Saturday, March 13, 2010

Did you ever fire a friend or family member? I have!

Over the years I helped family members out with resumes they needed, letters to companies and lots of photographic assignments and generally they were pleased with my help and the results of my efforts. Some family members or friends however never realized the time and effort that went into those FAVORS and never bothered to show their appreciation.

Now appreciation to me doesn't mean buying me an expensive gift or thanking me over and over again, but it does mean a heartfelt Thank You, a simple statement like this one would suffice:
I know you took the time to help me and truly appreciate your effort and if you ever need anything from me, please don't hesitate to ask

At one time, years ago, I had to send my brother a letter to explain why I could no longer be the one in the family to write letters for everyone or do their resumes. You see it all came about after I was asked to work on a bogus resume for my niece who wanted to apply for a job, but didn't know how to put a resume together. The call came from my sister-in-law and she stressed it had to be written fast because the resume had to be sent out the next day.

My niece never asked for the favor, but her mom did knowing I was the family writer and also worked for and owned an employment agency for a number of years. To make this a shorter story, I spent 4 hours working on this resume that had very little substance and many exaggerations of truth and I was happy with the results.

I had to overnight mail this to them because years ago there was no internet. I then waited, waited and waited many days to hear if she got the job or at least to find out if the resume arrived in time, but nothing. No calls to thank me, no comments about the great job I did and no thank you. I finally decided to call my sister-in-law to ask how it went. She told me in a matter of fact way that they never used the resume because my niece decided she didn't want to apply for that position.

Still no thank you and no considerations for what I had done. That was the last straw and I wrote that letter to my brother to basically fire his family and let them know I would no longer be the "Go To Guy" when they needed someone to write their letters and resumes.

Now over the years, I have continued to put my self out and offer my hand in friendship and love to family and friends, but over the past few years, I have fired other friends and relatives. I have found that we live in a cruel world today where people have no problem asking friends, family members, co-workers and others to do for them, but never return the favors or will put themselves out for others.

We live in a world of
What can you do for me, not what can I do for you.
Now that I am 67 years old I look back at all the friends I had over the years and how many are still friends and sadly the number is very small. My wife and I have fired friends who have let us down in one way or the other.

My wife owns a small travel agency and fired one friend who asked her to work on a trip for them that literally took days to plan. This former friend was not easy to deal with and kept changing her mind and plans so my wife had to keep going back to do the research and present the trip plans. She later found out that this so called friend's husband decided to book the trip with another travel service, took all the information my wife had given them and found a deal for a few dollars less. They never asked my wife to see if there was a way to meet the price or even if it was exactly the same trip with all the extras.

Well, needless to say that friendship of over 20 years ended and my wife fired these friends. Now if they had simply come back to discuss this with her as friends would, she could have compared item by item why the other agent came up a bit lower. Every time she does, she usually finds out it is not the same items or there are hidden taxes the other agent didn't include. You see in the world of travel before the internet, every agent gets the same prices, but there are ways of working a trip and maybe using travel wholesalers that can bring the cost down.

You need to understand that many people are takers and not givers, so if you are going to do a favor and can do it without receiving what you need in return (a heartfelt thank you or other sign of appreciation) then go ahead. If you feel you are being used, then learn to say NO.

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