names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
“I've never seen anything like her... "He said to her, referring to me "She could sell ice to Eskimos... I've never seen anybody sell something faster than her."
To some extent it was true... at that time art which was a passion of mine growing up, I soon discovered I could sell art with the snap of my fingers. I was in my early thirties and it would be in two years in 2012 upon filing for divorce and leaving the art business I'd enter real estate and yet despite some success hated the contract aspect of it.... I discovered having ADHD and dealing with contracts weren't the best way for me to make a living... too much stress in the case of potential error and it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown... I hated having moments of panic wondering if I'd remembered such and such. It wasn't worth the sleepless nights. Some might say I gave up but I was glad I tried it... I learned a lot and sometimes realizing something isn't a good fit and gracefully bowing out speaks to maturity versus stomping our foot and stubbornly clinging to something that isn't.
But for now the couple I had just waited on had bought the painting they'd admired and I was ecstatic regarding the newest sale. I stood there beside him and sniped "Yeah? Too bad I never see any of the money!" I huffed.” Are you actually going to give me my commission this time?" I demanded.
"You'll get your money... "He replied in a cool tone. But I knew he was lying. I always had to remind him, again and again. I always had to nag and beg. It was such bullshit. Oh how some people like that you can snap your fingers and make the magic happen but then they don't want to pony up and pay you for your hard work.
"I sure as hell can't sell that well... "He trailed off and looked at me "I don't know how you do it."
"I don't crowd them and rush them... "I replied "You can't keep talking. It screams desperation. You make a few positive comments and then stand back and admire the painting. You have to know when to be quiet." I told him.
"Ohhh, okay... " He trailed off sarcastically and shook his head but I knew he wanted to say more. It was simmering on the tip of his tongue just under the surface. Of course so did I.
"You know... if you'd let us make some changes around here the place could really thrive." I told him "There are a lot of things we could be doing to improve." I informed him dressed, in black heels, dress slacks and a long gray tunic.
He stood there with his arms crossed and closed off to any change that I would broach. Often the old ways that no longer or maybe never did serve any good purpose are clung to out of dysfunctional comfort because of familiarity no matter how destructive they are. Sometimes an iron clad fist of control is preferable over growth. “Oh, yeah? And what are those?" He asked... but not in a tone that was genuinely curious and amicable but instead brimming with contempt and suspicion for me and any new and so called improved ideas.
"First of all... we need to be charging the customers more. We're serving the wealthiest people in town... we're not selling socks. So we need to be acting like it. Any service you provide you need to be charging them the most you can without them walking away." I told him.
"I'm not doing that... we can do a good job and give a good value." He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
"I'm all for doing a good job.... the job, the service should be excellent... but you're GIVING your services away most of the time. Why would we do them any favors? It’s no secret that the wealthiest people are often the cheapest. They ALL want a good deal... they all ASK for a good deal... they're like a bunch of whiny preschoolers who want their cookie. No way.... “ I shook my head... “I’m so sick of this shit... "I told him, "I can't keep dealing with this!" I snapped.
"Well, it’s worked just fine!" He retorted “You know, you think you’re so smart!” He tossed at me with sarcasm.
"It could be so much more!" I exclaimed almost pleading with exasperation knowing it could... seeing the golden and promising potential of the business but not able to do anything about it because my hands were tied. "How do you think were ever supposed to get ahead and increase salaries if you continue to keep us in this pit?! If you'd just let someone else have some decision making... but no... you want to control everything!" I practically yelled. I was fed up... I had been broaching ideas for years now along with others but when they aren't heard or acknowledged or given any life you eventually have to make the difficult but necessary decision to either continue to hang in there and simultaneously scream into a pillow daily (!) or simply walk away to save your own sanity. I finally chose the latter... I could not take it anymore. It was a sinking ship that could not be helped and in many ways after I walked away I hoped it sunk... because it was such a poor and sorry reminder of all the financial and emotional pain wielded for years upon years. Pack it all up and express mail it to hell, I thought... I wanted to drive by one day and it all be gone... like it never existed.
When people actually care about their employees they ensure they are taken care of. If as a leader you’re getting screwed financially essentially your whole staff is getting screwed too and then one wonders how a business hasn't gone into the ground. If your numbers aren’t where they should be... guess what? As a leader that’s your fault. You either aren’t managing the business correctly or aren’t holding someone accountable beneath you. You know what often the problem is? Someone giving customer service confuses their customers as being their friends. They aren't your friends. By putting our egos aside and not trying to win people over with 'good deals' or the guise of people pleasing or massages to boost our egos and realizing we can get what we need by giving excellent customer service yet simultaneously charging what we need our business would be in a better place... namely in the black and not in the red.
Instead, in the midst of “good deals” or “good value” which may in some cases be code for the employees getting screwed may translate to the employees suffering financially. Maybe someone in authority gets a little low on cash and then up-charges some unsuspecting customer driving a Maserati because they want to go buy a material item such as a painting, vase, rug, bronze, etc for themselves to feed their ego. That item purchased whatever it may be doesn’t go back into the business for profit but hoarded and stored. Or maybe money on certain sales is being made under the table and not shared with the employees but only belongs to one person. Yet on the same note what if you then have some poor little widow come in who needs to sell something just to put food on her table and you knowingly charge her more than you should? The people you need to be giving a break to, some empathy to you're not. The people you’re donating something to in the name of charity is ironically the crappiest thing you can find... comparable to searching a junk drawer for gifts to give, true character screams loud in these moments often hidden behind closed doors where no one is aware of them happening except those closet to the perpetrator.
