Who’s the Asshole?

The “No Assholes Rule” is a pretty good goal post for a sustainable organization or any sort. There are all kinds of ways to define assholes, but the problem is too often who is doing the defining. If, as is often the case, an asshole is a founding douchebag lucked into the right combination of people to run the business before he decided to wear the CEO hat, it will be tough to enforce (or create) anything resembling a structure that could support “no assholes.” In fact, I don’t see how it can possibly work.

I have, unfortunately, worked in the more typical American “trashcan full of assholes at the top” corporate structure far more often than anything resembling the ideal. A motto I’ve observed to be true is “two things float: cream and shit.” In the sewage pool that is most American corporations, cream is by far not the lightest material in the mix. I’d go so far as to say if you try to keep cream in that stew of garbage it will disolve into the rest of the digested material before if ever has a chance to get to the top of the pool. In fact, real cream seems to be pretty good at avoiding those containers altogether.

The basic terms of the No Assholes Rule is “don’t work with (or associate with) assholes.” A good business rule is “never do business with anyone you don’t like,” which would have saved a whole lot of people from losing their jobs, fortunes, and businesses doing business with Donal Trump. In fact, if you haven’t figured that out by your second or third job, you’re probably an asshole.

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