Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Perception

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?

7 comments:

RazZDoodle said...

I'm a teacher, so when I get the van that DOESN'T beep when you back up, I'm livin' large.

Anonymous said...

I know it probably killed you to do that babe, but probably a good choice.

Rural Runner E said...

As a high school principal, people have very different perceptions of me than my real-life self....but that allows me to do my job a bit better. But as I tell my teachers, perception is REALITY.

SuperDave said...

I think you are alot like me. Sadly I do care too much what people think about me. It is just our personality. It kills me when others don't give a damn what people think of them, but then I wish I had just a little of that it me.
You did the right thing because that is who you are. If you got the upgrade you would've been driving yourself crazy wondering...

Ulyana said...

Hi! I'm not being secretive about my job at all. I have a very vague job title of a consultant as well. In essence, I work as a grant writer. The "perks" I enjoy at my job are not really job specific, but are there just because of my boss. He gives me flexibility to work wherever, whenever. And I get to travel! On a company dime, as well, haha, but I also have to be super cheap. So, when I get upgrades, I take them. I grab onto them like nobody's business. But I totally understand what you are saying about the image. I would never show up in anything extravagant.

RazZDoodle's comment cracked me up!

Don't worry about not having a list of fun things to do in Ft. Collins. I'm afraid I'm not get enough rest before the marathon anyway, haha!

Danielle said...

Wait...I thought she was just a masseuse listed on craigslist....

Kelly said...

That's a tricky situation. Stuff like that doesn't happen to me cause I work at the most laidback place in the world. I get weird looks if I wear anything dressier than jeans on a daily basis.