Stay Humble On Your Way Up

In the end, no one liked him; they just didn't like him, so they fired him.

He was a smart guy — actually, a brilliant guy — but, an obnoxious guy. He bragged too much, criticized too much; finally it was all too much for the boss who hand-picked him, then had to dump him, because, I'm told there was a mutiny. So many had approached the boss that his hand-picked heir was a royal ass, that the ass was let go.

When I heard this news from old friends last week, I wasn't entirely surprised. Not because I knew the guy well, but I certainly knew the storyline well: The story of a hotshot with a hot resume and a supposedly hot future for whom higher-ups were hot, but those beneath him were not.

A guy who sucked up, but never looked down; who'd ingratiate himself with those he thought mattered, but dismiss those he thought did not; who kissed up, but slapped down.

Now, himself, kicked out. And all because he couldn't figure a truism in life out: That those who climb corporate ladders should remember how they treat people on the way up — they're going to bump into them again on the way down.

It's like my dad used to say to me as I was just starting my career: "Neil, stay humble. In your case it'll come in handy." He'd laugh; I'd laugh. He got it; I got it. He'd watch me; I'd learn from him, remembering we are blessed to be where we are in life and success is never a reason to be a jerk in life.

But there are still so many jerks who refuse to see, until someone shows them the door. They huff and puff about how they've been wronged, never once considering the possibility they've been an ass.

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