If you're a regular reader of this blog (or the Hiring blog), you can see that I'm not shy or demure. I'm blunt and direct. And in most circumstances, I manage to straight-talk without hurting anyone, even myself. But that wasn't the case earlier this week.
I was writing the PM book, concentrating. The phone rang. (Note to self: Put the phone to voicemail when writing.) I answered “Johanna Rothman.” The nice person on the other end was on a speakerphone and paused a moment before saying, “This is Nice Person from a-company-who-sends-you-multiple-credit-card-offers-in-the-mail. Is this a good time to talk?”
I assume Nice Person is a telemarketer, and say, “Not if you're going to try to sell me something.” Blunt and direct, right? Yup. Nice Person picks up the handset, and says, “I wanted to talk to you about the Managing One-on-One workshop.”
I got that knotty feeling in my stomach, and said, “I'm sorry. I thought you were a telemarketer. Can we do this over again? I'm Johanna and it's nice to meet you.” We went on from there.
My assumptions–a slight pause, speakerphone, and the company name implies telemarketer–might have been right most of the time, but not this time. Luckily, Nice Person seemed to have taken it well. But I bet it's not the first time this has happened.
I'm an idiot sometimes, and this was one of them. One of my great strengths–putting the clues together to see the system and being able to discuss it clearly–is also one of my greatest weaknesses. For those of you who were at my StarWest keynote, this is yet another non-career enhancing conversation. (Maybe I should develop a keynote about non-career enhancing conversations and show how to change just one or two things to change them into career-enhancing conversations. Let me know if you'd go to a conference to hear that.:-)
We all have assumptions. And some of us jump to conclusions quickly with the clues we have. But we don't always have all the clues, as I didn't in this conversation. If you also jump to conclusions as I do, make sure you're not embarking on a non-career enhancing conversation. Those conversations are not always as easy to rescue or start over. And they may prevent you from gathering more clues.
The more information you gather, the easier it is to have a career-enhancing conversation, instead of the other kind.