How to Play Dumb

Before we begin, everyone should take note that a smart person can play dumb but a dumb person cannot play intelligent. A smart person is simply spending 20-30 minutes to triangulate if someone is worth knowing or if they should be thrown straight into the acquaintance bucket.

There are really only three categories where you will be forced to play dumb: 1) Business/Personal Finance, 2) Friends and 3) Dating.

Unlike our other posts we’re going to go straight for the jugular and explain how pretending to be dumb is going to change your life financially. In short, people are *not* created equal. Once a person reveals themselves to be of no value, drop the contact and don’t bother. Life is extremely short, you don’t have time to take coffee meetings with people who are not going to go anywhere in life. Will you be correct 100% of the time? Nope. Just play the odds.

Is this “mean”? Yes. It doesn’t matter. You need money not feelings.

How to Play Dumb in Business/Personal Finance

Lying About Your Knowledge Base

This is the master key to playing dumb. Learn this skill and you’ll save yourself hundreds of hours (wasted meetings/ventures). If you can obtain a baseline understanding of multiple businesses you’re going to use the following as your gateway line:

Hey, you know, I’ve never really looked at XYZ before. I just wanted to say you’ve done a good job building XYZ (type of business), I’m interested in learning more about it. I’m happy to pay $X for an hour of your time.”

While the underlined sections will go overlooked to the untrained eye, they are key parts of your pitch. Ideally you can get the person’s time for free, but it is usually best to offer some small change to lock in the hour.

When you make the statement “just wanted to say” or “just wanted to let you know” this is usually a phrase used by people with minimal education. You want to *appear* to be a dope in this group. (There is a reason it is used in ads all the time.)

Now… With the backdrop set, you force the person to reveal his cards. Prior to the meeting ask for the following: 1) an example of a successful transaction/business deal and 2) high level numbers for margins, average selling prices and net profit.

Once the numbers are out you’re just using the triangle approach. You ask for two “unrelated” data points spread out across the meeting to get to the third point and see if the guy is a liar or if the business is worth it to you.

Example:

– Early in the conversation ask for a tax number

– In the middle of the conversation ask for a unit shipment number

– At the end, ask for a high level conversion number and to *really* make it seem like you’re dumb… ask for the ASP number again as if you “forgot”

You now have all of the information you need to determine if the business is worth investing in. If the above bullets don’t make sense… simply re-read them and you’ll figure out how the person is trapped into giving out all of his metrics over the course of an hour.

If you really want to confirm your suspicions then you go for the tried and true “Hey I don’t really know anything about XYZ you just mentioned can you explain the basics to me”. You use this line when the person is extremely confident about his knowledge base on the topic. If he slips… you know he’s not on the same level as you. It’s time to ignore everything he says after that.

Never Reveal Net Worth

Under no circumstances do you ever reveal how much you are worth (loss of bargaining power). This seems like common sense but regular people tend to give this information out like it is their first name. Don’t bother telling your best friend or even your relatives (the rule applies 100x heavier with regards to females).

The only situation where you want to use money is if you’re leveraging it on dates (you can use money to seal the deal but never reveal your actual worth). That is all.

Never tell a male how much you are worth because he will try to tear you down. Why? He thinks that he is your equal because you are roughly the same age (he never is and is usually dumber than rocks as well). Men are hands down the worst because they will go out of their way to be nosy, while women will simply try to gold dig which is easily avoidable (don’t give them any $$!)

When it comes to money and being around males, you simply pay 5-10% above your fair share in every situation (group tabs drinks etc.). Don’t bother being the cheap guy or the rich guy. Both are hated. By setting the bar just a tad above average you’re just a “nice guy”.

Here are some key ways to kill conversations regarding net worth and even income.

When asked about property say:

“I haven’t moved in forever still at the same place for 5 years!” (hint don’t bother with house parties unless you want to lose money over time). They will assume you haven’t materially moved your income over the past 5 or so years. You can move if you like.

