Jeff Morse was a dick. Okay, perhaps that is a little bit harsh. Jeff Morse was a “corporate dick.” The type that buys moderately priced brown suits from Men’s Warehouse by the baker’s dozen. He was everything a young, pseudo-nonconformist like myself hated, and now I had to spend an hour listening to him drone on like a second-hand air-conditioner.
It was “orientation” day at the Sheraton Newport, and all new hires, of which I was one, had to attend this mandatory meeting designed make sure you knew which side of your shirt to wear your name tag, as well as other critical information contained in the revered employee manifesto.
This was the type of day that Morse got off on. He loved nothing more than to break the spirit of each batch of new recruits; crushing any sense of individuality they possessed, and replacing it with the distilled teachings of his beloved Sheraton Corporation. He had the ability to create new batches of “group think” automatons in a way so ruthlessly efficient it would have made Mao proud.
I was hired as a “bellman” which though technically pretty low down on the food chain, could, if worked correctly, be a powerful position due to the freedom of movement and ability to interact with guests it allowed. Unfortunately, at that time I had no “game,” no “hustle,” and definitely no “flow.”
I was forced, at least until I got up to speed, to toe the line and follow all the paternalistic rules Morse was laying down. And the rule he was bleating on about at the moment made my stomach churn…..
All employees at the Sheraton Newport are required to meet a guest’s eyes, smile, and say “hello” in a strong but warm voice, before the guest does. I never want to see an employee in this hotel pass by a guest without looking them in the eye and greeting them first. If I see that, it is grounds for a write up.
The “dick meter” was going off the charts in my head. Smile and say hello to somebody I don’t even know? First off, I never smiled; I scowled or better yet, sneered. That was much more “punk rock” than smiling.
But what could I do? I needed this job, so I had to follow the rules until I could figure out a way around them.
It was hard at first, very hard. Each time I saw a guest coming down the hall towards me my body would start to go into an involuntary spasm. Greeting them a la Jeff Morse’s insisted upon way went against every instinct in my being, so much so that it physically hurt when the corners of my mouth started to turn up and the whites of my teeth began to show.
“Hello” would then somehow emerge from my mouth with the same enthusiasm you get from a cat when dragging it towards a bath.
I continued on in this way like the good worker bee Morse wanted, consoling my inner rebel by learning how to “appropriate” beers from the lobby bar, stashing them in various refrigerated vending machines, and then drinking them on night shifts while watching “spank-travision” in vacant guest rooms.
Then something strange happened. I began to actually greet customers without thinking about it. Not only that but I would then find myself walking out in public or at the mall and just greeting strangers with a warm smile and a loud “hello.” It got to the point that my then girlfriend would freak out on me when I did.
“Who was that girl?” she would scream.
“What girl?” I would honestly reply.
“That girl right back there with the mini skirt on.”
“Hey, I have no friggin’ idea who she is.”
“Oh, don’t give me that. You just smiled at her and gave her a big ‘Hello!’”
“I did? I didn’t even realize it.”
And I didn’t. At some point, after forcing myself time and time again to do the “corporate shuffle” and greet all those guests, the process became internalized and automatic. I didn’t think about it anymore, I just did it. Nor did I have any negative emotions attached to the act; I just did it and moved on without a thought.
It was an extremely important lesson in my young life; that not everything you should do, have to do, or is beneficial for you to do comes naturally.
The same goes for stopping out a losing position in the market. Most traders don’t like to take losses; it doesn’t come naturally and often it is very hard, and sometimes painful to do. The problem is that there is not a universal “dick” like Jeff Morse standing over your shoulder, forcing you to do what is ultimately best for you.
Each trader has to find what method works for them. What trick or device they can employee to get them in the mindset of taking their losses. But If you do this on a consistent basis, even if it seems forced in the beginning, eventually your ability to put your stops in and take your losses will become internalized. You will be able to act automatically, with no negative emotions attached, and can move on to the next trade without a thought.
Ultimately my time at the Sheraton Newport was one of the best and most interesting of my life. It is where I met one of my life-long best friends. Where I fell in love for the first time (with a girl who then ripped my heart out and fed it through a meat grinder…..but I’m not bitter). And where I learned that even a “punk rocker” can learn something from a “corporate dick.”
(Note: If you are new to my blog, I post about all sorts of things. Sometimes it involves something extremely personal, like creating a 30K baby or my Monster Trades. Other times it deals with hot ex-porn stars who trade stocks. And sometimes it’s about how to avoid “suicide”. But a good place to start is The Best of bclund. If you like what you read, please tell a friend. If you don’t, please tell two friends.)