Narcs are known for giving perks and allowances to others that they would never give to their own employees or family, etc. They do whatever they can to save face in the community and be seen as a "good guy" or "respected woman" and be liked. Being liked by strangers at the detriment of one's own circle is a sign they do not value their employees and use them in whatever ways they can. Narcs are known as users and abusers in their relationships and that’s no different when it comes to business. They use others to get ahead in life and are usually the only ones to reap the benefits. It's not just about money though... that is only one portion of the issue. If a manager is not respected for his or her decisions or lack thereof whether it's the marketing, the hiring and firing process, holding others accountable, treating employees with blatant gross disrespect either through emotional or physical abuse, (as narcs are known to do) talking out of both ends (ahem) when it comes to profit or lack thereof... and manipulating the excuses as to why those numbers aren't what they should be due to fear of being fired by higher ups and or being outed and held responsible for screw ups.... it causes unrest, maybe fear, disgust and uncertainty in the lower positioned people in regards to whether this "leader" is someone truly capable of leading the flock... if they are showing signs they are inconsistent and or to be doubted there will be seeds amongst the employees that grow into gradual lack of trust and maybe even in extreme cases resentment and hidden hate for them.
Narcs often use their positions of power to use others and or coerce them into sexually based relationships like those we've seen exposed in the media lately. It's not new news that narcs objectify women and treat them as nothing but a tool to be used. Narcs thrive on power and believe their higher up positions will cause whomever is their target to cower ( and question themselves if they would be believed by others) and acquiesce to them. By staying in the relationship and or departing from it the narc moves on to a new body; a new man or woman, a new form of supply to chase, conquer and own so to speak... feeling powerful that he or she has managed to triumph again in their sick little fantasy world. When I had a higher up approach me once and say "You have really good looking legs".... I stared at him and replied "You DO realize you're married and being inappropriate, correct?" He shook his head and spoke "I'm giving you a compliment for Christ's sake." I responded by saying "No, you're not. You're offensive. Don't ever talk to me that way again." That was his one time warning. The next time I'd raise hell with human resources. It never happened again... we have to call out people who cross lines on their behavior and if necessary out them for the way they are. Because if we allow it to stay hidden especially in the workplace it will only worsen and aside from enduring behavior we shouldn't be accepting we will feel powerless if we are. Being involved in unsavory situations we may end up getting pulled into all sorts of additional situations we don't want to find ourselves in.... like being subpoenaed in law suits, divorces, custody battles, company investigations... causing headaches for everyone if and when the behavior is finally revealed or discovered.... instead let's get the situation addressed immediately and have zero tolerance policies in place for every company so it's clear what is acceptable and what is not because narcs count on zero accountability to continue their gross ways.
In the case of family businesses the general failure rate is high; typically reaching a seventy percent failure rate before the second generation can even take over... and third and fourth generations aren't much safer. Family businesses often have unique challenges as those who are in power (the oldest generation) may not want to relinquish any power to the younger ones. They don’t always realize the younger ones are looking at it with a fresh set of eyes and see the holes that need to be repaired. The solution is not to give equal power as that nearly always leads to a fracture of the family in a power tug-of-war and the dissolution of the business... yet the newest generation must be given some decision making or they may feel their efforts are fruitless and walk away. Narcs are classic control freaks.... they are incapable of letting anyone else have any decision making as they always believe they know better (no matter what the department even if they only excel in a niche). In the case of narc parents they expect their children to make them look good, to serve them and follow in their footsteps. Narc children grow up being told who they need to be for their parent. Narc parents typically choose a golden child as their favorite and a black sheep that they dislike. Even if they have a golden child he or she may not be allowed any decision making... as a narc trusts few if anyone. If no one is allowed to make decisions that is to the detriment of the business as they lose so many golden opportunities for their business to become well rounded; people of varied skill, perspective and experience can add value to a company's overall success.... but the one in charge has to be willing to listen and really want the company to grow. Growth is a foreign concept to narcs because they absolutely abhor personal growth and giving in to growth would be the equivalent of loosening their iron clad grip on whatever or whoever they are trying to control.
Maybe they refuse to get their business and inventory organized yet simultaneously complain they can't understand why the company doesn't seem to grow and they've lost the such and such order. Maybe a manager gripes about how they need some money and always seem short but yet in the same breath admit they aren't capable of producing financials that will enable them to track their revenue. Maybe the numbers aren’t what they should be yet no one recognizes the controller is a waste of space. Maybe a techie can’t write a line of code to save their life but they chastise their peers that can. Maybe the administrative assistant can't figure out what food to serve at the company party yet won’t let anyone else give input. Perhaps the company head bitches about the management underneath them yet never cleans house and consequently let the chips fall where they may. Granted, these scenarios do not always automatically translate to the person being a narc but it’s possible. A narc positions themselves as superior to others and yet are incredibly inept. They inflate their image to be grander and more important than it truly is. Working for a narc who is ineffective is often frustrating at best, or at worst complete hell for those that see the company issues firsthand like bright flashing lights and would love to make the necessary changes yet their hands are tied.
We cannot be surprised when people finally become silent or retreat or let loose with a litany of pent up gripes, sacrifices, injustices and long unvoiced needs when they work for or with a narc. When it comes to business we can take one look at the television show The Profit and see that oftentimes people who are failing at business are failing because of poor margins, deep-seated-personal issues they have not relinquished due to control or fear or namely ego-based thinking or a lacking of management and leadership skills on their part. When a business fails it’s not typically the employees who need to be scrutinized but the leader... ultimately a narc may have difficulties leading because being a leader means they would have to put their ego aside to do so... and we know that in itself is next to impossible.