It's not what you do but how you do it...

It's peculiar to me how many people place classification judgments on individuals and their abilities, intelligence, vocabulary, education, opinions and perceptions by the particular work title they have, rather than their actual aptitude. Some medical doctors can be quite boorish and clumsy at figuring out a patient's problem while a good mechanic can finesse a difficult car problem far better than that doctor. Some lawyers can shine a beam of light on a topic like no one else, while a mortgage broker might befuddle you on the same simplest topic in twenty minutes.  A smart manager leads their people to making their own decisions for everyone to succeed while a dictatorial floor supervisor intimidates the group into fearing for their jobs, making everyone unhappy and less productive. The lady at the front desk knows more about the locality than the professional tour guide and imparts it better. A know-it-all service rep can terrorize your service problem in an hour, while a good technical support trouble shooter can sectionalize, isolate and resolve a problem in minutes.

In my thinking our judgments about other people should have less to do with which college they went to or if they didn't go to at all, if they're a professional or a tradesman, an executive or an hourly wage earner and more about the quality of their competency and ability to communicate well. Whether a company vice president or laundry manager, the assessment should be on competency in how much knowledge and skill they have in their basic duties, how well they have priorities figured out, their ability to reason and deal with complications and how they interact with other people, both their peers and customers, in resolving them. Quality interaction is now a required component of any working environment and it's appropriate to make an appraisal of someone's skill at it on any level . Communicating well is of absolute importance since it involves listening to what someone is telling you, interpreting it correctly and what they really mean and being able to communicate back by reducing a complex issue to a simple explanation.


  1. Amen to everything you say here, JR.

    I've been thinking a lot the last few days about what you said here, and about being judgmental. I try very hard not to be and I think for the most part I succeed. I'm sure nowhere close to perfect; I think my biases tend to be defensive ones. I generally empathize with the blue-collar, underdog, worker person. I don't think that's a bad thing, and I don't really think it's anything I can change...but it is pretty limiting without that magic floating constant: you never know what else people have going on.

    Every day I go to work and sweat and think and (truth be told) am usually pretty well appreciated for my efforts...but no one knows about the songs, or the writing, or the photography, or the videos. It's not from any effort to hide any of that; I have mentioned writing songs and having videos once or twice. it's just not anything anyone I work with cares about. I guess my stories about writing a poem would be their hunting stories, but to their ears. I don't sweat it, but it DOES show that we all (or at least a lot of us) have things going on that no one we work with knows much about.

    I'm tempted to say the golden rule should be applied more than it is. I'm not sure that's the answer (I'm not even sure there's a question). I guess I just hope to show people who do good work that I appreciate their efforts. It's inspiring when it happens.

    I have no idea how this serves as a comment, but I hope it made some sense.

  2. Among the best of my friends I have "white collar," "pink collar," "blue collar," "business casual" and everything in between. They all seem to have prejudices derived from what they empathize with. I do too.

    Why it's stands out so much to me in this country is I lived in a British colony with one of my parents being of very British origin, until I was fourteen. My grandparents were in England and the class differences were very clear and distinct when I was growing up. It always struck me as odd that it is much more subtle but still in America, the symbol of reinvention, until I realized that it is a part of human nature.

    The main thing, I think, is we be aware of it.

    You are so right, most people have things going on outside of work that they're unaware of and mostly likely our co-workers wouldn't "get it" or most likely be interested in. Great thought. Thanks for commenting.