Thursday, July 1, 2010


Respect is a funny thing. You only get it if you earn it, and you only earn it if the person you are engaged with is willing to allow you to earn it. Someone once told me “Trust” is when you make yourself vulnerable to another, knowing the other person can hurt you, but believing they won’t." Respect comes after trust, and trust is hard to fix once it is broken.

I mention this because I recently placed a contractor in a position at a leading company, and it is a very good position, on a long term contract. The manager loves this guy and went out of his way to get the budget to hire him. The relationship I have with the manager is also very good, so the ability for us to negotiate is very easy.

To that end, this contractor had some compliance paperwork that needed to be completed. One of the people on my staff reached out to him and did not receive a response. Then another call and email went out, with no response. Finally, our HR team got involved and threatened to walk him off the assignment unless he complied with this request.

Much to my surprise, the contractor sent back a very aggressive and somewhat nasty email and copied several people in my organization. My first reaction was, “What an idiot! Doesn’t he know that we are his employer?” After being extremely forceful and threatening to remove him from his assignment, he ultimately did comply, but not without incident.

If you choose to work with an agency, and you get placed in a new position, don’t forget who you work for. The assignment you may be on, is just that, an assignment. The end client is not your employer, even though you are expected to take day to day direction from them, and you report to them for your production requirements, your ultimate employer is the agency that placed you. If you are disrespectful to me, and to my staff, I don’t care how good you may be at your job, I will never endorse you again for another position. If you are overly aggressive, I will fire you and make it known to my entire organization that you are hard to work with, are disrespectful, and should not be presented for futire openings.

This is a very harsh reality, but it is the truth. I would argue that you should be respectful of everyone, regardless of their relationship with you, but especially your employer. Don’t make the same dumb mistake this contractor made, and you will find yourself with more opportunities, more friends, a stronger network, and most importantly a good reputation.

Good luck with your job search, and remember, you are responsible for the relationships you forge.  If you form bad relationships, you will be lonely, so make sure you bite your tongue whenever you find yourself in a situation where you are frustrated or angry about something.  Let cooler heads prevail...

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