I can still remember our second hire coming to me on her third day of work, upset and angry about the behavior of one of our sales team. Her face was bright red. She was seriously fuming.
“What happened?” I asked, immediately worried and already telling off my salesman in my head.
“He called me ‘Sue,’” she said, as if that explained everything. Sue was the name of our previous employee.
“I saw him twice yesterday and told him my name, but he still called me by her name and didn’t even think anything about it.” She was actually shaky with anger.
I tried to calm her down. I tried to explain that the salesman has 50 different accounts to deal with and names to remember. I assured her that it wasn’t meant as an insult, it was an honest mistake. It took at least fifteen minutes to get her back to her desk and answering the phones.
I should have known in that moment that we were going to have problems. That salesman wasn’t trying to be rude, he made a mistake. And he wasn’t the last person to forget the woman’s name. Sometimes you just need to accept that people have other things going on. Mistakes happen and they aren’t direct insults. It’s just a fact of life.
As a side note, this was the candidate that left us the quickest. I felt sorry that she was upset, but I wasn’t quite sure that a company on the planet could’ve made her happy.