Don’t do business with jerks

After PG finished his latest post about the RWA mess, he was reminded of one of the most common pieces of advice he has given to his clients (including authors, non-authors, people who have never met an author, drunks, nice people, crooks, clients from Legal Aid, etc., etc., etc.).

Don’t do business with jerks.

Typically, a client will talk to PG about some sort of cooperative endeavor that involves a person or organization who/which always seems to be in a fight with one or more other people.

Perhaps the person/organization has either initiated or been on the receiving end of several lawsuits. Perhaps the person/organization is constantly involved in public disagreements with others over money or other topics.

One specific type is an individual who has been married and divorced several times with the breakups involving lots of fireworks, nasty accusations, big legal bills, etc.

Without getting into politics, if a client came to PG for advice on entering into a business deal with Donald Trump, given Trump’s history of lawsuits and other public disputes with business partners, PG would likely remind the client about the benefits of a quiet business and personal life.

People can and do change, turn over a new leaf, repent of past bad behavior, etc.

In such cases, PG suggests that his clients not be the first new business partner of the repentant counterparty. It’s one thing for a person to change their behavior when the sky is blue and birds are singing. However, if a storm appears on the horizon, newly-acquired virtues may take a back seat to unfortunate old habits.

To be clear, PG is not advocating permanent banishment of someone who has made bad decisions in the past. However, if a client wishes to be a good gal/guy and help someone who is down on their luck, PG suggests that a purely charitable act, one undertaken with no expectation of a return or profit, may be a wiser approach. With no expectations, one may avoid disappointment and estrangement if the repentance is less permanent than anticipated.

PG has no direct experience with RWA, but certainly the accounts of the behavior of people who presently hold positions in the organization appear to raise governance issues and suggest misuse of power by those who have been selected to run the organization.

On the other hand, PG does not think it entirely fair to tar an author for a book written twenty years ago that may reflect standards and attitudes that were unexceptional at the time and in the surroundings in which the author wrote.

If the society in general is moving toward greater respect and more tolerance for those who are minorities/underrepresented/subject to unfair bias for one reason or another, it would seem to be unsurprising that present-day depictions of fictional minorities for whom society has advanced to a better place might be more even-handed and favorable than they were in the past.

3 thoughts on “Don’t do business with jerks”

  1. If the society in general is moving toward greater respect and more tolerance for those who are minorities/underrepresented/subject to unfair bias for one reason or another, it would seem to be unsurprising that present-day depictions of fictional minorities for whom society has advanced to a better place might be more even-handed and favorable than they were in the past.

    It would also be unsurprising if the harsh attitudes of the past were indeed reflected in fiction about that past. I’m not sure that white-washing the pathologies of the past is in any way even-handed. If today’s readers have indeed advanced, they are capable of dealing with the way things once were. If not, I question the advance.

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