T Nation

Who Was More Unprofessional, Me or the CEO?


#1

I had been considering two jobs. Job A, although I had not accepted yet, was mine if I wanted it. I was also reasonably sure that I could get Job B, but it was a riskier proposition, and I felt negatively toward it, in part because my research had turned up some troubling info about the CEOâ??s background (although I found no evidence of wrongdoing on his part, his former business partner was a criminal who is now in prison for fraud).

Wanting to explore Job B further, I emailed the companyâ??s CEO to express interest and request a phone call to ask questions. He agreed to a 10 minute phone call the following day, and told me to call his cell anytime within a three hour window.

Over next 24 hours, I became increasingly negative on Job B, and by the next day was almost, but not entirely sure I wanted to go with Job A. Unfortunately, from there, I proceeded to let indecision fuck me over. I didn't want to feign interest in Job B when I was almost sure I wouldn't take it, but nor did I want to completely rule it out by withdrawing my interest. Not wanting to take a stand, and assuming that hearing from me was a trivial matter to him anyway, I decided not to call him during the agreed upon time window and let it pass without doing anything.

Later that afternoon, the CEO shot me an email: â??You leave a very unfavorable impression by standing up the owner of a company. A professional courtesy would have been a simple phone call to cancel. Donâ??t bother contacting me again as we donâ??t have any interest in people that donâ??t honor their commitments.â??

That stung pretty bad. I responded with an apology for my indecision and lack of professionalism.

Now I'm wondering what to make of it. On one hand, I do see that it was unprofessional and immature of me to request a phone call, set one up, and then blow it off, and I definitely should have at least given him a call or email to cancel. It also wouldn't have hurt to call him and admit that I was leaning against it, but ask my questions anyway. On other hand, I'm wondering if I didn't doge a bullet, because those were some pretty heavy shots to fire over a 10 minute phone call with no firm appointment time that wasn't even an interview. My question is...how badly did I really mess up here, and was his response justified? Would someone like him be a nightmare to work for? Is his response merely stern, or is it an obnoxious overreaction?


#2

[quote]Donut Man wrote:
how badly did I really mess up here, [/quote]

Depends

Yes.

Better hope his network isn’t too wide, lol.


#3

His response does leave the impression that he may be a little arrogant, but at least it was honest.

You made a mistake, you were called out on it, and now you feel embarrassed. You did the right thing by apologizing. I wouldn’t look into any further than that. Don’t let the emotional embarrassment cloud your logic, and don’t redirect your embarrassment towards the CEO in the form of anger.

You didn’t want the job anyways. Chalk it up as a lesson learned and move on.


#4

[quote]Donut Man wrote:
I had been considering two jobs. Job A, although I had not accepted yet, was mine if I wanted it. I was also reasonably sure that I could get Job B, but it was a riskier proposition, and I felt negatively toward it, in part because my research had turned up some troubling info about the CEOâ??s background (although I found no evidence of wrongdoing on his part, his former business partner was a criminal who is now in prison for fraud).

Wanting to explore Job B further, I emailed the companyâ??s CEO to express interest and request a phone call to ask questions. He agreed to a 10 minute phone call the following day, and told me to call his cell anytime within a three hour window.

Over next 24 hours, I became increasingly negative on Job B, and by the next day was almost, but not entirely sure I wanted to go with Job A. Unfortunately, from there, I proceeded to let indecision fuck me over. I didn’t want to feign interest in Job B when I was almost sure I wouldn’t take it, but nor did I want to completely rule it out by withdrawing my interest. Not wanting to take a stand, and assuming that hearing from me was a trivial matter to him anyway, I decided not to call him during the agreed upon time window and let it pass without doing anything.

Later that afternoon, the CEO shot me an email: â??You leave a very unfavorable impression by standing up the owner of a company. A professional courtesy would have been a simple phone call to cancel. Donâ??t bother contacting me again as we donâ??t have any interest in people that donâ??t honor their commitments.â??

That stung pretty bad. I responded with an apology for my indecision and lack of professionalism.

Now I’m wondering what to make of it. On one hand, I do see that it was unprofessional and immature of me to request a phone call, set one up, and then blow it off, and I definitely should have at least given him a call or email to cancel. It also wouldn’t have hurt to call him and admit that I was leaning against it, but ask my questions anyway. On other hand, I’m wondering if I didn’t doge a bullet, because those were some pretty heavy shots to fire over a 10 minute phone call with no firm appointment time that wasn’t even an interview. My question is…how badly did I really mess up here, and was his response justified? Would someone like him be a nightmare to work for? Is his response merely stern, or is it an obnoxious overreaction?[/quote]

His response was justified and about what I’d expect. A prospective employee does not make an appointment and then miss it without explanation.

That said, your reservations seemed to have been justified based on the guy’s history, and there’s no reason for you to believe that you’ve missed out on something great. Move on, making sure, in the future, to acquit yourself in pristine manner.


