Monday, October 2, 2017

Jeff Stober/ "This isn't the job I was hired for"

Jul. 10, 2017 The Ladder: Jeff Stober: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

Jeff Stober is the founder and owner of the Drake Hotel in Toronto. The Drake and its offshoots – the Drake One Fifty restaurant, five Drake General Stores, Drake Devonshire Inn and the new food-focused Drake Commissary – employ more than 500 people.

I was always an entrepreneur. From the earliest of days, I had the traditional newspaper route. I had a window-washing company when I was 16 years old with a couple of friends in Montreal. I had a couple of businesses when I went to Western. I was always really entrepreneurially focused. I don’t know where that comes from, quite frankly.

When I sold my computer consulting firm CNC Global, I had the idea of re-imagining an old beat up hotel on the edge of downtown. A lot of people thought it was well beyond downtown, but I saw it as part of downtown. The neighbourhood was already fully developed, to my mind. Gorgeous streets … beautiful artist loft buildings, all the artists and galleries were here. I was following in their footsteps.

When The Drake opened the Drake One Fifty restaurant in the financial district, it spoke to the fact that we believe one of our prime missions with this company is the realization that there’s a curious culture-seeker in everyone. I don’t care if you’re working on Queen Street, in the Junction, Prince Edward County, on Bay Street. Fundamentally, we’re all creative people.

The Commissary is in [a] historic neighbourhood. There is huge artistic pedigree in that neighbourhood. It’s in a beautiful old manufacturing building with great bones. We looked at the physical positioning of that building, between the Railpath and UP Express. You can bike and walk. We saw it as this really cool hub. MOCA [Museum of Contemporary Art] is going in next door, which is fantastic, and a lot of our fabricator friends are right around there.

The Drake is a community hub. That’s what we do. In this instance [The Commissary], it’s the notion of a culinary cultural hub where bakers and makers would interact directly with the customer face-to-face and people would see the means of production. We would make everything from scratch. We would bake, we would cure, we would smoke, we would ferment. It’s really ambitious, but it also serves a tremendous business purpose within our ecosystem, supplying all our restaurants and creating a destination unto itself at The Commissary.

We don’t see ourselves as a chain. We see ourselves as a collection of unique properties that are at once both integrated into the overall brand and, at the same time, highly unique and independent. You see that in our employee base. We’re all highly unique individuals, many of whom come from arts and culture background. So, at the end of the day, the word chain is just not the type of word that we would consider ourselves aligning with in the slightest. It’s distasteful, frankly. We see ourselves as a small collection of individual, deeply neighbourhood-focused and rooted establishments.

It takes a large village to build anything. It’s about community engagement, authenticity, trustworthiness, love. It’s such common sense that we need to treat everybody with the respect and love and the decency that they deserve, and great things should happen as a result. You’re gonna get back what you put into the universe.

So many people been with us in the Drake properties companies for years. And any number of people with us at the Drake Hotel properties are from my old company. You need to have a capacity to build a community of like minds to empower people, to excite people, to be able to articulate a vision and share that vision. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to deliver. People are smart and everyone owns their personal brand. If they’re gonna align their personal brand with yours, you better be doing some really good things for them, their family, their community.

We’re staunchly, proudly Canadian. Everyone dreams of doing something in the [United] States. There are fabulous American cities but, at the end of the day, we’ve developed an amazing footprint in Canada. We’re definitely looking at projects as we speak, but suffice to say we see a tremendous opportunity for the evolution of our brand of Canadiana, our quirk, our appeal, our sense of nostalgia. We’re very experiential as a company and we think that there’s more than enough room to grow in Canada and that’s what we plan on doing.

As told to Sarah Efron. This interview has been edited and condensed.


"You’re gonna get back what you put into the universe."
I'm always amazed that successful people don't realize the luck that is involved.
Timing, family, circumstances are what count - luck.
But sure, the Easter Bunny must have been looking out for him.


Of course we do, in fact it's often the first thing I say about my success. I go on to say the outcome depends entirely on what you do with the luck.

