Years ago, I had someone working for me who was making $10.00 an hour and involved in all sorts of dishonesty toward me and my companies. She was disappearing for long periods of time during the day doing personal things and billing me for her time. She was also addicted to negative gossiping that was getting back to me.
When I had interviewed the woman, she had shared with me with various stories about how she had been very abusive to various men that had been in her life before – her father, her former husband and others. She was troubled; however, she was interviewing for a job that did not require a lot of skill, and I could tell that deep down she wanted to be a good person. I made a mental note to myself that I would watch her and, if she became troublesome, I would deal with the situation at that time.
Deep down, I believe that everyone is basically good. No one wants to hurt others – but some people simply cannot help themselves. According to Aristotle, desire often overrules rationality. In the case of people who cannot stop themselves from doing wrong, desire almost always overrules rationality:
• Some men will cheat on a woman even if they are married to the most beautiful woman in the world.
• Some people will steal even if they have all the money they ever need.
• Some people will lie even if they have no reason to.
• Some businesspeople will lie, cheat and involve themselves in dishonest activities simply because this is in their nature—they actually do not know how to do good.
In fact, there are people in the world who are quite simply lost causes. You simply cannot help them. They will always do wrong no matter what. It is inbred in them and their psyches at such a deep level they do not know anything else. The worst of these people spend their lives in and out of prisons. Others can function in normal society upsetting people and causing pain and misfortune in their wake.
When I started to see that this woman’s negative issues were starting to turn on me, I decided to do something I knew would make her quit rather than fire her. I told her to expect a huge raise.
One evening (after a day in which she had disappeared for a long period during work), I emailed her the following message:
I appreciate how hard you have been working! You are such a valued employee and good person! I cannot tell you how thankful I am about how loyal you have been and everything you have done for me. You are such a hard worker. I would like to discuss with you the possibility of giving you a raise to $50,000 a year in the next day or so.
What do you think happened? What happened was exactly what I wanted to happen. She showed up for work an emotional mess the next day and quit two days later, stating that she wanted to concentrate on learning how to do be a screenwriter.
How did I know she would quit?
I knew she would quit because I knew that, despite the bad things she had done, a part of her was a good person. I knew that the guilt of being treated well in the face of her terrible treatment of me would simply be too much for her. Within hours of my email to her, she turned in on herself and practically had a nervous breakdown. She knew her treatment of me was incompatible with being a good person. If a person is incapable of restraining themselves from injuring a benefactor, they will defend the benefactor by leaving.
People cannot allow themselves to be treated well when a major part of them is doing bad to the same person that is treating them well. This makes their dilemma even worse.
For the past several months, I have been spending a lot of time with many aspiring actors. Many of these people are extremely talented and many, I believe, could really reach the pinnacle of success in the entertainment business if they wanted to. Many have had the chance to get to the top, but have blown it completely.
For example, some have become close friends with major Hollywood actors who sent them out on important auditions. Others had people in very high places go out of their way to set up important meetings with agents. Others have been pursued by important producers who tried to put them in movies.
What is so fascinating about all of these people was that despite being so committed to being in movies and presented with such incredible opportunities, they found all manner of excuses for not going to auditions, not meeting with agents and not allowing themselves to be put into movies.
I do not know the complete story about why all of these people did not allow themselves to get ahead; however, from what I have gathered, in many cases, it was because there was something they had done wrong, or were doing wrong, that made a major part of them feel like they did not deserve this sort of success. Because they felt out-of-sorts ethically, they did not feel like they could allow themselves to succeed. None of these people were bad people. It is just that they were doing things they were ashamed of or even illegal (drug dealing, prostitution – and so forth). I believe that instead of stepping up and accepting success, they turned it down because the “good” part of themselves wanted to punish them and did not feel they were worth this level of success.
People who are doing bad things in their private and work lives often sabotage their own success. If they do not do it directly, they do it indirectly. Many people suddenly become ill before an important performance, others seize up at an important moment and many people simply do not show up at all.
Years ago, I had a household employee who stole several of my credit cards and went on a multi-state spending spree while my wife and I were out of the country. She and her boyfriend were also arrested with one of my cars buying drugs in a bad neighborhood, and the car was impounded. I discovered the extent of the wrongdoing when I returned home and found, among other things, that the bathtub in my bedroom had been destroyed in the process of using it to make crystal meth.
I called the police. They advised me she would likely spend time in prison if I pressed charges. The girl was in her early 20s, and I felt sorry for her. I told the police I was not interested in pressing charges.
The police called the girl on the phone, and told her I was not pressing charges, but that they wanted her to come down to the station to discuss everything.
She told the police she would come right down. When she got to the police station, she admitted to everything and told the police what she had done. She also told them she had been dealing drugs, something she was not there to discuss with the police (they were only interested in the information about the credit cards). Because she told them about new things she had done, the police put her under arrest.
