I had a conversation with a recent college graduate last week. She has now begun the task of looking for work. A video interview was set up with the founder of a small start up.
After the call, she phoned me to vent:
“Bill, he was four minutes late and I don’t think he knew why he was even talking to me. He seemed distracted and seemed more interested in telling me about his company than learning about me. The whole experience left me irritated.”
It’s a good thing I was on the phone and not on a Zoom call where she could see me smile and hear me chuckle.
“You’re not in college anymore, kid. This is business. This is how things are.”
This newbie has high expectations. She believes being late is a sign of disrespect. She thinks people should be prepared. She thinks listening is more important than talking.
She’s not wrong, of course, but she’s also not wise in the ways of the business force.
Her next education will be in business tolerance. Even before the pandemic, the rules were looser than they were when I graduated from college 40 years ago. By controlling what we can control (sending meeting confirmations and reminders ahead of time), summarizing the purpose of the call (“Thank you for your time. The purpose of today’s conversation is…”), and cutting people more slack than usual, we can accept this new, less formal, business environment and not feel slighted.
It’s not about lowering our standards. It’s about adjusting our expectations, showing empathy, and increasing our levels of understanding.
I do feel for her. She’s been influenced (at best) and ruined (at worst) by a father who habitually holds himself and others to high and often unrealistic expectations.
This college grad enters the business world with passion, drive, hopes, and a lot of naïveté. If she can add to that a huge dollop of chill-lax, she will do great things.
It’s a good lesson for us all.
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Bill Farquharson is a respected industry expert and highly sought after speaker known for his energetic and entertaining presentations. Bill engages his audiences with wit and wisdom earned as a 40-year print sales veteran while teaching new ideas for solving classic sales challenges. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault, are available at salesvault.pro.