When asked about your current job function compared to industry averages:

“I’m in a weird position where they just changed my title to keep me around, so it’s not really moving the bottom line much to be honest… kinda sucks” They will believe you are well below industry averages at all times making it harder to become envious.

When asked about vacations say:

“Ah I just go to cheap places, tier one destinations get pricey”

If asked about net worth directly by an extremely nosy person:

“Honestly I don’t know, a lot of student loans mess it up”

Playing Dumb in Your Career

By the time you’re in your early to mid-30s you should be generating $1M+ per year or more for your Company. You already know how to play dumb but it’s time to take it to the next level.

Any sales position or revenue generating position is always about $ output versus cost. Most people think that if they are paid $300K per year or $1M per year then that is the metric that will determine if they are up for layoffs. Entirely false.

You’ll hear a lot of stories about how a “high performer” making $700K per year was replaced by two “middle level” performers at $250K. In reality? The person was being paid a higher percentage of total compensation relative to revenue.

For example, if you’re being paid $400K it means you’re usually responsible for roughly $2-4M in total revenue. Now if you’re extremely intelligent, you actually want to be paid *less* than $400K so you’re next in line for the “land grab” internally. What is the point in pushing for a higher percentage, say $450K, when you can wait it out for a slice of the next totem to fall in the $1.5M range?

We’ll stop there because it won’t make sense to a lot of people. The implied message is clear. We’re in a bull market so people are attempting to increase their percentage of compensation relative to revenue (we’re using a wide range of 10-20%). All of these people will be fired in the next 2-3 years.

Lets say you’re currently being paid 14% of total revenue while all of your peers are being paid 17-20%. The answer is simple. When the next round of layoffs come you should attempt to “land grab” from the 20%ers that have enormous books of business. This will make it incredibly easy for you to see a hockey stick improvement in your total income.

If big wig person A is making $1.5M per year and you’re cruising along at $500K while generating more revenue on a relative basis. You are a clear and obvious candidate to displace person A in an environment that needs to be right sized.

You only push for a higher percentage when you’re ready to quit because you’re next in line to be pushed out the door (regardless of your fake performance reviews).

Playing Dumb as a Manager

A good manager is a happy one who never says anything negative about his team. This is where you want to be. Never say anything negative about anyone associated with you and simply prevent them from gaining traction on your actual revenue source. Easier said than done, but it is achievable.

Most managers micromanage aggressively and attempt to “prove wrong” any work turned into them which adds additional stress to their lives. Waste of time. A smart manager will simply make tweaks by himself and let the person run with glowing reviews.

Why is it better to run like this? No one on your team will be able to honestly say you’ve done anything bad to them… giving you first dibs at important decisions. If someone is stellar with their work, you give them an opportunity to sabotage you on a low scale (if they don’t you can promote them) and if someone is a poor performer you simply say there is “no room for promotions” until they get the hint and leave.

How to Play Dumb with Friends

You Only Want Powerful Friends, the Rest Are Acquaintances

As noted at the top of this post, people are not created equal regardless of the sewage they forced you to drink in college. There are only two groups 1) future winners and 2) current winners. The rest? They encompass the masses.

If your friends are not in either group, they are going to drop off your phone eventually. You can attempt to keep them around for sentimental value (see feelings). But. The structure will break down eventually as your lives depart into very different directions (for better or worse).

1) Future Winners: This is the most under-served market in the world. Most people attempt to suck up at all times to powerful people… when they are better off networking with future winners to have a group of good business contacts in the future. It is incredibly easy to see if they are going to be future winners. Simply ask “Can I predict what this person will be doing next year?”. If you are correct, they are not worth investing in.

Future winners have the *highest* return on investment. Why? As they try to climb the ladder everyone else will try to drag them down. They’ll remember who was on their side when they were at the bottom.

2) Current Winners: The biggest mistake here is building relationships across the board. Not all winners are going to help you in the future. In fact? Most are insecure and negative people who won’t help you even if you deserve it. Do your best and ask “Is this person going to go to bat for me down the line?”. If the answer is yes then invest heavily. You can find the no answers extremely easily (if they are 40-50 they should have at least 5-10 success stories).

