It’s Nothing Personal, It’s Just Business…Right!

From the time we are young, most of us are taught to be kind, considerate, respectful of others, and above all honest. In school, we learn to be punctual, responsible, and that there is a direct link between application and results.  Sport teaches us the value of working together as a team. College attempts to prepare us for adulthood by introducing accounting, ethics, psychology, sociology, and politics.  For a lot of us, our first job teaches us something much different.

My first “real” job was with a shipping company; I was 18.  For two weeks I received on the job training.  I learned how to operate the computer systems, drive a forklift, dock safety, and the company history.  My first day on the dock however, I learned about unions.  Over the next two months, I quickly became one of the most efficient workers on my shift.  The union workers hated me, and gave me hell.  I was cursed, threatened, forced to pay dues, and bullied.  I quit not long after a friend of mine was forced to defend himself in a fist fight.  He was unharmed.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be as lucky.

Since that first “real world” experience, I’ve had many more, and have learned that business is mostly a dog eat dog world, driven by the fear of many, and the greed of few.  Where secrecy, silos, and perception reign; and the arrogance and ego of men is celebrated and glamorized.  Where nothing is personal, just business.

Imagine this year’s best selling books with the following titles:

  • The Top Rung: How to Deceive your Way to the Top Through Bribery and Manipulation
  • Bankruptcy as a Business Plan: How to Make and Keep Millions you Don’t Deserve
  • Lawsuits for Hire: Let’s Hope they Settle
Do you think people would buy these books?  Maybe, maybe not, but I can tell you that this is exactly what happens every day in business all over the world.  I wish I was exaggerating, but this is the world we live in.  Thankfully, there are those who still believe in doing the right thing, and that Winners Never Cheat.  I am one of those people, and also one who believes that everything is personal.  We have a personal responsibility to be kind, considerate, and respectful of others.  To do the right thing, even when no one is looking.  To speak up when something isn’t right, and above all be honest.  I’m not sure when and where all of what we are taught as children and young adults gets scrapped for an entirely different set of ideals, but I’m confident if more people refused to compromise their core values, we’d have a lot less corruption, bankruptcies, and bailouts.
I lost quite a bit of sleep last night due to a recent lawsuit that was filed against me and a company I own.  It certainly comes as no surprise, but serves as a reminder of some of the things I’ve pointed out above.  I’ve already experienced a roller coaster of emotions, but must remain calm, and remember that “it’s not personal, it’s just business.” Right.

2 comments

  1. Paul Shkedy

    Daniel,
    You are an inspiration to the rest of us that feel the same and play by the moral rules. Good luck, I have been down that ugly road. Despite what they say, it is personal.

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