I love listening to people, especially when I know the person must have had a lot of experiences in a particular area. It’s actually the easiest way to learn something. Besides, you could also learn about their opinion. What do they think about it. Bonus points: you might earn someone’s trust, get another mentor, and get a broader knowledge.
This is the story one of my mentors told me one day during our lunch convo.
He is currently working in one of the giants in the industry and is the VP of his division. He works closely with the stakeholder, investors, investment bankers and private equity companies, you name it. He deals with people with the same position as his, or even higher like the head of the regional area or the owner of a company, and maybe as you imagine them directors and professionals will look very sophisticated in their suits and blazers from known designers.
Unlike my mentor, I haven’t gotten a chance to meet such people cos I’m not even near their level (yet!). Actually I’m relieved! HAHA. Not only because I don’t hold as huge responsibilities as him (tho I think being a boss is very cool!), but also because I don’t have to deal with the after-transaction or after-meeting events.
It’s pretty much the same as the after-party event. He mentioned that he used to play golf as part of the job requirement. Playing golf will cost him a whole lotta money. These bosses will bet. If he lose, then he must pay. That’s the rule until the game is finished. Their betting amount is not small either. Say about $100 per losing.
Sometimes, to win the heart of the boss, he must sacrifice his skill to get the funding or to make the transaction successful. He must lose all the games. Beforehand, one of the teams will prepare a big bunch of money say about $10k before the game so even when he lose, he won’t need to pay using his own money – unless he is very unskillful in managing his $10k.
By the end of the game, all the 10K now belongs to the winner, which is the boss. Cruel yeah? Then he said, well if I really wanna play golf then I will play by myself in a serious manner, but you know what? I prefer running in a park or something cos it’s a lot cheaper! hahaha I never thought someone who has a nice car would say something like that. I thought everything fancy will define him.
It does not stop there.
People in the upper management level would meet up once in a while to maintain their network. Sometimes in a fancy restaurant in known hotels, or fine dining, or in bars finishing bottles of liquor – of course the best liquor they could get to entertain the guests. There are times when they are so sick of drinking. They had to drink because it’s part of the unlisted job requirement. It’s because they are the VPs, or directors, and all in the same level and above.
That’s how they network with people. It’s totally different to my world which I prefer to eat at a decent restaurant to catch up with friends, or to have a simple convo with my mentors over a cup of coffee.
He then said, I’m telling you this not to scare you off. I’m telling you to prepare yourself when that day comes and you are holding an important role in a company, sometimes you gotta follow. You have to do what you don’t really want to do, like drinking. You can say no and those people would understand you, but they would still persuade you to do it anyway. Or the worst case is they feel you disrespect them if you don’t want to take a sip, so yeah just a sip is fine and you are not obliged to finish everything they pour you.
Not finished till that, he also gave a very good advice. He said, those drinking, golfing, betting, and all is not something that I personally like. That’s just my job requirement. I am required to attend those events as a representative of my company. After the meeting is done, you have to remember that is not your actual lifestyle. You should know who you are exactly and get back on your own feet. You don’t have to force yourself drinking and make it your habit and lifestyle.
Live a lifestyle you truly like. The one that defines who you are, and that you are comfortable with. So don’t worry too much about it. You know when to stop and restrict yourself, and excuse yourself from the crowd and remember to get back to your normal lifestyle.