Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hope For the Next Generation

I’ve always been a fan of the Star Trek franchise.  Creator Gene Roddenberry took science fiction from fighting aliens to a closer look at our frail human nature.  Star Trek Next Generation took the series to a higher level of moral issues.  Whether Kirk or Picard, Janeway or Archer:   the Captain of a Federation Starship always tried to do be honorable as he (or she) represented the human race. 

Sounds rather hokey, doesn’t it?  Almost cheesy.   But in fact, the whole premise of the series was almost Biblical – you know that stuff about “do unto others, love thy neighbors, don’t covet, and don’t lie.”  But somehow over the years our moral compass has become misdirected.   We often fail to respect, lies become acceptable if they’re little ones, we covet, we fight with neighbors over trivial matters, and don’t even start with “thou shall not kill.”

But recently, I saw a glint of sunshine.  Two days ago, my daughter called me quite upset over an event she had witnessed.  To protect her privacy, I'll call her Annie.  Annie is in her final year of Veterinarian College.   She has worked two, even three jobs at a time, studied endlessly, and persevered after every setback and never surrendered her dream.  With her boards passed, and graduation in May, Annie is within arm’s reach of her degree and license to practice.  Yet, she put it all on the line this week, because she was compelled to do the right thing.  Annie witnessed another Veterinarian lie to a pet owner.  A medical mistake was made and as a result, the pet was lost.  Morally, and by oath, the Doctor is responsible for telling the pet owner the truth.  He chose to create a plausible excuse for the death.

My daughter was so troubled she went to her school advisor to report the event.  Her goal wasn’t to get the Vet in trouble, but for the school to evaluate the clinic’s role in the curriculum for future students.  Annie took the high ground for all the right reasons.  I am exceptionally proud of her.

Now, in an unrelated incident, yesterday, while driving to work, I was involved in a minor fender bender.  A young lady bumped into my car while I was stopped at a traffic light.  She couldn’t have been moving more than 5 miles an hour and could easily have stayed in her car to see if I would respond.  Instead, this young lady immediately came to my car to see if I was alright.  We moved our vehicles out the traffic lane and exchanged information.  This young lady, her name is Callie, accepted her responsibility and did the right thing.  Callie is about my daughter’s age and recently completed her Law Degree.  Callie took an oath, chose to honor her words and I’ll bet her dad is exceptionally proud of her, too. 

If either of these young ladies ever watched an episode of Star Trek, it was a rerun sitting on their dad’s lap.  I can’t speak for Callie, but I’m pretty sure my daughter hasn’t had much time for reading the Bible.  But both young ladies honored those commandments – which so many feel are “optional” and not required. 

That gives me hope for the Next Generation.  And best yet, if they continue on their journey, someday they may become the Captain of their own Starship and represent the best of the human race.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Activity vs Accomplishment

We’ve all read the articles regarding the importance of properly preparing for interviews. Experts urge us to read up on the company we’re trying to join, to learn what we can about the interviewer and to come prepared with open ended questions to help extend the dialogue and build rapport with the hiring manager.

But every now and then, a question comes along that throws me for a loop. Ironically, this time the question didn’t come in the hiring process, but rather, after I’d joined the company and my supervisor was having a review meeting to assess my progress.

For forty years I’ve been actively involved in the product side of radio broadcasting, but recently, I joined a local radio station as a sales representative. It’s an interesting transition for me, because I’ve always considered myself a “sales friendly” programmer. What I’ve learned, is that while I empathized with the sales team, I knew very little about the challenges of the position.

Yesterday, I was asked what I saw as the differences between a “program director” and an “account executive.” While a bit simplistic, my observation was “a program director says no first and then says prove me I’m wrong; a sales executive hears no first and has to convince the client he’s wrong.”

As our conversation continued, a few more tangible differences came up; most interesting is the notion of accomplishment. As a manager, I’ve always tried to teach my team to not confuse activity with accomplishment. As a programmer, we view accomplishment on a daily basis; almost break by break. We coach our talent, we make a difference. We write a new promo and coach a young production assistant to create a compelling audio statement and we’ve accomplished something very tangible.