#5

While his response may have been justified and it may end up hurting you if he decides to actively try to screw you over, you also may have dodged a bullet. There is a difference between a response being justified and being sensible. I struggle to see what he stands to gain by antagonizing and criticizing you other than making himself seem more important, which is pretty petty.

What if you had been in a car accident or a relative had ended up in the hospital? While you definitely should have cancelled, I wouldn’t want to work for the guy.


#6

He seems butthurt that you didn’t call him. I mean, ya it was rude of you, but doesn’t seem serious enough for so much emotion. It looks like you dodge a bullet to me, but shouldn’t make it a habit to do that kind of stuff.

Did he know of you already? Had he seen your resume? Maybe he really wanted you there and you had a better chance at that job than you thought? or maybe his company is suffering and he really needs more people? Just speculating on why he would be so salty over that… just that big of an ego? “noone stands me up, I’m too important, blah blah blah…”

Weird


#7

You were in the wrong, just move on.


#8

lol @ responses judging CEO by this one side of the story, and him giving OP the best career advice he’s obviously had up until this point as emotional and butthurt.

Apparently people’s time around here isn’t worth respect and decency.


#9

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
lol @ responses judging CEO by this one side of the story, and him giving OP the best career advice he’s obviously had up until this point as emotional and butthurt.

Apparently people’s time around here isn’t worth respect and decency. [/quote]

+1

Beans, I have come around more and more to your attitude that most people really over-estimate their worth to companies/employers, and under-estimate their fungibility in the big scheme of things. I go to work every day feeling like I have to prove why I have a job. So many people seem to think they have to fuck it up to lose a job once they get on, instead of continually proving why they should still have one.

OP: I don’t know how big the company is, but CEO’s are generally very busy guys. He went out of his way to give you a window where he would be available. Maybe he had re-arranged his entire day’s schedule to be available in that time. Maybe he would have preferred to be working on something else, or going to another meeting, or on the fucking golf course. But he went out of his way to be available, and you just blew him off, couldn’t even send him a damn text message to say “Hey, I’m sorry, but I have decided to go another direction. best of luck in the search” ?

Maybe he was/is an arrogant prick, or a sheister, and maybe Job A is better for you. I don’t think this is going to ruin your life, no, and you don’t have to flog yourself for the next week over it, but if you just need validation for being “right” and the CEO being wrong or being “less unprofessional” than the CEO, you’re not going to find it here.


#10

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
lol @ responses judging CEO by this one side of the story, and him giving OP the best career advice he’s obviously had up until this point as emotional and butthurt.

Apparently people’s time around here isn’t worth respect and decency. [/quote]

This seems to be a strange trend these days. Long story short, a guy interviewing for a staff accountant position (tax prep) where my wife works was late to his interview. They hired him anyway… I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t even have interviewed him.


#11

CEO is right and you made a bad decision. If you have time with a CEO, you take it. You don’t have to feign interest in a job to talk to him. Ask him what you want to know and see what comes of it. Don’t tell him you’re leaning one way or another.


#12

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
lol @ responses judging CEO by this one side of the story, and him giving OP the best career advice he’s obviously had up until this point as emotional and butthurt.

Apparently people’s time around here isn’t worth respect and decency. [/quote]

+1

Beans, I have come around more and more to your attitude that most people really over-estimate their worth to companies/employers, and under-estimate their fungibility in the big scheme of things. I go to work every day feeling like I have to prove why I have a job. So many people seem to think they have to fuck it up to lose a job once they get on, instead of continually proving why they should still have one.[/quote]

And you, your performance, your company and pretty much everything involved are better for it.

I don’t make that claim just to shit on people. Part of it is so smart and motivated motherfuckers stay that way. The world is a better place when people strive for more, rather than merely get through the day and punch a clock.

Not to mention, he likely had some amount of mental preparation that went into the conversation he was going to have, which is totally wasted time now.


#13

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
lol @ responses judging CEO by this one side of the story, and him giving OP the best career advice he’s obviously had up until this point as emotional and butthurt.

Apparently people’s time around here isn’t worth respect and decency. [/quote]

+1

Beans, I have come around more and more to your attitude that most people really over-estimate their worth to companies/employers, and under-estimate their fungibility in the big scheme of things. I go to work every day feeling like I have to prove why I have a job. So many people seem to think they have to fuck it up to lose a job once they get on, instead of continually proving why they should still have one.

OP: I don’t know how big the company is, but CEO’s are generally very busy guys. He went out of his way to give you a window where he would be available. Maybe he had re-arranged his entire day’s schedule to be available in that time. Maybe he would have preferred to be working on something else, or going to another meeting, or on the fucking golf course. But he went out of his way to be available, and you just blew him off, couldn’t even send him a damn text message to say “Hey, I’m sorry, but I have decided to go another direction. best of luck in the search” ?