"This isn’t the job I was hired for. What is my exit strategy?": 


I was hired for a senior-level strategy-based role that seemed like a great fit on paper. Now that I am here, the gap between the role as outlined and the day-to-day reality is night and day. I have been forthright with management that I have very little to do and that the role I was hired for has not really materialized. They are not concerned and keep reassuring me that things will get busier, but I don’t believe this will happen.

I have just passed my probation period and am considering approaching my VP to figure out an exit plan. I’m concerned that I’ve wasted these last months in a role that will now stand out on my resumé due to the short tenure and am wondering if I can ask for a letter or recommendation that basically says that they misrepresented the job description (a director-level role on paper that is co-ordinator/assistant level in reality). Is there any way I can ask for an severance package based on this misrepresentation? Can I leave it off my resumé altogether, and if not, how do I explain this short a tenure to potential employers so it doesn’t look like I was fired?


Kyle Couch

President and CEO, Spectrum Organizational Development Inc.

Resumés are a funny thing. They are a non-legally binding document and most organizations are more fearful of additions versus omissions. Resumés are intended to be a sales pitch about your qualifications and competence with respect to the prospective job opportunity. Therefore, I fully recommend adding your most recent role at this organization.

With that said, I would use a more progressive resumé approach of listing it as a project accomplishment, as opposed to a career history. While your tenure is brief, you can point to the fact that a) it was a director-level position and b) you were hyper-productive. I suggest you request a letter of recommendation in the event that this most recent post was questioned, but don’t add it to your initial package to the “next” employer.

I am a big fan of “fit” between employee and employer. Your drive to move on is the right one. Use this as a learning opportunity, specifically around asking more pointed questions and being more cautious and forthright in your next interview.


Eleanor James

Consultant, coach and speaker, The James Thinkstitute

This is an oddball situation and from your description, it does seem more disorganized than malicious. Nonetheless, it’s a bridge not to be burned. Do approach your VP to work out an exit plan giving both of you time to find replacements. Though I see your point about misrepresentation, I’m not sure it would hold up to severance, a lawyer can advise you.

Avoid throwing around blame, use all the finesse you’ve got. Be clear with them that the company has a lot to its credit (you applied for the job) but it’s not a fit for you (a.k.a. you passed probation but the company didn’t). With regard to your job history/resumé, ask for a letter from the company (perhaps offer a draft) explaining that the role for which you were hired has not materialized due to uncontrollable circumstances. That way, everybody saves face and you won’t have anything to hide.

2 days ago

Forget it ever happened, and don't even mention 'misrepresentation'. Also, you can't get a 'recommendation' from a firm that never had any meaningful experience with you. Your next firm would call up the recommender, and learn the whole story. Just quit gracefully on the grounds that this is not the job it was advertised to be, no hard feelings.
1 Reaction

2 days ago
Graceful is the key word here. Move on, be professional and forget it ever happened.

Ham for everyone
2 days ago

If you ae a senior level strategist and have to write into the globe for help......well something does not add up.
7 Reactions

2 days ago

The "pros" answer by virtually giving a lying employer a free pass peppered with excuses. Would the answer be the same if an employer was asking about a new hire who blatantly lied on ones resume? I doubt it. The Globe and Mail once again demonstrates themselves as the enemy of Canada's working class, with the rest of the main stream media.

2 days ago
If it was an outright lie, one could sue for misrepresentation. But "It's not what I thought it would be" doesn't equate to misrepresentation. The employee would have to prove bad faith, and that isn't easy. My reading of the text was more of disorganization or difference of interpretation about the importance of a job than bad faith.
As for resumes, there is "stretching the truth" in terms of exaggeration of one's role in a project, and there are outright lies (claiming a degree which one does not actually have). An outright lie would be grounds for termination; an exaggeration, not so.
Never complain about a former employer during a job interview. The panel will assume you'll complain about them too. Always, always, take the high road.
I agree with the experts here. Achieving some kind of redress through the courts is possible, but a long-shot. It would be wiser to adopt a constructive, non-confrontational, exit strategy.
1 Reaction

2 days ago

What the hell. They f7cked you dude. Get over it and move on. It's pretty much standard in the industry. Nortel in its end days when was Notorious for this. And it hasn't changed much since then. Go into things with your eyes open.

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