Recently, a recruiter who spends lots of time in the offices of financial advisors told me he has consistently found Research magazine on his prospects’ desks. There are other magazines most advisors receive, but Research is the one they read, he told me. My interlocutor’s compliment was sincerely stated, and was very pleasing to hear, but I confess I took it with a grain of salt. Maybe his impression was biased in some way unbeknownst to him. And besides, anything that might induce us to rest on our laurels would be injurious to the future success of the magazine.
Even more recently, I met with a wholesaler who also spends lots of time in the offices of financial advisors and he told me the same thing. Even though, as a journalist, I take great comfort in getting a second source backing up a claim, I still resisted the flattering information.
In fact, we joked about the dangers of thinking too well of oneself. He mentioned a friend who worked hard to make it in Hollywood, waiting tables and the like, who finally achieved some moderate success. When the film production paused, a supervisor would command an underling to bring the actor some coffee. The actor thought, “Wait a minute. I can get my own coffee. I used to wait tables.” But they wouldn’t allow him to. Day after day a gopher would attend to his needs until one day, off the set, the actor wanted a drink and instinctively looked around, wondering: “Hey, where’s my coffee?”
This is why, show biz types, politicians and rock stars are so often caught acting boorishly in their brushes with the masses: They’re treated like royalty and come to expect it. So at the risk that in my next hotel stay I might trash my room if service is a little slow, I do want to acknowledge a third recent praise for Research that I do find particularly meaningful.