This week, I got an invitation from a Mr. Salazar. The message was short and informal:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

It was signed with his first name.

Sadly, I do not really know Mr. Salazar. He did have the opportunity to get to know me, but he made is painfully clear, through my husband, that he didn’t want to know me. He and his family were more than willing to accept tomatoes we had grown, but Mr. Salazar did not want to work me me.

When I initially contacted him several years ago, we were supposed to serve on a HOA board together. Mr. Salazar and the other male board member decided they would not serve on a board with me. He refused to return any of my emails and would only contact me via oral messages he delivered to my husband.

Both of these male board members were not fluent in English. Mr. Salazar’s first language is Spanish. The other board member’s first language was Korean. I had not chosen them. They had not chosen me. They did chose to publicly humiliate me by freezing me out. When they decided to resign rather than serve with me, they refused to do so in writing, a necessary legal step.

Why would anyone who refused to work with you decide they wanted you to be part of their professional network?

Before all this, I did not know Mr. Salazar at all. I had never spoken to him more than to say a greeting in passing. We had grown tomatoes and shared some with his family. I did not know him or his family. I had no opinion about him. Until this week, I did not know he was a manager. I did not know the company he worked for.

I would have been willing to work with him despite his clear language limitations as I would have been willing to work with any other person in the HOA. That is what a professional does and I tried to not be prejudiced. I thought it would have been a good opportunity to improve my Spanish.

Mr. Salazar was prejudiced against me. I suppose that people who are prejudiced consider that their decisions are not wrong.   Apparently neither he nor his wife consider his complete refusal to work with a woman to be something irregular or unacceptable in their lives. Mr. Salazar also sent a LinkedIn invitation to my husband.

Sure, he had a speaking relationship with my husband. Yet it was not a good one. My husband feels that Mr. Salazar lied to him. It was about something as non-controversial as the day that termite inspections were to be made. I had requested this at a meeting of the full membership. By the time my husband made the request to Mr. Salazar, we already knew that the elected HOA board was withholding information from us.  Basic things like when the meeting was and where. Mr. Salazar and his wife decided we did not need to know this or when the termite inspector was due. When the termite inspection people came, we could have had our private and common areas inspected for a nominal additional fee. The time came and passed. None of the three directors informed us. Neither did Mr. Salazar. A lie of omission is still a lie just as standing by while our legal rights are being ignored is tacit approval.

We sold our unit at a loss simply because after going to court three times in less than six months and winning all three cases before two different judges, and having our place burgled by a HOA board director who was forced to return objects stolen from our balcony using a ladder,  the majority of the HOA were unwilling to consider acting against their directors. Further, the directors and other members, including Mr. Salazar were unconcerned about matters like legal liability.

Only one person was willing to question the board of directors when we asked to get a copy of the HOA newsletter. We were the only unit out of ten who didn’t receive this information. Because of people like the Salazars, we had no rights and we had no privacy. We did, however, have termites.

Mr. Salazar was willing to speak with my husband and work with him. So I guess that makes his email invitation reasonable. Mr. Salazar and his family sold their unit at a profit and would surely have known at that time that we took a loss.

My husband believes that Mr. Salazar and his wife feel they have done nothing wrong, but sometimes doing nothing in itself is wrong.

After a discussion, we came up with a list of people one should not invite to connect into your LinkedIn network:

  1. People you’ve lied to, either directly or by omission. I’m not sure if anyone besides the Salazars considers the description “fair weather friend” as a positive personality trait. They have a very different interpretation of the Aesop fable than I do.
  2. People who you’ve refused to work with because most people won’t want to pretend they have worked with you. Yes, I attempted to make email contact with Mr. Salazar more than once and he never responded.  Even when I emailed him and told him to take me off of his list, he didn’t respond. His wife will respond. She claims he has never refused to work with a woman. She’s not his secretary and doesn’t work at the same workplace, but she will respond which is very different from being responsible.
  3. People who know you won’t help when they are under attack. What lynch mob victim wouldn’t want enough spectators to make the mob proud?
  4. People who know you don’t care about simple legalities like legal liability. Why wouldn’t you want to sign contracts with a person who doesn’t care about contract law? Mr. Salazar is a manager at his day job, but at home, he doesn’t care about legal liability and state laws. Can people really compartmentalize like that? And would you trust them?
  5. People who you’ve helped humiliate. Let’s see just how does Stockholm Syndrome work? Is this the business equivalent of an S&M relationship?
  6. Your exes after hostile breakups. If there wasn’t enough drama in your life, then start building up the possibility of a soap operatics.
  7. People who’ve caused you a financial loss.

According to SmallBizTrends.com, Mr. Salazar committed mistake #8. He tried to ask for a recommendation from someone he barely knows. He also committed mistake #15: Not personalizing his request. BusinessInsider.com also considers the lack of personalizing a request as a mistake.

I asked Mr. Salazar to please refrain from contacting me. I do not belong to LinkedIn. I’m not interested in contact from Mr. Salazar or anyone who will only respond when they want something from me.

Now that I know Mr. Salazar is a manager, I feel sorry for the people he works with or hope to work with him. Mr. Salazar didn’t bother to apologize. His wife, however, did make a fuss. This is my reply to them both.

 

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