Bing Blog

How NOT to handle a cocktail party

Shooting Yourself in the Foot

You know, I think there are guys in this world who just have a deathwish, that's all. It's the only way to explain what they do. Like, you know they're not stupid, because if they were stupid they'd have been killed or just plain expired a long time ago. And yet... they do stupid things. Particularly when they have a drink in their meaty little fists.

This brings me to this guy I know. Let's call him Bundt. He's a rather powerful fellow in his little world, and makes a ton of money. This in spite of the fact that he has a couple of funky habits. The worst of these -- and I guess it's nothing compared to the great, hairy miscreants of Wall Street and Main Street -- is that he loves to talk about his money. He's not alone in this regard. For some reason, people who make a lot of money tend to talk about it too much to people who don't. You wonder what they're thinking. But maybe they're not thinking. Maybe they're just being atavistic, which is generally part of the successful business person's act anyway.

Anyway, I was at this cocktail party the other night with Bundt and a bunch of fellow prisoners. And I see that Bundt has his boss, a super-senior mid-level haute executive who has flown in all the way from Chicago, in a verbal hammerlock, schmoozing his teeny heart out, practically giving the guy a hickey.  The bossman is listening to Bundt with one of those polite little smiles people paste on when they feel like a very fine needle is being inserted into their eye socket by a person whose feelings they don't want to hurt. I walk over and attend the conversation, just to see what Bundt is going to do now. The guy has a unique way of saying interestingly disadvantageous things, and I'm hoping to get a snapshot of this gift in action. And I am not disappointed.

"Your operation is doing very well, Mr. Bundt," said the superior officer. I bet he says that to all the girls.

"Yes, I know," says Bundt, and I am aware that he's about to deliver something excessively dumb. "I was having lunch with Bob Dimler the other day and he said that if I were working for him, I'd be the President now."

Bob Dimler is the head of our #1 competitor. If  there's one thing we're taught to do around here, it's to hate Bob Dimler. If you work for us, you don't "have lunch with Bob Dimler," and if you do, you don't tell your boss about it, and if you ARE stunningly idiotic enough to tell the boss about it, you don't add how much Bob Dimler loves you. But Bundt did all those things. Why?

His boss simply looked at him in stunned silence, which I'm sure Bundt interpreted as admiration.  He then walked away replete with self-congratulation at the super-positive exchange. The Chairman looked after him and said, "If he wants to be working for Bob Dimler, I'm sure we could arrange that."

Why do people do these things? Do we all, to some extent, undermine ourselves in one way or another? In what way are you doing it right now?

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Rodney Dangerfield said, "I'm very popular with people who can do me no good whatsoever."

I undermine myself by hanging around most of the time with non-business people, because I find them more interesting to talk to.

Present company excluded, Mr. Bing.

I don't think you want to read too much into characters like Bundt, or ask why he would shoot himself in the foot like that. The answer is simple: the guy is just plain dumb. I don't think it goes any deeper than that.
Anyway, very entertaining, story, Bing! As usual.

Bundt, apparently, is doing alright for his employer, despite a habit of such gaffes. I suspect Bundt is now facing promotion or at least substantially increased compensation from his current employer.

Such chutzpah can only mean that he is considering transferring his talents to the hated competitor, carrying with him valuable information/clients, and a great deal of juicy and embarrassing insider gossip. Hold your friends close, and your enemies......and, he's better off pissing outside the door of the tent, than standing on the outside pissing in.

Sometimes people, with the help of grandeur impulsiveness, engage in mixed martial arts. Why? Of course, they have the need to be whipped; proving to themselves they can get over it and defy the survival rate. Vanity, no other reason; except, vanity.

Harmoniously "you're so vain, I'll bet you think this song is about you, you're so vain".


There is no other way to explain this but pure frustration. Bundt is upset about his boss not recognizing his talents compounded by Dimler adding fuel to the fire. It happens all the time. Some people need the negative attention to get a response from their bosses. Usually this is caused by lack of communication or mixed signals. They cut themselves to know they are alive. I don't think Bundt is alone; we all go through these phases in our relationships. You need the tension and occasional fights to bring you closure to your boss. If you think back in your career or love life, there was a time when a competitor or opposite sex that courted you by building you up and putting a strain on your current job/relationship. You eventually get over it and reconcile with your boss/significant other and this in turn strengthens your relationship.

Early in my career I made the mistake of complaining to my boss about our company, and how I had thought about jumping ship.

Not long after that the company announced a layoff, and I got called into the office. Too late I realized I had put myself on the short list by implying I was already halfway gone.

There's a happy ending to this story. I got out of an industry that was circling the drain and into an entirely different one that sustained me for a couple of decades. I also ended up in a new job that I was much happier with and paid a whole lot more.

