19 February 2020
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The return of the 'nasty little bitch'

Last Tuesday I wrote a piece about a response I received when replying to a job advertisement that we put up on SEEK for a position within our company. My article had quite a few reactions, all of them sympathetic to me being called a ‘nasty little bitch’.  Here’s an example of those who found Lizzy’s response rude and over-the-top:

“I guess initially I want to say you ‘dodged a bullet’ there. But really it saddens me that this candidate thought that it was okay to respond to you in that way…not once but twice.”

Alex, whom I’ve never met, while agreeing with Luisa above, put a twist on it:

“At 33 years of age, I am not a young person, but that article really didn’t sit well with me.  Although the response was undeserved, would you discount someone with children, because their attention may be diverted? Interesting insight into Switzer employment.  Thought you might want to hire a mix of talent, young, old, families and singles, business owners and start-ups, male and female.”

No, Alex, I wouldn’t discount someone with children and in fact I have a number of people in the company who have young ones. And yes, we have a mix of talent, young and old, families and singles, males and females. But no, I don’t have (and don’t want) business owners or start-ups in my company because their focus and capitalistic interest should be on their enterprises. 

Let me explain. 

After years of being in business, and indeed writing a number of business books, I’ve come to learn quite a bit. Take Justin, for example. He worked with us years ago for 12 months or so. One day he asked to see me to say that he found what we did inspirational, to the point that he had started his own business. But he explained that for financial reasons he wanted to still work in my business for three days a week while he built his up. Trouble was, his start up was in the exact same line as mine, producing exactly the same products and services. And what’s worse, I received a call a day later from a client I was close to who explained that Justin had been to see her to ask if he could pitch for business. He knew the contract we had was due for renewal and he wanted to take business away from us, while we were paying him. C’mon. 

And then there was Peter. He got his Australian Financial Services Licence while we were paying him. Of course, all this was on the quiet. When we approached him to see if he wanted to buy into our business, he replied “Why should I when I can walk away tomorrow and take your clients with me.” And that’s exactly what he did – left us taking over $200,000 in fees. And he was a financial planner, supposed to be ethical and honest.

Then there was Ben, who also ran a business on the side. He was found with a hard drive that he’d brought into the office, copying all our files, systems, procedures etc. that took us years to develop at considerable expense.

I’ll stop there and merely add: No, Alex, I don’t want start-ups and other businesses working within my company, whether they’re competitive with mine or not. Let them put skin into their own enterprises rather than trying to skin others. I want committed employees who share our vision and who are well rewarded for the hard work they put into growing our business for the betterment of all who are involved. 

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