Nice guys finish last, and that’s OK

Have you ever gotten jipped?

That one time you put your heart and soul into something you knew you wanted and deserved. That you were perfect for a job or an opportunity and put all your resources into getting it. That you put your name on the line for something because it was 100% going to work out.

Then, out of the blue, you got screwed.

You, the model employee, the perfect candidate, the poster child for positive success. You, over others who hadn’t put in half the work, time or effort. Those who didn’t actually believe in the product, or those who didn’t actually want the position. Someone up there — whether they actually knew you or not — had decided to cut the cord, to knock you off the list, and ruin your chances for what you thought was basically a given for you.

Well, I’m about to give you a harsh reality that you’ve definitely heard many times before: nice guys (and girls) finish last.

Hello. My name is Sam. I was the 10th hire at a startup that during my three years grew to over 170, personally scaling my team to 70. I had been the manager, voice of reason and positive public face masking the dark secrets upper management didn’t want everyone else to know.

I poured three years of blood, sweat, tears and countless hours into a business that ultimately laid me off as if I never mattered. As if I was never a critical part in the company’s success. As if all my hard work meant nothing.

Well, guess what. No matter how many hours of work I put in, how many hard conversations I had with employees, how many times I had to build and rebuild the company culture thanks to lack of process. It didn’t matter.

So, yea, I understand first-hand that finishing last hurts.

And yea, we get knocked down a few times. Yea, we don’t get that one job we wanted because the guy who is seemingly perfect got it instead. Yea, we get laid off.

Yea, we learn. Yea, we grow, Yea, we continue on.

That’s because us nice guys, we’re not meant to win the short-term things. We’re in it for the long game.

Why? Because from every job we didn’t get, every hard conversation we had, every time we got laid off, we learned.

We learned that maybe the thing we thought we wanted so badly and nothing else mattered, we didn’t actually need. That the job we thought we were a shoo-in for wasn’t actually a perfect fit. That once the shock wore away, getting laid off was the best thing to ever happen to our career.

So yea, nice guys may finish last. But that’s OK.

We’re gaining more knowledge, more perspective, and more of a story because of it. And we’re in it for the long game because our battle scars, kindness and meaningful relationships will get us to the end zone.

So I challenge you to pay the niceness forward because kindness isn’t just something people forget. It’s a feeling, it’s a character trait that lingers when people think of you, it’s a behavioral disposition that will always remain.

And people don’t remember that one time you had that minor career mishap, that tough break you caught three years ago, or that screwed up time you got laid off. They remember how you treated them and your kind disposition. That is something that years later will continue to pay off.

So stick it out, ladies and gentlemen, and let your nice flag fly.