BEST OF JODY’S BOX: BATTLING HEAD HUNTERS FOR MY SOUL

BY JODY WEISEL

“Hi,” he said as he handed me his business card. “My name is Alex. I work for a company that recruits executives to fill positions at major U.S. corporations. The firm we represent is interested in talking to you about an employment opportunity. We are authorized to offer you a six-figure salary and two months’ vacation.”

He was looking at me the way a lion looks at a gnu. He was a headhunter—a guy who steals employees away from their current employers. I’d been hunted before, by MXA’s competition, but this was only the second time I’d ever been approached at the track (the first time was when I left Cycle News for MXA in 1976).

“Whom do you represent?” I asked.

“I’m not at liberty to say,” he said, “but rest assured that this deal has all the bells and whistles, perks and packages that you could ever want.”

“I’M HAPPY WHERE I’M AT,” I SAID OVER THE SOUND OF THE BUCKLE ON MY BOOT SNAPPING SHUT.

“I’m happy where I’m at,” I said over the sound of the buckle on my boot snapping shut.

“I am authorized to raise the offer to include stock options,” he said while reaching into his briefcase for a pen.

“Stock options in an unnamed company aren’t worth much,” I said to fend him off, but that didn’t slow him down.

“We are willing to transfer the stock into a limited partnership and redeem it in kind for another stock of your choice without incurring any capital-gains taxes,” he replied. If I said yes, I felt like the next step would be a photo of him standing on my neck while holding the pen like an elephant gun.

“I’m happy where I’m at,” I said. “I just want to test motorcycles, hang out with my friends and live the quiet life.”

“Of course, that’s all my client wants you to do also, but he wants you to do it with a substantial signing bonus,” he said as I interrupted him mid-sentence to repeat, “I’m happy where I’m at.”

“…and use of the company plane,” He added.

“Where is this company located?” I asked hesitantly.

“I suppose I could bend the rules a little,” he said. “The corporation is based on the East Coast.”

“Sorry,” I said. “I don’t travel anywhere that isn’t on the 15 Freeway.”

“The company might be willing to open a West Coast office,” he said while flipping open his Microsoft Surface and scribbling on it with a little pen.

“What does the company do? What would I do? What is the job description?” I queried in rapid-fire succession.

“Under confidentiality requirements, all I can say is that it is a creative company. You are perfectly suited for the position, and you can write your own job description,” said the headhunter.

“TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME,” I SAID. “I’M HAPPY WHERE I’M AT.”

“To be honest with you, you’re wasting your time,” I said. “I’m happy where I’m at.”

“Did I mention use of the company time-share in Tahiti?” He waited to see what effect this tidbit of info would have, but I ignored him and pulled my chest protector on.

“Let’s get down to business,” he said as he pressed closer. He made intense eye contact with me as I pulled my helmet on. “My client is willing to put a negotiable sum into a variable, non-fixed, tax-free annuity if you sign a letter of intent today.”

I started my bike and pulled the clutch in. “Did I mention the golden parachute?” I heard him ask as I snicked it into gear and headed for the starting line. I didn’t look back at the guy in the pinstriped suit. When my moto was over, he was gone.

I’m living proof that money doesn’t buy happiness; I’m happy where I’m at. Since my encounter with the headhunter, my life has returned to normal. It’s almost impossible to believe the gall of some corporations or that they would offer me so much money—and yet refuse to return any of my phone calls.

 

Photo by Debbi Tamietti

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