Re: SeriousQ2.0

Subject: Re: SeriousQ2.0
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2002 15:54:49 -0800

Kelley wrote:

Anyway, this is related to the other Q I asked (and thanks for responses, btw): When I was doing my research, one thing that was said over and over again, on both sides of the divide, was that people who are seeking jobs should never discuss their former employers in a negative light. For instance, if you got laid off, you shouldn't tell them at the interview what idiots the execs at AT&T were, etc. No matter how true, it was a bad idea. You simply had to resist the desire to explain what _really_ happened.

I'm curious about two things. 1. Is this still advice you hear today, in IT? 2. If you've heard this advice (or maybe if you haven't) do folks know (or want to speculate) as to _why_ that advice is considered sound?

I think it's still true. In fact, I'd go even further and say that you should be very careful about saying anything negative about anyone in the business, not just employers. Tell stories, by all means, but don't name names.

I think there's at least two reasons why this is sound policy:

First, people get around. Executives at different companies encounter each other at seminars, trade shows, and chamber of commerce meetings. People move around from company to company. As a result, the fact that you're telling stories can get back to the people they're about. If the people in the stories have hiring authority, you could easily torpedo your chances. For that matter, you could torpedo yourself if the interviewer even knows or likes the people in the stories.

Second, badmouthing can sound very much like whining, especially if you're talking to a stranger. It sounds unprofessional, and interviewers may wonder how pleasant a whiner would be to work with. In particular, would the whiner stir up trouble in the office by gossiping?

To give a reverse example, I know of one CEO who wrecked a major business deal because of his lack of preparation. He started accusing the other party in the deal of being unethical. He became obsessed with the deal, and even repeated his accusations during job interviews. with complete strangers.

If you were interviewed by this CEO, would you want to work for him? Or would you think him a loose cannon careening all over the deck? Well, it works the same in reverse.

Of course, you can bite through your lip trying to keep to this policy. However, if asked why you left a company, you can almost always cite personal or career reasons. Most interviewers are probably more interested in these motivations than gossip anyway.

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"More truth is what I need,
Never mind if it makes me bleed."
-OysterBand, "On the Edge"

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SeriousQ2.0: From: Kelley

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