March 14, 2006 in Work

A Bitter Man

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I make it a rule never to talk about my job here for fear that anything I say might cause me to get dooced, but I had such a shocking conversation with a prospect this morning, that I’m almost at a loss for words.
Situation is that I’ve been chasing the managing director of this private equity firm that we wanted to make an introduction to for months. Finally get him on the phone today and he’s being extremely difficult. Nothing unusual there. He fires one question after another to which I promptly respond — all the while keeping my cool. I’m a profesional. He then says that he won’t take a meeting without looking at information first. I then respond by saying that I’d already sent information and that it must have gotten overlooked as he was in China the last few weeks. He then retorted, probably not. Maybe we just weren’t that interested.
Now, I’ve had these sorts of difficult conversations with prospects more times than I care to count, so I’m not rattled. I just continue with the mission at hand, getting the meeting. But Mr Prospect isn’t having it. Out of the blue he says, “you know, I don’t like Americans and frankly won’t work with Americans.” I was so shocked to hear this from a senior executive (who really should know better) that I just laughed and said something to the effect: “wow, that was brutally honest.”
The conversation then came to conclusion after another 30 seconds. Now, as I reflect, I’m somewhat shaken and completely angry. Also slightly turned off. His comment was unprofessional and racist. In my opinion, it’s almost like he said, I won’t work with black people.
So, I’m wondering, am I off base here? Am I being too sensitive? Truth be told, if said comment was made to me by someone in a bar, I probably would have laughed it off. But to hear those words spoken by a senior level executive in a professional environment, is just shocking!


  1. March 21, 2006 at 2:49 pm


    No, it’s not racist (because he didn’t make any racial references), but yes it’s bigoted, and yes it’s certainly unprofessional. Is yours an American company, or was the reference to Americans specifically directed at you personally?

  2. March 20, 2006 at 2:41 pm


    In a bar is one thing, at work, from a higher up? Completely and totally unprofessional. You are not being too sensitive and Shasta said it the absolute best.

  3. March 15, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    Shasta MacNasty

    I don’t belive you are being too sensitive. He’s a bigot that’s not afraid to say so. What makes it shocking is that he’s not professional enough to keep his nationalist attitudes to himself. At home, he can bring Jesus down from the cross and complain about americans all he wants, but in the a GLOBAL economy, we can’t have that. It would be ridiculously offensive if an american said that to someone of a different nationality, it doesn’t sound any better with a british accent.

  4. March 14, 2006 at 12:03 pm


    My race didn’t come into the conversation but his words re nationality had the same kind of effect on me. I was surprised by that. Particularly since people make crude remarks about Americans over here all the time, and I’ve thus developed a thick skin about the whole thing. Perhaps its the fact that he was an executive and not just some drunk in a bar that made me become so upset about the whole suitation. Either way, I felt like he was attacking me at my core. I didn’t like that one bit.

  5. March 14, 2006 at 11:52 am


    I don’t think you’re being too sensitive at all. as an american, I would be upset to have been on the receiving end of that comment as well. although I didn’t see where being black came into the conversation. is that just the feeling he gave you?

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