Career Sabotage: It’s as simple as scratching an itch

Disappointed businessmanFrom: Jane E. Recruiter, Human Resources

Date: Thursday 6 May 2010 12.19pm

To: John Smith

Subject: Your Application for Job No. 12345

Dear John,

Thank you for applying for the position of Operations Manager at XYZ Corporation. (Job No. 12345).

Your application was very impressive, however there were other applicants with experience more suited to the role. While you were not successful on this occasion, we have kept your resume on file for any future, similar positions.

Thank you again for your interest. All the best for the future.

Yours sincerely, Jane E. Recruiter, Human Resources

——–

From: John Smith

Date: Thursday 6 May 2010 12.39pm

To: Jane E. Recruiter, Human Resources

Subject: Re: Your Application for Job No. 12345

Dear Jane,

WHAT???!!!!

Are you KIDDING me????

I cannot BELIEVE this! I know for a FACT that there are only three people with my qualifications and knowledge currently on the market! Your employer must either be a complete imbecile or YOU failed to provide advocacy for my candidacy as is your JOB!

Anyway, if anything else comes up PLEASE keep me in mind!!!!!

John.

PS…Who got the gig???

————-

Put yourself in Jane E. Recruiter’s position right now. After receiving this reply from John Smith is she likely to:

  • Think fondly of John as a highly professional, competent candidate and recommend him for any future roles?
  • Roll her eyes, make that kind of harrumph noise people make when they are insulted and decisively hit the delete key?

If you guessed that Jane would send John, his candidacy, and his outraged electronic rant to the dark void of cyberspace for all eternity, you’d be probably be close to the mark.

John made the mistake that all of us make from time-to-time; he responded immediately from a place of emotion rather than one of thoughtful consideration. He’d “scratched an itch” and for one wonderful, glorious moment of insanity, it felt good.

In the cold, hard light of day though, John responded to a perfectly professional email from Jane by scorning the employer, insulting Jane’s capabilities, claiming to know every qualified candidate on the market, and shouting at her (capital letters are considered shouting in electronic communications). Let’s not even discuss the unprofessional and childish punctuation! As John’s rant wound down, he demanded that Jane “PLEASE keep him in mind”.

Keep him in mind? The likelihood that Jane would enthusiastically advance John’s candidacy for a similar role in the future is next to nil; and who knows how much influence Jane has across her professional and personal networks?

Next time you are tempted to “scratch that itch”, vent to a friend instead. Cry on your girlfriend/mother/wife’s shoulder and kick the fence. Then when you have cooled down, rise above the emotion and start writing the most gracious, professional letter of thanks you’ve ever written. Your future may depend on it!

65 Comments

  1. Kathy Bitschenauer

    Hi, Gayle,

    Right on! It’s so easy, as you say, to “fly off the handle” emotionally, and then in retrospect realize what a mess you’ve made.

    I think a punching pillows (or a round of boxing with the Wii) is a good way to let out the stress and emotion, too…my 3-1/2 year old granddaughter is great at the boxing (well, kids get angry and stressed too!).

    Cheers!

    ~Kathy

    Reply
    • Gayle

      There you go readers… Kathy has the right idea, relieve the emotion before sending the email. Do it whatever way you can, even if it means writing the email and then deleting it before sending. Whatever works!

      Reply
  2. Kathy Bitschenauer

    Hi, Gayle,

    Right on! It’s so easy, as you say, to “fly off the handle” emotionally, and then in retrospect realize what a mess you’ve made.

    I think a punching pillows (or a round of boxing with the Wii) is a good way to let out the stress and emotion, too…my 3-1/2 year old granddaughter is great at the boxing (well, kids get angry and stressed too!).

    Cheers!

    ~Kathy

    Reply
    • Gayle

      There you go readers… Kathy has the right idea, relieve the emotion before sending the email. Do it whatever way you can, even if it means writing the email and then deleting it before sending. Whatever works!

      Reply
  3. Dawn Bugni

    RT @GayleHoward: #Jobseekers no matter how tempting it may be, refrain from being discourteous in the face of bad news http://bit.ly/a0C2Ey

    Reply
  4. Dawn Bugni

    RT @GayleHoward: #Jobseekers no matter how tempting it may be, refrain from being discourteous in the face of bad news http://bit.ly/a0C2Ey

    Reply
  5. Lisa Rangel

    RT @dawnbugni: RT @GayleHoward: #Jobseekers no matter how tempting it may be, refrain from being discourteous in the face of bad news http://bit.ly/a0C2Ey

    Reply
  6. Lisa Rangel

    RT @dawnbugni: RT @GayleHoward: #Jobseekers no matter how tempting it may be, refrain from being discourteous in the face of bad news http://bit.ly/a0C2Ey

    Reply
  7. Vicki Sauvage

    RT @GayleHoward: #Jobseekers no matter how tempting it may be, refrain from being discourteous in the face of bad news http://bit.ly/a0C2Ey

    Reply
  8. Vicki Sauvage

    RT @GayleHoward: #Jobseekers no matter how tempting it may be, refrain from being discourteous in the face of bad news http://bit.ly/a0C2Ey

    Reply
  9. Lora Pezzell

    It sounds like John is suffering from the disinhibition effect, The loss of inhibitions when interacting with someone online

    (Beebe 396).Beebe, Steven A., Susan J. Beebe, Mark V. Redmond. Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others, 6/e, 6th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions.

    Reply
    • Gayle Howard

      Thanks Lora… or maybe a lack of impulse control!

      Reply

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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.