I am not a generous person, ask anybody. At least not with cash anyway.  I love a bargain, and more than anything, always look for value for money.  So please don’t mistake this story for an attempt to put myself in a good light. I think I was an idiot.
Remember 10 years ago, when “Who wants to be a Millionaire” was the biggest rating TV show? It was relaunched last night, and I watched it for the first time in a decade.  Around 2001 or 2002, you could buy the computer game of the show, which was an almost exact replica. My kids and I had played it a few times at home, and I thought it would be a good idea to liven up the office, in the afternoon before our Christmas night out.  The drinks were flowing, when I announced the game as “Who want to be a Thousandaire”. As I would pay cash to winners, I proportionately reduced the top prize to £1,000, along with the other prize levels. 
So you get the picture; we were getting tipsy, and I reckoned the most I’d have to pay out might be £64 or even £132. I had the first turn, and failed miserably, Pamela won £64, Nicci £32, Tex (don’t ask) £16, and Annie £32. Then it was my colleague, Iain’s turn. To cut an obvious story short, he only went and answered every single question correctly!  I was mortified, especially as Iain manfully tried to let me off the hook, which only made it all the more impossible to do so.  Suffice to say, I succumbed to the lure of intoxicants immediately after writing the cheque.  The next year, in a bid to save money, we took the team to Barcelona for the Christmas night out. (It was much cheaper)
So what has this to do with recruitment or business?  Well, even if a potential outcome seems very remote indeed, you should never commit beyond your level of comfort.  This is why I never gamble, and always always try to cap my exposure.

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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