Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Okay. Help me out here. And before you start, know that names have been changed to protect the innocent. Well, except for mine.

As you know, I just returned home from a days long conference in New Mexico. At this conference, a young sales professional hung out with all of us. Every day. I’m going to call him Joseph.

The very act of our friendship afforded Joseph access to my immediate professional relationships, and introduced him to even others, very powerful relationships in their own right. Most young salespeople would love to have the access this young one gained in one weekend.

A young lady flew in from another town and joined Joseph, and as such, she was welcomed into our group. I’m going to call her Deanna. Deanna was precious, a beautiful single mom, and a national sales manager for a firm totally unrelated to oil and gas. The very first night she’s there, Joseph falls ill. She pitches in and takes care of him. Joseph recovers to attend all of the events on Saturday, as well as the rest of the weekend. Saturday night, we’re sitting together at the same large dinner table, and I tell Joseph that we enjoyed Deanna’s company that afternoon when she joined us for shopping on the square. (He was playing in a golf tourney.)

His comment, “Yeah? She’s sweet. But I have commitment issues. I just can’t do it. But you know, last night, she so totally took care of me when I was sick. I couldn't believe it. It’s caused me to wonder.”

She’s sitting right next to him. I’m so thankful she didn’t hear him. I want to slap him.

I’m thinking: you need to rope up, boy, and see gold when it appears in front of you. I see a committed, professional, single mom, who’s working her fingers to the bone to raise her son. She’s been given a weekend off, and been thrown in a huge mix of people she’s never met, and she is faring very well. She's not intimidated, she's visiting with others, and very interested in their responses. I’m impressed. The entire group is impressed with Deanna.

That night, after an event, Joseph and Deanna went out to a very small, no, tiny local bar with four of my friends and their wives. These friends each happen to be VPs with ABigHonkin’Service Company. (I skipped and went to the hotel, I was exhausted.) A large time was had by all, and said night ended with all the wives and girlfriends singing on the stage with the band. These ladies, with the exception of Deanna, had known each other for years. They took Deanna under their wings, and a good time was had by all. They were all having fun, and nothing untoward happened. Their husbands/significant others thought the time was great!

The next morning found Deanna without her purse. Her Louis Vuitton purse. With her I.D., credit cards, and house/car keys. All missing. Joseph calls me and lets me know. All of the VP’s go on the search. I go on the search. We go over every step of the night, every single place that was visited. We go to the reception, the dinner, the bar, and after a thorough search, find the purse, with everything intact. We’re all so relieved. Deanna almost cries with gratitude. Later on that afternoon, Deanna flies home, actually riding to the airport with one of the VPs and his wife.

Joseph is back with us again. And we’re all bragging on how much we love Deanna, how she fit in, and how sweet she was. How all the customers and VPs and their wives loved her, as well.

Joseph? Not so much. He totally trashes her, saying he can’t believe she got up on the stage in front of such powerful people. After all, he has his reputation to protect.

I’m in shock – my friends are in shock. I’m thinking my own reputation might be in danger, if he continues to act like this. I’ve known Joseph for 3-4 years. I’ve somewhat, in a limited by distance way, mentored him, opened doors for him, and have willingly done so. He works in the same industry as I, and also works with a non-profit that helps underprivileged kids. I think he can go far. This weekend he's sought my advice, and we’ve enjoyed some deep discussions concerning furthering his education, and his ultimate career path.

I tell him in no uncertain terms his vision’s a little off. Deanna was just letting her hair down, following the older adults in the group. Matter of fact, I remind him, he has some culpability here, as well. Deanna crossed no lines, and everyone loved her. I personally think that Deanna is a deep well, very disciplined, and sweet to boot. She’s one of those rare ones - a keeper.

Joseph still keeps griping. I tell him to look in the mirror, that this is really about him, not her.

The next morning, Joseph’s readying to fly home, himself, and can’t find his rental car keys. He calls me, and tells me he thinks that Deanna took the keys home by mistake. The rental car company has to drive from another town and make a new set of keys so he can get to the airport. He calls her, and she doesn’t have them. He’s still blaming her.

I give up. Whatever this is, it’s not about me.

Tonight, I receive this e-mail.


It was great seeing you again this year at NMOGA.
As always, I had a great time with you and your friends/customers.
You are such a great person and always so kind to me. It is no wonder why you are so loved everywhere you go.

On a not so "cheesy" note, haha, I was hoping to follow up with a few people to say thanks.
If possible, please send email addresses for the below.

Dean Brown (wifes name?)
Jim Ican’trememberhislastname (wifes name?)
Danny (last name?)
Ronald & Rhoda S – BigHonkin’ServiceCo (last name?)
Peter G/J – BigHonkin’Service Co(last name?)
Dolores & Lonnie Smith

Thanks again! Hopefully next year that man you love will join the fun... ;)



I don’t know if I’m more pissed that Joseph didn’t think to get their business cards or that I still might be a little ouchy from once being a single mom myself. Or if I just feel used.

Guess I’d better go look in my own mirror. If you hear this big crash, know that it shattered the moment I showed up.


Tricia said...

Is he for real?

Find Deanna and tell her to MOVE. ON.

As for Joseph, perhaps you need to take a risk and make one (and only one) attempt to kick that mentoring relationship up a notch, and lay it all out on the line for him. And then it's his choice what he does with it. Either he'll listen and make some adjustments, or he won't.

