Change the Way you Interact with Ex-Colleagues

Four years ago as I was leaving the company I was with for ten years, a dear colleague based in one of our overseas office wrote me a weepy email expressing her sadness.

But well, out of sight, out of mind, I suppose it is for some superficial people.

Four years later – as a twist of fate, one might say – I was given the top secret assignment of analyzing her performance and even that of her superiors by the powers-that-be in her head office. Long story short: senior management was wondering if the existence of her department was justified.  Prior to my descending upon the city where she worked I contacted her and asked if she would have time for a quick coffee. I wanted to have a sense of things. Her reply was rather official-sounding “Unfortunately I won’t be able to meet you as work is in the way and over the weekend I am studying for a qualification. But I can make some time for you to have a telephone conversation, if you like.”

If that wasn’t a rebuff and a snub, I don’t know what it was. I supposed as far as she was concerned, I have outlived my usefulness. Why make time for me? I’m history.

Would she had responded differently if I had pre-warned her of the purpose of my visit?

Well, I am not mind reader – I make my living advising corporate boards – but what I do know is that this woman has burned all her bridges with me. What little shred of goodwill I had in my mind as far as she was concerned disappeared with that email of hers.

I have also since made my recommendations to her head office and whatever needs to happen will happen. I did take into consideration employees’ EQ and interpersonal skills as I made my recommendations.

To be fair she did end her email by saying “I can make some time for you to have a telephone conversation, if you like.”

Er, no thanks, I am not a dog waiting for bones to be thrown at me and you don’t schedule official telephone conference calls with someone whose departure you said had made you cry.

She also said “Let me know your thoughts and a suitable time.”

Well, my thoughts are reflected here and I now longer have time for someone like her. Yes, that very special list I keep in my head has just had another addition, in fact this new addition has moved right to the number one position on my list.

Goodbye dear ex-colleague, have a good life!