I want to share a brief story with you that might give you some understanding (or patience!). Sort of where I’m coming from.
In a previous life I got a big promotion to account manager for a big client of ours. Prior to that I had managed a few smaller clients, but the company wanted me to take on a bigger challenge and focus my skills on a single account. It was a big step for me and significant, maybe in a selfish way, because I was the first female to take on such a role.
Things went well for about a year and then I kept running into this guy - in the hallway, in the parking lot, in meetings, on conference calls and so on. It was a bit like Coffee Guy, but I had not yet learned to keep my shields up. Anyway, one thing led to another, he bought me coffee a couple of time, then we started having lunch once a week and before I knew what was happening we were “dating.” I write dating like “dating” because it wasn’t really in a romantic sense, but maybe more than a hanging-out sense.
I began to confide in him things that were happening at work and in my home life, and he was a good listener. He was a great listener. If I had been paying attention I would have realized that he paid the most attention when I was talking about things I was doing managing the account.
The short story is that he was pumping me for internal, confidential information that he was passing directly to his negotiating team. I didn’t see it coming until the very end when we began to negotiate the annual contract. It should have been easy - here’s what we’ll do, here’s what you’ll pay, a little back and forth and done.
It wasn’t like that at all.
They began to ask for concessions they never asked for before, and for a bunch of free stuff. They seemed to know exactly how far they could push us and managed to lock us into a two-year deal with the option for a third at the same price.
My managers were furious. Furious at me.
It got worse.
Rumors began to fly that I had shared company information with my “boyfriend” who worked for the client. I found out later he was the one who started the rumors. Shortly after that I was called in for a counseling session with my manager and at the end of that they told me I was going to be replaced. About a week later I got hauled in again and told that they were having a problem placing me in another position. I had two choices: resignation or termination.
Ryan, I’ve never told anyone this story before. It was a very embarrassing and painful experience and it took me a long time to get over it - if I am. I keep to myself, lock the doors, pull down the curtains. Fool me once, shame on me. It’s a work in progress.
We’ll talk soon, OK?
All the best,
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