Maybe he was/is an arrogant prick, or a sheister, and maybe Job A is better for you. I don’t think this is going to ruin your life, no, and you don’t have to flog yourself for the next week over it, but if you just need validation for being “right” and the CEO being wrong or being “less unprofessional” than the CEO, you’re not going to find it here.[/quote]

I’ve been contacted by recruiters here and there since entering the professional world for various positions - regardless if I’m interested or not, I ALWAYS respond to their emails expressing my appreciation for being considered and wish them the best of luck with their search.

Not only is it courteous but you’ve just built a bridge with someone who might be able to help you out down the road. In life, positive connection can be tremendous life lines - you never know who can help you out down the road when you might need it.

OP - ya done fucked up and consequences will never be the same…


#14

Wait let me get this straight. You were looking for a job. A potential employer came up. You set up a phone Q&A with the CEO of the company. You weren’t interested anymore so you decided to flake on the CEO. Then CEO calls you out for flaking and you’re asking who was more unprofessional? I don’t understand why everyone is jumping the gun on the CEO’s ‘i’m the shit’ mentality but are failing to realize that OP is the one with the exact same mentality. You don’t flake on a CEO of a company (big or small). You filled out an application for employment, they didn’t show up to your door steps and beg for you to come in for an interview. You better hope he has a small network because if not he might not be done with you. If I were him i’d think, if you can’t even send a quick text (which isn’t even face to face I might add) to let me know you’ve decided to explore other options, then how can you be trusted to excel at your new job? Just my two cents.


#15

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
lol @ responses judging CEO by this one side of the story, and him giving OP the best career advice he’s obviously had up until this point as emotional and butthurt.

Apparently people’s time around here isn’t worth respect and decency. [/quote]

Obviously it is risky judging one on a three line email, but it’s not the part about calling out the OP on standing the CEO up that raises red flags.

First, why the need to mention that he is the “owner of the company”? Isn’t it just as rude to stand up a secretary? Second, the courteous response from the CEO would have been something along the lines of “I’m sorry we did not connect, did something else come up? At XYZ company we would expect a courtesy call/message letting us know you would not be able to talk.”

That comment leaves open the possibility that OP had an emergency without being an ass. It also easily gets the point across that not properly cancelling the call was unacceptable.


#16

[quote]tedro wrote:

First, why the need to mention that he is the “owner of the company”? Isn’t it just as rude to stand up a secretary? Second, the courteous response from the CEO would have been something along the lines of “I’m sorry we did not connect, did something else come up? At XYZ company we would expect a courtesy call/message letting us know you would not be able to talk.”

[/quote]

If we weren’t obviously dealing with Cupcake Fluid, a member of The Snowflake Generation I’d totally agree.

I know quite a few people in their 20’s that work hard, are responsible, professional and very much going to do just fine in this world. But I’ve run across enough Cupcakes, that I’m not in the slightest taken aback by the CEO’s email and “tone”. I’m pretty sick of their shit too, and I’m not an owner nor as busy as CEO likely is.

A lot of these kids need the swift kick in the pants their parents never gave them. This CEO wanted to get his point across and is likely saving OP from being a dipshit again in this regard.


#17

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
lol @ responses judging CEO by this one side of the story, and him giving OP the best career advice he’s obviously had up until this point as emotional and butthurt.

Apparently people’s time around here isn’t worth respect and decency. [/quote]

This seems to be a strange trend these days. Long story short, a guy interviewing for a staff accountant position (tax prep) where my wife works was late to his interview. They hired him anyway… I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t even have interviewed him.

[/quote]

I can’t tell you how many times a partner, manager senior etc, knows an applicants former boss.

It’s a pretty small world, and in our profession, even smaller. NOt sure what OP does, but if it takes an “odd ball” person to do it… It’s small.


#18

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
lol @ responses judging CEO by this one side of the story, and him giving OP the best career advice he’s obviously had up until this point as emotional and butthurt.

Apparently people’s time around here isn’t worth respect and decency. [/quote]

This seems to be a strange trend these days. Long story short, a guy interviewing for a staff accountant position (tax prep) where my wife works was late to his interview. They hired him anyway… I couldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t even have interviewed him.

[/quote]

I can’t tell you how many times a partner, manager senior etc, knows an applicants former boss.

It’s a pretty small world, and in our profession, even smaller. NOt sure what OP does, but if it takes an “odd ball” person to do it… It’s small.
[/quote]

This kid was straight out of college if I’m not mistaken. Maybe his parents know someone, idk… I still wouldn’t of interviewed him.


#19

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
… I still wouldn’t of interviewed him.
[/quote]

Someones gears are getting ground here


#20

[quote]carbiduis wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
… I still wouldn’t of interviewed him.
[/quote]

Someones gears are getting ground here[/quote]

True, people being late does grind my gears.