Wisdom of the Ages

Written by Michael Maxtone-Graham

The old-timers have a lot of wisdom to share. If the universal mentor could talk, he or she might say

“The strongest human emotion is neither love nor hate but the unquenchable urge to share a secret.”

Never talk about confidential matters in the elevator, rest rooms, or anywhere you can be overheard. The person who overhears could be a competitor, a client, or the new vice-president.

“Share the credit.”

It makes your co-workers feel good and it makes you look good.

“If you don’t know the answer to a question, say ‘I don’t know’.”

If you make a mistake, admit it. If you owe someone an apology, apologize. Don’t guess, don’t bluff, don’t bluster.

“If you get in over your head, never be too scared to admit it.”

The rule of thumb is, if you think you’re in trouble, you probably are. So don’t let the situation snowball. Ask for help. You’ll discover something interesting: Most people like to give help. It makes them feel good.

“Don’t discuss salaries with your peers.”

If they find out you’re making more money than they are, there will be jealousy and bitterness. The only people who need to know your salary are you, your supervisor, and the personnel department.

“Don’t underestimate your boss’s knowledge, intelligence, or awareness of what’s going on.”

Never confuse tact with ignorance.

“Be nice to people you don’t particularly like, especially if you outrank them.”

Very few truly nasty people get ahead.

“Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.”

Better to clear the coffee cups after a meeting than to sit there and watch the CEO start doing it.

“Take your lumps.”

Life isn’t always fair. Somebody else may get the promotion you deserve, the office you covet, more credit than you for a job well done. Don’t whine about it. Accept the knocks with grace. It won’t go unnoticed.

“Try very hard not to say, ‘I told you so’.”

Ever.

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