I think it is important that people realize that if you are going to work in business, over the course of your career, you will find yourself in some difficult situations. And especially for young people watching this who are just starting their careers, it is really helpful to hear stories from people who have already been through struggles and hear how they dealt with them. This week I wanted to make a storytime video and talk about a really horrible thing that happened to me at work. Now this story happened a long time ago, before I had a YouTube channel, much earlier in my career. But I am going to relive it for you today in this video. So sit back, this is a story about something horrible that happened to me at work. WATCH NOW
Before I get into the details of this particular situation, you need to know something about me as a person. I have extremely high ethical standards for myself. I have talked about this before on this channel. My goal is to never tell a lie, ever. No exaggerations. No withholding part of the truth. My goal is that when you talk to me, I want you to be able to rely on what I am saying. Now I am not saying I am perfect, or never make mistakes. But I have a really high ethical standard that I hold myself too.
The reason I bring this up, is because this is so different from how the majority of people in business operate. People in business lie all the time. They lie through their teeth. At any point in time, someone can make up a blatant lie about you, out of thin air. And if you are a decent person, the first time this happens to you in a business setting, it will shock you. But you have to be prepared, that lying happens in business, and it happens a lot.
So my approach to business, about telling the truth, is pretty unique. And I was not always this way. This was not something I used to think about or care about. But there was one specific moment in my career that defined this issue for me, and it is the story I am going to tell you today.
I worked for a large business, and one of my co-workers was in their position because of nepotism. They were hired because they were a family member of someone higher up in the organization who was very powerful. This person was not qualified to do their job, they were incompetent, and they were insecure about it as they should be. What made matters worse, is that they were working alongside me, Zach DeGregorio, who is always trying to be a super high performer, and that made them even more insecure. I think you can tell this is leading to trouble.
Annual employee reviews were coming up. Let me explain how raises work in most businesses. Managers are asked to rank the employees in their department from best to worst. The ranking will determine who gets a raise. The top 30% might get a raise, or some other pay-for-performance approach. Most businesses do this type of ranking.
For my co-worker, the only way they were going to get this raise was to make up lies. When they sat down for their annual review, they made up all these lies about me. They said I was messing up on my reports, coming in late, and being mean to them. These were all complete lies and an attack on my professionalism.
When I walked into the managers office for my review, I was completely blindsided by the fact that my co-worker just stabbed me in the back. My manager said, “You know Zach, your co-worker just said this, this, and this about you. What is going on Zach?” I was speechless. I told him that none of it was true. His reaction was, “Why would someone say all of this if there was not something going on?” And I told him, “Because they want a raise.” I am sure you can figure out how this ended up. They were the family member of someone important. I was a nobody. So I ended up not getting a raise.
I was devastated by what happened. I take so much pride in my work. I could not believe that someone would have such a lack of human decency that they would make up complete lies in order to get a raise. You know what it is? Have you ever seen young kids playing on a playground? And when one of the kids gets in trouble, they point to their best friend and say “he did it.” Six year olds do not understand that they are telling a lie about their best friend. Well sometimes this happens in business. Grown up professionals will act like six year olds. If there is something they want, they will lie through their teeth to get it.
I was so disgusted by what happened. That was the moment I made a conscious decision. I decided I am going to be a different kind of business person. My goal is to never lie ever again. I have made it part of my character. And I think about it a lot, because that is the type of person I want to be. And it is not easy. Wometimes it is uncomfortable. Sometimes it is hard to stand up and tell the truth. But that is the type of person I want to be.
So guess what happened next? People knew who I was in the business, and I had a reputation for being a good worker. And people actually noticed what happened to me, and how unfair it was. I got a call from another manager on the other side of the company, asking me to move to their department. So I moved. I ended up getting a massive promotion, into a job with a lot more responsibility. I was happier, and appreciated. And it ended up with a really great outcome for me.
There is a lesson here for business people. Sometimes you will find yourselves in horrible situations. And this could be something where you did nothing wrong. Sometimes business people act like six year olds and just make up lies. If you find yourself in one of those situations, here is what you do: You hold your head up high, keep moving forward, and always tell the truth. Because people have a funny way of knowing who to trust.
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Neither Zach De Gregorio or Wolves and Finance shall be liable for any damages related to information in this video. It is recommended you contact a CPA in your area for business advice.