Now you’re probably asking… what does this have to do with playing dumb? Everything.

In a word? *Reciprocity*.

Future Winners: If you find a diamond in a pack of mediocre people (usually 1 out of every 20th student graduating from a target school) then you want to act as the information source. Provide the person with as much information as possible on all the topics he needs. In the future he’s going to remember it and add your name to his own rollodex of contacts. 5 years down the line you can hire him.

Why later? He’ll be ready for a promotion (likely burned once at a different firm) and the long standing history with you will create a solid foundation of trust. In short, you’re investing “blindly”. In reality… it’s actually an incredible investment for both of you while it’ll appear to be “dumb luck” in the future.

Current Winners: Similar to finding talent, finding a person in power who is willing to pull a coat is extremely rare. If you find one? The goal is to simply mirror or reflect, the person he was 10, 15 or 20 years ago in yourself. Once he sees that you’re essentially a version of himself many years ago he’s going to have a hard time *not* investing in your future.

The key to playing dumb in this scenario is to pretend you’re less versed than he is on a particular hobby or subject. If you’re actually better than he is at XYZ (lets use golf as an example), simply ask him for tips on your swing and report back later that you’ve improved at it *because* of his advice. The worst thing you can every do is ask for advice and not take it. Once advice is given and not taken, even once, he’s not going to bother wasting his time with you ever again.

Every word in this section is going to be extremely obvious for anyone of means (lets draw the line at $1M net worth). The vast majority of people won’t be able to execute on it. Pitfalls include: 1) trying to one-up people who are above them – relationship is ruined forever, 2) not handing over responsibility to future winners – need to give up control to free up time for more important items, 3) not doing background checks on the person they are networking with – wasting years of time investing in the wrong person and 4) wasting valuable time with dead weight friends – if they don’t change in 1-2 years they won’t turn it around ever**.

**As a side note, there are extremely rare situations where a person turns it around… But. It’s not worth the headache. For every last minute success story there are 10-15 other people who are worth your time.

 Playing Dumb to Maintain Friendships

With the backdrop out of the way, you also need to play dumb in order to maintain friendships in the future. People in general are nosy. If you doubt this fact, then Facebook would not exist.

Once you have a set of people who are all successful on own (regardless of business line) you should always be impressed with any accomplishment they achieve. Never for a split second do you allow them to even *think* you’re not impressed.

If your friend makes an additional $5K or $20M in a year, you’re going to act like the person won the lottery and never ask for anything. No exceptions. Remember, under no circumstances do you ever reveal your income or worth. Nothing good ever comes of it anyway.

How to Play Dumb When Dating

Most guys are worried about gold diggers. Naturally, this means they are *absolutely* broke. Anyone who is well off knows that a gold digger cannot get “gold” if you are 1) never married and 2) never give her any actual money.  Therefore… who cares? You want to play dumb about your actual worth and let her fill in the blanks without you telling her. As they say life is “sold” not “told”.

There is a material divergence here compared to the first two sections of the post. When dealing with money/business you want to lie down. Let other people show their cards before you bother proceeding and you want absolutely no one to know you’re well off. In fact it is better if they think they make more than you.

Dating is the reverse. Your only goal is to flash enough money to avoid being thrown into the potential husband category. This is art not science and we have a overview in our post on doing the opposite.

Pay off the following people: 1) hostess, 2) bouncer, 3) bartender and even 4) tipping an owner of the venue.

Now you’re *clearly* not a boring  male who goes on dinner dates. Once that is good to go you adjust your wardrobe to be more loud and fun. Once you’ve established a “just for fun” vibe with a gregarious personality in a well dressed outfit… She’s going to figure out the rest by herself.