Program Directors once had the luxury of viewing accomplishment on a quarterly basis, now, thanks to the world of PPM ratings, programmers look at monthly, weekly, daily, even hourly accomplishment. As an account executive, I don’t consider making calls an accomplishment, or even scheduling appointments an accomplishment; although both are critical to my success. Even, after the deal is signed, I haven’t accomplished anything until the spot is written, produced, scheduled, and aired. Before, when wearing the program director “hat” I would have thought the AE’s job was done with the client. But, I’ve learned that there are two more steps in the process. If the client doesn’t pay for his advertising, the commission I thought I earned is charged back and deducted from my salary. If the client doesn’t renew, because we failed to meet expectations, I’ve lost a client not only for myself, but perhaps for the radio industry. That’s a lot of responsibility for a rookie, although I doubt most sales beginners in radio think in those terms. I do, because of the unique perspective I bring to the position.

I do bring some advantages to the position. I believe a program director’s creative side serves well in responding to client objections. We certainly addressed similar challenges in sales meetings when AE’s would repeat what their client had said on a sales call. And I believe our creative side helps when writing creative proposals and broadcast copy. Programmers expect more from their copy than just bland phrases like, “Topeka’s finest sushi bar,” with apologies to someone in Topeka who may read this blog.

In the same meeting, I was asked my thoughts on our programming. A fair question as, in theory, it’s my area of expertise. I answered “It doesn’t matter what I think, my job is to sell the product, not judge the product.” At that moment, I realized one or the other would become my greatest challenge as a radio sales representative.

Friday, November 25, 2011

If you think dogs can't count

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret

My love for dogs began when I was five.

My mother had passed away and my dad had me stay with my Aunt Mim and Uncle George for a few days while he sorted things out. I was too young to understand the full impact of how life would change, but smart enough to feel the loss.

George and Mim had a beagle named Lassie. Somehow that dog knew I was hurting and confused, and wouldn’t leave my side. Lassie let me hug him, talk to him, and find comfort in petting him. Author Ben Williams once wrote, “There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” And Lassie, at least in my memories, was the therapist that helped a scared little child cope with the confusion of life. In some ways, dogs are like surgeons – or, as Judy Desmond noted, “A dog is the only thing that can mend a crack in your broken heart.”

Flash forward to when I was a newlywed, and our first joint decision was to get a pet for our new home. A friend from college had introduced us to his Yorkshire Terrier, “Polo” and the dog just plain stole my heart. Yorkie’s are a unique breed (aren’t they all?) and I was drawn to the “character” of the spirit inside that cute ball of fur. Prissy, yet impish … Yorkie’s are dogs that can tear up a rug while melting your heart with a smile and a wagging tail. We named our first “child” Stash and in the words of Corey Ford, we quickly learned “Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend.”

Yorkie’s just don’t understand they’re a small breed. Fearless, Stash would gravitate toward bigger dogs at every opportunity. With reckless abandon, he’d chase Labs, Dalmatians, and even a Great Dane. His mistake was going after an Alaskan Malamute in an effort to protect his yard. The Malamute wasn’t into negotiating a peace treaty and settled the matter rather quickly. Tougher than they look, a Yorkie’s devotion to their owner creates a relentless survival instinct. Despite a crushed rib cage and collapsed lung, and an “outside” body cast developed by the Columbia College of Veterinarian Medicine at the University of Missouri, Stash stayed with us for fourteen years. In the words of Agnes Sligh Turnbull, “Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”

This Thanksgiving weekend, I watched the National Dog Show on NBC. The competition has become an annual event, traditionally following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have yet to find a breed that draws me more than the Yorkshire Terrier. What struck me during the broadcast was a poem read by actor John O'Hurley. The words expressed a sentiment I could never put into words and they touched me. The final line of the poem, paraphrased, was “because a dog’s tail is attached to his heart.”  I don’t think I’ll ever see a dog wagging his tail and not think of those words.

Later in the day, on the evening news, there was a story of some forty beagles rescued from an animal testing lab in Spain. Rescued doesn’t seem quite correct, as the only reason the laboratory gave the animals to the Beagle Freedom Project was because the business, yes business, was about to close. These animals had been prodded, poked, and tested every day of their lives. They never knew the happiness of a gentle stroke on their neck, or the joy of chasing a ball. Yet there they were, on a tarmac in Los Angeles, wagging their tails and licking the faces of perfect strangers who would soon become their servant. “Dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive,” Gilda Radner once wrote. Can anyone argue the point?

