Following an amazing response to this new column, I decided to do it again because honestly, there’s a lot of behavior over the years that I let go unchecked and frankly, now that I’m older, all bets are off.
I got a ton of great comments that have led me to this week’s Go F*** Yourself offender of the week. I hereby present to you…
If you have incredible connections that you have built up throughout your career, then beware, at some point in your life, you will fall victim to The Taker. When they meet you for the first time, The Taker will blow a whole lot of smoke up your butt – telling you how amazing you are and how impressed with what you have accomplished in your career. They may even want to take you for coffee or lunch. If you take them up on their offer, be warned, they are going in for the take.
Typically, the taker will strike after their first or second meeting. They will innocently want to pick your brain and then follow up with questions about having you connect them to people you know who could help them advance their career or their goals. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem sharing my contacts with people I trust and admire, but there’s something sinister about takers. They like to take, take, take but they never seem to give anything back in return.
I had my first brush with a taker when I had landed a big promotion at work. One day after appearing at an event, The Taker introduced themself, took me to lunch and the next thing I know, I started handing over my contacts like candy. The Taker had a field day with me. The problem was, a few years later after I had left my big job behind, The Taker didn’t get the message that you’re supposed to help people who have helped you succeed. When all you do is take and give nothing back in return, than you can take your flattery and stick it where the sun don’t shine.
Another personal favorite is The Taker who is climbing the corporate ladder and will do whatever it takes to get to the top. When you’re their boss, you might see their ambition as an asset to your department so you give them opportunities to continue to kick ass on the job and the next thing you know, they quit or get promoted and suddenly, they have passed you by on the corporate ladder. When you attempt to reach out years later, this overly ambitious taker never responds to any of your inquiries. After they continually fail to return your calls or emails, you find yourself secretly wishing this taker gets laid off. Yes, I know that’s evil, but some takers just need to be taken down.
Then there’s a variation of “The Taker” which I’d like to call “The Swooper.” In this scenario, you’ve worked really hard at your job – perhaps you wrote an amazing speech for someone or maybe you came up with an ingenious idea for a project you’ve been working on and the next thing you know, you’re blindsighted by The Swooper who has no shame whatsoever and takes credit for your work. That’s the most painful Taker of all – especially since you know that The Swooper wouldn’t know how to write their way out of a paper bag.
If you have found yourself on the receiving end of The Taker, be vigilant. They may not want to be your friend – they just want to get to know who you know. And if you have been or currently are a Taker, seriously, Go F*** Yourself.