Playing Dumb Review

1) To beat a dead horse. Never tell anyone how much you are worth or make. Ever. If you are forced to? Lie down well below what the person makes (the person you are speaking to)

2) Be astonished at any financial accomplishment of a peer

3) In a business setting set a “trap” where you can back solve into numbers you need

4) “You’ve never heard about this and want to hear more” because “you just wanted to say” how impressed you are by their business

5) Careers are about return on investment and “land grabs” or client base. This is why many high performing people are laid off. They were at the top end of revenue generation, but also at the top end of percentage of revenue paid out

6) You have student debt. If you don’t? You do now that you’ve read this sentence!

7) You have lived in the same place your entire life according to everyone you meet

8) Your title is not indicative of pay because they don’t like you enough to give you money only enough to give you a “title”

9) People are not created equal and you want to increase your income not your “feelings”

10) Gold diggers are fantastic!

*As Usual Absolutely No Questions, No Clarifying Questions Either. They Will be Deleted with ZERO Exceptions. Interesting Value Additive Comments are Always Welcome.*

Comments

  1. Nyc banker says

    I can personally tell you the talent pool level has gotten worse at my firm as well. We’re definitely in a bull market, no one can deny that, the last drafting session I went to I was able to meet all of the young analysts there for face time. After speaking with them, this is a 2014/2015 recruiting issue (most were unimpressive).

    Looks exactly like 2006/2007 when we had a hoard of unqualified people as warm bodies to sit as placeholders for unimportant events. Glad I’m not the only one noticing this trend. The trend is real! Adjust your internal networking strategies appropriately.

  2. Andy says

    “7) You have lived in the same place your entire life according to everyone you meet”. Bonus points if you’re actually from a small town – drop some hints here and there about not knowing common things about your current city + the occasional long, blank stare = people will literally think you’re a country bumpkin. Works every time…count it!

  3. Andy says

    Broke-as-a-joke guy “logic”: wants girl who is logical. Girl logically wants guy with more money. Guy doesn’t want “gold digger”. Huh?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Yup. Same broke guy will also claim he is “more efficient with his money” and would just go to a 3rd world shithole if he had the same net worth.

      As if the guy who got rich couldn’t think of that by himself.

  4. Natural Gas Desk - Houston says

    Haha!! Absolutely under no circumstances do you *ever* disclose how much you make with regular guys!!

    Learned this one the hard way but as soon as you disclose this information they will begin to viciously attack you and try to poke holes in your lifestyle in order to make themselves feel better and maintain their internal insecure image that they’re better than you…Even resorting to shit that doesn’t even have anything to do with the conversation.

    Had one guy start talking about how high his SAT scores were after telling him how much I made!! Not even joking.

  5. The Guys Get Shirts says

    It always seemed odd to me growing up when people complained about “gold diggers” and how girls are all “whores” these days. I thought that’s the kind of mentality we were trying to encourage as men.

    Losers find a way to complain about anything I suppose.

  6. So... You work as a Security Consultant says

    When in doubt, act like an idiot. Last night I ended up at a friends birthday party where a very loud 22 year old was talking about how he had spent the last year traveling around the world as a Security Consultant for Fortune 500 Companies. I asked if him if his job was like the movie hackers. He said yes. Then I asked him if he stopped in Nicaragua when he was in Africa to see the lions. He said of course.

    I work as a Security Consultant. And wrong continent.

    Time to go back to hitting on the 22 year old girls.

    Ps- Welcome back. See you in a month?

  7. MastersStudent says

    This article has summarised pretty much one of the hardest lessons I’ve learnt in the last 12-24 months.

    TBH I think if you haven’t learnt this from experience you just won’t get this article. Period. You have to get seriously burnt by friends/employers/family members (ideally all three) over women/money/jobs (again ideally all three) before you realise that you create more hassle for yourself and crush opportunities if people perceive you to be smart/rich/well connected. Most people simply are not worth knowing and are too insecure to be good friends with.

