Originally posted 2015-07-06 12:34:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank.
“I’m working on my MBA…” – a former coworker
There are so many ways to cover this topic…so many possible titles.
It was almost “The Pretty Pony Princess” Guy because of the ego stroking demanded.
Then it was going to be “The Friend Zone” Guy because of the way the recruiters get dealt with.
After that, it was “It’s not really cheating until…” Guy because…well, that’ll be clear momentarily.
But then…like all entries that wind up being the way they need to be…it hit me. Not because I thought about it until it made sense…but because I stopped thinking about it.
…and really, that’s the problem with this particular That Guy – they’ve stopped thinking about anyone other than themselves…
Back in the day, I had a co-worker. Not just any co-worker, this was an amazingly hot asian female co-worker.
Who was married.
Who was not happy with her marriage.
Who pretty much shocked the hell out of everyone one day when she popped her ring off at the bar and started chatting up random guys.
When we asked what the hell she was doing…she answered, “I’m working on my MBA degree.”
Cue the collective “What?!”
“My MBA”, she said, “Married…But Available.”
Again…cue the collective “What?!”
“Oh, relax“, she said, “I’m not actually cheating. I’m just bored, unhappy, and need to feel wanted. So I’m going to flirt. That’s all. Probably.”
And yea, verily, we have our Don’t Be That Guy.
The MBA Candidate is married, all right…maybe not to a wife or husband at home…but to their job.
And they have absolutely no intention of leaving their job…but they still want to flirt. They still want to feel pretty. They still want to be told how great they are.
They want to be wooed. They want to be courted.
Maybe they just want a free meal or two.
But they’re never going to leave their job. It doesn’t matter who you are, recruiter. It doesn’t matter how many hours you put in on their behalf. You’re the only one really doing any work in this relationship, whether you realize it or not. There’s nothing wrong with you…it’s just that you’re playing a very dangerous game. The MBA Candidate might be serious about leaving. It’s always possible. It’s not likely, and you’ve watched one or two of your friends get burned in this situation before…but can you just assume that they’re a jerk looking to play around a bit? I mean, maybe their day to day really is mean and overbearing, or just doesn’t get them, or doesn’t stimulate them the way that it used to be a few years ago…
…but there’s history there. And even if it’s not as thrilling as it used to be…and sure, maybe it takes a little something extra to get going when it’s time to perform (an energy drink or some extra coffee in the morning to get rolling, people…honestly, what’s wrong with you?)…but they’re in the recliner, my friend. They’re comfortable. It’s…easier…to be where they are than to actually make a change and seek out something new and different.
But they still want that rush…that thrill of the chase…that…that sense of being alive that they haven’t felt since, well, since a while after all of the paperwork got signed and it settled into a normal, boring, daily routine.
They’re not even thinking about you, to be honest. The MBA Candidate doesn’t care how emotionally involved you get. They don’t care about how it’s made you feel when you’ve had to jump through every hoop and hurdle on the planet just to get them on the phone – there’s always a meeting, a conference call, a dinner meeting – one excuse after another. If you were thinking clearly, you might see these signs for what they are…and realize that they’re never going to leave.
But you are invested and you have put some time into this. You’ve told key people about them – what a great find, such a remarkable person who has everything that you’ve been looking for. Your co-workers may have even commented on how you seem to be a little…lighter lately…more joking, like you’re not quite as stressed, like you might have found something. But you have to keep it to yourself…can’t let the cat out of the bag too soon, because you don’t want to jinx anything, right? Let’s just see where this goes…and you know it’ll be a challenge, but you’re up to it. You always get what you want…and you’re the one the MBA Candidate will leave for.
You just know it.
And so you dance the dance. You meet at weird hours. You setup meetings at odd, out of the way locations so that nobody will see the two of you together. You deal with having to be told when you can and can’t call. You leave voice mail after voice mail hoping for a call back asking only to have them be a decent human being and tell you where you stand…after all, don’t you deserve that much consideration?
And then…finally…it happens.
After enough unanswered voice mails…
…after enough missed get-togethers no matter how inconveniently you’ve had to re-arrange your entire schedule to make things work out…
…after, let’s be honest, more than few drinks by yourself where you’ve wondered what the hell you’re doing and why you’re even putting up with this crap…and how the hell you wound up being the one that appears to be trying to break up an established relationship…you…you…jobwrecker you!
…and then it happens.
The “It’s not you, it’s me” call…or, more likely, email.
Something along the lines of “Hey, I really appreciate everything…” or “I’ve really enjoyed our times together…” or “I really want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me…” …that’s how it always starts, but the ending is always the same. “I’m going to stick with what I have…but hey, let’s keep in touch, because things might change in a bit…”
Un..be…freaking…lievable, huh? You’re a smart person…how did you not see this coming?
The next time, you’ll be a little more jaded…a little more cynical…but because you’re an eternal optimist, you’ll probably dance the dance again sometime down the road.
But you won’t fall for the MBA Candidate’s games as easily next time…
…and well, if nothing else…now you have a link to send them in response to that last email.
And remember, MBA Candidate…hell hath no fury like The Other Woman Scorned. Just because you apparently got away this time free and clear…odds are good they’re going to tell all of their friends about you…or might run into your boss at the bar tomorrow night and who knows what a few drinks will cause to come flying out for conversation…so Don’t Be That Guy.
Until next time…
Make sure you check out our other Don’t Be That Guy entries…