Monday, October 12, 2009

"Leaving the Ego" vs. "Pride in Your Work"

Egos definitely play a bigger role in the world of work than I would have guessed in my innocent (that's actually pretty much true) high school days. Even in college, the few one crazy job experiences I had, I chalked up to the fact that summer jobs are supposed to be crazy.

Really, though, I think the American workplace has set itself up for failure in this regard. You're supposed to "check your ego at the door," and be a team player, but there's also an ideal of self-made business-men and -women clawing their ways to the top. On a less dramatic note, part of the quality of our work is supposed to come from taking pride in our work--it's not very far from pride to ego.

Generally, I feel like I am pretty good at working in groups and putting the good of the library above my own ego. Still, there are times when I catch myself on an ego trip--such as when a project I've been working on suddenly has a portion replaced with work from someone else.

I have experience jobs where egos seem to be a non-issue, and jobs where they are the elephant in the closet, and I'm trying to figure out how this happens. I'm sure that ego-less workplaces partially arise due to how an organization is managed, but I think there's also a concerted effort from the hoi polloi to be nice and make sure everyone else is nice, too!

Do any of you have insight into how this works?

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