    Example in Interviews: If you are interviewing for a mid-market firm, research which colleges they go to. If they all went to average colleges, adjust your CV accordingly. Don’t talk about how you do sailing, or how much you love the Republicans. Or don’t go in and talk about the Ivy League etc if none of them went there. I got rejected two times by directors clearing $200K a year because I seemed to “on point, and well spoken, poor cultural fit”. What? Lesson learnt — Play dumb.

    Example from gym today: This is from today. I know a heck of a lot about fitness and could probably write a book on it. I saw a Personal Trainer (PT) doing poses. Laughed and pointed it out but asked him for help or advice. He stopped working out. Spoke for 15 minutes about himself, and stuff I already knew. All I really cared about was his business model which he finally discussed (wasn’t that interesting). Anyway despite him doing all the talking, he says he’d give me a special student rate, and could get me photoshoot ready based on where I am — Play dumb.

    Example in business: Whilst I am still a student, a few family members run businesses. And I am grudgingly called into help out. You could be a Stanford Quantum Physics PhD student or President of the United States (see George Bush) yet oddly enough if you speak slow and explicitly say things like “it may seem simple to you, but can you explain please”, people will somehow have a cognitive dissonance and equate that to stupidity or someone they should give help to. Have secured 20-80% off several times from services from this method. Also have realised a large number of people run fake businesses and participate in fraud. An asset managers numbers simply did not make sense and I realised he was running a fake business within 10 minutes of playing dumb. If you don’t do this, forget about college debt, that is the very least of your worries you will lose thousands of dollars and TIME. Play dumb.

    You could go on and on. The reality is, is most people no matter how ridiculous/lazy/corrupt they are in reality, they still want to FEEL smart/rich/successful relative to you.

    People always ask me how do I get opportunities out of nowhere despite not being that smart. I say I’m lucky. LOL, watch George Bush interviews on repeat. And save yourself headaches in life.

  8. RE Guy says

    Fantastic post.

    Good point about not revealing net worth to friends or family. Most people rapidly adjust their views to lean socialist, redistributing wealth etc. as soon as they find out there’s an imbalance against them (or just build resentment).

    5%-10% above is a great insight on how to position, thank you.

    “My student loans are crushing my dreams!!! :-(”

    “I wish I could afford a new home but I’m all tapped out from fixing my last rental!!”

    Recent personal anecdote to add:

    Met a 22 year old solid 8 at a bar.

    Completely unprompted, in seriousness volunteers 15 minutes in “I’m a gold digger”, haha.

    1 hour later went home with her.

    The rest is history.

      • RE Guy says

        She did siphon something from my pocket!

        And come to think of it, she could pass for a blond Jean Gray!

        Page the complain-o-sphere patrol, I need to file a complaint!

    • RE Guy says

      Commenting again because this post is underappreciated and because it seems like an appropriate place for an idea I’ve had.

      The concept of gold diggers like peacocking and many other observations by the pickup community (and another community which shall not be named) are observations made by uncool guys about how they think cool guys speak/act/think etc.

      So peacocking is an easy example, that is how someone socially isolated who was never interested or good at fashion would describe “dressing well”. The concept is distorted because the observer is on the outside of the cool group and thus has no real knowledge of what it means to look cool. The stated purpose of peacocking is to generate attention or questions, but anyone who has worn very good shoes I imagine has had the experience of women (as well as men) commenting in a positive way about their fashion sense, all without wearing a fuzzy vest or giant top hat.

      Gold Digger Anxiety (GDA – Feel free to cop that) is the imagined conflict between a woman that an uncool guy would like to sleep with and her desire to extract resources from him. All women (and people for that matter) would like to extract resources other than sex from a man, even if it’s only time and flattering attention. From the outside of cool social interactions, from the perspective of a guy not getting laid, then the girl who makes not so subtle requests to be bought a drink is a “Gold Digger”.

      One reason for this is that the guy with GDA has little to no game as it is, so for him that drink buys him nothing but an awkward ten minutes of him trying to impress a (probably not too bright) young girl after which she bounces. Another reason for the anxiety is that guys with GDA don’t have much cash so $20-$40 is a significant amount of money to them worthy of concern, and this represents their “barrier to entry” in even speaking to an attractive girl since they don’t know how to vibe with women without following the script of buying them drinks.