I know there are people who aren’t dog lovers or think of animals only as tools to perform chores on a ranch. I don’t understand them. And while I prefer the company of a dog, I know there are people who prefer cats. But I’m allergic to them which makes it difficult to become close to a feline friend. Somewhere along the road of life, my daughter developed such a love of animals that she is studying to become a veterinarian. Through every imaginable obstacle and despite various setbacks, she has never stopped pursuing her dream and next year she will complete her coursework and begin to help the animals she loves so dearly. I’m incredibly proud of her, especially because I was part of the obstacles and setbacks.

My oldest son has a Yorkie and he quickly learned once you “Scratch a dog – you’ll find a permanent job.” (Franklin P. Jones). My youngest son grew up raising “Wicket” and “Poco” … two of the most mischievous Yorkie’s I’ve seen. Today, my Yorkie, “Winston” takes me for walks each day pulling on my leash when I’m not walking fast enough. His daily goal is to mark his territory. Apparently, Winston thinks he owns the entire neighborhood. Poor pup, too many mailbox posts, and such a little bladder. Winston, like his predecessors, has the same policy of not allowing me to read a newspaper without putting his paw through the pages. He wants to play “tug of war” whenever the most important part of the movie is showing and with undying faith, sits under the dinner table hoping for a morsel of food to drop. Occasionally, I accommodate in the spirit of testing some of Newton’s principals of gravity. Or is it gravy?

If you’ve taken the time to read these thoughts, I know you are a lover of dogs. My breed of choice may not be yours. It doesn’t matter, because you have your own stories to tell of how your dog made you laugh and listened to your heartache and kept your confidences. It’s what dogs do – they are the best listeners in the world. “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole” wrote Roger Caras.

Winston brings me a peace that takes me to simpler times. At night, he will sit on my lap and let me stroke him while I try, usually without success to get him to stop licking my face. As someone once wrote, “My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.” As I write my thoughts, he is faithfully sitting in a chair by my side. He is my shadow and I am his. Over the years, my family has been the servant to six Yorkshire Terriers. Each one filled with unique character, loyalty and a stubborn streak for which terriers are famous. Each one owned our hearts and yes, healed our hearts.

If only we had a tail to wag.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wedded bliss...for only $10,000 an hour.

One of my favorite jokes is about the 3rd grade teacher who asks her students whom they consider to be the most important person in history.

Little Susie raises her hand and answers, “Abraham Lincoln, he was a great man because he freed the slaves.” Jimmie blurts out, “Plato, because he was a philosopher and he started the very first school.”

The teacher, Mrs. Ellicott replies, "Those are very good answers, does anyone else have someone in mind?" That’s when Robert raises his hand and replies, “Yes, the most important person in history was Jesus Christ.”

Mrs. Ellicott smiles. “Robert that was the answer I was looking for. But I’m surprised. As a Jewish boy I wouldn’t think that would be your answer.” “Yeah, everybody knows it was Moses, but business is business.”

Years ago, I met Victor Kiam. He’s the man who liked the Remington Razor so much he bought the company. He also bought the New England Patriots in 1988. A rather colorful man, Mr. Kiam was bemoaning the fact that his Patriots were a terrible football team. Looking to brighten the moment, I suggested at the very least Mr. Kiam was making money. Are you kidding me? I’m losing $10 million dollars a year on these guys,” said Mr. Kiam. Why then, I wondered aloud, do you even own the team? His reply? “Because I bought them for $84 million, I’ll lose another 30 million and sell them for $150 million. And that son is how you make money.” Thus, the basis for one of Mr. Kiam’s famous quotes: “Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward.”

While a great businessman, Mr. Kiam’s math didn’t work out very well.  In 1992 he sold his share of the Patriots for $23.5 million to a wealthier man who also assumed the team’s $45 million in debt and an additional $38 million owed to another minority partner.  Eight years later, Tom Brady came along.  Timing is everything.
Admittedly, losing $10 million a year is a staggering number, but it pales to comparison to Kim Kardashian. She lost more than $10 million in 72 days. Don’t feel sorry for her, she’s still worth more than $35 million. And Kim’s soon to be ex-husband, Kris Humphries, makes an average of $2.5 million per season in the NBA (if they ever settle the current NBA lock-out). After 7 years in the league Humphries has managed to hang on to about $8 million. Clearly, he’s the more practical of the two.

