The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

July 12, 2013

Watercooler: Ask me no favors, I'll tell you no lies

Q: Several years ago, I was in a terrible job and networked with anyone who would help. A job came up in an agency where a guy I'd networked with for two years knew the hiring manager. I immediately asked if he could help me get an interview. He said he'd do what he could. Later, he told people he "wasn't sure" about me, so he just "accidentally" let the application deadline pass. I heard this story from multiple people.

I now have a job working for congressional leadership. When sequestration hit his industry, this man immediately contacted me, asking for help. He clearly didn't know I knew the truth and acted like we were the best of friends. I thought that was nervy; choosing not to help is fine, but don't expect favors in return. I can't help him. Does he deserve to know how I truly feel?

A: Translation: "Do I deserve the chance to smash this cold, congealed revenge pâté right into his lying face?"

You have here an opportunity most of us can see fulfilled only in teen flicks about geek-to-chic transformations and sadistic bullies getting bumped off. But while calling him out on his Janus act might be satisfying, I suggest you take the long view. If the next election reverses your fortunes, you might find you have a use for him — and he might be eager to help someone he sees as having connections.

So just let him know politely that it's not in your power to help this time. Maybe ask how some of your mutual connections are doing — and imagine his face as he begins to wonder, but can never ask, what you may have heard from them. Tasty, tasty pâté.

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