Jun 022011

I’ve been working in some form of sales my entire life, and without fail, I’ve witnessed greed rear its ugly head more times than I’d like to recall.

Trust me – it’s not a pretty site.

It’s always amazed me how, when presented with opportunities to make a lot of money, some business owners choose lusting after the dollar instead of remaining honorable. It’s as if desperation creeps in over the deal yet to be closed and their white knuckles grab onto the money yet to be made.

I’ve never understood this approach to business.  I firmly believe in the theory that if you are holding on too tight to money, your hand’s not open to receive more.

At the moment when greed takes hold, peace flees — resulting in anxiety and stress for all parties involved.

Lately, I’ve been doing some sales consulting and contract work on the side to supplement my income while launching my business. This exposure to multiple businesses has provided a lot of insight into human behavior — insight that may previously have been overlooked as behavior reserved for the unique corporate environment I found myself working in.

I’m sad to report that greed is alive and well in both corporate America and in local, resort-town businesses alike.

I understand that everyone desires to live a comfortable lifestyle, especially in resort towns where money flows and envy can be deadly.  Dreaming of the good life propels you forward to achieve the results you desire, whether that be good old-fashioned greenbacks, a car, a home, a trip…even jewels.

But when greed takes over at the expense of morals, it sure is an ugly sight to behold.

Finally Catching On

Once your eyes are wide open and you’ve dug around a bit, you usually find a filthy wake of bitter employees who’ve left the scene of the crime or dazed ones actively planning their escape.

You’ll usually find a legal mess in their wake too: a disgruntled ex-employee who’s since filed a lawsuit over monies owed or a competitive claim over stolen ideas (or people).  Even old and new acquaintances, when probed, start telling you the truth about reputations not previously disclosed.

I’ve been around the block enough times to know when ‘it’ starts happening.  It begins with a feeling of contraction. I may be talking to the greedy offender when something feels off and I get a pit in my stomach.  I tighten up and sense dishonesty.

Or they’ll start rambling on in an attempt to justify their behavior like a child whose hand is caught in the cookie jar.  I no longer ignore these telltale signs, brushing them aside because I am trustworthy to a fault.  I listen to my intuition because unfortunately, in instances such as these, it has never let me down.

Your Intuition Never Lies

This nasty greed scenario played itself out the other day with one of my contract employers.

The new client I just landed for them has the potential to make them very rich…I’m talking lots of zeros.  Although I just reeled in the big fish, they’ve already gobbled it down and regurgitated the pitiful leftovers back to me.

They’re disputing my commission rates because they’re envisioning the additional zeros that would be required on my commission check.  They’ve started hustling me out of client conversations so I am no longer in the know.  They just scheduled a formal client meet-and-greet, in another state, behind my back (of course they got caught red-handed when the client cc’d me on their email chain).

All this would actually be humorous to watch if it wasn’t so pathetic.

It would be very easy for me to not only play, but beat them at their own game right now.  People get stupid when they get greedy. They get sloppy trying to cover their tracks. They look like idiots trying to justify unjustifiable behavior.

But I’m no longer interested in investing my valuable time counteracting fear-based, scummy behavior.  Luckily, I’m old enough to know that pigs get slaughtered.  They’ll have their comeuppance.  It may not happen soon or even for a while.  But it will happen.

In the meantime, I’ll play along.  I’ll let them think they’re winning while continuing to collect my lesser commission checks.  Oh yeah — I’ll also be taking the other two fish on the line to their competitor.

After all, a savvy salesperson never reveals their entire pipeline.

Read more about greed and the urge to consume from the Buddhist perspective:

We want to hear from you.

Have you been the victim of a greedy employer? If so, how did you cope?  Did it turn out to be a blessing in disguise? Share your story (and if you enjoyed this story, please share it via the link below)!

Contributor: Connie Hammond

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