Have at it, readers….
I have a question about co-worker etiquette when it comes to referrals. Perhaps readers will help me out on this.
I met my friend “Paula” from college and we were in the same program. We would help each other out and occasionally go out together too. One night, Paula asked me if I was interested in a short term job her friend “Mary” was offering. Paula couldn’t take the job herself because she already had a busy workload and I didn’t have a heavy workload. It sounded very interesting and when I met with Mary, I was hired on the spot. It was great and I was really thankful for Paula for introducing me to a future career, so I took Paula out for lunch.
Of course it kept me busy and when I ran into Paula, she asked me about how it went. I told her it was great and glad that Mary offered a full-time job after I graduated. Things went a little sour after that. From then on, whenever I saw Paula, she would become very curt or hinted about how she could have had that job if only she wasn’t so busy; also, she needed a job more (hint: my job) since she has to pay rent while I still live with my parents (college was commutable from home). The worse was about how if it weren’t for her, then I’d have no future at all. I was taken aback by these statements, and quite frankly, found them a bit rude. I didn’t realize she wanted a job so badly since she passed it on to me. And since I thought we were good friends, aren’t we supposed to be supportive of each other??
After I got my first paycheck, I treated Paula for lunch again, to show I was really appreciative of her referral and hopefully smooth things out. She was less curt and back to friendly Paula again, so that seemed like a good sign. But then when I see her again afterwards, she was back to giving me the cold-shoulder!
Now, Mary has told me about a job opening at her firm and would be working with me. Here’s the question: do I refer her to Paula to return the favor as proper etiquette? Or do I cross her name off the list because of the way she treated me? Or possibly, am I rude for not being super appreciative?
As a professional courtesy I would refer Paula for the job with the caveat that you believe she would be well suited for it.