jeudi 23 juillet 2009

Trust your friends... Bernard Madoff, Vincent Lacroix and others...

Trust in others is a very individual subject. Some prefer to be positive and are readily trusting people they meet, while for others, everybody is dishonest and honesty must be proved by each of the persons who appear before them ...
We should not be paranoid, but we must admit that humans are not always very faithful in their friendships. This situation has existed since the beginning of times and the worst betrayals have always been the work of someone who was very close to the victim. Hence the old adage that we must always keep his enemies close to itself in order to watch them: "My God, protect me from my friends, my enemies I could take care of them ..."
The financial scandals of Bernard Madoff, Vincent Lacroix and Earl Jones has shown more than ever that granting confidence to people is one thing, but giving them our money is quite another! Regarding Conrad Black or publisher Pierre Turgeon, their stories are commercial transactions between partners and if confidence plays a very important role, it is not the same situation as in the case of Madoff and company.
Everyone is searching for ways to take advantage of opportunities in life. This applies to victims who wished to take advantage from their future fraudster and receive financial gain from the investment proposals. Unfortunately, they failed and become the victim… It is like the crow in the fable of Lafontaine who wants to enjoy the compliments from the fox to fill its needs for admiration.
The fraud victims are angry for having been stolen, but if they had managed to enjoy the financial rewards from the fraudster, their success would have been the happy talks of their Sunday supper for the rest of their life ...
In essence, one must remember that if there had been a treasure, why the fraudster would have shared it with someone else?
I myself was a victim of my naivety in friendship that I give to people. The following two stories are the description of those two situation when I was literally wrong in my perception and how I found out. Fortunately, I had not given my money away...
The first story took place after the death of Pierre Péladeau in 1998, for which I was the executive assistant during 7 years. When the new management at Quebecor fired me after the death of the founder, I had to look for a new job! The process was more difficult than I would have tought because, even though Pierre Péladeau was a great business man in Quebec, for various reasons, I discovered that many entrepreneurs hated him secretly and that even some wished him failure. (see biography on Pierre Péladeau on the website
My discovery was made early in my job search during the first meeting with the representative from the consultation office for job searchers. The advice was blunt: I was to eliminate the mention of Pierre Péladeau from my CV or otherwise, I could never find a new job because Péladeau was very much hated by the business people from Quebec..
His second advice: leave the city for foreign (Toronto, Vancouver or Paris ...)
The consultant claimed that I had the wrong feeling regarding the admiration that people said they have for my former boss. According to the lady in charge of my job search, in reality, Péladeau was despised and if he had been praised during his lifetime, it was because people feared him rather than respected him ... As Don Corleone in The Godfather by Mario Puzzo.
I was obviously in total disagreement with the advice and interpretation and I left her office angry! But with the passage of time, I must admit that her analysis was seriously grounded and I paid a very high price for my refusal to follow her advice!
The second treason that I would like to share with you in this article is still more personal but it represents the situation faced by many people in their relationships with their close and intimate friends.
During my job search, I contacted several of my friends and in particular the marketing director of a large concert hall on St. Catherine Street in Montreal, someone I knew since 1992 and who said she was my friend.
The director in question was sympathetic to my cause, and she promised to do everything possible to help me find a new job. She would keep her eyes open and monitor every opportunity in order to advise me.
A few months later, by pure chance, while speaking with a new press officer of the theater in question, I learned that she has obtained her new job since few days and that it was precisely the marketing director who has hired her. It was several months since I was looking for a job and the director talked to me regularly throughout this time and she repeated every time that she was trying to help me. Why does she has not offered me the position available? She told another friend of mine that she did not want any work relationship with me, adding that she regarded me as a total incompetent ... Yet I had never worked with her. How could she assess my skills! Moreover, and this is the act of treason, the marketing director was continually repeating to me that she would help me, but behind my back, she thought the opposite!
Her action hurts me a lot at the time and in a sense, I considered her gesture comparable to someone who pretends to be your friend but who refuses to push the lifebuoy which is right next to her on the dock and she just watch you drown in the water.
There are many others people like this person but I have personally experienced this story and it was for me the revelation that demonstrate the lack of honesty in people. Good luck!
Bernard Bujold
Photo 1. Lapidation scene, Bernard Madoff, Vincent Lacroix,Pierre Turgeon and Conrad Black
Photo 2; Quebecor's building in Montréal

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