A Story In The Value Of Persistence

As the headline alludes to, this is not meant to be a lecture. A quick Google search of “value of persistence” or something similar will surely produce plenty of that. This is meant to be a reminder — especially for myself — of what we’re each capable of when we refuse to take “no” for answer (in a tactful and strategic way, I might add).

First, some context: my employer offers referral bonuses when we refer an employee and they get hired. The referral bonus changes based on position, need, geography, seniority and other factors.

Awhile back, a former classmate of mine reached out and expressed interest in joining my firm. I said I’d absolutely help in the process, in answering questions, identifying roles and interview prep. The first thing I did was look in our referral portal for positions that appeared to be a fit. I sent my former classmate several openings that might be a fit, and we proceeded to apply for a handful of them.

Fast forward a few months later, and my classmate was hired! I followed up with our referral administration, asking when I’d receive my referral bonus, and I was told there was nothing in the system that indicated I had referred my classmate, who was also my now newly-hired colleague.

I sent them the series of emails I had forwarded months earlier, indicating I had in fact referred them (a quick side lesson to document and save everything important!). However, I never heard back. For the next nine months, I followed up via email each month. Each month, I received the standard “Your message has been received and we will get back to you within three business days” auto-reply. That was the only email I’d receive in those nine months.

It was disappointing to be sure, and at that point I wasn’t expecting to receive credit for the referral. Even so, I figured the “cost” of following up each month was so low that it was worth persisting in perpetuity until I least received an actual answer in return.

Sure enough, on an otherwise nondescript Friday morning, I saw an email hit my inbox from the referral team. Apparently they had been investigating the issue — although I was never informed of this! — and confirmed with the original recruiter that the candidate (my former classmate) had mentioned my name as the original referrer. This resulting referral credit was also associated with a small, but material monetary bonus. Great!

Despite the fairy tale ending, this was never a story about me, a small monetary gain or anything in between. To me, this is a story about the exponential value of persistence. To me, this represents another lesson in a series of lessons to date about not giving up. To me, this continues to prove that the only thing standing between you and your aspirations is you. To me, this proves that you continue to (strategically and tactfully) bang down doors until they bang back harder. To me, this brings additional credence to one of my favorite all-time quotes (courtesy of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States of America):

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
- Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President

I hope this provides a similar fire within you.