Don’t Be That Guy: Missing The Point Guy
“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank.
So, I’m on LinkedIn the other day, and I see that someone in my network has commented on a status update from some random guy I don’t know that catches my eye because his status update reads: “I AM NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB. NOBODY I KNOW IS LOOKING FOR A JOB. RECRUITERS, PLEASE, JUST LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE ALREADY!”
[cue trippy screen dissolve and flashback music]
Once upon a time…no.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…[sigh]…no.
About 15 years ago, when I was living in Washington D.C., I had a great friend named Mark. Mark’s awesome. We hang. We cruise bars. We play wingman for each other and pick up women. We have a ton of fun.
Then, one day…while at a friend’s party on one of D.C.’s notoriously evil level of humidity nights in the summer, Mark decided that was the right time to go ahead and come out of the closet and tell me (and others at the party) that he’s gay.
Now, this wasn’t exactly shocking news. In fact, pretty much the only person that didn’t know all along that Mark was gay…was Mark. Nobody cared before, nobody cared after. However, it did have one fairly significant impact on my life – Mark decided that since we were such great friends and always went to bars together, that I should go ahead and be just as supportive in his newly revealed preference for muscle-bound dudes.
Anyway, the moral of this story is that yes, I wound up in gay bars across the metro D.C. area. Which, given that I’m a straight guy, led to a number of whimsical stories involving socially awkward situations, but none so much so as one night in particular…yes, a story that I will share with you that will, I’m sure, be used against me in future situations to mock me in that most time-honored tradition of “male bonding and ball busting”. That’s okay, because it gets me to my point.
One night, Mark and I were in this Country and Western (yeah, I know…that really was the worst part) bar, and wound up shooting pool with a bunch of people over the course of the night. It wasn’t really much different from hanging out at any other bar and shooting pool…well, except for the guys kissing…but let’s focus on the pool playing, because that’s what I did. (obligatory “not that there’s anything wrong with that” quote here…and there’s not, just sayin’, it’s just not where my interests happen to be…and I also tend to not gawk at straight couples making out either. Get a room.)
So there I was, shooting pool…and the end of the evening approached. One of the guys we’d been playing with (ha ha, shooting pool with. Shut up.) walked over, stood with his back to Mark and facing me, and said the words that I will never forget:
“I don’t know what the deal is with the guy you’re here with…but the guy I’m here with is just a friend. So, call me sometime. Let’s hang out some more and get to know each other better.” And then…as I stood there with my hand out since I thought we were just shaking hands and saying “See ya!” (because…you know…that’s what you do when you’re done shooting pool)…he slapped his card in my hand, blew me a kiss, turned, and walked away.
I turned…stunned…and looked at Mark, punched him to stop him from laughing, and said:
- “First and foremost…you will admit that this is all your fault.”
- “Is it even politically correct for me to call him just to tell him that I’m not gay? What’s the protocol here?”
- “Finally…and most importantly…you’re picking up the tab for tonight. All of it.”
Go ahead…make your jokes. Laugh it up. Ha ha, hee hee, ho ho, it is to laugh.
But then Mark said something that still resonates with me: “Dude…take a compliment. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested or not. Someone was into you. Just take the compliment and get past it.”
Couldn’t really argue with that logic. Mark always had that annoying habit – being all logical. And right. I secretly hated that about him.
Even more so as I paid the tab.
Anyway, flash forward 15 years, and I’m on LinkedIn, and I see that someone in my network has commented on a status update from someone that says “I AM NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB. NOBODY I KNOW IS LOOKING FOR A JOB. RECRUITERS, PLEASE, JUST LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE ALREADY!”
Wow. What a wonderful, secure life that guy must have, huh?
Your job is so overwhelmingly awesome that you can’t possibly want to hear from anyone…about anything.
Your friends are all gainfully employed, and also just as thrilled with their jobs as you are.
You cannot possibly want for anything, and you will be perfectly content for the rest of your life.
And of course…your job and those of your friends will always last forever. The companies involved will never lay anyone off or go out of business, and you’re all set for life.
How…awesome for you. So, as a result, you choose to be over the top rude to people who are reaching out and believe that you might be a good fit for a position that they have. They think you have a desirable set of skills. They want to you to come to work for them.
LinkedIn is about social networking. Making connections is the whole point. It is rapidly becoming the tool of choice for recruiters to find candidates. More importantly…never blow off a connection today that could be of benefit to you tomorrow. We’ve said it before, at least once or twice, and it bears repeating: If you wait until you need one to start building your network, it’s already too late.
So, Dear Angry LinkedIn.com User: “Dude…take a compliment. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested or not. Someone was into you. Just take the compliment and get past it.”
And Don’t Be That Guy.
Thanks, Mark. Both for calling me out for being That Guy that night, and for the life lesson.
Lesson learned…and passed on.