On my twenty-third birthday, I decided to throw a party to celebrate my transition into adulthood because despite what everyone says, you don’t become an adult at eighteen.
You become an adult when you make and spend your own money, live on your own, go to the doctor on your own and deal with things without first calling your mother.
Anyway, I digress. When I asked around for places where I could have my cake baked, I was guilt-tripped with the logic that I should “support your friend’s business the way you support big brands.”So I paid my hard-earned cash (hard because I was earning half a handful of peanuts) for a mint and vanilla-flavoured cake.
Sweet tooth that I am, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the cake and let my palates be transported to paradise. To my shock, the cake tasted and felt like sweet potato that had been salted, spiced and then mashed.
I was livid. At that point I had two choices; to tell her off and be considered a hater or to cut my losses and silently vow never to source her services or recommend her to anyone. I chose the latter.
These memories came flashing in my mind today when a friend asked me to recommend her for a freelance research gig. I can’t do it. It’s not that I don’t love her or don’t wish her well. I really do.
But when you recommend someone, you are putting your reputation and integrity on the line. You are saying that you trust this person to do a good job. Ultimately, their performance affects your relationship with the person who has trusted your word and hired them.
If they are unrepentant late-comers or have a bad attitude towards work, if they are lazy, unethical or disorganized, the person who hired them will question your character. As the saying goes; “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.”
So before you ask for a recommendation, can you honestly say that you are qualified for the role? Or are you like my workmate’s cousin who told her to put in a good word for her to be hired as the company accountant even though she studied Social Sciences and the minimum qualification required for the job was a professional accounting course?
As a business owner, you are not entitled to your friends’ money. You shouldn’t expect people to spend their earnings on mediocre products in the name of friendship. Do something that they will be happy to support without being coerced.
If you are an adult who has refused to grow up; running around and aiming for the wild life, don’t ask people to recommend you to their mature friends as a potential spouse so you can bring your drama into their lives.
In short, if you are looking to be recommended in any capacity; as a business owner, job-seeker or spouse-seeker be fair to the people from who you are seeking recommendation. Ask yourself first if you are recommendable.