[My friend] invited me to her house for her dinner several times. I could not refuse so I accepted her request and will see her tomorrow. It turned out that she did this for a reason. Her potential employer called me today for a reference which I don’t mind to keep my promise to help her. The problem is that employer is our company’s competition which is located 10-minute away.
In order to help her secure that job, I have to say good stuffs which is the same as lying. She doesn’t have enough experience to handle many situations which she thought she knows. My supervisor and I now have to clean up her mess.
I asked for the supervisor for opinion. He said that the new employer can’t ask for so many things. The worse thing is just saying yes to everything including all her demands and messes.
I asked the boss for permission he said that he trusted my decision but he thinks that I should not get involve because whatever I say will affect the company’s image and will come back to bite me. For example, they will find out that she is not that great and will blame it on me. They might say to all prospect customers that I’m not qualified to represent them because I lie, not honest, no good judgment … so on an so on… so prospect customers should not sign up w/ my company. He said that he caught her 3 times for lying already.
You have mentioned before that I should act nice no matter what. If I don’t help her, like you said, I discriminate. If I help her, I have to deal w/ a whole punch of potential problems.
What should I do?
JT, San Diego, CA
The questions get harder every year!
You should be truthful. You could say that you liked her as a person (think about the things that you like about her). It is your professional responsibility to be truthful about her qualifications but you do not necessarily have to provide all the details. For example, as an employer who calls upon you to ask about someone’s qualifications, I won’t blame you for if you did inform me that she’s inexperienced and would need some training.
As a rule of thumb, do not lie until you have real wisdom (it’ll take a while yet).
To be truthful is to be nice in the long run to all concerned. You can’t be nice to your friend but be not nice to yourself and colleagues.
I would come up with a real lame excuse for backing out of the dinner invitation to make sure that she gets it: that you are not fooled by the phoniness. You do not need to be phony by accepting phony invitations.
Besides, something about her tells me that she’s not that good of a cook. Therefore, you’re not missing much.