About literature and business

miércoles, mayo 18, 2016 Ionela Scoarta 0 Comments

The constant struggle between being honest, open and sincere and being professional in business. 

I was giving my final presentation at the end of my Master´s a few years ago and one of my professors' questions was: "What do you think about the Master in general (International Trade)?" 

I had studied language and literature before that year, so this degree was like an introduction to business, to trade. When answering I tried to be professional and honest at the same time. I said, among other things, that Business sometimes makes one question their moral values. As expected, I was asked to elaborate my answer. At this point I was a bit less professional and more honest: Business is not about being transparent and trying to be honest to the client, it's about trying to hide things intentionally to the client or business partners, or banks and make them focus on what you want them to focus. We call it "persuasion" and that´s fancy enough, but it´s more like "manipulation". And as my education has always been based on literature, where we always judge the bad guy and know exactly who was fair and not, who deserved to be pardoned and who didn´t, when getting into the business world you feel like you are the bad guy too often. I looked at my Language teacher and he nodded smiling, he knew what I was talking about, and I looked at my International Management teacher and clearly her face could say: "Well, yeah. That´s business 101, are you telling us that you can´t do that? Then darling, what are you doing here?"

So yes, I struggle between being a good employee for my company, and being a good person. I struggle between being friends with my clients and being professional. One does not always exclude the other, but sometimes they do. That´s when you remember that you were asked if you are a discreet person during your job interview and you said "Yes, I am". Now stick to that. 

You may say: it´ll pass, as soon as you really get into the business world. Well I already have. It´s been almost 2 years since then. And I still judge people and colleagues and bosses like book characters, I still know what´s right and wrong, and sometimes I´m more honest than professional. Sometimes I lose and sometimes I win because of that. Even seeming very honest and personal and sincere, like you´re giving away too much info, is a business strategy somewhere in the book.

Maybe I should go back to wanting to be a teacher. Maybe that´s the right place for idealists like me.

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