On Narcissism and Business Etiquette

Inconsiderate people lose credibility with you–and the opportunity to work with you again.

NarcissusNarcissus was a hunter from the territory of Thespiae in Boeotia. He was renowned for his beauty and exceptionally proud (re: he disdained those who loved him). As divine punishment he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool, not realizing it was merely an image, and he wasted away to death, not being able to leave the beauty of his own reflection.

Narcissus Lives

I often meet Narcissus in the business world. Consider a few personal examples over the last few years.

Before I started writing and doing public speaking, I used to deal with recruiters who needed to fill contract positions. More often than not, they needed me to drop everything I was doing to get them what they needed. At first, I would oblige, only to either never hear back or have to track them down to find out that the position was now closed. Some would even contact me months later oblivious to how poorly they behaved.

In 2011, I had to get the head of a marketing agency a proposal by the end of the day. The agency needed my help for blogging and social media for one of its blue-chip clients. I provided a detailed quote later that day because, to quote the woman, “the client needs to find someone immediately.” What then? Crickets. It took several emails on my end to find out that the agency went in a different direction.

I had been in touch with someone to run a piece on The New Small in 2011. I would answer his questions, give him what he needed, and then never hear back. All of a sudden, when the person needed “filler” content for his blog, I was the flavor of the month again.

Simon Says

The inconsiderate make a conscious choice to ignore you when they no longer have a use for you. Ultimately, however, they do themselves a disservice: They lose credibility with you–and the opportunity to work with you again.

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