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  • Mike Athas

A Tale of Two Candidates, And Two Results. Paul and Dan.

Paul

One very young 21 year old gentleman whom I met washing cars part time for a car dealership stood out to me for some reason. Good work ethic, no flash unassuming style, humble, and diligent. He also appeared to thrive on helping others. I had to meet him. Paul and I developed a friendship. Turns out he was studying at the local Technical Institute here in Sarasota, Florida to become an electrician. While he would have completed his studies and likely done well as a contractor, he did want more but, like most of us, simply had no trustworthy career guidance upon which to rely, until he entrusted me with his future.

One year earlier, I had met a client in the electrical distribution business here locally, and really admired their esprit de corps. They were in rapid growth mode, and you could not wait in the lobby without meeting yet another employee who was happy to just talk with you. Their Operations Manager and I hit it off. Josh really wanted me to help him staff, particularly with Operations Trainees who would, after a three year program, become a Branch Manager and more for that company. Unfortunately, my focus really had been more to launch my Licensing program and complete my book, which I did over that year that elapsed.

I assessed Paul, and even at his level of inexperience, I believed in him and the wisdom of introducing him to Josh. The employer agreed he was so inexperienced that he would still fall just short of the requirements for Operations Trainee, but they really liked Paul. And Paul really liked them, and saw the benefit of starting off with them, even at the bottom rungs, and developing over the next couple of years. They ultimately invited Paul to start off in their warehouse learning all the products as a foundation for future growth and development. He accepted and was ecstatic about the opportunity. Three months later, both parties are more than pleased with their decision to engage.

Paul’s humility ultimately showed and facilitated his advancement to a company where he would have a chance to far surpass his initial chosen path as electrical contractor. He won’t fail. He will develop great knowledge over the next few years and really enhance his value to himself and to his employer.

Dan

Dan is at the opposite end of the spectrum: accomplished CEO in the computer hardware world, looking for his next challenge. Dan was introduced to me by a business broker who respected my ability to serve Dan better than he could given my focus as an Executive Recruiter. I accepted the referral.

Dan has travelled the world. He is accustomed to earning $400,000 to $500,000 per year. I detected some anger that his search was not bearing fruit this time around, and more than a little entitlement. There was bitterness and anger that he should find himself in this position at this point in his career. Zero humility. Zero interest in helping or serving others. I offered advise as well as suggested he consider investing in himself and empowering himself more via an executive assessment. His answer: “That’s not me”

Many times we just have to say “Okay”, and not argue with someone, particularly if no point is served, and if we don’t think our inputs register anyway. I said “Okay”, and promised to check back in with Dan periodically over the next few months.

I write this early December but first met Dan in August. Even recently, he still seemed entitled and headstrong, which is his choice, but his cash reserves are dwindling, and he has lost a half of a year. Unfortunately, there is no favorable result here for Dan, though presumably he will find something on his own. I wish him well, but we all sense that there is a better way he could have proceeded, and he would have enjoyed some much better results.

Being headstrong is not unusual or bad, particularly when you’ve attained the level of CEO. I deal with that all the time, and actually enjoy working with determined people. Entitlement, bitterness and anger are a different matter altogether, and there is not much good that results when those feelings are in the picture.

OBJECT LESSONS

Be Paul. Don’t be Dan. Have humility. Embrace helping others. Take joy in learning and being entrusted with a challenge regardless you station in life.

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