But it gets better. Kim and Kris get to keep the wedding gifts. ABC News reported the couple's wedding registry requested items like a Baccarat Cosmos vase valued at $7,850. There’s also the “Havana” crystal ashtray, reasonably priced at $840. I should note neither of the couple smokes, but you never know who’s coming for dinner at the Kardashian’s. If you’re looking for something more affordable, choose from two Lalique nudes at $325 each and Lalique's "Wisdom" set of three "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" figurines, priced at $735 though they're only three inches high. If you’re really on a budget, the least expensive item in the registry was a $12.50 cloth napkin. But I think you need to buy at least six to get a table at the reception.

Hold on. There’s more. Reportedly, Kim earned $17.9 million in broadcast rights for the four hour wedding extravaganza. Fox News estimates the couple was paid a little over $10,000 per hour of wedded bliss. If the courts rule the income was part of the marriage, then California’s 50/50 split gives Humphries half of the broadcast fee after Kim’s Mom, Kris Jenner takes her 10% commission for negotiating the deal. Did I mention Kris Jenner has a book coming out today? Timing is everything.

In January of 2001 I was smitten by a beautiful red haired woman. It was love at first sight. For me. She required considerable convincing. One evening, shortly after we'd met, we were having drinks with a group of friends at a restaurant and the woman, not knowing I was already emotionally committed to her, said, “I’ve already married for love. The next time I marry it’ll be for money.” I was devastated, but I didn’t give up. After a courtship and engagement that was somewhat longer than the 4 months Kim was willing to wait, we were married. I didn’t get my wife a 20.5 carat engagement ring and I think the Justice of the Peace charged me $40 for the ceremony. Dinner and drinks for a few close friends at a local Tex-Mex Restaurant was another $200 and my bride's dress set her back $40.  Almost ten years later we’re still going strong. Some businessman I am. Our average hourly rate of wedded bliss is less than a tenth of a cent. But some things are priceless.

To paraphrase Deal or No Deal’s Howie Mandel, “I made a great deal.” Victor Kiam and Kim Kardashian picked the wrong case. But business is business and everyone knows timing is everything. So, to Kim and Kris, I lift a $350 Waterford Goblet and offer a toast: maybe next time.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's Just That Simple...(If only)

For someone who lives by the power of words, I find I have little to say these days. And, truth to be told, many times I find it better to remain silent than to share my views for fear of being attacked by the piranhas of disagreement.

In “Give Peace A Chance” John Lennon wrote a verse about Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, and Tagism. Today, I wonder if he would change his lyric to “Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism, Capitalism, Racism, Atheism, and Evangelism.” By the way, there are 887 words in the English language ending with “ism” according to Somehow I don’t find it comforting that most every cause has an “ism” in its name. It’s probably not a coincidence that there are 1187 words that end with “ist”, including , socialist, capitalist, racist, atheist, and evangelist.

In today’s world, we’ve all become experts. We listen to talk shows, hear what the commentator says and his/her opinion becomes ours. We don’t think for ourselves anymore (or any less, I imagine); we just let someone else fuel our internal fires to help form our opinions. In statistics, there is always a way to twist the numbers to make your point. One can say the candidate came in dead last; the other can say he finished second in a two man race. For every fact blaming Obama for our economic woes I’ll bet we can easily find a similar fact laying this mess on the previous administration. One economist will say America got into trouble with Bush tax cuts; another will say our economy grew during the Clinton years when we had higher taxes. Both arguments ignore regulation/deregulation (neither of which is inherently evil), or the failure to close the loopholes of those policies allowing World Greed to fester.

Here’s a simple solution, suggested by a “friend” on Facebook: “If you are starving, you go where the food is. If you need a job and can't find one, move to where the jobs are. It's just that simple.” Now, why didn’t I think of that? Suppose I’m an igloo maker in Alaska and we have an unseasonably warm decade (I wouldn’t dare call it Global Warming); I’ll just move to Texas where the jobs are (as Governor Perry insists) and build igloos in Houston. The only problem is the Igloo Factory just outside of Houston only has 21 openings and all require bilingual candidates. Anyone see a problem with that?

I replied to the Facebook post, “isn’t that a bit simplistic?” Then, another person responded with, “Simplistic? There are millions of people who refuse to leave their "home town" because "that’s where they've always lived.” Therefore they stay on unemployment for 99 + weeks. When it is time for guys to find new employment, we move from North Dakota to Texas ... and to the east or west coast if necessary. You have to go where the job is! Sitting on your ass because you are "home" isn't an option. "Home" is wherever you end up.” 

