Navigating Work: Pt. 2

When you are the best, it’s sometimes too much for those who are the worst

Today, I met up with an old friend over a beer. He was composed, chatty as usual. I noticed he had dark circles under his eyes, which slid down his round cheeks; looked kind of like Jack Black after a big hangover. This wasn’t the same casual chit-chat though. What he told me angered me and saddened me at the same time.

He spoke of a recent incident where he tried to secure a deal with a big client on a whole bunch of construction materials; worth about $1 million. For months and months, he earned this client’s trust by closely supplying him with materials in small batches, working his way up to a major deal. And it happened, just the other day. Stoked and proud to have secured such a big sum of money by himself, he shook hands with the client, finalized the paperwork and then reported back to his boss.

All seemed well. The cat was in the bag and the sky was bright. At least, for a moment. His boss then decided to mark up the price on the materials, despite stern warnings from my friend that such a move is dishonest and would ultimately kill the deal.

What happened next played out like a crappy direct-to-DVD movie, where you can see the ending from the beginning of the film. The client noticed the increase right away and promptly cancelled the order. “I told you not to fuck with me. I warned you. But you did it anyway,” the client told my friend in what sounds like a very painful phone conversation. He tried to explain the situation, and apologized, but the damage was done. That client will never come back to him, or his company, ever again. Four months of hard-built trust evaporated in a second, and my friend, who has worked his whole life in this field, was branded a cheat and a liar. His boss? He wasn’t punished or reprimanded for killing a $1 million deal over a measly (relatively-speaking) $20,000, which would have otherwise resulted in immediate dismissal.

When you are the best, it’s sometimes too much to handle for those who are the worst

Moral of the story? Giving your very best at work just isn’t enough anymore. You need to pay very close attention as to where you are investing all that effort into, and measure if A) your work/talent is appreciated, B) you are respected and your experience is taken into consideration, and C) do you work with someone who provides A and B and genuinely listens to you? If your boss ignores your professional opinion and abandons you to face whatever tide comes your way, it’s a strong sign to GTFO.

Idea is, you’re not alone. Don’t let them make you feel alone, because that’s how they win. There are other people out there who feel the same way, and there are plenty of jobs that will make you feel wholesome and appreciated.

Challenge is to find them in the first place.

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