Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Cloud of Guilt

I do not know the whys or wherefores, but there are times in my life when the oddest of coincidences seem to occur.

A few days ago, I posted a blog entry on self-delusional behavior. I mentioned two old friends, (more like acquaintances), in my life, that are the ultimate "Queens of Self-Delusion".

Yesterday I received, what I thought of as a very cryptic voice mail from a very dear friend. I had not heard from her for several months, and her message, was...was very brief and, well, cryptic.

"Sunny, I need to talk to you, please call me as soon as you can." Her voice seemed rather tense.

I returned the call, after a few shared pleasantries, she quickly got to her reason for calling me.

It seems Queen of Self-Delusion Number One had applied for a job at the school Dear Friend works for. In fact, Dear Friend, would be her boss if hired. Dear Friend wanted too know if Queen of Self-Delusion Number One would be a good employee. "Should I hire her?"

My response was an instinctive, instantaneous, "Fuck NO! No way, you do not want her working for you!"

Queen of Self-Delusion Number One on first meeting seems rather melancholy, but does have an amusing sense of humor, and a very good heart, she adores children, even though she has a very strong tendency to talk down to them. But. She can be a truly awful woman. She possesses a deep, loud, brassy, rather obnoxious voice, add into that, she is one of the most pessimistic, opinionated, individuals I have ever met. In addition, she whines about everything, and nothing, a lot! Don't get me wrong, she really does have her good points, she is very generous, and deep down has a very loving heart. But whenever I had to spend several hours with her, the good points would become very difficult to remember, plus, I always harbored an intense headache after leaving her presence. I am not alone in this...many others feel the same about her. Yet, she believes herself to be well-loved by one and all...one of her more optimistic view points, and delusions.

Dear Friend then replied, "That's what I thought, but I trust your judgment, and I wanted to be sure."

I immediately felt bad about my response, and did tell Dear Friend, that Queen of Self-Delusion Number One has some wonderful characteristics, (after all she adores Miss Daughter...and Miss Daughter likes her, even though she too, can only take so much of Queen of Self-Delusion Number One).

Dear Friend and I spoke of getting together soon, and ended the conversation. I did feel guilty at not recommending Queen of Self-Delusion Number One, but I also knew that I could not lie to Dear Friend...she would have never forgiven me...if she had hired her. Nope, nope, nope, she wouldn't have. I was able to deflate the guilt, and move on with my evening.

Then...this morning I received a phone call from Queen of Self-Delusion Number Two. Upon our first meeting, I thought her charming, gregarious, funny, and creative, she is a wonderful artist. But, eventually she too, becomes too much for me to bear. For, she reigns over two fiefdoms...Self-Delusion, and Gossip World, Not-So-Nice Gossip World. And, if she does not have some truth to gossip about, she will often make it up...again a woman that does have some good points, one of which is, she too, has a very generous heart. She will always be there for those she loves, but, she is verbally abusive to her children, and that is something I find appalling, and tell her so whenever I witness it. She believes herself to be well-loved by one and all, her delusion. Plus, she dislikes Miss Daughter (Miss Daughter returns the dislike in spades!), and thinks I am too liberal in my parenting of her. After a moment or two of general conversation, she arrived at the reason for her call.

"I heard you guys are hiring?"

"We are? Hmm, maybe so, I just saw the HR person outside my office, let me ask her." (inside I am already quaking....no...no...no...I do not want to work with her!)

Back to the phone, "Yes, it seems we do have a few openings here." I had to repeat it, as the first time, I could barely say it aloud.

"Great, I am going to send in my resume! Will you transfer me to your HR person?"

"Ummm....sure...talk to you later." My mind was racing, now what? (Cripes, she can't work here! Aside from my NOT wanting to work with her, we have confidentiality rules here, and she would not be able to resist gossiping to all and sundry. Damn! What do I do now?)

I knew HR Person would ask me about her, and once again, I knew I could not lie. She did. I did not lie, I told the truth, exactly how I felt.

The cloud came back...so huge this time!

To make it worse, Queen of Self-Delusion Number Two, called me back. She asked me to help her rewrite her resume, it seems the local University thought it so awful, they suggested she attend one of their resume writing classes. I was able to tell her, I just did not have the time this week. Perhaps she could have Mutual Friend help her.

Two people I know, needing jobs, I nixed them. I can't tell them, oh, no, no no no! I can't tell them that I gave them bad, downright, awful references!

My head hangs in shame...a huge black cloud of guilt weighing me down.

But, even though I feel guilty, I also know I was right to speak the truth...neither would make good employees at these two organizations. I know them, I know them as they truly are.

The thing is...in one way... if they switched positions...and, each applied for the opposite job they wanted...it just might have...just maybe...have worked out. Queen of Self-Delusion Number One would not be easy for me to work with, but as to keeping confidentiality, that she could do, I know she would. Queen of Self-Delusion Number Two, would do OK at the other job, not great, but not so bad, she reins in her mouth when in the presence of school children, that she learned from me...I had to tell her to watch how she spoke to other children many years ago, and she does...when they are not her own.

So...I know I was right to speak the truth, but, I still feel so guilty. So damn guilty!


Jac said...

And, you might feel a whole lot more guilt if, out of some, misplaced loyalty. you recommended them and they got the jobs and damaged others because of it! There is a place for everyone, but just not in your workplace! You knew they'd be poison. Reframe this and feel some pride for speaking truth, even if it was difficult! You saved everyone a lot of pain and energy!

Fiona said...

Sunny, I echo Jac's words. Plus you have to know that in recommending someone, your own credibility is at stake. I've been in similar shoes and taken the same road as you. We're not responsibile for other's lives, it's not our job to paint them with a prettier colour than they have earned.

You can only be honest in the world of HR and I can't tell you how pissed off I get when I hire someone with glowing references, only to find them a problem and when I go back to the referee to re-check, to be told...well yes we had the same problem too but I didn't want to spoil their chances when they were job hunting!!

Honesty is not the best policy when it comes to these things, it's the ONLY policy. You did the right thing Sunny.

X. Dell said...

I understand loyalty to friends. Obviously, if a friend is up against bad times, or is in need, or is attacked by strangers, you have to defend them and support them.

At the same time, though, loyalty works both ways. By putting you in a situation like that, where they're hoping you will give them a pass despite the shortcomings they themselves must realize at some level they have, they're showing you disloyalty. After all, your word is your coin, in professional circles. You cannot speak less than candidly. It's true that we sometimes misjudge our friends, and that our candid observation is in error. But still, that's what is called for in that situation. If others cannot trust your word because you've broken it to get a friend a job, then that does you a disservice. It also does other friends, who might be more appropriate for the job, a disservice.

LePhare said...

You've done the right thing. You've been honest, so no remorse, and it looks like your cloud picture may have a silver lining.

Sunny Delight said...

Jac, Fi, x.dell, and Ian,

You are all correct, I feel better knowing I did the right thing...over having to live with my conscious if I had lied and given them recommendations.

Plus it helped for me to see when I was out and about today, there are plenty of jobs available in my community at the level they are looking in. So eventually they will both find their respective places.

These two women are parents of my children's friends...I much prefer our relationships kept to that level.