Based on this reasoning, if I’m unemployed but my wife is working, I should stop sitting on my lazy ass, learn Spanish, and move to Texas. Fortunately, I’m already here. But I confess that I haven’t started my Spanish lessons.  

Here are some numbers for my "simple solution" friend to consider:
  • National unemployed rate: 9.6%
  • 14 million Americans are currently looking for work
  • 6 million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months
  • Nearly 1 in three Americans are unemployed for more than a year (Wall Street Journal)
  • The unemployment rate for over-55s is at the highest level since 1948. (Minnesota Ind.)
  • During the 8 years of the most recent Bush Administration 3 million jobs were created.  (Wall Street Journal).  (To his credit, Reagan created 16 million jobs).
  • During the 8 years of the Clinton Administration 21 million jobs were created. (Wall Street Journal).
  • To get our economy back on track, we need to create 261,200 jobs per month over the next five years to get to pre-recession levels (Zerohedge)(Wealth Cycle).
Clearly, our educational system is in more trouble than we realize. 14 million "lazy" Americans haven’t figured out that all we need to do is move to where the jobs are. Quick. Get me the number for Mayflower or United Van Lines, better yet; U-Haul. It’s just that simple.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Political Dodge Ball

On Wednesday evening, I watched several Republican Presidential candidates engage in a spirited debate. Actually, in retrospect, that’s what I tuned in to watch; what I got was a discourse in “he said-she said” political dodge ball. Governor Romney took shots at Governor Perry, Perry returned fire and Michelle Bachmann stood glassy eyed to the side. Several of the candidates were completely unfamiliar to me, but seemed to have the same “I can create jobs” response that was the standard answer to the evening. The other stock answer, of course, was “I can fix Social Security”, or a Tea Party variation, I’ll stop Social Security; it’s just part of big government.

Representative Ron Paul scares the dickens out of me, his answer is just let everything flow to its own natural level. He actually suggested we remove all banking regulations, because, if bankers know there will be no bailouts, they’ll be more honest. Seriously?

The former Governor of Utah, John Huntsman appeared deep, philosophical, and a statesman. In the business world, we would refer to Governor Huntsman as an “empty suit”. I believe we have that wardrobe well filled with the current resident of the White House. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania had nothing to say and took too long to say it. Exit left. 
Here’s what really struck home: Georgia businessman Herman Cain addressed problems with solutions, rather than the general political rhetoric of Romney and Perry; yet he has been dismissed as an irrelevant candidate. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, also had actionable plans to fix some of our nation’s problems. He, too, was pretty much ignored by the moderators. The battle is clearly between Romney and Perry. Unless Sarah Palin believes she can grab more headlines by teasing us with her candidacy. Palin dismisses the fact she is America’s most polarizing candidate; with the highest negativity ratings of any of the candidates; she’s selling books.

There are many more debates to be held and more political dodge ball to be played. Over time most of the candidates will shoot themselves in the foot. Perry, most likely, will be one of the first, since he tends to carry a weapon when he jogs. Perry, I thought, made a major error when he dismissed global warming as part of his dismissal of the notion we have contributed to the problem with our emissions. I imagine he would hold to the belief that earth’s Ice Age was also fiction, since there were no scientists available to prove or disprove the fact the planet was frozen.

How bad has our political process become? Recently former Vice President Dick Cheney suggested Barack Obama, for the good of the party, step aside and let Hillary Clinton seek the Democratic nomination. Did Cheney actually suggest the most competent politician of our time is a Democrat?

The bitter regurgitation of our political culture has paralyzed our nation. Last night, the President gave his American Jobs Act speech. The disrespect shown him by several Republican legislators was treasonous, if I may borrow Rick Perry’s use of the word. These elected officials didn’t feel they needed to hear suggestions to fix our unemployment crisis. I hope their constituents don’t feel the need to cast their votes for them at the next election. Let them get a first hand lesson in unemployment. And while the President “attacked” the political circus, he became the ringmaster by referring to the Republican Party 18 times in his speech. To me, it was a George Bush “bring it on” moment. The ideas he presented, he proudly noted, had bipartisan support. Then please explain why they haven’t been enacted. And while the President attacked business loopholes that allow companies to avoid federal taxes, the CEO of General Electric sat next to the First Lady. GE has been the poster child for the tax “evasion” tactic, reportedly paying $0 in federal taxes last year.

