The perception that people have of you is an interesting thing. Do people you meet perceive you as nice, caring, friendly, assertive, or rude? Do people think that you are very high maintenance – or frugal? Most importantly, do you even care?
Being a consultant, I am probably hyper sensitive to the perception that work people have of me. I could care less about non work people…. :) Well, to be honest I am a pretty non-confrontational guy, so I guess that isn’t even all that true. For work I’m always trying to balance being myself (which is what you’ll get 90% of the time), being authoritative, being opportunistic, and most recently being a spendthrift. Of course, being a spendthrift isn’t TOO much of a stretch – I have been known to be VERY cheap.
You see, I travel for work. Unfortunately, my travel expenses were not budgeted for and therefore are under constant scrutiny. Not anything that I am too horribly concerned with because (generally speaking) I always work to reduce costs wherever possible. However, this week I had to deal with a bit of a perception issue. You might say that I was one of those street performers and I had to convince you that I was going to use the money to feed my kids and not to buy beer, drugs, or a hooker on Craigslist.
You see, when I went to pick up my rental car I was greeted with a bright red 2009 Mustang GT. Oyy!! It was even a hard top – not the ugly soft top convertible. Previously, I would have
jumped right in and tore out of the Hertz lot tires smoking all the way, Bon Jovi playing, with my head out the window and hands in the air. In fact, I’ve done that
many weeks before at other clients. But not this week. Unfortunately, even though I pay for the cheap midsize car, Hertz has been upgrading me lately – a lot. I usually have SUVs and even had a Jetta last week (it was fun). Well, my main client director has been giving me a hard time when we go to lunch about my upgrades (in jest… I think). So, what was I to do?
I squished the little car guy in my gut into a little ball and switched the car out. I didn’t want to deal with the perception that I was tooling around on the company dime in a Mustang.
Does this happen to anyone else or it is just me and my random consulting lifestyle?