It’s been years since Seinfeld originally aired on NBC’s “Must See TV” Thursday nights. My wife and I were slack-jawed as Jerry and his friends broke every taboo of primetime television. They made fun of everything and everyone without regard for the consequences. Sponges? Bras? Master of your domain? If you are a fan, you know what I’m referring to. The mere mention of “low-talker” or “Mulva” or “puffy shirt” still conjures a devilish grin on my face.
To this day, the recruiters in my office use similar nicknames to remember candidates, clients or situations that we have experienced. “Crazy, Pot-smokin’ Granny”, “Beatle Guy” and “Robert” (yes, we have a thing here for the name Robert), are just a few of the many nicknames that we’ve devised that represent a candidate that made us angry, embarrassed or just plain insulted. Just when we think we’ve “seen it all”, along comes another. Just as Seinfeld had his greatest nemesis in Newman, we have ours. His name is “Drunken No-Pants Guy” and he will go down as our ultimate recruiting horror story.
Drunken No-Pants Guy, heretofore referred to as DNPG, started as your typical candidate. He had the skills. We had the job. After an uneventful courtship, offer and acceptance, my partner, Shelley, arranged to meet DNPG at his hotel so she and I could escort him into the client for his first day of work. This was standard procedure for us in cases involving high profile clients. It was especially important in this instance, since we had never actually met DNPG. All our interaction with him to this point had been done via phone or email.
Shelley called DNPG when his flight arrived and arranged to pick him up the next morning since the hotel was on her route to the office. That’s where the “normal” part of the story ends. The horror story begins as she arrives at the office without DNPG in tow.
She’s as white as a ghost when she asks me to go back to the hotel with her. “He’s either sick, a pervert or drunk”, she says, as she tried to compose herself. “Why?”, I asked. “Because when he came to the door, he wasn’t wearing any pants”, she replied.
So up the hotel stairs we go, looking like we’re about to raid some seedy prostitution ring. I go to knock on the door but find that it’s ajar. I take my chances and go with what’s behind door number three for the win. As the door swings open, there sits DNPG, sitting on the sofa with a bottle of booze staring back at him from the pre-fab wood coffee table in front of him. “DNPG (of course I used his real name here), are you okay?”, I said. He stands up. He is fully-dressed from the waist up. He even has his tie neatly done in a classic Windsor. From waist-down, he is completely “nakey”, as my nine-year-old son says. Willie is Free. A snake is loose. You get my meaning.
He comes to the door as if he fully intends on going with us for his first day on the job. Two or three steps away from me, I catch the smell of B.O. (the B. stayed with the O. – for you Seinfeld fans). On top of that, I get a whiff of vodka and vomit, but not necessarily in that order. I give him the benefit of the doubt and ask “Are you drunk?” He mumbles. “We can’t take you to our client like this”, I tell him. He stumbles. I tell him to go back and lay down, but he gets hostile and decides that it would be a good idea to take a swing at me instead. The next thing I know, I am actually holding DNPG by the armpits so he doesn’t hit the floor with his face. I have asked Shelley to never tell me where his man-parts were as we both struggled to get him back to his bed. We locked the door behind us. I think we both burned the clothes we were wearing that day.
On the way back to the office, we tried our best to come up with a solution. We could tell the client he missed his flight. We could go back and pour a pot of coffee down his throat and deliver him in the afternoon. We could pay a sober, pants-wearing guy to be pretend to be DNPG, but then again, he wouldn’t possibly be able to actually be DNPG since he was sober and wearing pants…
In the end, we decided that the best option was to tell the client the truth. After all, who could possibly make all this up? Thankfully, the client understood and we were able to find a suitable replacement for DNPG, a wonderful gentleman whom we shall forever refer to as GWRDNPG (Guy Who Replaced Drunken No-Pants Guy).
The “teaching-points” of the story are quite simple. Tell the truth, no matter what. And have fun. Just like Jerry taught us. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
WAY TOO FUNNY!
Your delivery is perfect. DNPG will be remembered a long time!
Frankly, this is not funny at all, if it's true. And who goes to a hotel room door to pick-up a candidate? I call from the lobby.
While your description has a funny spins to it--it's actually tragic but you manage to have a laugh so that makes it A okay.
Does everyone with a physical malady, quirk, or frailty get a nickname with your team or just the extreme ones? Your pride in having and devising nicknames for everyone who crosses your rules of engagement is pitiful and says more about you than it does about them. And bragging about is not only immature it's unprofessional.
Taking comic relief at the expense of other as your spiel does, "To this day, the recruiters in my office use similar nicknames to remember candidates, clients or situations that we have experienced. “Crazy, Pot-smokin’ Granny”, “Beatle Guy” and “Robert” (yes, we have a thing here for the name Robert), are just a few of the many nicknames that we’ve devised that represent a candidate that made us angry, embarrassed or just plain insulted. Just when we think we’ve “seen it all”, along comes another. Just as Seinfeld had his greatest nemesis in Newman, we have ours. His name is “Drunken No-Pants Guy” and he will go down as our ultimate recruiting horror story.” like it or not opens the door to anyone who tickles your fancy--so I had to ask. It's good to hear you draw the line.
This may be a contest about a horror story but you expanded it to a story and a treatment of others that is common knowledge among your laugh patrol who "tell the truth...and have fun". Do you actually think those candidates you've actually so labeled with acronyms or "crazy" would see the humor in it--your take on them?
