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can I use you as a reference? February 12, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Lessons Learned, Seen Elsewhere.
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The following was written in 2005 by Yoshi, a friend of That Guy. Please be advised that it contains strong language.

Right now, I am looking for part-time work because I am also going back to school. I’ve decided that my high-school diploma just isn’t cutting it any more, and it’s time to move ahead with my life.

That said, I have found filling out important financial and employment documents not only be a cramp in my style (as well as my right hand), but can be a bit tedious at times. Case in point, the all-too-important references section. My financial aid (read: loans I’ll still be paying back when I’m 40) documents required that I put four (4) whole references down. Look, with the exception of one or two select friends, I have no one I would put down as a reference. Especially since, with the exception of the previously mentioned two friends, everyone else I know is either an acquaintance or a drug addict (or both). Not exactly someone I would use as a reference for both financial and/or employment reasons.

Let’s face it: I was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety disorder. I don’t make friends easily (without the aid of alcohol or illicit substances, that is) and with my recent weight loss (125 pounds in the past year*) and employment loss, I don’t have the ability to go out and make friends at the moment (read: none of my clothes fit, I can’t afford drugs or alcohol, and I can barely afford to put gas in my car). Knowing all of that, where exactly am I supposed to find people who I would trust to use as a reference?

What do my friends know about me and my ability to handle fiscal and employment responsibility? All they can really say is, “Yeah, that Yoshi is an okay guy. Not an asshole or anything.” “Yoshi is an okay guy” is not the same as “Yoshi pays his bills on time and shows up to work on-time all of the time.”

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user twodolla

CC-licensed photo by Flickr user twodolla

This leads me to another point of discussion that falls in the same area. Have you ever recommended a friend to your employer, only to have it backfire in your face? I have once, which is why I would never again recommend a friend to my employer. Too many hassles. Nor would I expect anyone to do the same for me. Or so I thought.

On Monday, I went for an interview with a company that a friend of mine recommended me for. After careful thought (read: desperation at not having any money), I submitted my resume to the company with my friend’s name as a reference. Now, I know that my friend has vouched for me and that my chances for getting this job are high but I am really hoping that I will not get hired. In fact I took subtle, yet unconscious, steps at making sure I would not get this job. I forgot to shave (I had done so the night before, but the five o’clock shadow never looks good on an interview), I didn’t bring a copy of my resume, and I arrived two minutes late. To be honest, I know I would be perfect for this job. I just don’t want to tarnish my friend’s reputation if I fuck up at this new position. I don’t want that hanging over my head; I’ve got enough shit to worry about in my life.

I couldn’t help it, though. I need to have some kind of income coming in, and with going back to school and all the part-time position my friend was offering seemed like a good idea. However, if I recommend a friend to my employer, that is me putting my good name on the line for someone. And while my employer may not look badly toward me if that person fucks up, I can guarantee you he/she will never hire another person I recommend ever again. I don’t want that kind of thing happening to my friend.

***

* Early in 2005, Yoshi underwent gastric bypass surgery. As of this date, he has reached his weight-loss goal and is maintaining himself at that weight.

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