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By The Phoenix

To ensure an applicant is a good fit for a position, some employers may request a letter of recommendation that highlights the prospect’s qualifications and character. A powerful recommendation, written or verbal, has the potential to launch or progress a person’s career. Sometimes, someone you know personally may be in need of a recommendation, the icing, without which the cake will be incomplete. In this case, the recommendation becomes an essential component to get the job.  

When or if the opportunity falls in your lap, you may determine that it is best to handle things independently and tell an employer directly how valuable a candidate is or will be to an establishment. On other occasions you may be called upon to do a favour for someone, whether for a friend, a friend of a friend, or a family member, so you do it and that person is offered the job. For some, the proud moment they played a role in your acquiring a job soon turns from, “I’m happy for you,” to “I am the reason you’re employed.” In my humble opinion, this thought, this self-gratifying statement/feeling opens a door for too many evils to occur and become justifiable because, you made a recommendation.

And so, I ask, what is the price of your recommendation?

Did you do it because it is the right thing to do? 

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Did you do it because it may benefit you in the future? 

Did you do it because you are able to give someone a hand-up, just like someone else did for you at one time or another?

These are questions that I have come to ponder upon for a very long time. I have seen cases of genuine kindness when personal and professional growth/advancement of the recipient was payment enough. For such kindness, we whole heartedly say thank you. Comparatively, I have seen, heard and experienced cases where the recommended persons became the victims of severe abuse (psychological and physical) with the justification that “I recommended him/her for the job he/she has” or “I am the reason they have food in their mouth.”  Is this the reason why you recommend someone for a job in time of need? To lord it over the person?  To make that employee feel obligated to put up with your abuse (in cases where you may be the manager or supervisor), because the employee simply cannot do better at the time. 

To such persons, I would like to say that the invisible strings that are attached to the oral or written recommendation come with an innate obligation that is at the mind and heart of every decision you make. In worst case scenarios, the person/employee is afraid to stand up for himself/herself in the face of injustice; afraid to shine, lest it offends your eyes. The obligation of the price of your recommendation becomes a burden, too heavy to carry. For many it hinders their growth (personal and professional); they become a shell of who they once were; their shoulders and backs are bent from the abuse they face. They are afraid to speak, so their silent cries dull their eyes and break their hearts; afraid to trust in the kindness and genuineness/authenticity of others. Was this the intended price of your recommendation?

If this resonates with you, ask yourself this question: if there is a price to your recommendation and sincere gratitude isn’t sufficient, what then is the price and when will it be paid in full? 

Is your intent to break the person’s spirit, for him/her to quit the job or worse in hopes of escaping the bondage of your recommendation?

More and more this indebtedness to someone because of a recommendation, appears to be like a pandemic, like a disease that has no cure, a cell with reinforced bars. There seems to be no chance of a final repayment, none that any kind gesture nor a million “thank yous” can suffice.

So, I leave with you this final piece of advice. If you are insincere about your reason for acceding to the request for a recommendation or if it is an act of self-aggrandisement, please do the right thing by warning the individual that your recommendation comes at a cost. This gives that person the option to reject it, accept it and its terms, or request one of someone else whose intention may be purer at heart. 

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].