The Never List

From Josh Brown.

I usually agree with almost everything Josh Brown writes.  But not this time.  I disagree with almost half of them.

Never sell a service or product that you cannot deliver. Never sell a service or product that the buyer doesn’t absolutely need or love. Be essential or desired, not annoying and unnecessary. – Disagree.  No one knew they needed or loved an iPad until they had one.   President Kennedy sold us a moon landing when no one knew how to accomplish such a thing.  If you sell what you do not have, and you are not a TBTF banker, you will find a way to deliver it.

Never work for someone who isn’t as smart as you are. Or plan your exit the moment you figure out that you have learned all you can and that you are now the smarter one. – Disagree.  I learned more working for a company/group of people best described as amoral, arrogant, and proudly, arrogantly ignorant in the Tea Party way, in 2 1/2 years, than I have learned working anywhere else, before or since.  Do not underestimate the power of a bad example.

Never work for or with people with a lesser moral code than your own. Be aware of how your colleagues feel about doing the right thing. You should watch how they prioritize it. Once you determine that the moral failings of the people around you are systemic and indefatigable, it’s time to get going. If you can fix a bad situation, by all means try. If you can’t, reserve judgment and simply say goodbye.  Disagree – See above.  Don’t stay if you are no longer learning, but there is a lot to be learned.

Never work in a career that relies on opacity, obfuscation, rhetorical fallacy or sleight of hand. There are plenty of people who can do this sort of work, fooling their neighbors and customers or tricking them into transactions that aren’t what’s in their best interests – the key is to not be one of them. Those who engage in this sort of work are either sociopathic or trapped because of financial circumstances or too stupid to have thought the consequences of their career choice all the way through.  AGREE.

Never cut any corners, there is no such thing as a free lunch and everything has a cost, even if you can’t see it right in front of you. Riskless reward is a desert mirage.  Disagree.  If you are thinking of doing this, then you must need to learn the lesson.  Do it.  See how awesome it turns out.

Never pursue something that you don’t really want in the first place just because you think you have to. You don’t have to and it won’t work out anyway. Successful people become successful because they are doing what they love and have a talent for.  Agree and disagree.  I think there are lots of successful people who don’t love what they are doing.  And once you have a certain amount of your human capital tied up in something, only you can decide what the tradeoffs are.  Sometimes sticking with what you don’t love can be the best option, even if only for a while.

Never keep a bad client just because they’re willing to keep paying you. Never allow a mismatched customer relationship to skew the way you do business or take care of your other clients. Never put off firing a customer the moment you realize there is a bad fit and that neither of you will be satisfied in the relationship. Life is too short to do business with unreasonable people or nice folks whom you just cannot make happy.  AGREE.

Never go through the motions. Find a psychologically rewarding way to go about your tasks, remind yourself constantly where the day-to-day drudgery of your job is leading. If it’s leading nowhere or toward something you don’t truly want, stop immediately. Don’t spend a moment being busy for no good reason.  Agree and disagree.  See above.  But even if you choose to do something unrewarding, experience it.  It is your life happening.

Never taunt others when things are going your way, people like dealing with gracious winners who raise others up with positivity. Never burden others with your problems when things are not going your way, the amount of mileage you’ll get out of pity is minimal and people will go out of their way to avoid getting involved with you.  AGREE. 

Never watch the clock or calendar. Have reasonable expectations for the timeline of your success. If you enjoy what you’re doing and are going to work with purpose each day, then what’s the rush? Only people who are doing something they hate are worried about how many dollars they can rip out of the endeavor right away.  Disagree.  There are time limited activities, and if you are unable to complete them on time, then you need to figure out why.  Is it lack of enthusiasm?  Training?  Confidence?  Competence?  Josh must never have done piecework.  LOL.

Never believe for one moment that your path is already laid out for you or that you can’t break away and find your own road toward happiness and success. Remember – Fate is the cards you’re dealt, Destiny is how you play them.  AGREE!!

And, I would add, Never do anything you wouldn’t want to discuss with your spouse and children.


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