Why the Hell Don’t I Trust Them?

April 22, 2020

Over the course of my career, I developed a ‘Don’t Do That’ list. It’s all the people I encountered that I definitely did not want to emulate.

Why the Hell Don’t I Trust Them?

Over the course of my career, I developed a ‘Don’t Do That’ list. It’s all the people I encountered that I definitely did not want to emulate. Use others as role models, yes, but not the stinkers. One person on my Don’t list played The Game really well. You know the type. They managed up really well and the bosses loved them. But there was something about them that made me leery.

We got along OK. We had worked on a project together and it went well with good results. They were damn good at their job and they were pretty consistent in how they showed up. Those were all positive things, right?

But I knew I didn’t want to play The Game that they excelled at; so much kissing up, so little time. I just didn’t trust them. But I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, specifically, that made me feel that way. Eventually, a conversation with my mentor made me realize what it was.

This person was competent, yes. They were ok to be around, friendly enough to have an after-work drink with. But, everything…and I mean everything…they did was for their own self-interest. So, all that competence and niceness meant zero to me because everything they did was self, self, self. Not only did they stay on my Don’t Do This list, but I also tried to have as little to do with them as possible. I didn’t want to suffer any guilt by association.

The moral of the story: If you want to be trusted, demonstrate that you’re thinking about others, not just your own selfish interests. It’s not a good look and you’ll eventually find yourself standing alone.