t care if you were going to upgrade, or tell all of your (three) friends how horrible we are – if make anyone on my team feel sub-human, you lose. Go somewhere else.  I’ll give you the names of alternatives to JibberJobber 😉

I’m judging you to see if I would feel comfortable recommending you.  Regardless of your title and experience, if I am not comfortable recommending you, I will not do it.  If you are a horrible person, you are blacklisted.  Unfortunately, for the creep who spewed yuckiness to me and my team, if you are a career or business coach (which this person is… I feel sorry for his clients), you will not get any recommendations from me.

My wife and I have spent the last semester mentoring youth in a Shakespeare class. This semester we are putting on a play (Comedy of Errors).  In our last class we talked about the auditions and I told the kids that they have really been auditioning since the first time I met them.  You are not “on” in the few minutes you formally audition.  You have been “on” the whole time.  We have watched how you have received instruction, interacted with others, and what you have done in your down time.  We have watched you turn in your assignments and memorize things.  We have taken mental note of how you participated in games and activities.

This is the same for you!  You have formal interviews, but you are really being informally interviewed all the time.  People are looking at you wondering “is she ready for an introduction to my industry contact yet?”

I remember a lunch I went to where the person I was with was embarrassingly rude to the server.  It wasn’t over-the-top, but I was uncomfortable.  That behavior made me think “I don’t want to do business with this person!”

When I was at college I somehow got on a performance dance team. Now, I’m not a dancer. I had never really been on-stage and I had never received training.  My dance instructors hated me (I know this).  Here’s what I learned: if you don’t smile during practice, you won’t smile during a presentation.

You see, when I practiced I had on the Jason Is Thinking face.  There was no smiling to be had.  Plus, I felt kind of dumb smiling to nobody.

What I didn’t understand until much later was this: if you can’t smile when you practice a hundred times, what makes you think you will smile when it counts?

Oh yeah, guess what?  It counted during practice!  I was judged for not smiling.

I hope you get what I’m saying here.  The interview or that special lunch meeting isn’t the time to be nice, professional, etc.  It is RIGHT NOW.  It is ALL THE TIME.  If you slip and people see there is another “real you,” and that is a dark real you, you might have ruined it.  Just like the person who sent me the hate.

3 thoughts on “Are you offensive? Take a breath, be real with yourself.”

  1. Thank you Debbie… I’m amazed at how some people can hide behind the anonymous factor of the internet and act in a way they might never act in person.

    Of course, we all know you aren’t that anonymous… 🙂

  2. Don’t be mean, be sweet. Always. Its such a simple truism but if you are nice you will get more of what you want than if you are demanding.

    I have to admit that in my early career I spent my life in very large corporations and, in those environments, there is an expectation that everything is done right. If someone screws up your benefits they are in the wrong and you can complain. And the company has to fix it pronto.

    Then I moved to Austin which doesn’t have a lot of big corporations but does have a lot of small and privately owned businesses. I learned very quickly that if you want to get the best service you can’t worry about “right” and “wrong” and “who screwed up”. You just have conversations with people about the problem and ask nicely for what you want. And guess what? It works. No threats necessary. Just be nice.

    I have my own business and I don’t respond to threats or heavy handed tactics. But if you are nice to me I will want nothing more than to make you happy. And I will work tirelessly to deliver outstanding results. But if you aren’t nice to me or my team…we will walk away from you.

    I think that in life you get back what you give out. Since I want people to be nice to me I try to be nice to them…even when I think they are wrong and I am right. It’s been working out well for me for about 8 years now. 🙂

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