Once upon a time I met a very smart, kind and fun creative man. It was via work – I was head hunting for a global company looking for a new Creative Director for them. It was a big role, with a big salary to boot. Headhunters like me are paid on a percentage commission based on the first year’s salary of a new employee we successfully introduce.
He sailed through the interviews, and everyone liked him. Six fairly intense interviews over many weeks, including a few videocalls across the globe. Finally all was done and dusted, and the very last stage was to go to the London Headquarters of the company to sign the contract for his new, dream job. We were all very excited after months of hard work finding the right person.
My guy was a keen motorbiker with a strong party ethic. A lot of fun to be round. Tall, dark, handsome – wicked laugh. The kind of guy you’ll find yourself at 3am doing shots with and roaring with laughter. My kind of people 🙂
On the fateful morning in question, he woke up, threw on a hoodie (on top of his t-shirt he pulled off the floordrobe) and set off on his bike to meet his new bosses and team for the final sign off.
As he walked through the open office fresh off his bike, he took off his helmet and hoodie. Underneath he was wearing a t-shirt he’d hastily thrown on not looking in the mirror until after his hoodie. Unfortunately for everyone involved it was a very trendy brand t-shirt from a high end skate board shop – called “sex“…
Walking through the open office, passing blocks of desks into the main meeting room, the die had been cast. In no way was it acceptable, or appropriate to wear a t-shirt that says “sex” on your contract signing day, or any day, in a professional setting (that’s not part of the sex trade etc).
I was contacted immediately by my client who (very kindly) explained what had happened, and that now the job offer was rescinded due to a clear lack of judgement. I shakily phoned my guy up wondering what the hell had happened, and he told me the story you read above. We remained (and remain) friends, and I asked if he would send me the t-shirt that cost me £15,000 so I could frame it as the most expensive item of clothing I ever owned. He was sweet enough to do so, and brought it along with him to the next party we were at together.
Today, a few years after the situation happened it finally got framed and now hangs in my bar.
He lost his dream job, they lost a great hire, I got a t-shirt worth £15k.