Who Says, “Nice Guys Finish Last”?

When you’re searching for a job, you want to present yourself as perfect as possible. You’re always instructed to present the best you — display your best face — put your best foot forward. Everything is your best, your best, your best. But what if they’re wrong?

You’ve done your “sales pitch,” which is what it really is, and you’re told that they think of you as a “good fit” for the company. Then the games begin to see who got the better end of the bargain. Unfortunately, this scenario doesn’t work out well. You see, you’ve settled for a lesser paying position with the promise of more pay after you’ve proven you have what it takes to meld with the company. The last person in your job was only there a few months before her promotion, you’re told with a wink. With your stamina and ability to deliver the “yes man” standards, you’re certain you’ll blow them away. Not so fast there, buckaroo! Because you’d be dead wrong, just like I was when I said “yes.”

Either on time or early every day, even though they told you to be in half an hour earlier than the other new hire. When mentioning the obscure schedules, they “got it approved” for you to have the identical schedule as her. Nice. But now they know where you stand, push-over with a 99% adherence to schedule. And when you bring up moving forward like the other girl mentioned at the interview, another story emerges–the one that says you must work for a low wage for a solid year before you can even apply to move up.

One night, after a meeting of an hour and a half with my two higher-ups, I ran into one of my friends, Iliad. He suggested I come and work with him literally making twice the wage I am making at my current job. He says the only stipulation is that I must change the way I behave. “What do you mean?” I asked, “I give my employers everything they could possibly want.”

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“And that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do,” Iliad told me. Then he continued to express to me what made him successful at his job where the turn-over is excruciating when he’s been there for over five years. I couldn’t wait to hear Iliad’s secrets.

  1. Never be too available — Don’t offer to do anything for the company, especially community work. The company gets all the glory for your freely donated time. You get a free T-shirt so you can be a walking billboard for the company’s charity work.
  2. Don’t offer to work overtime if they ask you — only work it when you need extra money. If you need “extra money” all the time, you’re working for the wrong wage.
  3. Announce the company’s bad treatment to other employees loud enough supervisors can hear you. That way, it’s not like you’re doing it behind their backs, but you’re not complaining to them either.
  4. At any meetings where opinions are valued, never offer opinions. If they focus specifically on him and request input, he gives such an abstract and complicated answer that everyone simply nods and moves on to the next victim.
  5. Comprehend the rule of the game is “unpredictability,” because everyone thrives on the thrill of the chase — not necessarily “the win.” After all, it’s human nature.

Once I gave ample thought to what Iliad told me, I realized he was describing an interesting video I once saw; Watch it!  It’s the gamble that’s addictive. And while I’m certainly not an advocate of abusive relationships, I certainly see his point.

The other girl who was hired the same time as I was, doesn’t have the same adherence to time as I have on my schedule. She leaves very frequently to smoke, makes phone calls in the hallway, and sometimes sneaks to the vending machine if she’s feeling like a treat. She’s outwardly and directly rude to co-workers. When they’re offended, rather than apologize, she makes them feel guilty for taking it personally as if they’re overly sensitive. I’ve seen it time and time again, and they’re willing to take the blame than see the mental games she’s playing with them. They want to please her.

Meanwhile, the woman in charge of training us spends much more time training my counterpart because she feels more appreciated by the time donated to her; rather than me who’s always there and eager like a new puppy, waiting for my next bone. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, but it’s the natural human behavior when we don’t stop to consider the reasoning — sort of like the bell that goes off when we hear about a sale. We don’t pay too much attention to the prices — it’s a sale at our favorite store!

So in my extensive meeting, names were called in of people whom I’d considered friends. I’d created projects for them, gone out of my way to greet all the people in my department, even say “bless you” anytime someone sneezes. Pathetic because all the names I had thought were my friends had declared me “malicious” in one way or another according to the supervisors. They determined I wasn’t a “good fit” after all. Point blank, either I needed to work harder to fit in or consider searching for another job.

Personally, I’m thinking the saying of, “Nice guys finish last,” is a bit more credible than I originally thought. Give this some thought and share your own insight or suggestions.






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