Professional courtesy… an oxymoron?

When I arrived in Canada in 1975, my first priority was very clear. I needed an income… and fast! I pursued all the obvious channels, by introducing myself to employment agencies, and sending off many resumes.

The response to the resumes was my first disappointment with Canada! I would guess that I received responses to probably less than 10%. I questioned this, and was told that most companies will only respond to a resume if they are interested in you. That does, at a superficial level, appear to be very efficient but I also found it quite disappointing.

From my perspective, if I am prepared to take some time out of my life to send a company an overview of my perceived working potential, then I expect the company to spend a few minutes to send me an acknowledgement. All I expected was something that said “Thank you for your interest.” At last I then knew that it had ben received.

The next step in the employment process was also discourteous.  After an interview, I was often advised that they would be considering all applicants over the next few weeks, but would only be contacting those who were short listed. This was another issue for me because there would be no precise date as to when the decision would be made.  I would therefore have no idea if I had been rejected, or overlooked in the process (people do make mistakes!) . i.e. The person delegated to contact the “short list” had overlooked me!

It seemed to me that businesses were taking a “holier than thou” approach! Their time was extremely important… but mine was of little consequence.

My perspective on interviews (learned in England) was that not only should courtesy be the norm, but that an interview is a “2-way street”. The business is interviewing me to assess by suitability for the position available, and I am interviewing them to see if I want to work for them. It is interesting how many individuals were quite lost for words when I started asking the questions. I cannot recall one interviewer that invited questions!

It would seem to me that the discourtesy often seen in day to day lives is really not surprising given the examples set by so-called professionals. I really do not understand why… but I am still disappointed when I hear some “transaction” going on, and there is no please or thank you. Why am I so surprised when people are clearly totally focused on their own perspective, and have given  no thought to another person’s perspective?

I could be negative and perceive a very sad future for our species as it becomes more self-centered and generally insensitive to others, but I prefer to believe that most of us do acknowledge the pleasure of receiving respect from others. We just have to make that leap in logic that suggests that we should perhaps be treating others in much the same way and, who knows, it might just catch on!

Professional courtesy? It would be so refreshing to experience businesses who actually care about their employees, and of course their customers. Professional courtesy… an oxymoron? It does not have to be does it!

Just thinking!



Ray has generally been relatively controlled when surprised by unexpected noises. He will certainly jump occasionally, as evidenced once when a bus was next to us and its air pressure valve decided to release pressure at that moment, but in general he seems to be quite accepting of odd noises. Continue reading