(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Every incompetent employee, lunatic boss and deceitful salesperson is someone's loving spouse and loyal friend. That does not mean you should hire, work for, trust or do business with them. And yet, we do exactly that, time and again.
Sometimes we get taken; it happens to everyone. But other times we ignore all sorts of red flags. We act against our better judgment.
But why? I mean, why would you or anyone make a ridiculously important decision "against your better judgment?" Because, at that moment, you choose to believe that pigs can fly. That miracles do happen. That universal laws don't apply to you because you're special.
You choose hopes and dreams over reason and instinct.
Well, here's the thing. Pigs can't fly, miracles don't happen, the laws of physics do apply to you and hope is always a dumb strategy. Instead of hopes and dreams, learn to listen to your better judgment, trust your instincts, and keep these seven types of people out of your business.
Trendy self-promoters. There are tons of self-proclaimed entrepreneurs branding themselves as Gen Y consultants, personal branding experts, or both. They're experts all right -- at branding themselves and making money off a trendy stereotype or label.
Salespeople who know their product doesn't work. Everyone on Wall Street knows that past performance is no indicator of future results and. And yet, money managers make fortunes selling products they know don't work. How do they sleep at night?
Bottom feeders. When bubbles burst, economies go south and once-thriving industries dry up, enterprising people find other ways to make a living. The worse the economy gets, the more life and career coaches there are. Imagine that. Look, if you need help, find someone who was actually successful at what you want to become.
Anyone calling himself a guru. You know why accomplished people don't think of themselves as experts, let alone call themselves gurus? Because they're smart enough to know better. Competent people are confident, not deluded.
Needy, bottomless pits. Social networks now make it possible for anyone with a computer and an IP address to try to rope you into their endless life drama or whacko agenda. It never starts out that way, but it inevitably ends up as a bottomless pit of attention-getting need.
Narcissistic charmers. Some people are so small and weak inside that they have to build their own egos up so they don't have to face how they really feel. They're very good at making you feel special just to be in their presence. But it's all a facade. And get this. Some of them manage to con their way into high-level positions. No kidding.
Slippery yes men. The world is full of people who will say or do anything to gain your confidence or get into your inner circle. You could be heading for disaster, but they'll find a way to sugarcoat it and blow smoke up your you-know-what. Don't even try to hold them accountable; it's like shooting darts at Jello.
Just remember, these are not all bottom feeders you can spot in an instant and steer clear of with ease. Lots of them are highly successful and very wealthy. Some are even senior executives and business leaders. So stay on your toes -- it's a jungle out there.
As for the types of people you do want to work with, check out