      On the other hand the cool guy buys the girl a drink but not after qualifying her interest in him, starting to physically escalate both before and during, and keeping in mind her emotional blueprint for what she needs to be sold on sex that night (i.e. a girl announcing to me “I’m a gold digger” just gave me a road-map to straight between her legs). And further a cool guy who is spending his money wisely because he follows the aforementioned method, even if he’s not making a decent amount of money (yet), will at least be spending less in any given night and over long periods of time because he’s making qualified investments of $20-$40 only in girls at least somewhat interested in him (otherwise walk around, say funny stuff to people, get to know the bar staff, vibe, be social, every interaction doesn’t have to be a pickup <- Again, cool guy mentality).

      • Mid20s says

        RE Guy, do you mean here:

        “On the other hand the cool guy buys the girl a drink but not after qualifying her interest in him,” —> “On the other hand the cool guy buys the girl a drink but *only* after qualifying her interest in him,” ?

        Because I think the cool guy wouldn’t buy drinks to random persons just for the sake of it, or because a girl asked him out of nowhere, no?

        The pickup community has some pretty sucky mentalities, like never buy girls drinks, which got me burned quite a few times. Well, I was an idiot l guess!

        Advanced post and great comments as usual, glad to have you all back.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        Wouldn’t look at comments as a proxy for views. At the top… And going forward… we simply won’t answer any questions (wastes far too much time – they are all deleted now) so it should decrease comment count in half at least!

      • RE Guy says

        I was explaining the difference between a prospect and a suspect (Zig Zigler’s book on sales in the approved products will go into detail).

        Any random girl at the bar is a suspect.

        A girl who has shown interest in you is a prospect.

        You qualify a girl from suspect to prospect through things like touching her and getting compliance i.e. “come here with me” (grab her hand and lead her somewhere). Or she qualifies herself i.e. “You’re hot. I like you. I’m single. etc.” (her to you)

        This is the same as in business (take a look at my business and game intersection post, or the WSP post on life being sales http://wallstreetplayboys.com/you-dont-want-to-sell-too-bad/). That is, I’m not going to drive out and look at any old house on the market on the off chance that the seller is motivated/can sell at a price I like etc. I’m going to get in contact with the seller and qualify them before investing an hour or more of my time in going out there.

        The principle is you spend your time (and money) on good leads who have shown interest in a transaction with you. Simple sales; applied to maximize ROI.

        Also, views are my own and not WSP. We agree on a lot, but not everything.

  9. drowninghamster says

    Smart guy playing dumb can tell when a smart guy plays dumb. Dumb guys can never tell when smart guys play dumb, in fact they feel superior (A+). Dumb guys, do they even know the difference when they see a smart person being smart????? LOL. The world is inside out

  10. Grivendal says

    Man,a dumb person trying to play intelligent is like reading wikipedia posts or forbes on your computer.If there was a way to make moeny off them,i would be rich in a few years…oh wait…

  11. Stealthy1Percenter says

    “Honestly I don’t know, a lot of student loans mess it up”

    Love it. Use this one all the time.

    Once in a while I do run into a worthy counterpart who is also playing dumb. This leads to some interesting and hilarious conversation in retrospect.

  12. Eric S. says

    I think there is nothing wrong with woman being a gold digger. In fact, It is the complete opposite, every decent/good girl should become gold diggers for their sake . Dating a mediocre/broke guy is just simply stupid because the times spent with that guys often lead to nothing but a breakup which is very bad ROI.

    Also, how could you expect guys who cannot take care of themselves financially to take care of the girls? Just does not make sense, of course there are exceptions like the guy is good looking or has good game. But in the long term(like a serious relationship or marriage), financials will trump looks and “games.