If there is any flame to your story you publicly lit it.
V- I see your point but stories can be tragic as well as funny- as I feel this is. 2 things can equally be true.
And if you've never had a laugh at the expense of other's misfortune or cluelessness, you are indeed god-like.
This is probably 20 year ago now but I'll never forget it. We had a contractor starting with a new client. For some reason she couldn't find the place and called the client directly to ask "Just where in the F- - - is this G- - D - - - office I'm supposed to be at right now?"
Yep. That was her way of saying "I'm running a little late since I'm just figuring out my way around town. Can you remind me how to get there please?"
She was a flat-out drunken mess. We did not try to fix the situation.
P.S. Though we didn't officially nickname her - on the rare occasion the story comes up it always begins with "Do you remember that nasty drunk b- - -- - ?" and we all know who we're talking about. ;)
The dark humor of horror stories is perhaps the only way we get through some of the things that happen when we work with the dear public. While i appreciate Tino as the defender of the fruits, nuts and loons, sure crazy people need love too. I don't have to and won't put up with crazy people. I am not a shrink but i know a crazy when i see one and deal with one and it doesn't last long. Many times the only way to not internalize the actions of a nut, a liar, a con artist or the other aberations of personalities that we deal with is to try and see some humor in pathos. You should hang around with some docs, surgeons and shrinks etc. The dark humor of the operating room and the shop talk amongest the shrinks would make the dark humor of recruiting sound like a Sunday School picnic.
One can only imagine what would have happened in this case if a call had been made from the lobby. Drunk no pants guy might have staggered off the elevator waving the snake at a couple of matronly ladies on their way to breakfast. The police would have quickly been involved with the end result much worse for an obnoxious drunk still in denial who inflicts his personal tragic story on other people who are not responsible for his actions but get to take the brunt of them. Tragic for him indeed as is his disease, but much more so for the sober and well meaning people with Greg's firm who in good faith represented him to their client as a sane and sober qualified individual.
Sorry but i am one of those people who can't help but laugh at people who fall on the ice. Including myself who once went completely under my car while trying to open my car door on an icy parking lot in high heels. For months my staff referred to me as "the ice diving diva" Not to mention the guy who ran over to help me when i couldn't get out from under the car and my panty hose where stuck to the parking lot. That idiot asked me what i was doing. I told him i was obviously checking the brakes or whatever else was under the car. After he quit laughing he drug me out from under the car.
We have several names for looney candidates. Old "Parkin' Parker" is a candidate who has been fired three times for luring a female to his car during lunch for some fun and frolic.
There are crazy people and people who do crazy things. If we don't laugh about it we will be as crazy as they are..
As a side note Tino, i work as a volunteer group facilitator for therapy groups for abused women. The very first thing that the shrink who runs the group does is to reinforce with these ladies that there are crazy people who do crazy things but they do not have to accept, put up with or put them selves or their children at risk because someone else is a crazy drunk, druggie or just plain mean and crazy. As we being to help them identify "crazy, unacceptable behavior" it helps them to put nicknames on the abuser. The nicknames are not pretty and they learn that we do not have to call a crazy a crazy to his face but we have to be able to identify it, get away from it and it is not their reponsibility to fix it, be nice to it or take care of it. Do we care how the abuser/perp of unacceptable behavior would feel if he knew what we called him. Not one damn bit. But if we can put a little humor in it the conflict can sometimes be deflected for those who have to live with it until they don't have to anymore.
Greg's story is tragic and funny but he went beyond that story and waxed rich about how, “To this day, the recruiters in my office use similar nicknames to remember candidates” --other poor souls who made the mistake of coming into his, and his crew’s, line-of-sight. So he and his crew enjoy comparing notes about the shortcomings of others and they operate in our industry of Recruitment & HR. I should give them a pass?
I tend to laugh at the funny in a sitcom like Seinfeld because it’s entertainment. In real life I distinguish misery, desperation, confusion and panic as not funny at all. Because I challenge an activity as immature and unprofessional doesn't make me "god-like"--it makes me empathetic to those who are the butt of the jokes. One would think, particularly in an environment heightened by high unemployment and millions of people desperately pursuing options, it’s not smart to continue to poke fun at those who stumble as they pursue some semblance of a better place to be.
Now Greg says he's going to take the high road...after he took the low road--now, that's funny.
Yes, past experiences leave indelible marks. I’ve escorted drunks out of job fairs and dealt with seriously bizarre and hostile behavior over the past forty years—in prisons; in company lobbies and in interview situations. Rather than treating them as laughable moments to be replayed for entertainment purposes, I’ve used them as teaching moments. I train other recruiters, other company reps and hiring managers to be aware of and to know how to act when the unexpected happens. Like when some student group is throwing blood on your recruitment display on campus because your company is thought to be testing animals. I advise them on how to act because their safety may be in play.
I'm not defending bad behavior or crazy job applicants. I'm taking issue with recruiters, or any person in a professional role, who make fun of others because they have a unique vantage point to do so.
You guys can give Greg and his ongoing behavior a pass. I can't. I choose not to encourage it.
V- You've set a high bar for yourself. Good for you.
@B--if operating by the golden rule is setting a high bar for myself it's a sad day indeed.