Never need

Recently, I was the target of recruiters for a well known company. I wasn’t particularly interested in working for the company, especially since it meant I would have to move back to the Silicon Valley area (something I didn’t want to do).

The recruiters were nice, and I was flattered. However, I was also aware that there was a hiring blitz of women happening within many of the tech companies so I wasn’t too flattered.

(Not sure of the reason for the sudden interest in hiring women. It could be the class action lawsuits successfully won by women being discriminated against in other industries. Or perhaps the companies are finally starting to realize that, hey! They have women customers, too. Anyway, I digress. Back to the recruiters. )

They tried a couple of different approaches to get me interested in the company, the most recent of which had some mild appeal (not working for the company, but what they offered). At that point, the recruiters had me speak with a person from their technology department. I did, and chattered on enthusiastically about the topics he brought up until he had to make another call.

I never did hear back from the recruiters. To be honest, I don’t think any of us, myself or the recruiters, expected anything to come from this conversation. So why did it occur? Simple: they had to bring the relationship to the point where they were the ones who did the rejection. At no point could they tolerate that they didn’t have the final say in the decision: will I, won’t I work for them.

As long as I kept saying no, I had value; once I said yes, my value deteriorated. It wasn’t me that was of interest; it was the fact that I said ‘no’ that made me stand out.

This is a nasty by-product of our increasingly marketing-oriented mentality: we want that which is unobtainable; we don’t value that which is within reach. So this holiday season, there are three things of great worth: iPods, XBoxes, and people who are hard to get. Or already gone.

I am learning, though. After a while, even Pavlov’s dogs learned to react to the bell.

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