“If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Those words of advice were given to me by my beloved Gran, who passed away when I was 18. She was my role model, the person I always turned to when I needed advice. There were many ‘pearls of wisdom’ she would trot out, and I could dedicate a whole blog to those alone! But this week the one I’ve quoted had a particular resonance for me.
In my job I deal with recruitment on a daily basis, which means I have to give people good AND bad news. I try to be as sensitive as I can, especially when giving feedback to candidates. I can remember what it was like to be in their position, and isn’t always easy to hear what may be construed as criticism. I aim to be constructive, and sometimes it boils down to whether a person is the right ‘fit’ for the company. There isn’t a great deal they can do about that, other than a personality transplant! 🙂
I remember receiving unsolicited feedback after an interview I’d attended arranged by an agency. After doing research about the organisation I was reticent to even go for the interview. My gut feeling was that the role wasn’t right for me, and I also felt culturally the fit wasn’t right. When I turned up to be grilled by the 3 Directors I knew my gut feeling was spot on. I wasn’t surprised to find out I was unsuccessful, and I would have left the experience at that. The agency, on the other hand, decided to tell me the ways in which I’d ‘messed up’ the interview, even though I wasn’t particularly bothered or interested. At the time it annoyed me as I’d not asked for the critique. I can understand why the agency did it, but it served to make me more self-conscious and nervous for my next interview. I’ve used this experience to shape how I deal with others though, and I only give feedback if it is requested.
When I was deciding whether to write this blog I fretted about how I’d handle criticism. Writing is a personal thing, and what I find interesting is not everyone else’s cup of tea. I also worried how self-indulgent me writing about my life might appear to others. As I get older I’ve started to care a little less about perceptions, so I thought to heck with it. If you aren’t interested, you won’t read it. I find it frustrating when I see Twitter spats in my time line as to me you have choices. If you don’t like what they post, the answer is simple- UNFOLLOW THEM. If they’re abusive, block and report them. Drama in life and on the Internet can be easy to avoid sometimes. It’s called an off button 🙂
This neatly leads me to an issue I faced this week. My foodie journeys are often well documented on Twitter, and I’ll usually tweet about where I’ve eaten/will be eating. This means I’ll sometimes be asked for recommendations, and I’m always a little nervous about making suggestions. I’m very particular, whereas others may not be bothered by certain things. It also places a pressure; if they haven’t enjoyed it I’m responsible for their waste of time/money on a less than perfect evening out.
Because of the extended Restaurant Week offer we decided to make an unplanned trip to what will remain an unnamed eatery. We’ve visited a number of times over the years so it seemed like a safe bet, or so I thought. What we experienced was extremely disappointing- I found hair in my food, felt the service bordered on rude, the party at the table beside us had a longer than necessary wait as their order was wrong… I could go on and on. At the end of the meal I was presented with a bill which included the service charge, taking away the option to leave a tip if dissatisfied. This happens in many places I eat, and usually I don’t take umbrage. On this particular day I did however, although I didn’t voice my unhappiness at the time. Curse my English sensibilities!
I discussed with my partner whether I was going to write about my poor experience in this blog. He said he felt I had a duty to do so, although I argued that this is down to my personal opinion. We’d never had a bad experience there in the past, perhaps this was an anomaly. With Restaurant Week they were busy; perhaps they were understaffed. But is this mine or anyone else’s concern when we’re paying for the privilege of eating there? I also worried it may cause bad feeling, when historically I’ve had a good relationship with the restaurant. I feel almost conflicted because of this. It would be interesting to hear the views of others on the matter as I’m in a bit of a quandary… Do I remain true to myself and chronicle the rough with the smooth, or follow the advice of my sagely Gran?
Thanks for reading!