I find it amusing that when we look for a job, the questions people tend to focus on are: “Where is the job located?” “How much does it pay?” “Will I like the work?” Those sorts of things. What we rarely ask ourselves is: “Who will I be working with?” It’s mostly because it’s one of those uncontrollable factors, but it’s just not a question we worry about. At least not until we start the job. We don’t get to choose the people we work with. It would be great if we could, and I’m sure somewhere some big exec is shaking his head muttering to himself that I’m wrong, but in my experience you get what you get.
I work in a building filled with more than 400 people and the sad fact is the only thing I have in common with most of them is that I walk across the same squares of carpet as they do. We are very diverse in our interests, ages, hobbies, etc. Some people have short tempers, while others seem to have never had a bad day in their lives. But for the most part, we all get along.
How is this possible? My company puts a lot of emphasis on teamwork. They are constantly using the word team, because that’s what we are. I never get to see the guys that work in I.T. (unless there’s a problem), but I recognize the fact that if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have a computer. Each person here plays a part and we really put a lot of focus on that philosophy. So as I walk through the hallways, I make it a point to smile and say good morning, or give the occasional wave to each person that I pass. I try to show them the same respect and appreciation that I would an external customer, because just as I depend on them, they too depend on me.
Not everyone is easy to deal with though. Some days I find myself really struggling with how to relate to certain people. In my own structured life, it’s hard to find a place for someone that irritates me, or that I don’t see eye-to-eye with. Believe me, I am aware of the fact that we are not going to get along with everyone we work with. But that doesn’t mean that those few don’t deserve our respect as well. We just have to find a way to work with them and get past whatever differences we may have. We try to give external customers the best possible service in an attempt to create a successful business. So, why wouldn’t we give our internal customers (our co-workers) the same courtesy? It would only lead to a more friendly and enjoyable work environment and who wouldn’t love that?
I’ll leave you with this… I feel that each person is like a puzzle. When they are born, they’re just a jumbled up mess. But as they meet new people and learn new things, the pieces start to fall into place. And if we are lucky enough, by the time we die, we will be complete. Sure you are going to run into a few odd shaped pieces that give you trouble along the way. But I promise you, if you ‘work’ with it a little bit, you can make it fit.
Have you had to work with an “odd shaped” piece? How did you make it work?