“So,” I said, as Lucy hopped into my car, “did you accept their offer?”
“No, I turned it down or moral principle,” Lucy said, knowing that I would be very surprised.
“But let’s wait until we get to the restaurant and I’ll tell you the whole story,”Lucy said teasingly. “It’s worth the wait.”
Seeing that we were stuck in traffic, I said, “ Well, at least tell me who offered you the job.”
“It’s a large New York agency that just landed a local account and they’re opening an office here. My name was given to them by their new client.”
Once we were at the restaurant and ordered, Lucy began her tale.
“I got a call from the agency on a Monday and they say, ‘We need you to fly out here tomorrow and interview with our key people because we have to get the office up and running immediately.’
So, I fly out there and spend the day interviewing with seven people who, by the way, all have entirely different stories about how the new office is going to operate.”
“What had they told you about the job before you flew out?”
“They said there was going to be three managing directors in the office. Two were coming from the agency in New York, and I would be the third. We would each be responsible for running a separate part of the business and we would each report to the senior vice president back in New York.
I meet the two people who supposedly are going to be my peers. The first one Jason says, ‘I’m not moving. My wife is an investment banker. My mother- in-law lives with us and takes care of or kids. There’s no way I’m moving.’
The second guy is named Richie. He says, ‘I’m not actually going to be working on the account. I’m going to be the senior managing director of the office. I’ll be responsible for all hiring and firing. You’ll be reporting to me.’
My last interview of the day was with Peter, the senior vice president. He asked if I had any questions. I asked the obvious─ Who will I be reporting to?”
“You’ll be reporting to me,” Peter said.
”Well, Richie seems to think that I’m reporting to him, and I can tell you right now, I’m not interested in the job unless I report directly to you.”
“Not a problem,” Peter said with sincerity. “You’re reporting to me.”
“The next day my friend calls and says the agency is definitely going to offer me a job. So I wait. All day Tuesday. All day Wednesday. All Day Thursday. No voicemail. No email .Finally, on Friday, Peter calls.”
“I’m in town. Why don’t you come over to the hotel at the end of the day and let’s get this done. We want you on board.”
“He actually said, ‘let’s get it done?” I asked.
“Those were his exact words. I’m sitting across a table from him and he says, ‘How much do you make?’
I tell him. Then he says, ‘We’ll give you a substantial bump. How much vacation do you have?’
I told him and he said, ‘We’ll bump it up too.’ By this time I’m feeling pretty good so I start asking for more stuff. What about free parking?”
‘Free parking it is!’, Peter offered grandiosely. ‘And, we’ll give you free membership to a health club too.’ Finally he says, ‘ And of course, we’ll give you a big signing bonus.’
“I’m thinking Lucy girl, your life is good. Substantial raise. Big signing bonus and then , Peter drops the bomb.”
‘We need you to start November 17th.’
“Well I couldn’t. I have a six-year relationship with my client and I can’t possibly wrap things up that quickly. I countered with “December 1st.”
‘But we need you on the 17th,’ Peter said. ‘You can do both jobs. I don’t care what you tell them. The trust of the team will be compromised if you don’t start on the 17th.’
“We go round and round and finally I say, Okay, I’ll start on the 24th but before I officially say yes I do need to see what this substantial raise and big bonus are. When will I see the offer?”
Peter promises it the next day.
“Tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes. So do the next day, and the next. When I get the offer it’s an 11% raise with a $2500 signing bonus,and I will have dual reporting to Peter and Richie. Plus, they’re still insisting that I start on the 17th.
I call him and say, ‘I just want you to know that I have to turn down your offer. The raise was not substantial. The signing bonus was not big and I can’t start on the 17th.’”
Peter says, “I’m in shock.”
“I think that’s the end of it. Next day, Peter calls back and says,’ I’m calling to protest. I thought we had a meeting of the minds’.
I’m thinking this guy is unreal. I’ve told him no. I’ve told him why I said no, and he won’t take no for an answer. So I said exactly what I thought.”
“We did have a meeting of the minds and I see way more of yours than I wanted to.”
NOTE: Lucy’s name has been changed to protect her job. The name of the agency executives have also been changed to protect them as well.