Friday, September 14, 2007

Not My Kid

A friend of mine called and asked if I would mind helping the son of a friend of hers. Apparently, the son was having trouble finding a job in his chosen field, despite graduating this past Spring with honors. It was just my luck that Unemployed College Graduate’s chosen field was the same field I work in. Anyway, I agreed to meet with the young man and asked that he forward a resume to me.

Yellow Flag #1
Unemployed College Graduate’s resume arrived via email and looked like something he had knocked out in 5 minutes. There was decent content, but horrible presentation. This was a graduate of the Honors College? Did he skip the composition courses? Daughter #1 had a better looking resume when she was 16 and applying for a sales position.

Yellow Flag #2
I called the number on his resume, got his voice mail, and left a message introducing myself and asking him to call me so we could touch base. It took him several days to call me back.

Reddish-Yellow Flag #3
I offered to pull several associates from my office into a meeting with Unemployed College Graduate and we would brain storm about networking and possible openings in the market. The meeting was set for this past Monday at 10 am at my office. At 9:50 am, Unemployed College Graduate called and said he was going to be late.

Red Flag #4
My associates and I, dressed in suits and business dress, filed into the conference room to meet Unemployed College Graduate and confronted the following sight. There he sat, in a rumpled polo that couldn’t decide if it was clean or dirty. His hair was disheveled and in desperate need of a haircut. His pseudo beard had either thrown in the towel and quit trying to grow, or he had just started growing it a few days ago. Either way it was a good thing because the few straggly hairs helped to cover up the wide expanse of acne. (Why would ANYONE put up with acne in this day and age of great dermatologists and meds?!) In front of Unemployed College Graduate sat a solitary copy of his resume. No paper to take notes, no pen.

Really Red Flag #5
We decided to surge ahead, closed our gaping mouths, and sat down at the conference table. I opened the meeting by introducing Unemployed College Graduate and asked him to bring everyone up to date about his job search. There was total silence for a full minute. I finally jumped in and uttered a few summarizing sentences based on our telephone conversation and what I remembered from his resume. My associates took pity on me and started rattling off suggestions, good contact names, and great questions about what he had done or not done in his job search.

Solidly Red Flag #6
Not having a pen or paper with him, Unemployed College Graduate simply nodded or mumbled “yes” or “no”, and took no notes.
After a few minutes of this, I practically threw my pen across the table to him and said, “Wouldn’t you like to take some notes?!”
He turned over his resume and scribbled something on the back shooting me a furtive look.

Mercifully the meeting finally ended, and muttering “Thank you” to my associates, I slunk away to my office. As I sat stewing about the debacle, I decided share the debacle with the friend that recruited me to meet with Unemployed College Graduate. She was, predictably, shocked and resolved to educate the young man’s mom about why he might be having trouble finding a job.

So here’s the punchline. The next day as I was about to leave work, I received the following postcard by email:

I’m feeling a little guilty.


musing said...

Don't feel guilty. Hopefully he's learned a valuable lesson that will help him the next time.

The Adjunct Professor said...

I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about. I think you should feel proud and feel a sense of accomplishment. You obviously made your point and he has since learned that his behavior is inappropriate.

I know this past summer when I wanted to tap into the resources of a friend, for some potential earning opportunities, I was very careful in what I said. I told him what I was looking for and if he had any contacts, I would appreciate his assistance. I also told him I wanted to be able to make my own decision and not feel a sense of obligation. Therefore, I did not want him to tap into contacts where I would make him look bad if I did not follow-up.

I think students graduating today forget this. When someone puts himself or herself out there, you need to behave a certain way.

I think you taught this young man that lesson.