The girl had been dealing crystal meth and had thousands of dollars of it in her car when she went to the station. Instead of leaving the crystal meth in the car, she put it in her purse and brought it into the police station. The police found this and, when they did, she ended being charged with being a distributor and ended up going to prison for several years.
I believe this girl punished herself. She wanted to get caught. She realized all I was going to do was fire her, and she felt bad. She made sure that she was punished by walking into the police station with thousands of dollars of drugs and admitting to crimes they were not even questioning her about.
Years ago, I was living with someone who was having an affair. Because the affair was occurring while I was at work, there was no way I was ever going to find out about it. To my astonishment, I returned home from work one day and found an open diary on the bed that went into detail about all sorts of liaisons that had been occurring at area hotels. This is how it works. When a person is doing wrong, they become their own executioner. To me, this is proof that people are basically good. When someone is unable to stop doing wrong, then, causatively, unconsciously or unwittingly, they destroy themselves and do so without assistance from anyone else
Criminals often leave clues at the scene because they are hoping someone will discover them – they are basically good and, in the absence of an ability to stop from harming others, try to stop themselves by leaving clues and getting caught.
Several years ago, I had a few recruiters working for me who were interested in going out and starting their own recruiting firm. While the extent of their wrongdoing would boggle your mind, suffice it to say they were doing a lot of bad things. They were doing under-the-table deals and stealing intellectual property from the company. One ended up getting fired for doing something very shady. When the one was fired, the other had me move him to another part of the country and pretended to be working for me while actually working with the other person.
I paid for his office and supported him despite the fact he was working with the other person and funneling him my intellectual property and stealing from my company. Eventually, the second recruiter was also fired when I discovered the extent of his wrongdoing, which was extensive.
Ironically, the two of these people ended up experiencing some success in the legal recruiting realm. I forgot completely about them. Some five years later, they started going on the Internet and writing all sorts of anonymous attacks against me and my companies. I eventually discovered who they were after years of litigation to seek their identities.
Why start attacking someone years later? For me, the explanation was very simple. They wanted to justify their theft and other negative things they did. When you hurt someone and do something dishonest, you need to lessen the importance of the person you are attacking to justify what you have done in your own mind. When a person has done something negative to another person, they usually follow with an action to reduce the reputation or importance of the person they have harmed. Hence, the person who has done something wrong to someone must then state that the person was bad in some way.
When a woman or man is cheating on their spouse or boyfriend, it is very common for them to start attacking that person and saying negative things about them to justify their own behavior. This occurs due to the fact that this justifies their behavior in their own mind and makes the person doing the negative thing feel like their actions are justified.
Have you ever known a hermit, someone who constantly avoids other people and stays home all the time and avoids social situations? I’ve known a lot of these people in the past. You know what? Most hermits are the sort of people that end up harming others in social situations. They have a negative streak to them. Because hermits, like most people, are basically good people, they withdraw to stop themselves from harming more people. When the person does this, they then start feeling lonely, depressed, may abuse substances and actually imprison themselves because of their own bad behavior. People that harm others often withdraw and do so because they are basically good. Then, they may experience great unhappiness and boredom and compensate through activities like eating too much, taking drugs and numbing themselves in various other ways.
People who lie, cheat and have done bad things on the job often also hold themselves back when they lose a job, or quit, when they cannot help harming their benefactor. Have you ever known someone who has spent years looking for a job? I have. I am in the employment arena and meet these types of people all the time. It is not always the case, but quite often these people are the type of people that create problems when they go into companies and organizations, and may harm others and the company. Often, they are not hired because their reputation precedes them; however, just as often, these people end up sabotaging their own success (not showing up for interviews, doing poorly in interviews, not applying for enough jobs, not working on their job search, and so forth).
There is an invisible force in the world that operates behind everything that occurs. People who help others grow and succeed will also do well themselves. If something contributes to life and helps it, it will survive. People who do more good than bad survive and feel they are entitled to survive. People who construct and build others up survive. People who harm and tear others down generally do not survive. Something that takes and tears down is, essentially, something that is evil. Evil never wins. We put evil in prisons, we isolate evil from others, and evil never lasts.
Dishonest and negative conduct is something that society frowns upon. When you are not engaging in positive conduct, you are harming yourself and society. Because there is such a strong dynamic bred into us of assisting and helping others grow, if we are not doing this, we end up harming ourselves – even if society does not directly harm us.
There are certainly many arguments that can be made regarding the importance of doing the right thing and doing good; however, deep down the most important thing to remember is that you are a good person, and if you do not do the right thing, you will consciously or unconsciously punish yourself, even if you got away with it. To have a happy career and life, support others and do the right thing.
About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the Founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter himself. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in a search and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.
About BCG Attorney Search
BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive that gets results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities that its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.