You Don’t Have to Hurt Yourself To Do A Good job

Yes, folks, it’s another unpublished book entitled “You Don’t Have to Hurt Yourself To Do a Good Job.” (once said to me by a smart boss who saw I was trying too hard). The book is a collection of some 1200 quotations that I have heard from parents, siblings, neighbors, bosses, co-workers, the military, the Church, and the rest of the world, over the past 70 years. I wrote them all down because I thought they were worth preserving. These are the thoughts from the people who guided me over many rough spots. I present the first 50 of them for your amusement and/or edification:

  • Part 1: It’s Personal:

You Don’t Have to Hurt Yourself to Do a Good Job

          (And other great truths of the business and social universe)

1. Return on Investment (ROI) #101: When an organization succeeds, the people who reap the rewards are not always the people who made it succeed. When an organization fails, the people who pay the price are not always the people who made it fail. –Harvey P. Newquist

2. Budgetary Success: If you exceed budget and succeed, there is forgiveness. If you under spend and fail, there is only death. -Jim Hands, IBM Events Management

3. Compensating Errors: When you screw up horribly in one direction, you’ve probably screwed up somewhere else just as badly. Stay cool and the problem may come out in the wash. -Random Observation

4. Sales Reports: People measure Sales because Sales is easy to measure. -Ray Fortune, Friend, Sales VP, Boss, Character

5. Humility: Don’t put yourself down. The world is full of people willing to do it for you. -Frank Keaney, Friend, Sales VP, Boss, Character

6. Office Equipment: Don’t trust your precious original document to any copier that takes it inside.-Vinnie DeAngelis, Administrator

7. Forecasts: The world is filled with big orders, all of them six months out. -Dick Weber, Sales VP

8. Urgency: Anything that must be signed fast should be read slow. -Random Observation on contracts that must be signed “today!”

9. Reality: Goals are always unreasonably high. Budgets are always ridiculously low. There is never enough time or resource. Get on with it! -Ray Fortune, Sales VP

10. Organizations: The primary purpose of every organization is to perpetuate its own existence. The secondary purpose is to recognize and develop people who share the primary goal, and to isolate and eliminate those who do not. The third purpose is the one you put in the Mission Statement. -Random Observation

11. Martyrs: The single characteristic shared by all martyrs is that they are dead. -Random Observation

12. Wealth: Nobody’s grandchildren ever seriously regretted how the old man made his money.-Random Observation

13. Charity: Before you send off that check to “The Ukrainian Three-Headed Orphans of Pessimism”, is there anyone in your family or neighborhood who needs help? -Random Observation

14. Work Ethic: You’re going to be there 8 hours a day anyway, so work steady and do the things that show. -Howard Quinby, Career Counselor

15. Work Sequencing: Prioritize your backlog and work it off in this order:  (1) Boss Imposed, (2) Organization Imposed, (3) Self-Imposed. -Leo F. McManus, Jr., Elder Brother & Career Counselor

16. Advancement: If you can’t be the brightest, most creative, or largest contributor, be the most loyal. Over the long haul, that’s probably the best approach anyway. -Dr. Michael Schneider, a Techie’s Tech, and one very smart guy

17. Back-Talk/Telling-Off-The-Boss: Don’t trade off 20 years of work for 20 seconds of satisfaction. -Leo F. McManus, Jr.

18. Balance: You’ve got to be content at home or content at work. Nobody can fight on two fronts.-Dr. Paul Ware, Cousin, Heart Surgeon, Life Counselor

19. Happiness: The pursuit of happiness is vastly overrated. Happiness comes when you’re on your way to achieving some other goal. -Random Observation

20. Underestimating the Competition: Be wary of toothless old lions. A toothless old lion can still gum you to death. -Peter Murray, Grammar School Philosopher

21. Accepting Responsibility (by the Boss): The Queen of Hearts never cried, “Off with my head!”-Stan Driban, Attorney and Wise Man

22. Prominence: How come you never heard of me until I was in my seventies? I didn’t want to peak too young. -Ed McManus (me)

23. Partnerships: No matter how big a business is, it’s never big enough for two. -Leo F. McManus, Sr., Father and Counselor Capo

24. Responsibility: If you knowingly and freely accept a job in a bordello, don’t act morally outraged when someone tugs at your drawers. -Random Observation

