“I don’t endorse products, only actions and beliefs.” — Julia Butterfly Hill
For those who didn’t read my earlier post “Do U Rly Wanna Know?” the TL;DR is this: Tyler’s new mentor Lea asked him to sign a contract that I had some concerns over. I reached out to my friends Muffy and Preston to see if Tyler needed to be careful around Lea or if Lea’s a cool person.
Caught up? Great!
So, after my talk with Muffy it turns out that there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic. Despite the contract, Lea’s boasting and off-putting personality, she’s been in the same business as Muffy for 20+ years. If there was any reason to be concerned things would’ve come out by now.
You could say that Lea’s just following the rule of “covering your ass” and selling herself hard.
We’ll see how it goes for Tyler, but it seems that he’s in good hands.
This got me thinking about recommendations, endorsement, and vouching for others.
When I was started out I got most of my opportunities thanks to recommendations from peers and connections. It was great to be part of an eco system where we supported each other in that way.
During my time as a music producer I had former teachers and people in the industry vouch for me. They’d been in the business for a long time and all of a sudden I’d gained access to entirely different opportunities.
The fact that these people had the courage to go out on a limb and say: “Yeah, he’s a good guy” convinced others that I might be someone worth at least talking to.
I’m eternally grateful for those who took the chance to put their name on the line for me.
Now, it’s not always easy for people to give you their endorsement. Just because you’ve done a good job for them doesn’t entitle you to have them speak well of you. They need to feel safe in the knowledge that if they tell people to give you a shot that you won’t screw them over.
Say that I’ve got a friend, let’s call him Jeff. Jeff’s a great guy and a real friend. Whenever we hang out, it’s a riot.
Now, Jeff has a hard time keeping a job. It usually starts off great, he gets along with people, comes in on time, stays late if he has to. But after 3 to 6 months he starts gliding along, comes in late, pisses people off, and complains.
Whenever he’s out of a job he shoots his friends a message: “Hey, need a job ASAP. Holler if you got something.”
As much as I love Jeff, I would never vouch for him as an employee. If I do, I’m pretty certain that it’ll backfire and my word won’t count for much when I try to vouch for someone else in the future.
My point is this, if you fuck it up, you don’t just shoot yourself in the foot. You’ll also stain the person who vouched for you.
Endorsements are hard to get, but they’re very easy to abuse.
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