My Ovaltine Moment

Okay kids, Look out Larry’s cranky today.  Why?  I know I’m usually such a fun loving, upbeat guy, but today. Well,  today I felt abused.  Here’s a tip for those of you that plan and execute conferences.  In this case a  business/marketing conference, but I’m sure the lesson will apply to any type of get together where you charge the attendees to spend some of their day with you in the hopes that they will learn something new.

Ralphie, "A crummy commercial?"

Ralphie, "A crummy commercial?"

This conference was supposed to be about marketing.  I was going to learn all sorts of new things that would make my job easier and transform my company and my on-line brand.

” Great!” say I, “Want me some of that, so sign me up!  Here’s my $200.”

I notice that the speakers are all from companies, but that’s cool.  They do this stuff all day so they are going to share their vast knowledge with me!  I mean just look at the descriptions of the cool sessions I get to attend!

Fifteen minutes into the first presentation this is what I muttered under my breath…

That’s right.  I paid $200 bucks and realigned an entire day on my calendar to learn some new tips and techniques.  But what I got was a commercial for doing business with the presenter’s company.   I went to the next session hoping this was an anomaly.  No such luck.  After another 20 minutes of some suit telling me not about challenges or solutions but how good his product was, I grabbed my stuff and bolted.  I won’t consider using those companies.  Ever. Yes the waste of money bothers me, but it’s not the reason I’m angry. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Now on to people applying for a job.  I get it.  You want to work.  I applaud you.  In fact, I’m happy and flattered that so many people want to apply for a position we have posted. But a few quick tips for job hunters.

  1. Just because it’s easy to submit your resume online doesn’t mean you should just spam every opening on with your resume & cover letter.  Dirty little secret. If you send me your resume for a position you have absolutely zero qualifications for, I assume you are either illiterate, stupid or think I am. What’s worse, if you do this and you ARE qualified for a different position in my company, I will send your resume and info to the proper manager along with a note saying, “If you get an inquiry from this person, don’t hire them.  They are either illiterate, stupid or thinks we are.”
  2. If I get your resume and it says, “References Available Upon Request”,  Oh…did you hear that?  It was the sound of your resume going through the shredder.  Why?  Because I assume you don’t have any decent references or you think you can trick me into calling and your excellent phone skills will get you in.  Not so much sparky.  I have an abundance of qualified candidates and scarce amount of time to deal with them.  If you want to be considered, don’t ask me to do extra work to decide you’re worth an interview.  Remember, you’re the one with all the time on your hands.  I have a job.   If there are references you don’t want me to call unless I have an offer for you,  just note which ones they are.
  3. If you have already sent me your materials in the way I have requested, DO NOT have a friend of yours that works with me send it too.  First, you don’t know if I like or respect that person.  But worse, you just told me you don’t have the confidence that your story will be compelling enough to get my attention without some inside mojo.

What do all of these things have in common?  Whether you’re a business or a job candidate trying to get my attention, do not make the mistake of wasting the only truly limited resource I have,  my time.  I can forgive mistakes, but I won’t forgive a lack of respect for my time.


About Larry Downes

Son, brother, husband, father, boss, mentor & friend. Believer in unfettered personal liberty. Occasional host on 93.1 WIBC in Indianapolis.


  1. Ralphie | Wugez - December 6, 2011

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