Thursday, January 16, 2014

Double dealing

In some ways, the most stressful aspect of choosing between two job offers is that, from the outside, it can certainly look as if I were playing one against the other.  In other words, one company was made aware of the other offer, and thus "got off the pot" and raised their offer.  But in my mind, that wasn't how it happened at all.  I actually didn't go into any details with the second company, though I did mention to them in passing that I was about to sign with the other firm.  I really only thought about this as a professional courtesy and was actually a bit annoyed at first that they kept messing with my mind and trying to change my decision.  Indeed, if the first firm had pushed through the job offer in a reasonable time frame, then I would have almost certainly just signed.  It would essentially have been a point of honour to do so.

For me, it is quite important to be seen as upright, and specifically to not engage in double dealing.  Again, I can think of things that I have done that perhaps would seem that way to an outsider, like building up external support to force an internal decision.  Though of course I only would do such a thing if I really thought it were the best interest of the firm.  But of course, nearly all of us find ways to justify nearly everything that we do.  (And it is not a total coincidence that the strategy I have mentioned, stage directing things so that one's fingerprints are not on the revolver as it were, is one employed by Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost.)  There are certainly things that we justify to ourselves that may not be completely on the level.  I actually do wonder about people that engage in outright criminal activity (particularly burglary) and how they square that away, other than they probably don't think it is fair that they don't have the nice things that other people do because they never got the right breaks in life.

On a more mundane level, I vividly recall how upset I was when I learned that the outsider view of the literary magazine where I was managing editor was that we were seen as a clique where we only published ourselves.  That was manifestly not true.  All submissions were treated as blind submissions, and the editorial staff was not allowed to publish in the magazine.  Very few of the other volunteers ever were published, and as I said, their pieces were published on their merits.  As I was starting to feel the pressures of graduation (and not sure what I was going to do after university), I resigned and let others take the helm.  It seemed like a reasonable response at the time (to being baselessly accused).  I would surely handle it differently now.  Anyway, it is good to see that the Yawp survived my editorial stint for another 3 years or so and then morphed into Xylem.

Part and parcel of this need to be seen as upfront and honest was that I rarely and perhaps never lied through my early teen years.  I did begin to strategically omit information, but said to myself that I would spill the beans if asked the right question in the right way (oh how I chortled when I heard Rob Ford put forth the same formulation).  It is still quite easy to get me to vent on any number of topics, though I have gotten a bit better of not allowing them to get brought up in the first place and/or changing the subject.  Later, of course, I learned to tell white lies.

No comments:

Post a Comment