He was 21.
When I heard this, I was amazed. I couldn’t understand how a 21-year old was the manager of a successful firm and that I was his employee.
The most important thing that I discovered about him was that he was a pathological liar. He couldn’t help himself. He would lie about the simplest things and not acknowledge when he was clearly wrong.
He took the “fake it until you make it” mantra to heart, and tried to brainwash everyone around him into believing this fakeness.
When I first starting working with him, I was delighted to learn that I was in his team. Of the three managers at the firm, he was the most charismatic and enticing. He had a vibrancy that attracted people and made them believe in his dreams.
His dreams were constructed on a pack of lies.
This became obvious when my HR man found his CV through one of the agencies. Even he was considering leaving the sinking ship.
At first, I didn’t think much of it. I had just moved to a new city and was trying to fit in, find a place for us to live and start a new life. I didn’t want to work in that field, but having gone to heaps of interviews, I picked the one that offered me a job almost immediately.
What I didn’t realize is how this job would change me. I became well versed in duplicity and lying, I knew how to manipulate people into purchasing things that they didn’t need. I had become a salesman, something that I never thought I’d ever be.
I spent 10-14 hours per week on the phone. My cell phone was glued to my ear, and even on vacation, I was fielding calls from clients. To match my job, I bought an expensive car and we moved into an expensive place.
Just like everyone else, I believed his lies. When everyone around you is lying, how do you know who is telling the truth? The lies weave a story. The story is believable, and no matter what they say, you start believing in them too. There’s nothing much to say about lies.
Lies are hard because a part of you wants to believe them, even when you realize that they are bullshit and false. I spent almost three years working 50-70 hours a week. What did I have to show for it? A crumbling marriage, debts coming out of my ass, and a growing gut that was fueled by all of the restaurant food that I was consuming.
I spent weeks away from home, working all over the state.
Then I became a boss. I was riding my team hard, trying to make money and schooling them in the lies that I had been taught. I was a good manager and listened to my employees. Even though I believed the lies and told them the lies, things hadn’t really improved. I wasn’t making that much money and I was starting to doubt things. There was a high turnover ratio at the firm. After a few months, new people joined. Others were gone. They came and went. Some people remained. Some people still believed the lies.
Then one day, I took out a calculator. I divided my income by the hours that I worked. I made less than minimum wage. I decided that it was time for a change. I met with a new firm and got headhunted out of the old one. To emphasize this, I took away some of my best clients. The old firm didn’t like this and tried to protest, but I followed the rules and regulations.
They could huff and puff, but in the end, they couldn’t do anything about it. That was the beginning of the end of my life in finance. I worked for the firm for about a year. The signing bonus was great.
I worked a lot less. From 70 hours a week, I went to 20 for at least a year. I couldn’t handle any more. I started living again. The new firm wasn’t a vast improvement. It was a lot better, but it was still filled with liars.
The business is filled with them. I was tired of driving all over the place, tired of spending time away from home, and tired of always lying. At least, I was lying a lot less.
Then, when I realized how much money I was losing by not being in business by myself, I decided to move on. I started my own firm and for about a year, I worked from home and made money. I had some good clients, some bad clients. I was still wearing a suit, but I knew things were ending.
It all ended when I finished it all. I didn’t like where I was or what I had become. I decided I needed a change, and the change needed to be big.