“They took ‘er jobs!.”—angry unemployed local in the “Gooback” episode of South Park, season 8, protesting the mass arrival of job-seeking immigrants from the future.
A very well-dressed man walks into a self-employed recruiter’s agency office. He unbuttons his Cesare Attolini long coat and Armani suit jacket, glances at his Rolex, adjusts his unusual ring and takes a seat.
Two other men stand outside.
Recruiter: “Good morning. How may I help you?”
Man (in a raspy, but imposing voice): “I want your job.”
Recruiter (hearing an accent, thinks he’s also heard a lapse in English): “I’m sorry…I think you mean that you want a job.”
Man: “No. I want your job.”
Recruiter (smiling): “Sorry….My job isn’t available.”
Man: “You’re self-employed, aren’t you?
Recruiter: “Yes. So?”
Man: “So your job is available if you say it is.”
Recruiter (uneasily): “Well, I don’t want to give you or anyone my job. Maybe a job like mine, but not mine.”
Man: “Why not? You’d be doing your job.”
Recruiter: “My job is to find you a job, not to give you my job.”
Man: “That would be the best job to give me.”
Recruiter: “How’s that?”
Man: “Well, it’s either a job you really believe is a good one, or not. Since you’ve tried it out, you already know for sure whether it’s a good job or not. You have the unique advantage of having perfect information about the job you would be giving me. Since you are the only employee, the owner and the recruiter, you know the job and the business from all angles and all sides.
On top of that, if it’s a job that’s good for you, then, since I want it, it’s almost certain to be a good one for me. If it’s in fact a bad match, well, caveat emptor—‘Let the buyer beware’; you will have warned me. I’m willing to take the chance.
On the other hand, if it’s bad for you, you should be glad to unload it.”
Recruiter (momentarily indulging this logic): “You’re assuming I’d find something better to replace it.”
Man: “Of course. You’re self-employed.”
Recruiter: “But this is an established agency, with existing clients, contacts, networks, a valuable name and an office with a lease.”
Man: “I understand. So, I will buy you out.”
Recruiter: “Ah, are you looking for a business under some kind of government immigrant entrepreneur program?”
Man: “Why are you asking me this? Somehow, it seems not to be a respectful question to ask of someone who has come to you in friendship to discuss an opportunity, not a motive.”
Recruiter (backing off): “OK, forget that…But why would I want to sell?”
Man: “To do your job—and find me a job. That’s your mission.”
Recruiter (a little annoyed): “Don’t be ridiculous! You imagine my job is the only job I could find you?”
Man: “It’s the only one I want.”
Man: “Because I share your ideals and other values.”
Recruiter: “Which ones?”
Man: “To be self-employed and to help others find jobs—even maybe good union jobs.”
Recruiter: “But I would have to ask a lot for my job and business. I’ve been at this for ten years now and built it up from scratch.”
Man: “I’d make you an offer you can’t refuse.”
Recruiter (becoming visibly uncomfortable): “Er…what do you mean?”
Man: “I am a man of means as well as ends.”
Recruiter (increasingly tense): “If you don’t mind my asking….what business are you in?”
Man: “The business of doing business.”
Recruiter: “What kind of business?”
Man: “Today? ..buying your business.”
Recruiter: “I see….Where did you say you are from?”
Man: “I didn’t. Besides, what matters is not where I’m from, but that I’m here—having an amicable discussion of mutual benefit.”
Recruiter (attempting to take a stand): “Look…I understand your interest, and your reasoning too. But, let’s say I simply am not interested in giving you my job and selling you my business.”
Man: “In that case, I have to mention a second law of business—a law besides ‘Let the buyer beware.’”
Recruiter: “Which one is that?”
Man: “’Let the non-seller beware.’”
Recruiter (squirming): “OK..OK…Suppose I accept your offer and give you my job, my clients, contacts and office and sell you my business. What happens if you don’t succeed, or if my clients want to follow me, or if you try to sell it and nobody wants it?”
Man: “Then I’ll make all of them offers they can’t refuse.”