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Can you have too many networking connections?

Dear J.T. & Dale: I recently interviewed at a company I dream of working for. I know several people there who referred me in and have been really supportive. So, imagine my disappointment when I was told that I wouldn’t be getting an offer. I called one of my friends there and she did some digging and found out the hiring manager didn’t like me and was uncomfortable with the idea of hiring someone with so many friends in the organization. Do you think I can save this? Should I call her? I really want to work at this company! – Marlena

J.T.: If you approach the hiring manager with this, I think she’ll know something was said behind her back and it will only serve to prove her point.

DALE: Agreed, the elephant has left the room and grabbing at the tail as it heads out won’t help. You still have connections with the company, so think ahead. First priority: Do not risk creating an enemy by leaving any lingering ill will. I would call or email and tell the manager you were disappointed, but you understand, and if the person she chooses doesn’t work out, that you’d love to be the backup. That’s classy and should ensure that there aren’t any residual negative feelings.

J.T.: Exactly – let it go and focus on continuing to network and build more friendships in the company. They’ll likely be hiring again, and hopefully next time around you can present to the hiring manager the case that while you have a lot of connections at the company, you realize your loyalty is to your manager. This is one of those tough situations they don’t teach you in school, that there can be a downside to having a lot of networking connections at an employer. You always have to remember how it might appear to the managers and mitigate any concerns they might have.

Dear J.T. & Dale: My employer just found out that their office lease isn’t going to be renewed. They are looking at space that would add 15 minutes each way to my commute. I want to ask if they’d let me work from home instead. Do you think I should bring that up now before they move? I don’t want them to fire me, as I need this job. But, if they make me commute, I will need to start looking for a new employer. – Vic

J.T.: I think you should bring this up now with your boss. Instead of complaining, embrace the reality and propose a win-win: “I know the company has to relocate and they are looking at ___ location. This is really hard for me to bring up because I love this job, but I’m already commuting a long distance daily and that would add another 30 minutes to it. I’m not sure I’d be able to stay working here long-term if I had to commute that far. So, I’m wondering if you might consider letting me work from home. I understand if you can’t, but I had to ask. And if you can’t, then perhaps we can work openly together so that I can find a job after the move is complete and give you time to find my replacement. I’d want to leave on the best terms possible.” By approaching it this way, you and your boss can explore all possible situations to help ensure you are both satisfied with the outcome.

DALE: I was with you at the start, but any talk of leaving can be taken as a threat, and many managers turn hostile at threats, either with a “Well then, time to part ways,” or saying nothing but starting the search for your replacement. I’d leave that out. Meanwhile, it’s time – it’s always time – for ABL. That’s always be looking. The best solution is simply to get a better and closer job. Just remember: Be a good team player till you find a better team.

Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm jtodonnell. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

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