25. Focus: People at the top tend to deal with what they can handle. -Tony Nicoletti, Friend & Boss

26. Money: It’s very difficult to make a little money. It’s easier to make a lot of money. -George Rosen, NYC Entrepreneur

27. Customer Returns: We don’t make money taking the crap back for credit. -Herb Richman, Exec. VP & Boss

28. Meetings: Never hold a meeting in your own office. You can’t leave early. -A Lewis Rogers, Friend & Boss

29. Sales Compensation Plans: If you give people impossible goals, they will tamper with the measuring system. -Random Observation upon reviewing sales claims

30. Technology: Computers are things you sell. Nobody actually uses them. – Honeywell Manufacturing V.P. when asked, “Why aren’t your records on computers?” Circa 1969

31. Human Resources #101: Round pegs may fit into square holes if you hit them hard enough -Random Observation

32. Mutual Observation: If you can see the lens, the lens can see you. -Random Observation

33. Career Planning: My personal approach was to stick with people I trusted who said, “Come work for me. I’ll pay you 15% more.” -Random Observation

34. Grace: I won’t say he was clumsy, but when he tried to explain what he was doing, he got his thumb caught in his ear. -Wallace B. Haigh, Shop Manager

35. Misdirection: Watch out for the guys who point and scream, “Look at those mice!” while they sneak the elephants by. -Harvey P. Newquist

36. Employee Appraisals (once said of Ed McManus): Some people are worth what we pay them in entertainment value alone. -Michael R. Levy, Friend & Boss

37. Perspective: In 1968 I was on Valium, Maalox, and Vodka because of my business worries. Now, the company is gone, the building is a parking lot, and I wonder what bothered me so. -Random Observation

38. Vocabulary: Language is wonderful. You can call someone a “rectal aperture” or tell them to go have an “illicit carnal soliloquy” – and they’ll just laugh. -Random Observation

39. Honor: I passed the basket at my church until they put in an envelope system. I took that as a reflection upon my honor and quit. -Ned Woods, Father’s Friend, circa 1949

40. Management Prerogative: The boss can do pretty much whatever he wants, as long as it’s legal. Policy is for when he doesn’t care one way or the other. -Random Observation

41. Understanding the Function: The cabbie had a monkey wrench on the seat beside him. The lower jaw was missing. I said, “That’s broken. It won’t work.” “It works just fine,” the cabbie said. “It’s for hitting people.” -Random Observation

42. Impositions: Don’t impose on a friend’s profession. It’s okay to ask a tailor friend to help paint your house, but don’t ask him to make you a suit. -Leo F. McManus, Sr.

43. Experience: No one has 20 years of experience at anything. The good ones have 10 years twice. Most people have 5 years four times. The clods have 1 year –20 times. -Leo F. McManus, Jr.

44. ROI: One percent of something is better than 50% of nothing. -Joe Grammel, Friend & Financial Adviser

45. Decisions: When you have two choices, and neither is clearly better, go with the one that’s least lousy. -A. Lewis Rogers

46. Priorities: Every morning, the Lord gives you a loaded six-gun to get you through the day. If you plink away at rabbits, you’ll have nothing left when the bears come. -Harvey P. Newquist

47. Reference Point: Why are you calling me now? I said to call me mid-week and it’s only Wednesday. -Bernie Powers, Boss, Sales Genius, & Misguided Missile

48. Reference Point: I remember exactly when that happened! It was the year Thanksgiving fell on a Friday! -Bill O’Dowd, Father’s Boss, circa 1948

49. Fabrications: If you’re going to lie to me, dammit, look me straight in the eye and lie like a professional! -Bernie Powers

50. Priorities: It is harder to find a new family than it is to find a new job. -Babe Levine, Boss & All Around Interesting Character

Just think: There are over 1200 more.

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1 Comment

Filed under Philosophy

One response to “You Don’t Have to Hurt Yourself To Do A Good job

  1. Mike

    Mr. M. – love the quotations, thanks for sharing. Stumbled on your excellent blog – reading a book on Churchill, Googled some pictures of the Cabinet War Rooms, ended up with your story of the corporate dinner there. Visited them myself in the 90s. Where do you live now? All the best, and Merry Christmas.

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