  13. Lee the Hawaiian says

    “I don’t understand…”

    You could be having a conversation about post-colonial new elitism (totally made that up BTW) and I guarantee those three majestic words will never get used. People like to pretend they are smarter than they are which consequently makes them idiots by default.

    Here’s how I realized that “playing dumb” is the secret sauce to success.

    I was doing film work for a friend’s wedding and as usual I go up to meet the photographer they hired. He seems cool and so I invite him out for tea to see where his head is at. We start discussing the industry and some of the problems he’s been facing.

    Then i’m asking him about people, places and events that many of the professional photographer’s I know are familiar with.

    He’s totally clueless about anything i’m talking about.

    “You mean to tell me you are a self-employed wedding photographer and you’ve never been to a bridal show?”

    “Nope.” Was his only reply.

    Long story short, after our conversation I went into complete super-save-a-hoe mode and started taking him to parties, introducing him to people that could take him to the level, helping him revise his website and marketing materials, and finding him interns.

    Looking back I consider why I did this.

    I could blame my primitive womanly need to nurture this grown ass man to fulfill his actual potential, but psychology will tell me that it was actually my own big ass ego that made me go out on a limb for someone I barely even knew.

    So use this knowledge of human’s need to feel good about themselves to your advantage and when someone asks you if you know anything about anything just say “nope,” and they will practically pay your way into the good life.

    🙂

  14. Simon says

    Playing dumb is really the only way to defend oneself against invisible enemies/haters.

    Back in the day before starting a successful business, I was a young hungry college students that came from modest means.

    I started a small business where I operated as a tutor and worked independently and made a $35-45 an hour (I know the exchange time for money business model is terrible but I was only 18 and I was already seeing the beauty of working for myself, quite liberating).

    During the summer there’s not much demand for tutoring and I didn’t manage my money well so I ran out of money and a got temporary gig at a cellphone repair shop for $10, but lots of free time to start building something again.

    One of my coworkers, a 30-something year old that had worked there for 5 years there asked me how much I was making at the shop and I responded with the truth, $10 an hour.

    He looks very surprised and said “you’re making $10 an hour?!?”
    I replied “I know, kinda sucks, right?”
    30something guy : “Not really, I’m making $9 an hour and I’ve been here 5 years!”
    Me: “Really? I’m used to making $45 an hour from tutoring, this is peanuts for me”

    What dumb mistake that was, the guy hated me for my success, instead of asking how I did it at such young age, he turned sour and bitter. Jealousy for $1 more an hour.

    After that day the guy turned very unpleasant and managed to get me fired within a couple weeks of being there. I got burned but the lesson stays true to this day, never reveal your networth and always play dumb.

  15. E.S says

    I am from China, Playing dumb is extremely important when it comes to do business with the Chinese government and in office&government politics environments. As wrong/negative words( even it is the truth) about the regime or the wrong person will be used against you by your enemies who want to take you out. If your enemies succeed, you will find yourself fired from the job( i have seen this trick done so many times in Chinese political system and state-owned companies, or worse of all put you into jail as political prisoner)

    Especially at a high power position, even saying something unnecessary or redundant will bring u troubles.

    My Grandpa worked at a forestry ministry in China, he said to over and over again ” the ability of knowing when to play dumb and when to play smart” is one most of the critical skills to learn for an official who wants to quickly move up the ranks.

    One of his advice:
    Be dumb when it is time to share credit or in any badmouthing conversation ( give all credit to the superior, never say anything ( no matter if it is truthful or not) negative about someone or an organization in general especially the communist party behind their back), be smart when it is time to do the work ( so superior knows you are capable and won’t fire you )

    One of my Favorite Chinese proverb
    大智如愚!!!!
    Real and Vast Wisdom is hidden under a foolish look( The translation does not sound as well as the original)

    • E.S says

      Sorry, the Chinese proverb is actually ” 大智若愚“

      (Damn !!!After being in North America for so long , spending most of my time speaking English, I could see my mandarin is regressing , better work on my mandarin once I come back. )

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