No B.S. Coaching Advice

If you need a friend, get a dog

“If You Need a Friend, Get a Dog.” |

Originally published on LinkedIn.

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

The full quote from Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street is:

“Ever wonder why fund managers can’t beat the S&P 500? ‘Cause they’re sheep — and the sheep get slaughtered. I been in the business since ’69. Most of these high paid MBA types, they don’t add up to dog shit. Gimme guys who are poor, smart and hungry. And no feelings. You win some, you lose some, but you keep on fighting . . . and if you need a friend, get a dog.”


Most employees are trained to be good sheep. The sheep eventually get to a point where they complain about their lives in the pen and try to do something about it.

But they’re still sheep.

Somewhere, most of us got the message to conform and it is activated regularly.

Maybe it comes from our parents or teachers but when we meet certain employers, we are reminded of being nicely obedient and revert to sheep mode.

I remember working for a bully that reminded me of qualities in my Mom that intimidated me too often. (And to be clear, she was far more than this one quality and almost all of them were great. This one was a problem). I spent most of my time working for a firm frightened even though I was very successful and effective.

I believe most of us need to be reminded of the things that trigger us into these behaviors where we think it is a good thing to be ordinary, rather than exceptional. If you’ve read some of my articles for LinkedIn, you know that I have been browbeating employers about hiring yes men and women (or to use the corporate vernacular, “team players.” Ugh).

Nice sheep who will follow instructions.

What happened to your dream to make a difference in your work and your home life? Do you think that will happen by working 70 hours a week only to be laid off with the next down turn in the economy . . . you do realize there will be another downturn, don’t you?

What triggers brought you to the point where you sacrificed yourself and your dreams to being cannon fodder for a company that will fire you


Dreaming is a muscle that needs activation and exercise.

Like losing 25 pounds, there is focus and effort required.

But, when you think about how things are going now, think ahead. Is this enough or do you see some other possibilities.

The Gordon Gekko character also says, ” Wake up, will ya, pal? If you’re not inside, you’re outside, okay? And I’m not talking a $400,000 a year working Wall Street stiff flying first class and being comfortable, I’m talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player, or nothing.”

Gekko only talks about money but it doesn’t have to be.

What’s the one thing you’ve been afraid of doing and what small first step can you take to make it possible?

“One small step,” you ask.

Yes, start with the first step and start to make small changes over time.


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2015, 2019

“If You Need a Friend, Get a Dog.” |


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on for Apple TV and 90+No BS Coaching Advice smart sets.

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