How do you stay motivated to help people when they piss on you?

Marissa C. ‏@Taxpro4gamblers: how do u stay motivated to help ppl when they piss on u. Not looking for reciprication; just looking to not get screwed over


It’s painful to get screwed over. It’s like you put money in the piggy bank for years and when you finally open it up, at the exact moment you need all of those pennies, there’s just a pile of shit inside. It stinks.

How do you avoid this? You don’t. You can’t. You can go into a box, tie it up from the inside, and sit there in the dark, never to bring in the light and never to share your light with the world again. That’s one choice but it doesn’t sound so good.

Or you can continue to help people. But with a new twist.

I’ve built up this mythology of myself. I’m the hero. I help people and so I want to be treated like a hero. With music singing down the streets when I walk into a town. With birds singing when I walk into a room. With everyone saying, “That’s James, who helped me.” But it’s a fantasy. And fantasies can turn into nightmares.

It’s never going to come true. It’s human nature. The fastest way to lose a friend or family member is to lend them a dollar.

One time I helped a friend of mine get a job. It was her second job out of college. She got a job working for a company I started. That company got acquired and then a few years later the company that acquired it was going out of business. The CTO of the company called me to give me the heads up that my friend would be let go. I got her a new job with another company I had started before they had the chance to fire her. I didn’t even want her to know what was going on.

The same thing happened at the second company. The economy had shifted, technology had not quite caught up, the businesss was slowing down and not picking up. She was going to get fired again. So I found her a job at a company I used to work for. I called my old boss. “We’re in a hiring freeze,” he said. “Can you make an exception,” I said. They did. She got the job. She was doing great.

A few years later I gave her advice. It was un-asked for advice so I learned my lesson. I try not to do that anymore. I told her that it’s important not to go stale on the marketplace. Sometimes people get inbred if they stay too many years at one company and then it’s harder for them to get a new job. The job marketplace is like any other marketplace. Value is determined by supply and demand. At the very least, I told her, send your resume out there and see where your value is and if it matches up with where you thought your current salary is. If there’s a wide difference then you know that one way or the other a change is called for.

We were standing on the corner of 42nd and5th. A crowded corner by the New York Public Library.

She told me, “I don’t need your advice. I’ve done fine on my own.”

I then made a big mistake. I reminded her that her last three jobs were all with either companies I started or strings I had pulled and I was just giving advice on what direction I thought the next direction in her career should go.

What a stupid ass I am!

“How dare you!” she said. “I’ve earned every one of these jobs!”. And she did. I wasn’t arguing with that. I was just stating the fact of my own small role inserted into her resume.

She’s about six inches shorter than me and 30 pounds lighter. She swung her fist around and punched me right in the face. I fell into the street, with all of the commuters hurrying to Grand Central walking around me while I got up. We don’t talk anymore. And mutual friends of mine still tell me to this day that I need to apologize to her before she will talk to me again. Usually what happens is that I never speak to those mutual friends either.

I don’t need it. I have other people now I like to help. I know this secret: the only way to enhance my own life is to constantly work to enhance the lives of the people around me, regardless of the result. The result is ME.