As a single mom myself, I'm pissed off too.

thisisme said...

Oh boy, does he have some growing up to do. I really hope that she can do better than that. I can't believe he trashed her. I didn't hear any glass shattering, so you are all good too.

Gretchen said...

Sounds like a person it's time to forget. I would never allow him access to any contact that could damage my reputation. He obviously has problems - major ones.

People who can't take responsibility and blame others for their mistakes are the ones to watch out for.

beth said...

He needs a smack upside the head, sounds like. Maybe as his mentor you're in a position to do it -- but honestly, I wouldn't share any more contacts with him and just lay it out for him that if he couldn't bring himself to get business cards, it's not your responsibility to hand feed him email addresses, especially in light of his recent blame-shifting behaviors in regard to Deanna.

Hugs to you - dealing with people in the workplace is always such an adventure, isn't it?

jill jill bo bill said...

Fire his unommitted arse and hire Deanna. There. I'm done.

Lone Chatelaine said...

As I was reading this I totally pictured Joseph's face as someone very similar to him that I work with. He's an opportunist little pisher who tends to classify people as either being worthy of his time and manners or not. He's very judgmental and classist.

Joseph is being an inconsiderate jerk, Janie. Needs taken down a notch or two by someone senior to him.

Lynellen said...

I think you need to cut Joseph loose...he's a user.

Packsaddle said...

[cautiously peers around corner]

Is it safe for a guy in here?

Anonymous said...

This guy has some serious growing to do personally and professionally. Only you can decide if he is worth your time to keep mentoring. Personally, I would start distancing myself from him as he sounds very narcissistic, and I really wouldn't want to be associated with that professionally, especially when it's your reputation on the line.

In layman's terms...kick him to the curb. He needs a big dose of grow the heck up!

And can someone give D the 411 on the sly?!??! She deserves SO much better.

Janie said...

Ladies - thanks for your comments. I thought I might be a little sensitive or something. But, obviously not.

Packsaddle - you are always welcome. I know you to be a gentleman and waaaay more mature than this guy. Don't sweat it.

I didn't write this really from a female point of view (though I was a single mom once myself). More from a professional point of view.

And I'm more than a little ticked at myself for misjudging this guy.

Janie said...

And I think you're right. I think I'm kicking him to the curb and disallowing access to my contacts.

Sandy Kessler said...

Take it from a wise old sage who just had a birthday , he's got issues of insecurity for sure - hogtie that guy..teasing but not hugs to Zack and

The Doozie said...

Well, He's a guy. And guys are sometimes very immature. Don't fire him or anything otherwise, just drop it. You can't make people like each other no matter how well you think they might fit.

I sort of think he was jealous. That Deanna was sort of showing him up? He is immature, and unable to see beyond that competitive nature. Perhaps he considers himself your protegee, and she was raining on his parade.

At any rate, you can't make people do what you think is right, all you can do is just meet them where they are, in other words, just accept them for who and what they are and don't expect more, and you won't be disappointed.

Janie said...

Sandy - Zack and Zanna send their love. And we all send happy birthday greetings!

Doozie - I can't fire him, he works for another company. And you're right, I need to accept him just the way he is, and love him. And I do. He'll come down off his high horse eventually.

I will, however, be a little more protective of my professional relationships.

Terri aka Pepsi's Mom said...

I was a single Mom for 13 1/2 years...I am dumbfounded on several levels!
There are quite a few Joe's out there, and a few that are not! I got lucky and found one of the few!
What really bugs me the most is when people blame others for their own ineptness. (A personal pet peeve of mine)
If you give him the info he wants, he will not improve next time. If you don't, he may remember to get the names, ect himself.
DO give a heads up to Deanna!

Janie said...

I'm going to be a good girl and be sweet. I should probably just delete the entire post.


Pam said...

Ooooh, let me get a hold of him! What gall, what unmitigated gall. Poor Deanna, I'm with the rest, let her know he's a user and maybe send someone nice HER way. As to giving him the info, I think I'd think twice. He needs to learn to use all that gadgetry that's out there...Blackberry, I-Phone, Palm Pilot, pen & paper? Let him stew in his own juices, you are NOT his momma! (You'd have taught him better!)

The Henegar Happenings said...

SISTER!!! you don't know me yet, but I have been following your blog for sometime AND YOU NEED TO GET RID OF THAT USER, he's gotten where he is today because of you and by sending him those emails you will only be helping him further, while enabling made your contacts and unfortunately you didn't get the emails that he needs??? What are you his assistant? No, you are a professional woman who took care of herself and business needs.... he needs to grow up!

scotte said...

Hit him in the head with a bar b q pit. Thats what you did to me 23 years ago. I am still with her. It works!!!

Janie said...

All righty then. Y'all want to go with me next year? I think I should just sic y'all on him.

And Scott - how could a darling sweet sister like me throw a barbeque pit at you?

(I didn't, really, did I? I mean, I remember a chair. A boot. But a barbeque pit?)

Love ya!

Insane Mama said...

What a weinnie head

Janie said...

Insane - you make me laugh, girlfriend.

scotte said...

Pecan Grove ---Trampoline........back flip...22" casing BBQ pit....concussion......was I mean to her when we broke up?????

Janie said...


I a-member. (as Brody used to say!)

PawHealer said...

Yuck....Tricia tells you to have Deanna move on...I second that and am advising you to find someone else to mentor...

Some people...ya just gotta wonder where they come from.