Owners & Temps

2 min read

I worked for billionaire, Robert Friedland, a long time ago and he told me something over dinner that I will never forget:

“Rob… there are only two kinds of people in the world.”

I responded, “And who are they?”

Looking me in the eye he responded, “Owners & Temps.”

I understood immediately what he was telling me. Robert saw things that others didn’t. It meant everyone is replaceable unless, of course, you own the company.

It’s true: No matter how smug you feel in your current position, you are always two weeks away from being shown the door. And many times, you are shown the door that same day you get fired. Yes, even Wall Street executives get fired. Everyone gets fired or restructured out of their company at least once in their life, right?

I am writing this blog for all the folks who respond to inquiries from potential suitors with, “Don’t bother me…” or “Why would I want to change jobs now?” My favorite one is, “I am a very loyal person. I could never leave my current firm…they depend too much on me.” But then they find out they have been significantly underpaid for the past five years. Or their firm gets acquired and they are “restructured” out the door.

I had someone respond to a LinkedIn request a month ago with, “I have no interest in leaving my firm – ever.” Exact words. Followed up later by, “Hey Rob, I have you on my calendar to call in 2025 – lol.”

Two weeks ago, I received a LinkedIn request from this same individual followed by an email followed by several frantic voice mails while I was away on vacation. He had been terminated. “Restructuring.”

To make matters worse, he had a book of business totaling $1.2 million. That’s about $300k in annual residual income gone. Disappeared into the thin air. That’s what happens to salespeople who sign bad contracts. Dumb.

I did a social media poll on whether I should help this individual. The verdict? 92% of the respondents said I should not help this individual. “Ungrateful” was the common response. I still have it under consideration.

So the next time an executive search consultant or company recruiter reaches out to you to have a conversation, my suggestion is to think carefully about how you respond. Never slam doors shut. That’s just stupid.

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