Friday, May 31, 2013

This is Why Business Sucks

If you have talent, you work hard, and you expect the people you work with to have talent and work hard, too, you’re bound to be disappointed. Too often, that’s not how professional life works. When you’re good at what you do, your work ethic matches your competence, and you expect your coworkers to hit those same standards, you’re an outlier—and things will suck for you because people will catch on and begin defending themselves against any change in the status quo.

People who suck want to continue to suck. That’s just how it is.

Going into business for yourself—or forming a startup venture with others—doesn’t immunize you against the same suck you’ll find in corporate jobs like the one I’m always bitching about, either. Far from it, in fact. When you come up with a solid concept, and you implement it and start making money, you can expect the following six things to happen:

1.  People who want something for nothing are going to sue you. This is what useless people do, and there’s nothing you can do about it aside from retaining a good lawyer and putting him or her on speed dial. No matter how original your idea is, or how hard you’ve worked to get your business started, there will always be people who want to take it away from you.

2.  No matter what steps you take to protect yourself, people will blatantly copy (steal) your intellectual capital, your business plan, and your methods of doing things. This is because original ideas are impossible to come by for people who don’t have any talent and refuse to put in the work necessary to dig said ideas out of the earth. As soon as you develop something worthwhile, they’ll circle like vultures—and unfortunately, shotguns are strictly forbidden in this genre.

3.  A large percentage of the people you hire, work with, or consult with will eventually develop egos and think they deserve to have their name on the door. The idea of making money for someone else, with no recognition other than your weekly paycheck, has a short shelf life. When people see you succeed, they’ll want that same success for themselves—not as a member of a successful team, but as the actual boss. If they’re looking to go off and hang out their own shingle, wish them luck and buy them a drink—but when they start claiming your original idea as their own, telling others that they were the brains behind the business, that’s where you’ll run into problems.

4.  If you don’t watch them like a hawk, people will attempt to bleed you dry. Most people don’t work nearly as hard as they claim they do. You have to judge the quality of someone’s work by the results they’re getting—and not by the hours they’re putting in. As I’ve said here before, if the first thing someone I’m working with crows about is the number of hours they’re putting in every day, I’m automatically skeptical because I’ll start wondering why it’s taking them so fucking long to produce less work than I’m doing in a quarter of the time.

5.  You will eventually spend 90 percent of your time dealing with other people’s bullshit instead of doing the work required to build and maintain your core business. Sad but true. Once you’ve implemented your idea and built the framework of a solid business, stupid shit takes over, and rather than continuing to do what you’ve been doing, you’ll be busy mediating meaningless disputes between people you likely shouldn’t have involved yourself with in the first place.

6.  You learn that the unemployment rate is so high because a massive percentage of the population simply isn’t worth hiring. True story. We’ve been looking to fill the same two or three positions for months now. These jobs pay fairly well, and they offer a shitload of incentives—along with a lot of freedom. You’d think finding qualified people would be easy, but it’s not, because everyone we’ve interviewed for these jobs has royally sucked. This has applied to everyone from new grads to people who claim to have decades of experience. To a man—and woman—they’ve all been woefully mediocre, which explains a great deal about recent economic statistics.