A final thought. There’s an old business adage that says it takes money to make money. A loose translation would suggest if I spend money, someone will make money. I firmly believe in supporting small business, but if I have no money to spend for their products or services, we’ve just made another bad loan. The President proposed extending unemployment benefits and giving businesses tax credits for hiring people who have endured long term unemployment. That’s a Catch-22. If I were running a business and had plans to expand, I might consider putting the entire project on hold. Why hire now if I can get tax credits in six months when Congress considers some form of the proposal? For that matter, perhaps I’ll wait until gas prices fall to under $2 a gallon before my next fill-up.

America is crying out for leadership. Is the Congress so selfish they will sacrifice the American work force to defeat President Obama next November?  I think many of us agree President Obama has failed to meet our expectations. But he certainly got one thing right last night: the next election is 14 months away and we can’t wait that long for solutions.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

Where Are Your Manners?

Over the past several years I’ve had to develop some relatively “thick skin”. After receiving several hundred rejections to job applications, “thick skin” pretty much becomes a necessity of survival and sanity. On rare occasions, when I actually get in front of a hiring manager, one of the questions often asked is, “how do you handle rejection?” I have to be careful how I answer, because I wouldn’t want someone to think I’ve given up the hunt and accepted rejection. I want them to know there’s still a lot of hunt left in this old’ dog. So I usually make a light-hearted quip regarding the need to deal with the disappointment and then move on to the next opportunity. Since I haven’t had too many offers, perhaps my answer isn’t as tactful as I’d like to think.

Some companies send very nice rejection letters. They’re careful to say that they have found other candidates more qualified in this specific discipline and wish me the best of luck in my future endeavors. I’m not kidding myself, I know a form letter when I get one, but it’s still nice to be acknowledged. Someone had to lick the stamp.

Other companies handle rejection differently; they simply fail to acknowledge they received your application. It’s probably part of an austerity program, if they don’t acknowledge the application, they don’t have to waste money sending a rejection. With thousands of applications for the lowest of positions, postage adds-up. I understand that, but perhaps they should consider how much an automated email response would cost.

In a sense, I’d rather get a form letter or be ignored than receive an ugly rejection letter. One of the most valuable lessons I learned while working for CBS was how to give people bad news. Even then, the Company knew tact in the dismissal/rejection process would become a frequently practiced skill, soon to be emulated by fine companies like Clear Channel, Cox, and Cumulus. (Perhaps the moral of the story is never work for a company that starts with a “C”). When I had to terminate someone, I made sure they understood why (assuming I understood – many were cram-downs); and I made sure they left with some dignity and the knowledge I wouldn’t “burn” them with a bad reference.

When air talent sent demos for consideration, even if I thought the talent was horrible, I would thank them for their information; explain there were no current openings for which I felt they would be a good fit and that I could keep their information on file for future appropriate opportunities. And then, yes, I would carefully place their material into my circular file. Just under the desk. The custodian would come every night and file it for me, alphabetically by last name, I think.

But yesterday, on a Sunday, no less, I received the ugliest rejection letter I’ve ever seen. I really shouldn’t call it a letter. It was a word. “NO”. This thoughtful reply certainly told me I wouldn’t want to work for this man under any circumstances. Truthfully, I was offended by this two letter response. I put more than 45 minutes into a customized cover letter explaining my qualifications for the job and he managed to respond in a second. That’s assuming he’s a “hunt and pecker” typist. If he’s an average typist, just reduce my description of “hunt and pecker” by the first two words. It would have been far better had this man simply not acknowledged my application.

I’m tempted to write several proper and thoughtful rejections in a generic voice, so that he could use them for future applications. But if his Mama didn’t teach him any manners, I’m sure an email from me saying, “try one of these” next time would only cause this man to kick his dog, or, perhaps one of his employees for whom I have deep empathy.

Perhaps I should give this man the benefit of doubt, and think of his response as a simple “typo”. After all, “NO” is part of “NOTE”. Maybe he simply hit “send” before he had finished typing his note. If that’s the case, would it be wrong for me to respond with:

Dear Mr. Higgins,

I’m sure you meant “NO Thank You”?

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