Should I or Shouldn’t I?

by on April 26, 2017

Should I or Shouldn’t I?

6260595_sRecently I attended a film festival in my home town. One of the short subject entries really made an impression on me. After the film, I commented to the director of the film school that had produced the entry that it was a great item to show to a number of my job search clients. It also would register very well with those contemplating any major decision.

Let me set the premise of the film. A young fellow has to decide whether or not he wants to make a telephone call. It is obvious from the beginning that there is a great deal of importance to the call, and that making the call is causing him a lot of stress. As the film moves forward, two other characters enter the picture. One is an older gentleman, about a generation or two older than the young fellow deciding whether to make the call. He is counseling the young fellow, that in spite of his anxiety, to make the call. After all, to not make the call may be keeping him from an opportunity that may be available to him, if he does not make the call.

The other character introduced is an attractive young woman. She advises the young man to not make the call. Her intention is to protect him. The call may contain bad news or have him receive a message that he does not want to here. She represents the status quo. The woman promises that she will keep him safe, that she will comfort him, and that staying with her he knows what he has and he has nothing to risk.

While the film ends without a resolution, (we are not sure if the young man makes the call or not. In fact we never learn what the call is about in the first place), I see this scenario play out often with those whom I come in contact who are in job search. One of the more frequent questions I receive is, should I make a telephone call to someone I am looking to contact. That question often comes either after a job interview where the person has not received any sort of feedback, or when looking to make a networking connection with someone that the person is unfamiliar, but whom they have been told may be able to help them. And, even if the person wants to make the call, questions will arise as to when they should make the call, will I be perceived as a pest, or will the person on the other end of the line actually think worse of me than if I did not make the call?

While as a good coach I try to not tell my clients what they should do, (good coaches should help put options out there for their clients to be aware, but the choice to make should be the client’s) here are some points I’ll ask them to consider. What happens if you do not make the call and never hear back from the person? How will you know what they were thinking? How will you know if they got pre-occupied and intended to call you and your call would have prompted them to reconnect with you. When you did speak to them, what parameters did you set for follow up? What was the understanding of when to follow-up? What was the preferred follow up method? If they are someone you were recommended to call, did the person who made that suggestion give you guidelines on how to reach out to the person with whom you want to make contact?

Finally, I usually will like to leave one last thought. If you don’t make the call or follow-up you have left all of the power if there is going to be another connection, in the hands of the other individual. How do you feel about that? What is the worst thing that can happen if you initiate the contact? Is there a chance the person will issue a cease and desist order not to contact them? Will they yell at you? Will they think you are the worst human being on the face of the earth? If is unlikely those things will happen, I usually highly recommend making the call, (no matter how comforting not doing so may appear).

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