Posts Tagged ‘zero-sum game’

Generosity is the Best Policy

November 7, 2008

man-arms-spread-sunriseA woman called me once seeking advice on her freelance writing career. She was just starting out and wanted to know what she should charge a particular client for writing catalog copy. When I asked her what company she was going to work for, she asked me why I wanted to know that. I explained that I charged different hourly rates at the catalog companies I had worked for because of a number of variables, and that I needed to understand the circumstances of her situation in order to give her an accurate estimate.

She refused to tell me the name of the client. “If I tell you,” she said, “you’ll try to take the job away from me.” Whoa. When I began explaining to her that her attitude was the antithesis of what a successful freelancer needed, she hung up on me. I never heard from her again but I doubt she managed to survive as a freelance writer.

Her attitude reminds me of Barry Bonds, the baseball superstar who was universally disliked by his peers. Whenever a teammate asked for some advice, Bonds always refused, explaining that the player might end up on an opposing team someday and use that information against Bonds’ team.

Proponents of this line of thinking have a (more…)