#285: When Knowing More Is Less

It’s the festive season! But that’s no reason to let down your guard. Especially when drinking with the boss. Any boss. It could cost you, like it did my friend Dave.

Hold on tight, because this is a scary true story.

As part of the interview process, Dave had dinner with the boss and another executive. Dave told me later he knew exactly when during dinner the boss decided not to offer him the job. Here’s what happened.

The executive, aware that Dave had once worked in the wine industry, asked him to select the wine. The problem was that the boss deemed himself to be the resident wine expert. Dave had to make a simple choice. Order a fine wine according to his expertise or a crummy one to stroke the boss’s ego. Be true unto himself or be dishonest to get the job.

Years later Dave bumped into the executive. That’s when he confirmed the reason Dave did not get the job.

This festive season I drink a toast to you not being afraid to hire people who know more than you do.

(And Dave? He helped a different firm, with smaller executive egos, make a ton of money.)

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.