If you work for a man, in Heaven’s name work for him

After quite a few years of blogging and being active in the social media space, here’s a great quote which sums out how I feel about working for some of the world’s biggest brands.

From Elbert Hubbard (hopefully no relation to L Ron Hubbard), an American writer, artist, publisher and philosopher from 19th century:

If you work for a man, in Heaven’s name work for him. If he pays wages that supply you your bread and butter, work for him, speak well of him, think well of him, and stand by him, and stand by the institution he represents. I think if I worked for a man, I would work for him. I would not work for him a part of his time, but all of his time. I would give an undivided service or none. If put to the pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness. If you must vilify, condemn, and eternally disparage, why, resign your position, and when you are outside, damn to your heart’s content. But, I pray you, so long as you are a part of an institution, do not condemn it. Not that you will injure the institution – not that – but when you disparage the concern of which you are a part, you disparage yourself.

via Andy Sernovitz: I’m a huge fan of this important message.

I’ve told this to my team, my colleagues and myself (as soon as I realised it). Any criticism has to be constructive and add value, not just be a pile-on. Any brand you criticise, anyone you criticise, as an agency guy may turn up to be a potential or future client or employer. And you do not want to be in a room when someone who can hire you, and have a direct impact on your take home earning, starts to question that tweet or blog post. There are countless examples of this happening and I don’t want to name names but I’ve seen the head of a small agency acuse a big company of doing pretty horrendous things to its customers…and then win business with that client. I’d hate to be in the room  if that ever comes up.

Personally, I try to support my clients as much as possible, especially now that I work in the CPG/brand space a lot more. Its the least I can do for them and for me.

4 Responses to If you work for a man, in Heaven’s name work for him

  1. David Jones says:

    It is the danger of being part of the social media world and consulting clients on social media at the same time. It’s easy to convince ourselves that “we would never dare work for a client who had an objection to me ranting about how crappy they are on my blog/Twitter/Facebook a few years ago.” But when we’re ever in that situation when we’re pitching that client, we’re all wondering if they actually did a search on our blog and are ready to throw that stuff in our face.

    Funny pre-Internet story. I once wrote a column for my university newspaper titled “To Hell with the CFL.” Years later, The Canadian Football League was a client as was one of their (now-defunct) franchises. I always wondered if that bit of editorializing would come back to haunt me. Luckily, it didn’t.

    We should be supportive of our clients without becoming a shill, but we should also force ourselves to think a little harder about blasting those that aren’t our clients…yet.

  2. I agree. Another thing: don’t rubbish a former employee in a job interview. I remember interviewing one chap who spent 45 minutes gossiping viciously about his three previous employers. We enjoyed learning about the inside story at our rival game development companies but we didn’t want to become number on his list.

  3. Sharla Rimel says:

    I assume the point is not blind loyalty but more so of having enough integrity to tell your boss or institutions if you disagree. Also if something illegal or immoral is going on, then it is OK to report to appropriate authorities.

  4. ruth says:

    I read this quote my first year i started working…it made me stop and think about my job…this quote put things into perspecive for me and I try to live by it where ever I work

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