They used to hang horsethieves

Hangman’s noose

There’s always someone to test the lowest common denominator. It’s the opposite of what the test pilots used to call “pushing the envelope.” It’s more like rolling around in the mud with pigs.

As I was leaving the shop this afternoon, I noticed that a fax had fallen from the machine onto the floor. I presumed (correctly) that it was late afternoon junk; a solicitation for a little known stock that no one in their right mind would consider or something like that. I was right and I was wrong.

Here’s what the headline read:

Please forward to Customer Service and Sales Representatives

Full Time Immediate Opening for an Outside Sales Representative Covering the Macon, Warner Robins, and surrounding areas.

The fax went on to describe the job and listed a website where the potential prospect (who only incidentally happens to be currently working at my company) could apply for this great new job. Nowhere was a company name mentioned . . . just the website. Someone was soliciting our employees on our own fax machine!

I have a curious nature. I checked the website, which let me to a Tucson, AZ company. Headhunters, hired guns, cannibals.

I am trying very hard not to sound too possessive, paternalistic (read Godfather) or old fashioned, but it’s tough to get and keep good people when you’re a small businessperson. And the last thing you need is some sleazy headhunter trying to steal them away!

I am blessed at AlphaGraphics with a very fine team of folks, all of whom feel a connection and responsibility for our business. We care about our customers and try to give them our best all the time. We take care of each other. Our group knows when we make money and how much and when we lose money and why; and I think that most of them see a direct connection between the success of the business and their own success.

I resent an attempt to lure these folks away to “greener pastures” as much as a working cowboy in the 1890s would resent the attempted theft of his roping horse. I am not implying a comparison between the horse and our employees. Unlike the horse, any of our team members can act on his or her own volition. They can apply for the job if they want to. But, there’s actually little distinction between the horse thief and the headhunter, and no ethical difference at all in the two situations.

Times have changed, though. In 1890, horse thievery was universally condemned. Horse thieves were hanged. A businessperson today has little recourse.

I thought about applying for the job, just to find which one of my competitors had hired the sleazeball. I’d at least get the satisfaction of asking them if they approved of what their hired guns were doing. When I got to the website, I found that to apply for the job you had to have a resume. Haven’t had one of those in years, I’m happy to say.

There was a contact name on the website. I sent an email, as follows:

Mr. _____,

This afternoon, I received a fax from your company that solicited job applications from our sales and customer service people. They are all currently employed. Please do not send further solicitations to our company or to our team.

There was little satisfaction in the sending of the email. It’s been a lot more fun sitting here in the living room practicing my knots.




One Response to They used to hang horsethieves

  1. Florian says:

    I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog 🙂
    Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day 🙂

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