Hobson Associates

The Night I Drunk Dialed the Candidate Who Took a Counter Offer

Man Drinking and DialingYou shouldn’t mix. Business with pleasure, dance beats with ballads from the 90s, and definitely not schnapps, mediocre champagne and beer…My colleagues wanted to make me feel better after my candidate took the counter offer. We totally intended to have one drink. But they had half off on shots, Justin bought the first two rounds and that NEVER happens, and they had open mike night and pre-season football, one of which I participated in, it’s kind of fuzzy, and I really, really didn’t want to go home and feel sorry for myself. So I drank way too much. I would like to report that I used Uber, endangered no one and got home responsibly. I would like to report that. I don’t know how I got home. Or where my car is. And I ended up feeling sorry for myself anyway.

My first call was at 2 a.m. This was not a random time. After 26 phone conversations in 3 months, (thank you call accounting software), including the last one where he thanked me effusively for changing his life and accepted the job, yesterday at 2 a.m. he emailed me. I woke up at 6 a.m. and like any professional, checked my phone as I headed to the bathroom. He wrote:

“Dude, we’ve always kept it real. I can’t take the job. My boss freaked out, got the big boss involved, I KNOW we talked about that, but I guess I didn’t really believe it would happen. Like this guy never gave me the time of day in 4 years, but…whatever, I got a new gig, two pay grades up and they’re fast-tracking me. I’m going to stay. I’m sorry. My bad.

I didn’t really mean to call him. I meant to log in to my Headspace App and meditate. But I found myself scrolling to his number and punching the screen. I was irrationally surprised to get his voicemail.

“Hey. DOOD!! How the hell are you? I figured it was okay to call at 2 a.m. because you seem to think those are friggin office hours. So what did they give you? 20 grand? 40 grand? There would be such wonderful symmetry if they gave you 40K because that is how much it cost me today when you reneged on the offer letter you signed, being of sound mind and body, of your own free will. But the difference is I don’t care about 40 grand but you…40 grand is the price of your integrity, your honor, your soul!! And you know what else? That big boss who never gave you the time of day in four years, well he’s not going to give you the time of day ever again! Sleep well Arnold Benedict…”

I hung up. Then in keeping with my best practices of backing up my voice mails with emails, I sent the following email: “we’ve always kept it real? BAHAHAHAHA…P.S…clearly I meant Benedict Arnold.”

At 3 a.m., I felt sick, couldn’t trust which orifice was about to purge, and sat on the toilet at an angle where I could throw up in the bathtub, and to kill time, called him again.

“You didn’t call me back. It’s been an hour. Don’t go dark on me just because it’s dark out! That’s funny… See how I am able to keep my sense of humor in a crisis? That is grace, my friend, something you know nothing about. Just remember, I know where you live. Actually, I do know where you live but you are 1200 miles from me and I’ve never been to Illinois and that sounded creepy anyway. I’m not coming to your house. Just call me back.”

At 3:30 a.m., I was on my couch downloading articles from the American Psychiatric Assoc. I grabbed my phone.

“Seriously, I’m trying to help you. I was reading the DSM, that’s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and dude you are a textbook case of “cognitive difference”…I mean diffi..no, no wait…”dissonance!” …that’s the stress you feel when your self-concept is at odds with your behavior. See, you think you’re this upstanding, straight shooting, compassionate guy, just doing what is best for himself and his family, but your “behavior” with this job, with how you are treating me, says otherwise. So you must be feeling a great amount of stress and you know what? I feel sorry for you. I don’t feel sorry for me, I feel sorry for you.”

Ten minutes later, I called him and said I needed to amend my last call, because I did feel sorry for me, because the 40K fee I had trusted him with would put me in my bonus pool at work.

“…and I have been, not that you remember, but we did talk about this, saving for a down payment on a house for me and my fiancé but hey, never mind, you don’t care about anyone but yourself. When you wake up in a couple of months and want to either apologize to me or tell me you hate your job, SAVE IT! Don’t EVER call me again.”

My final call came just as I was getting the bed spins. I felt that if I yelled I’d fall off the bed so I dialed the phone and just whispered.

“I really, really hate you. And I need you to know, and this is the last time we will ever speak…that you say the word “literally” way too much. It’s a crutch, get a thesaurus. And your LinkedIn profile pic is “literally” pathetic. A cat on your lap? So that makes you sensitive? The cat looks miserable. And please update your cultural references, you told me your boss was as dumb as Chrissy in ‘Three’s Company’. That show is a million years old. No one knows what you’re talking about….okay I don’t really hate you. I wish I could. I’m just sad. And drunk. And you’re not worth it. That part I mean.”

I woke up three hours later, lying prostrate over my physio ball. My phone was buzzing. It was him. He’s gotten all the voicemails and the emails. He’s going to scream at me. He should. Then he’s going to call my boss. I don’t blame him.

Or…maybe he’s seen the light and called to tell me he’s taking the job!!!



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