On the importance of manners

Around a year ago, there was possibility that the agency I work in was going to be sold. In that eventuality it seemed I would either be out of a job or in one I didn’t particularly enjoy, and with mouths to feed and a preference for loving what I do, I started to look at other options.

Two of the opportunities I explored at that time were with large consulting firms, and as someone who made a conscious decision not to take that career path when I completed post-grad, I was neither surprised nor disappointed to find I wasn’t well suited to either of them.

Thankfully (for me at least) the deal didn’t go ahead, and the last nine months or so have been some of the best of my career – doing great work with an inspired team, for clients who deserve and appreciate our efforts.

However stressful it may have been at the time, in hindsight this was a useful and enlightening experience…

It caused me to consider my professional motivations (nobody cares about what you do – why is so much more interesting and revealing), and rekindled my passion for creating value over and above the needs of my clients and their customers. Job creation, export earnings, making NZ prosper and a better place for us all to live and work in – this is why I get out of bed each day.

It gave me clarity on what I’m really good at, what I enjoy doing, and the kinds of people I like working with.

It also provided me with a reminder of the kinds of people I’d prefer to avoid, and the shining coarsest examples in this respect (other than management consultants, whose dubious nature scarcely requires mention) are the recruiters themselves – duplicitous, self-serving people traffickers to a man. And woman.

I was reminded of this recently, while lunching with a friend. I missed a call and received a voicemail from a recruiter, introducing herself, explaining that she’d found my profile on LinkedIn and would I please call her back. This immediately struck me as odd, as this woman and I had met several times last year. The idea that she could fail to recall our association nine months later was disturbing, but ever willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt I promptly returned her call…

Rings once, sent to voicemail. Ok. I leave a message.


The next day I send an email, thanking her for her call.


A week later, I call again. Call is promptly answered, but she tells me she’s in a meeting and will call me right back.


Another week goes by, another email and another voicemail.


Well, shit. Is that how you want to play it? Ok then.

In all honesty, I’m quite happy where I am and couldn’t care less about whatever this harpy had in mind. However, the fact that someone could request a courtesy, receive it, and then be so utterly rude in return is not something that I will tolerate, forgive, or forget.

Much as I’d love to name and shame publicly, my vengeance is colder and runs deeper. I know people. Fine folks like yourselves. People who engage recruiters, and the talented sons-of-bitches they are so desperate to procure.

As her phone stops ringing, this woman will learn the hard way what the rest of humanity already knew – politeness counts, people.

Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

2 thoughts on “On the importance of manners”

  1. I cannot stand that kind of professional discourtesy. And in a recruitment consultant, of all people, whose profession relies almost entirely on the interactions between people, it’s simply inexcusable.


Leave a Comment