" You, you are the guy Dick Harper, we need YOU to go out there and get your positive spin working for us".
That is a line from an important scene in the movie "Fun with Dick and Jane". At a breakfast 'orientation' meeting, the kinds reserved for senior management, The CEO asks the new VP of Communications to represent their Corporation, 'Globodyne' in that afternoon's episode of 'Money Life' â€“ a high profile business show on TV. What ensues is pure public slander as the Host of the show asks pointed questions to an unsuspecting Dick. For e.g.: Why has the CEO, over the last year, sold off more than 80% of his stocks? A Presidential-hopeful candidate joins the show Live & calls the Management of such corporations a disgrace, responsible for 'perverting the American Dream'. A fumbling Dick manages to say that he will be more than willing to share the correct statistics while the Stock Alert on the right of the screen shows the Globodyne stock plummeting and finally reaching zero!
The drama of this scene never left me. I had empathised with Jim Carrey in his performance as Dick Harper when he enacted pure joy at even the prospect of this promotion. Fifteen years, he tells his wife, he had slogged for the 'Vice President' tag and it was finally his. The tragic hopelessness of the situation, despite its comic representation was stark.
Interestingly, most of us equate our sense of self importance to our success at work. The fact is, that our definition of professional success is so miniscule in the Corporation's overall scheme of things that it would have been funny had it not been true. What happened to DH maybe too dramatic but more often than not, in a real life situation, we are totally unaware of whether we are really doing well or are we sailing on a sinking ship. Given this fact, we cannot allow highs and lows at work become personal highs and lows. It is impossible to detach completely but it is important to keep a watch on what else, what else is gratifying beyond the job. To some I know, their performance at work becomes a representative of their self image. Not only is that alarming to self development, it is also self destructive. A spate of bad years at work sometimes, manages to strike an irreparable blow to the confidence levels of some.
It affects personal relationships as well. I recently read a 'Human Communications' Research Paper. In it, empirical evidence had been cited to correlate self esteem at work to 'Communication apprehension' in individuals. The result of such an apprehension, I don't need to stress, adversely affects relationships at all levels. It can be far more damaging than what meets the eye.
The way out, then, is through humour. The key is not only to not take oneself seriously, but it is to not take anyone seriously! Below is a quadrant that Scott Adams had illustrated in his seminal book â€“ the Joy of work. In the chapter on 'Managing the Boss', he had indicated that bosses may be categorised in 4 quadrants and dependant on where your's fits, you should form your own strategy to deal with him/her.
(Capable â€“ Harmless) â€“ Upward delegate.
(Capable â€“ Evil) â€“ Divert focus towards co-workers.
(Incompetent- Harmless) â€“ Keep in close proximity for entertainment value.
(Incompetent â€“ Evil) â€“ Stay as far as possible.
The impact of this quadrant has been so huge on my mind that ever since I read this, I have made quadrants for almost all colleagues at work and I have developed my own strategies to deal with each of them. Consequently, I am a happy, self motivated employee with very little intervention required from my managers. I continue collecting and watching movies like 'Fun with Dick and Jane', and reading all of Scott Adams I can lay my hands on. I also continue spreading the good word among my friends, through mediums of personally enriching conversations and now my blog. You should consider doing the same :-)
[The author is a private banker, financial content writer and teacher. This article, first posted on her blog, reflects the writer's personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of IBTimes India.]