I was a young sales guy trying to befriend a prospect, hoping it would lead to new business.
“Do you mind if I smoke?”
He’s the prospect, he can do what he wants, right?
“Hey. if you got ’em, smoke ’em!”
Foolishly, I agreed to go on a late evening boat excursion up the Chadakoin River, through the heart of small town Jamestown, New York, with a prospective client and friends. Destination, a local bar in the seedy side of Jamestown, which we accessed through a jagged hole in a chain link fence above the river bank, a barrier against unwanted traffic. We must have been unwanted.
Buying lunch or dinner with a client was a common practice and expected as part of the normal business culture, an opportunity to be engaged with a prospect in a relaxed setting. But climbing through fences after dark for a beer? Not so much.
I was young, aggressive, enthusiastic, and naive.
After a couple of pops, we left the bar and managed to wiggle our way back through the hole, a couple of beers heavier but still upright.
Finding the boat was a relief and boarding it felt even better. My ‘prospect’ needed something more than two beers and asked if I would like to join him for a ‘smoke’. A nice courtesy, I suppose, but I declined. He cranked the motor, headed upstream, and lit up. I mean, he ‘lit up’*, ‘torched up’*, gleefully noted that it was ‘tea time’*.
I was young, aggressive, enthusiastic and naive.
It didn’t take but a good whiff to realize what he was smoking and it wasn’t cigarettes.
The prospect never became a client, but I grew up a bit that night, and thought a bit more about my own values, the how and where I should conduct business. Not in bars. or cruising on dark rivers with a boatsman smoking a joint. Not anyplace where I might be compromised.
Those are the same values for Life, aren’t they? Make good decisions and be the best you can be. It always works for the better.