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A Very Special Christmas Eve Story From the HR Capitalist...

Capitalist Note: This story is a Christmas Eve tradition at the HR Capitalist. Merry Christmas...

It's Christmas Eve. Time for anticipation. Time for reflection.

Time for an outrageous demand towards a candidate that could only occur from the bowels of corporateGrinch3_18101208 America.

Gather round the tree kids, because it's story time, HR Capitalist style. Bring me a Diet Mountain Dew while you're at it, because this eggnog sucks. 

Everyone here? Good.

The year is 2002 and it's Christmas Eve.  The Capitalist has just become a VP of HR in corporate America, and just got a new boss, who let's say - is a little INTENSE.  The Capitalist finds himself at home on Christmas Eve, piddling with some work, etc.  His cell phone rings.  The Capitalist flexes his bicep (remember, phones were much bigger then), picks up the phone and answers the call.  It's the boss of the Capitalist:

Capitalist: Don, what's up?

Bossman/EVP (1B Line of business): Kris, glad I got you.  I'm ready to make an offer to the Director of Finance candidate we like.

Capitalist: Sweet.  I'll call her today and let her know.  Nice Christmas present.

Bossman: Great.  Just one little catch.  I need to know today that she accepts.

Capitalist:  You need an answer today? You know it's Christmas Eve and it's 12:30pm right now, correct?

Bossman - Yeah, I know.  But I just got word from a friend that corporate is thinking about making me take Sparkman from Atlanta as part of a succession plan, and you know what I think about him.  So rather than wait on that, we're going to move on Carol, and we need her to accept today so I can go into the next week and tell them that it's already filled when they call me.

Capitalist: Why don't we just say we have an offer out if that happens and give her a couple of days to think about it?

Bossman: Not good enough. Corporate will make us retract the offer.  Get it done today.  Gotta go! We're opening some presents!  <Click>

After the call, the Capitalist gathered himself on the reality of making a demand like a three hour window to accept an offer on Christmas Eve, and you know what he did?  He made the freaking call, boys and girls.  It went a little something like this:

Capitalist:  Carol!  How are you?  Kris Dunn from <company name retracted>.  Got a couple of minutes to talk? I've got good news...

Carol: Kris, can you repeat that?  I'm at Church with my three kids.  They always get so excited around Christmas.. (Church bells ringing in the background)

Capitalist:  You bet Carol, got great news for you going into the holiday.  We want you to join the team, and here's some detail for you... (Capitalist outlines broad specs of the deal, selling as hard as he can)

Carol:  Well Kris, that is great news.  Send me the offer package and I'll look it over on Christmas Day and call you back the day after Christmas.

Capitalist: Well Carol, it's funny you say that.  Because I'm in a little bit of a pinch here (long, apologetic intro into the issue), and well, I need you to decide by close of business today to accept the offer or not.

Carol: Kris, you know it's Christmas, right? That I'm with my kids? I'm currently in church?

Capitalist:  I know.  Still, you're the one we want and we have to close it today to ensure we can bring you aboard. 

Carol: <silence for 10 seconds>.  Send the package.  I'll look at it.  Goodbye. (Capitalist trying to apologize again but unable to before hearing <Click>)

And that, boys and girls, is how you know you've arrived in the show.  Cost of a Monster posting? $200-$400 depending on volume.  Cost of a third party recruiter placement? 10-15K..

The realization you've just crossed a line on Christmas Eve that only Gordon Gekko and Ari Gold could appreciate?  Priceless...

PS - Carol accepted and rocked the house at our company.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays....


Kevin W. Grossman

More moving than 2002 made-for-TV movie "The Christmas Shoes" (thanks, Alicia) starring Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams-Paisley. I'm tearing up here.


Merry Christmas, Kris!

Marguerite Granat

Kris, it seems outrageous (very colorful) how your boss handled this and glad that it turned out OK despite how this got started. Have a Merry Christmas...

Doug Sayed

Ha! Great story.

Don't you just love those kinds of bosses? Not a lot of fun at the time, but it makes you appreciate the good ones that much more down the road.

Merry Christmas Kris to you and the family!

Dawn Hrdlica (@dawnHRrocks)

I think you should have hired Sparkman....I mean with a name like Sparkman, how could you have lost!!!!!????


Glad you made it to the show!

Merry Christmas Kris and family!


Oh come on...Carol should have expected nothing less. I'm sure that the Director role she moved into has projects that come with similar Carol understands that decisions need to be made rapidly at year end, too, in finance. Christmas Eve isn't a company-paid holiday Carol...we work and make business decisions!

Josh Letourneau

I love that "Bossman" dislikes "Sparkman" so much that this is is the reason for the high-pressure sale on Xmas Eve while Carol is with her kids in church!

This is seriously throwing a monkey wrench into the Succession Plan - hopefully the chickens don't come home to roost for "Bossman".

Only in America :)

"But I just got word from a friend that corporate is thinking about making me take Sparkman from Atlanta as part of a succession plan."


You hired a woman named Carol, on Christmas Eve? Ah, irony.

John Hollon

What I want to know is this: What would have happened -- what would you have done -- if Carol had said, 'Gee, I need 48 hours and can't rush into this on Christmas Eve."

What would Boss have said? And what kind of Boss puts office politics ahead of doing the right thing when hiring new employees?

I'm happy this turned out well, but generally speaking, hires that start off like this -- with a gun to their head during the offer stage -- don't turn out all that well.

Glad you got lucky on this one, but there's a bigger lesson about corporate America and overbearing, unreasonable boss behavior that's hard to miss here.


Ah memories of "Bossman" and "Carol".
Good old "company name withheld".
Warms the cockles of my heart this holiday season.



Are you showing reruns, kris?

debbie brown

good dose of reality- and decisiveness....great post.


What a Lumburgh that boss is! How about as a firm you also have a reputation to protect with candidates and you advise Mr. Lumburgh that this could now work out well for him and he might end up with Mr. Succession Plan anyway?

Rchilli Parser

That's close, kris. Interesting post though. Glad Carol joined in the end after she hung up.


Nice Story!!


Nice article, keep it up. Continue writing these type of informative study.

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