You’re Superstitious and Asking For A Raise Wearing Your Lucky Tie? Are You Kidding Me?

By Stephen Viscusi

Does it feel like all sales people are superstitious or is it just my imagination? I, for one, am quite superstitious, and I’ve been in sales for 20 years. I know that syllogism is fallacious, but it has to count for something! I do, however, think that everyone has some superstitious tendencies, even people not in sales. It’s the little things like not talking about a sale until the deal is done, or wearing a certain shirt or bringing a certain pen when asking for a raise, or recreating the same ritual every year before you annual review. My friend’s Jewish grandmother would say she would not want to put the Kneina hura or the evil eye on something and would spit or say pooh three times to ward it off. Ironically, the same custom is deeply embedded in Arab cultures too. In case you were worried that there are some cultural or religious barriers with superstitions, fear not! Of course, however, superstitions are cultural to some extent. Being Italian, I remember when my aunt was supposed to get engaged, my mother didn’t want to jinx it so she would say, “Don’t whisper a word to anyone until the ring is on your finger!” In show biz, they say, “break a leg,” before going on stage, meaning, of course, do not break a leg. I know salespeople who read the horoscope even before they leave the house. For me, it’s back to the little things, like wearing a certain cologne on a big sales presentation, or stopping to give change to a homeless person on my way to a sale, secretly hoping that if I give, I will get back—like in my favorite Frank Capra movie, Pocketful of Miracles with Bette Davis and Glenn Ford’s in which Ford’s character buys a lucky apple daily from Davis’s street peddler. Then there are those who follow astrology signs, which may be a symptom of the same disease, but who is to say? Sometimes the two things get confused for me. Either way, like I said, I started my career in sales, and I consider myself superstitious, so there is at least one superstitious salesperson. Still, you do not have to be in sales to have a favorite side of the street to walk on, or a special tie you wear when you go on a job interview or even a date. I still wear my “lucky tie” to client presentations or trade shows (and yes I am one of the few men in business still wearing a tie!). And in fact, I love to read my horoscope every day!

It’s like when you are sending out a resume or a bid to a client and before your hand hits the send button, you say “Hail Mary”…. What’s the harm?


Please “like” this or comment; and share it. Stephen Viscusi is the CEO of The Viscusi Group, a global executive search practice specializing in the interior furnishings industry located in New York City. Viscusi is the author of the HarperCollins book "Bulletproof Your Job". You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter at @Stephenviscusi, Instagram at Stephenviscusi and Facebook  Write him at