Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Breach of Trust

It smacked me right in the face, a headline in today's Vancouver Sun. "High Flying Canadian conman lands in U.S. jail.http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=a7d5ea5b-b84d-4c84-8e92-82a537c37c64 "He was a Canadian, the article said, who seemed to be living the American dream on the sunny California coast- a yacht and a 2006 Ferrari, country club and golf memberships, and a sprawling, multi-million dollar mansion in a wealthy enclave at seaside Monterey. His wife sported a $50,000 diamond ring and his four children attended private schools. He spent time collecting expensive works of art and rare sports memorabilia."

To dozens of his friends and clients, Jay Zubick was a popular and trusted investment adviser from Toronto, who had made a great life for himself and his family in his U.S. home -- all the while pursuing his passion for athletics at Ironman competitions across North America.It turns out, however, that the 42-year-old business whiz was, in fact, an English literature grad from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., who was running a marathon investment swindle. The scam lasted seven years and drained some $16 million US from the savings of 29 victims in the U.S. and Canada.

At a California court this week, a "truly sorry" Zubick claimed to been "saved by Jesus" following his arrest earlier this year on 71 counts of fraud, money laundering and forgery. But a parade of embittered victims told a sentencing judge they felt cheated by their "best friend" who, in one woman's words, had left her "financially raped."

So what are the lessons to be learned here. First of all you never do business with your friends. Friends are just that "friends". Here's Webster's definition of friendship. The state of being friends; friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will; friendliness; amity; good will. I don't see anywhere in there; "and thou shalt do business with a friend, thou shalt borrow money from a friend, and thou shalt trust thy friend with your entire life savings. You see I have only recently learned through my own life's experience, that the only person who really should be trusted with his/her money is the person who earned the money, namely yourself. If you don't trust yourself with money why should you trust others.

The article opened, he was Canadian who seemed to be living the American dream. If I hear those two words again I'm going to stand on the top of the New York Stock Exchange building and holler, "I' m tired- and I can' take it anymore. Stop selling the American Dream". The American dream has become it's worst nightmare, and why any self respecting Canadian would want to pursue it is beyond me.

Try this for a while, be a soft spoken, respected, ethical, and authentic Canadian, and begin to pursue your own personal dream of compassion, gratitude, and have a life of purpose and passion for what you love to do, not about what you don't have and need to get, because trust me their are more Americans who would love to be here rather than there.

Stop apologizing when people bump into you, stop apologizing for being slow to sign deals, stop apologizing for not being as hot a celebrity , stop apologizing for playing in the CFL instead of the NFL, and above all stop apologizing because you haven't quite fulfilled your American Dream. Pick door number two and be happy with your choice.

And please stop watching Howie Mandell's perpetuation of the myth that people will never be happy unless they have it all, "Deal or No Deal" has become Greed or no Greed". I don';t know about you but aren't you a little tired of all the Canadians who travel off to the U.S., to pursue "the dream" and always come home for a visit with the same quote; "Canada will always be my home". Okay here's a concept; have less, make less, and make Canada your home. Live here and enrich our lives instead of selling out.

We are too gracious to those movie or music stars who take flight and then know that we will always welcome them back with open arms.. "it's like bowing and flapping our arms downward in a simultaneous whoosh of "We're not worthy..we're not worthy. And finally, just as Jay Zubick, claims to have found Jesus, maybe it's time we find our Canadian "souls " again. It's as simple as this....sit down with a pen in hand and write down everything that you feel grateful for about being Canadian. It took me a lifetime to finally appreciate my birthplace, I hope it doesn't take you that long. Oh yeah about that breach of trust thing, Buddha says to forgive your enemies, but not forget them.

And one final peice of advice, when your best friend says he would like to offer you a spot in an "exclusive limited partnership, that is "very special", something just for my closest friends". You say...repeat after me, "that's nice except I'm not your friend", close the door and never look back. As in business and in life, you need only ask one question of anyone; so what part of this is a lie?

1 comment:

Bruce Stewart said...

Wise words, mon ami, wise words, indeed.

I (like you) have lived in the United States, and came back to Canada. Frankly, the only thing this country lacks at the end of the day is a long history, for even on the East Coast, where Qu├ębec City dates from 1603, Annapolis Royal from 1605, St. John's from 1498, there just isn't that depth that is in Europe (and which I crave around me). But everything else is here, including a lot that isn't there. But, guess what, it's not south of the border, either.

The amazing thing, of course, is that neither of us are saying this from the left. Which just goes to show what an amazing place Canada is, because you couldn't say any of this from the American right.