It’s not “just business”

I’ve found that some people go through life trying to act like the things they spend a third or more of their day doing is not a personal endeavor. As though you can treat people badly or disregard the impact of your actions on others so long as it benefits you because it is “just business”. I find this disingenuous at best and sociopathic at worst.

The truth is while the law may think that businesses are pseudo people that can behave independently of human beings you are really just dealing with individuals, sometimes one, sometimes many, but just people like you and me. Business interactions have an impact on real people and we should reflect on that every time we interact with  a business, while we’re at work or just around town getting food, filling our gas tank, or seeing a movie. You’re not interacting with a soulless corporation. You’re interacting with people.

Your choice of where to shop dictates who will have a job and who will not. Your choice to use one supplier or another for your business dictates who will hire and who will not. Your choice to betray or show loyalty makes a difference to real people.

I’ve been reflecting on this of late after watching people we’ve done business with and seeing some that are great and some not so great. I see no need to name names publicly, but I found a common thread running through interactions with people that went badly. They seem to regard interactions as “just business” (they also often use that phrase to justify their actions) and disregard the effect they have on real people. I think that sucks.

I’ve also had the good fortune to work with some really great people and even become friends with some of them. The common thread there seems to be that they focus on doing something good. They want to make money and succeed, but not at the expense of others. They want to help people, make the world a little better through their efforts each day, and they don’t see businesses, instead seeing all the people they are interacting with. They are the ones I want to stay up all night solving a problem for. They are the ones I want to be working with 5 or 10 years from now. They are the ones we should all try to emulate.

Next time you hear the phrase “it’s just business”, stop, think about who uttered it and what they are doing, and think about if you really want to be a part of it.

Kevin Hall
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