Horrible Networking Experience -- Should I Keep Quiet?
July 10, 2014 10:14 AM Subscribe
I'm looking to make a career shift to a new city and move to a slightly different area of my professional field. A while back, I met a great contact ("Bob") here in my current city who has a giant professional network both here and in the city where I'd like to relocate. He has been very helpful and recently put me into contact with one of his "best friends" ("Jane"), who he ensured me would have valuable insights into the job market in my target city. I arranged a brief phone call with Jane, and it went horribly. Jane was rude, condescending, and made it clear she was talking to me only as a favor to Bob. Now Bob excitedly wants a readout of the conversation, with details of how Jane was able to help me. Should I tell him the truth about our conversation or just be vague and said it went fine?
posted by Creamroller to Human Relations (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Bob has gone out of his way to help me in my proposed career move, putting me in contact with a number of people who have had a variety of helpful suggestions and have provided additional networking opportunities. He is one of those truly nice guys who wants to help -- and it doesn't hurt that he is very connected (he once held prominent public office in the city where I want to live).
When he suggested I reach out to Jane, he told me that she is one of his oldest and most trusted contacts -- and believed she would be a tremendous source of information on the job market in my field, who's hiring, strategies for making myself marketable from afar, etc. He connected us via an e-mail introduction and she agreed to my suggestion that we have a brief telephone chat.
When I called her at the time I had arranged with her assistant, I made it clear at the outset that I would only take a few minutes of her time, and that I was NOT looking for a job, just some professional advice. I was short and to the point, and I had a very brief set of specific questions, none of which were particularly onerous or involved the asking of any favors.
However, Jane was extremely rude to me from the outset. At the beginning of the call (which she did on speakerphone, clearly typing and whispering to other people as I was talking to her), she told me that she "normally doesn't do these kinds of calls, but I owe Bob a favor." After I told her a bit about my background and asked her for some specific suggestions, she said, "I don't know what you want from me, but I'm really busy. I'm really surprised Bob thought we'd have much to talk about. How much longer do you want to talk?" The conversation quickly went downhill from there and I ended it politely after a couple minutes, thanking her for her time.
Now Bob has sent me an e-mail asking to get lunch and a debrief of the conversation I had with Jane. In the e-mail he said, "I'd love to hear the advice she provided, since I can't think of anyone better positioned to help you." What should I tell Bob? On one hand, I don't want to be spreading nasty stories about how rude his friends are, especially after he went out of his way to make the connection. On the other hand, if he is steering other people in her direction, perhaps he ought to know that she's clearly not inclined to play the mentor to role to his friends.
What does the hive mind think?