Career Creep

The other day, browsing through LinkedIn, I came upon the profile of a person who called himself a career coach. His day job was the same as mine, but in his spare time he, claimed, he helped others tune up their LinkedIn profiles so well that hiring managers would be calling, without them even applying for a job. Taking this with a grain of salt, I did nonetheless consider the idea that I should hire a career coach.

As you know I’ve been looking for almost a year with no success, so I InMailed him. Β He responded, and over the next few days we had an exchange that I have to characterize as bizarre.

There were warning signs that I ignored, I’ll admit. The guy’s profile is littered with symbols, arrows, checkmarks, probably a little foaming pint of beer, roses, a thumbnail of a resume, and so on. It looks messy, but it looks different. I wouldn’t want my profile to look like that, but I figured, “Hey, he got my attention, right? He says he can market people and he made himself stand out.” I figured it was just a gimmicky, schticky thing he was doing to get attention and not a sign of a disordered mind.

One of this requests was to send some information, and what he asked for wasn’t untoward, but I didn’t feel it told the whole story of what I’m trying to do and the challenges I’m facing. So I added that in. I wouldn’t say my response to him was overly long. It wasn’t brief either. It included the necessary information.

From the get-go, his responses had an odd, passive-aggressive tone. He seemed to feel I had challenged him to a duel of wits and that I was trying to prove that I was better than him in some way. He responded by inserting lots of wink emojis into his paragraphs and assuring me he could “keep up” with me. He never quite seemed to get the point of what I was saying, so I kept clarifying in my responses.

I became increasingly aware that I only knew vaguely how he was proposing to work his magic, and requests for detail were met with πŸ˜‰ and statements that were not to the point.

It was his last response that made me cut ties with him, in which he stated something along the lines of “OK, no more hand-holding. You’ve got to take me by the hand and lead me where you want to go.” I was baffled that anything that had happened could be considered ‘hand-holding.’ And where I want to go…I thought I had been explaining that in detail for days.

When I finally told him it wasn’t going to work out (thankfully I hadn’t yet paid him anything), I believe he was relieved. His reply was along the lines of “I understand. Best, John.” Like, I am delighted to be rid of you. It was mutual.

The one positive result of the experience is that I have resolved I do want a career coach, just not him. I’m thinking, someone who makes a living as a career coach would be a good bet, since presumably they have to be good enough to stay in business.

I have to say I’m annoyed with myself for giving this guy the benefit of the doubt for so long. I was so sure I just wasn’t explaining clearly, or that my situation was unusual, or something. The truth is, the guy is kind of a jerk. He’s also not as smart as he thinks he is.

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