Friday, February 17, 2012

like with like

In my last post, I mentioned that I can pretty much get along with anyone as long as they don't have any personality issues that have a severe impact on the work and coworkers (such as a pathological liar). In the environmental biz, you often don't have a lot of choice in coworkers/underlings.

If I were a professor and had the ability to select advisees from a teeming horde of potential students, would I select students based on how "likeable" they were or how well I thought we would relate to each other?

No, I wouldn't. Partially, because I was burned in high school for not winning popularity contests with teachers/decision makers and therefore didn't win a single one of the plethora of academic/leadership prizes that were given out to the teachers pets. (You'll have to trust me when I say that I had a far more serious commitment to volunteer work and better grades, but it wasn't just me. One of my best friends started his own massive and wildly successful charity and didn't get anything either).

But even if I weren't embittered by high school, I still wouldn't pick advisees or employees or field staff based on how "relatable" or similar to me they may be. First, if everybody on my team had a personality like mine, we would be seriously unbalanced - very, um, excitable, somewhat scatterbrained, and inclined to taking work far too seriously. Second, I already have friends who share my interests (and perhaps some of my personality quirks). There's a whole world of interesting people and oddball hobbies - if I have a new coworker who's big into spelunking and is looking for someone to share gas, I'm in. And third, I'd prefer to pick a team based on, oh, their contribution to the actual work.

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