No More Mr Nice Guy

career Mar 2, 2021

Are you too nice? I am, was.
Being too nice is a great thing: you're a giver, a natural loving person.
You just try to be nice and want the others to be nice in return.
But life doesn't work that way.

Nice people always lose.

There is even a phenomena called the Nice Guy Syndrome.

I learned about it the hard way...

During High School, I spent 3 months walking my dream girl home every day...
It didn't matter if I finished earlier than her, I'd find a way to wait.
I was nice, and she perfectly knew it.One day, she started to date someone else.

After 3 long months of intense work... I lost to a random guy who didn't care about her.I was the good one, and he was the jerk.It didn't matter, I did all the possible mistakes.

So what did I do?
One day, I started to date another girl.
And it made her crazy... she finally lost control.
Up to the point where she had to admit her feelings.

Boum, No More Mr Nice Guy.

I'm sure you couldn't care less about my High School drama.
So let's go to see how this can DESTROY your career.
And I'll share 3 ways to avoid being Mr Nice Guy without putting your career at risk.

1) Get the Full Picture

Being nice can kill your career.
Have you ever worked for a consulting company?
You arrive full of hopes and dreams.
After 3 weeks, they tell you about this client they don't want to lose.

The mission is horrible, it's NOT what you came for.
But there is only you..

If you don't accept, the client will be angry.
If you don't accept, the client won't understand...
If you don't accept, the company will take a serious hit...
It might even sink, just because of your decision.

So, you'll have to be a TEAM PLAYER.
You'll need to be nice, to accept that life isn't how you imagined it.
Sacrifice 3 months of your career, and you'll get a big thank you.

Do you know what ALWAYS happen after these 3 months?
They get extended to a year, sometimes more.
And once the client loves you (because you're nice!), you can't leave.

👉 The Number One Thing I'd tell you is to see the big picture.
Obviously, these 3 months will renew.
If you don't want them to, have it written.

2) Distinguish between advice and manipulation

It feels like I've been through it, but I haven't.
When it was my moment, I refused to play the nice guy...
...Because I already knew the cost of it.

So one day, after weeks of discussion, I have to get up to the 4th floor to tell the partner of the company my decision.

I'm stressed, but I know I have to say no.

After 15 minutes of wait, the partner is ready to hear my answer.
He was about 35/40 years old.
Dark hair, wearing glasses and an expensive suit.
You could feel the success.

- Thank you for the offer, but it's a no. I prefer to wait for a better opportunity for me.

- Do you know what might happen to your career if you say no, Jeremy?

- I do, it's still a no.

- Jeremy, you're doing great in this company. But the ones who succeed are team players. They all accepted to take one for the team at some point. If you're not a team player, you will never succeed here, or anywhere else.

The worst part, I was a team player.
But the only way to show them was to sacrifice months of my career into a rule-based chatbot project I didn't care about.

The partner started to play a different game.
- Jeremy, I have experience here, trust me. I can make your career great.

Here! 👆Did you spot it?

That is NOT an advice, that is an advice with a hidden interest.
I could listen to him, he knows better and can make my career great.
But he had a lot to win and to lose.

So I said no.

You know what? They found someone else to sacrifice in a fraction of second.

👉 The Number 2 rule is to take advice from external people.
Don't take advice from people with bias.
Objectivity is key.
You and I both no what bias can do, we're Machine Learning Engineers.

3) Get a Plan B.

When my dream girl saw me dating, everything changed.
I went from "I'm all yours" to "hard to get".

The same thing happened in the company.

Was I in trouble? Maybe.
So I needed a plan B.
An escape company, somewhere where I could apply my AI skills.
And I found one.

A month later, I was a self-driving car engineer.
Maybe it was luck.

But you and I both know what would have happened if I just said yes.

Yes, it wouldn't be dramatic.
The world is full of people who said yes to every opportunity they got.
And they're not living in the streets.

But if you accept, you'll just steer in another direction.
One you didn't choose.

My position is complicated.

If you're in this situation, you might be tempted to do the same.
To be bold, unexpected.
To bend the game to your rules.
And I get that, it might just work.

Don't get fired because of this email.

Yes, I invite you to say "No More Mr Nice Guy".
Yes, you should take objective advice only.
Yes, you should try and see the big picture, don't be naive.

But be sure to have a plan B.
Be sure that your skills will help you find what you're looking for.
When you're nice, people take advantage of it.
When you're not, you're playing a risky game.

But what is the most risky? To say no once and show your cards, or to lose a year of your career?

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