Above is one of my favorite places to visit along Highway 1 near Half Moon Bay. On this visit I was able to capture both the beauty of nature as well as the desire of people to spend time together. Human interactions can be complex and challenging. Most of my day at work is spent using my ability to visual in my mind what others describes in words to create three dimensional models to convey an idea or concept. At times it’s easier to sit at my computer and dream up ways to manufacture parts for scientific experiments than to deal with some of the people I have known over the years.
They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
~ Edgar Allan Poe ~
There was a time when my teachers called me a day dreamer. A high school Regional Occupational Program instructor captured my imagination and taught me the skills to be a draftsman. What many viewed as a lack of concentration when I was younger turned out to be an untapped skill. My vivid imagination has served me well in my career as a designer.
On a recent walk Lisa shared her observation that I am methodical in what I do.
method: A suitable and convenient arrangement of things, proceedings or ideas; the natural or regular disposition of separate things or parts; convenient order for transacting business, or for comprehending any complicated subject.
~ Webster Dictionary 1828 ~
As I pondered this observation, I would have to agree that I am methodical as to how I approach a problem due to my natural tendency to observe how things function. This can be something as simple as traffic patterns during rush hour to the complexities of human interactions during a not so pleasant business meeting. I have learned to use these tense meetings to discover more about how people interact. I have also learned how to deal with difficult people in various classes. Both practical and direct observations have exposed several traits that seem to exist in people who can be difficult:
- Inflated view of one’s abilities
- A know-it-all attitude
- I can do-it-all thinking
- My way is the best way
- Poor listener
I’m certain there are many other traits I could add to this list, but I digress. I have worked with many brilliant and successful people in the past 35 years. In some cases there is a correlation between one’s position and how they treat the people below them. I have always made an effort to treat all people the same, from the custodians to the managers. A interesting outcome is that the custodians will go the extra mile to make sure my trash is emptied whereas the managers forget my name. Kindness can go a long ways in building relationships with people.
Another result of being with the same employer for so long, I have been able to observe how people evolve over time. Some of those who were difficult to work with eventually destroyed their own careers. Others somehow advance to a position where they have perceived power but managers above them clearly see their shortcomings. Many of these leaders become mediocre managers who are a drain on the organizations resources. Others have just enough success to make those working for them miserable while keeping their boss happy. A fraction of these become politically astute and attempt to destroy the careers of the good people who they see as a threat. During my career I have worked for all of these people and my integrity has allowed me to weathered the storms. I’m thankful for the supervisors and managers who have looked beyond the smoke screen to see the truth.
What all of these experiences have taught me is that time will expose the lack of integrity. It is best to be truthful, honest, and kind. These traits will make your life less stressful and bring happiness at the end of the day.