ASK MARK: Do your colleagues genuinely wish you well?
Adam Zwar: Dear Mark, how do you know when a friend, who’s in the same industry, genuinely wishes you well – versus, (how do I put this), them wanting you to die?
Mark O’Toole: Dear Adam, great question, you’re really digging deep, and I appreciate it - in fact we all do.
This one’s easy Adam.
No one wishes you well.
Sure, they may tell you they wish you well, but they also tell the person who makes their decaf soy latte to have a nice day, their dry cleaner to have a merry Christmas and their next-door neighbour to have a happy birthday – and who knows, they may even think they mean it. The only difference is they won’t feel dead inside if any of the latter do actually have a nice day, a merry Christmas, or a happy birthday.
Am I making sense Adam? No? Okay then, let’s try an analogy.
Have you ever seen that Alfred Hitchcock film Lifeboat? You know, the one based on the Steinbeck novel about the survivors of a passenger ship sunk by a U-boat struggling to survive in an overcrowded lifeboat in icy shark infested waters? Well, imagine that lifeboat is the industry and the people who are already in that overcrowded lifeboat are your industry friends. Now imagine that you’re swimming towards them, the sharks snapping at your feet and the cold dark water trying to pull you down. Sure, they’re going to cheer you on, but do they really want you to make it? Fuck no. They just hope you go down quick, and without too much fuss.
You see Adam, like that lifeboat, the industry is small. And it only has room for so many people. And every single person clambering aboard that lifeboat represents someone either taking a place that was meant for you, or someone determined to take the place you already occupy.
I guess what I’m saying Adam, in a roundabout way, is that it’s to none of our benefit that you succeed.
That said Adam, and I say this as a friend, I really do wish you well.