But the next time I started looking for a change I kept my mouth shut.

Funny thing, when I finally gave notice everyone was so surprised! I've never forgotten that -- if you want to keep a secret, don't tell anyone!

I've been tossed out of work more than once -- but every time it turned out to be a promotion. I just had to switch companies to get it.

Mr. Bundt may have been asking a very good question -- you know I'm sharp, do you know how to keep me?

Mr. Superior Officer had better know the answer to that question. If he expects loyalty, he's living in the past. Loyalty died decades ago. Industrial employment policies killed it. No employee is going to be loyal to their company because no company is loyal to their employees.

So, Mr. Superior Officer Sir, how you gonna keep your top performers?

Bundt sounds like one insecure guy. I bet he can't pick out his socks in the morning without a 15 minute conversation with himself in the mirror.
Unfortunately self-promoting acts tend to work quite nicely in the corporate world these days.

Where I worked they warned us often, "There are 1,000 other people standing outside the gate waiting to take your place." Back then, I considered that an idle threat. But today I think there actually are a long line of hungry unemployed waiting to snatch up a vacant job. I don't think it would be wise for anyone to taunt the boss the way Blundt did during these lean times. No matter how much talent you have.

I suspect that Mr. Bundt has already a contract signed with Mr.Dimler, and can not pass a chance to stick it up to the jerk that could not keep him.
If , on the other hand, I have been given incorrect information in this article (as I NEVER make mistakes), then Mr.Bundt better get an new position in a hurry

Putting ones foot in ones mouth is a tricky feat, some people have a natural talent for it.

I have done it myself on occasion,but I most enjoy the foot in mouth gymnastic event when others do it.

Some people I know would be considered gold medalists at doing it.

It's the only event I know of where coming in last is best.

"Why do people do these things? Do we all, to some extent, undermine ourselves in one way or another? In what way are you doing it right now?"

Because they just do; yes; and I don't know.

We all undermine ourselves in some way. Most probably, we don't know that we're doing it. Call it lack of self-knowledge, or lack of cultural awareness.

The fact that it often happens under the influence helps explain a bit, of course. Under the influence, we become so self-involved that we fail to see what kind of impact we're having on others.

That last question -- very provocative, Bing.

This post is amusing. What can be more amusing is bundt ambling into a "red Light district" and dumping it on the local hooker.

There is very little difference between dumping on your CEO or the hooker; consequently, the results of either can have you submitting resumes' resulting from getting busted by lower management, or, the undercover police decoy patrolling the "street".

Michigan Bob, I cannot imagine paying a hooker to listen to my problems on the job. That type of behavior must be an American thing; Canadians still limit their payments for the usual services, of course we are evolving and becoming more Americanized every day. I will put a little more money aside just incase I decide to go American style.

Is Bundt crazy like a fox, or just crazy? "Inadvertently" dropping such information could backfire, but it could also lead the way to a bigger share of the bonus pool.

The other possibility is that he's just fed up. When the summer house is paid for and the kids are out of college, a person's tolerance for schmoozing the big bossman drops precipitously. Think Cool Hand Luke, since all prisons are mental anyway.

Thanks, Bing, for this gem.

It doesn't take much to make money, as Bundt and Wall Street characters demonstrate.

This blog, as well as most of your others, reminds me that the inordinate "love" of something, such as money, self, or whatever, blinds humankind to reality.

Bundt and WS jerks must be blind to the effects of their obsessions in order to continue their "cons."

Caveat emptor!

Let's not overlook the possibility that Dimler doesn't really "love" Bundt, but rather loves stirring the pot of his arch-enemy by toying with the nitwits (albeit apparently well-performing nitwits) who are just vain and disloyal enough to accept his lunch invitation.

Assuming Bundt gets the boot for his disloyalty and realizes that his noncompete makes him completely valueless to Dimler for the next couple of years the light might come on for him that he can't have his . . . . . nah, too easy.

Bundt may be stupid, or Bundt has made himself indespensible and will soon get promoted.

My boss once tried to force me into the latest fad self-improvement program making the rounds where I was working. He told me I'd never get ahead there if I didn't "get on board."

I told him that my best promotions had always come through changing employers, so getting ahead was not really on my list of concerns.

His boss promoted me about three weeks later. I never did go to those damn seminars, either.

Bundt has brass ones if he's trying that in a deep recession, though.

Sometime people like Bundt should preview, what they are about to say, in their mind. Once you make a gaffe it's hard to retract it. We've all done it at sometime or another. We've also been on the receiving end of them, too. Everybody gets an equal opportunity to undermine themselves or to be undermined.