A reader writes:
After 15 years as a nonprofit govt director, I’ve struck out by myself as a nonprofit advisor. Whereas a lot of my enterprise is word-of-mouth and involves me, I do generally throw my hat within the ring for positions I see posted on-line. One such place was for a corporation that works in a really area of interest discipline of sufferer companies for youngsters. I’ve labored in youngster welfare for a few years and their scope of labor appeared like a great match. I went via three Zoom interviews, a number of (paid) workout routines, and a fourth interview earlier than being invited to talk to the founder and board. Whereas the method was cumbersome, the time was paid, the work was vital and executive-level, and I loved the individuals with whom I spoke. I didn’t really feel there have been crimson flags.
Then got here the assembly with the founder and the board. What began off as an informative and productive dialog devolved inside about quarter-hour to their assertion that we would have liked to “harness the facility of QAnon” as a result of this group serves a inhabitants that might be harmed if one in all QAnon’s largest conspiracy theories was true … and the board felt that QAnon members would need to throw cash at this trigger. I most likely was simply open-mouthed and speechless on Zoom for a stable 15 seconds earlier than composing myself and diplomatically (I feel) saying that based mostly on the details about the nonprofit they’d already shared, I’d assume it could flip off different donors in the event that they aligned themselves with QAnon. It went badly from there, and I politely excused myself from the decision and adopted up with an e mail that reiterated I used to be withdrawing my candidacy.
I might simply write this off as a ridiculous story to inform individuals, besides that one of many board members known as my references (which have been furnished on the time we scheduled the ultimate interview, assuming that was only a formality). That board member advised a minimum of one in all my references — who’s a present shopper — that I used to be massively unprofessional, let my politics get in the best way of labor, and didn’t have the very best pursuits of victims at coronary heart. I discovered this out when this reference, a really long-term shopper, let me know. She and I’ve mentioned politics some and he or she is aware of my positions (Left. Simply…very left, and I don’t personal a tinfoil hat) so she might snigger about it.
Nevertheless it appears this board member known as my references simply to badmouth me, to not truly ask for references. My shopper mentioned she wasn’t requested any questions requested about me, however reasonably she was “warned” about my character. The board member didn’t clarify that that they had steered that I “harness the facility of QAnon”; she simply mentioned I put my “unreasonable political views” first and refused to assist victims.
This shopper was fourth on an inventory of six references so I’m involved she known as all of them to badmouth me. They’re newer and I’m unsure how you can greatest broach this with every of them. I need to be proactive however am actually not sure of the wording. I don’t need to badmouth a (former) potential shopper but in addition need to make it very clear what occurred.
So that they need to “harness the facility” of a deluded and harmful group not as a result of they consider its conspiracy theories, however as a result of they see a possibility to boost cash? And so they’re offended by you mentioning which may not go over properly with the remainder of their donor base (which is, uh, a really sensible concern)?
Even when they disagreed along with your take (BUT YOUR TAKE WAS 100% CORRECT), how on earth did that flip into you “being unprofessional, letting politics get in the best way of labor, and never having the very best pursuits of victims at coronary heart”? Is that this is a corporation that takes any differing perspective on technique as a private assault?
After which to take the additional step of calling individuals who know you — not for references, however simply to trash-talk you — to exit of their approach to attempt to hurt you … who’re these individuals and why did this develop into so private to them? (Are they QAnon believers themselves? That’s the one clarification I can consider.)
The saving grace right here is that it’s going learn as Extremely Unhinged to anybody who will get that decision.
Actually, as a result of it’s such an odd factor to do, I truly wouldn’t be that freaked out about whether or not the board member known as your different shoppers. Any affordable one that bought a name like that from a stranger goes to be predisposed to assume the issue is with the stranger, not with you, the particular person they know and have had good experiences with.
That mentioned, you presumably advised these shoppers that you simply have been going to be placing their names on a reference checklist, so you could possibly observe up now with an e mail that claims one thing like, “Thanks for agreeing to be a reference for me! Sadly it might need resulted in a very unusual cellphone name from a corporation I’m very positive I don’t need to work for, however which was offended by my disagreement with a few of their proposed methods. For those who did get that decision, I’m so sorry your time was used that method (and I’m pleased to speak to you about it in order for you!).”
Preserve it brief and breezy, and that ought to put it in context for anybody who’s questioning.