Thursday, August 20, 2009

All Things Equal

In our house... the movie Remember the Titans reigns right up there at the top of the list of favorites. I know it's a football movie, but the underlying story is just so beautiful... and I dig movies that can appeal to John's love of sports with a strong storyline that hooks me in as well.
It just so happens that it was on television recently - and a certain line in the movie always strikes a chord with me... ok - lots of them do, but this one in particular has been on my mind lately.
Coach Boone: Now I may be a mean cuss. But I'm the same mean cuss with everybody out there on that football field.
Oddly enough, I see the opposite of this happening in my office on a daily basis. Now, I know that I'm an anomaly when it comes to the working world - at least by worldly standards in today's society. I am not driven by my job... I'm not talking in a bad way here either... I'm just saying that in my eyes - my job is a means to provide the resources to do the things that I truly want to do.
Resources that provide me to be able to give back to my church - because after all - I believe that it's all God's anyway, and 10% is the least I can give to keep his house in working order. Resources to allow John and I to have a pretty great life. Resources to provide us to be able to enjoy several hobbies and activities that we are involved in. Resources to keep a roof over our heads, food on our table, our medical needs covered (for the most part), and transportation.
The point is that my job doesn't define me. It never has.
I find that in the work environment that I'm in, that doesn't always seem to be the case. It's not good or bad - it just is. There are a lot of people around me on a daily basis that do live, eat, and breathe for their jobs... and the part that gets the most amazing and frustrating to me are when those people assume that everyone should be of that same mindset.
Even worse when they have the tendency to be very feminist... which is however you define it, but very different from my personal beliefs. I've given John and our male friends a lot of grief about the Bible verses that talk about women being the helper and weaker sex... but in all reality - I fully life my life with that in mind.
So how does this relate back to the movie quote?
I think that sometimes the idea of treating everyone the same and holding everyone to the same standard is forgotten by our management. Sometimes people of certain ethnicities are held to higher standards... and with absolute certainty - people of certain genders are held to a higher standard as well. Personality differences are often regarded as being problems that should be overcome instead of being embraced... sometimes people are just wired differently - and can be more of an advantage than is realized.
For instance, my need to stay out of the spotlight - and work behind the scenes could be a HUGE advantage when paired up with someone that craves attention. My need for order and balance can greatly help someone that is chaotic... my strengths can help others and my weaknesses can allow for areas that others can pick up the slack.
I don't see that as a bad thing... I see that as being a "team" which is a term that can sometimes be used as a punchline in the working world.
I completely understand and embrace the need to push people to get them to accomplish more than they knew was possible... but at the same time - I don't think that it should bring people to their breaking point.
I guess that I've always thought that it is important to challenge people while giving them the challenges that would allow for the most potential success for them... sure, it can't always be like that... but it certainly would allow for the best possible outcome and morale for those involved.
I know that I am motivated by figuring out things that I know I can accomplish - but if the task is so large that it becomes overwhelming... I have a hard time. For me, spelling out a clear endpoint and letting me figure out how to get you to that point - is what I thrive on.
Now, my vice president is very different - and here lies our daily challenge... she is much more of a "global picture" person - meaning that she'll sort of give you some vague details and send you off to figure out how to get there... which can be viewed as a waste of time when often you find yourself spending hours working down one path and you should have been going down a vastly different one.
How do these two people come together and work harmoniously? I don't know - some days we do it - some days we don't... but above all else... higher standards and things of that nature being held relative... everyone in our department goes through these same ebbs and flows... and I'd almost rather be the one under the gun than watch others go through it.
Is that weird? I mean it almost stresses me out more to watch someone else going through a struggle that I know VERY well... and there isn't a thing I can do to help them through it.
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