More than a few times, I’ve been the guy at the other end of the phone at 3 in the morning.
In my professional life, I’ve helped people and institutions get through crises – allegations of price fixing, financial impropriety, illicit drug manufacture, sale and use, sexual abuse, homicide, accidental death, miscellaneous criminal behavior, armed conflicts, environmental issues, industrial accidents, failures of judgment, natural disasters…
You get the idea.
I have seen a great many people when they’re not at their best – when they’re scared, angry, anxious, worried, embarrassed, ashamed, or all of the above.
And more than a few wished they could have done something differently, made a different decision, not done something they did, taken back an inopportune or inappropriate comment, done something instead of nothing, been more courageous, been less sexist, been more engaged in something they’ve ignored, been at a different place or time. Truthfully, though, once a thing is done, it’s done. You can’t unfire a gun.
Of course, some people are simply upset because they were caught, but I’ve often enough seen the pain of real human regret, and that can change a person; it can make you think about the things you’ve done that may have hurt or caused damage to things you hold dear.
So, I encourage you to take advantage of my hard-earned wisdom. If you’re thinking of cutting corners – be they legal, ethical, financial, or otherwise – think again. Trust me, the extra money isn’t worth it. Neither is the sex, the political power, or the potential advantage you think you’re going to bring to yourself or your company. At some point, someone, somewhere will ask you to defend what you did – maybe even publicly – and you won’t be able to. Then you’ll call me at 3 in the morning really upset, and I won’t be able to either. And then you’ll be in some really deep shit.
Now, I’d normally charge a great deal of money for advice like that, but my morning walk with DeeDee at Fort Funston put me in a giving and charitable mood.
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