Five types of workers

My wife and I have planned, Lord-willing to run a half-marathon in every state — a couple of days ago we ran number seven on the big island of Hawaii.

I noticed during the race there were essentially five categories of runners and I could see each of them in the workplace.

The first we met was the ‘Statistician’. They are able to recite all the facts and figures of the races they’d ran but there seems no genuine passion for what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. Sadly, there are too many ‘Statisticians’ in the working world — fixated on performance and want to measure everything but seem to have forgotten their first love — why they started or joined the business initially. Albert Einstein spoke of the Statistician during his time at Caltech when he said: “The trouble with the statistician is, they know the cost of everything but the value of very little.”

The second type we met was the ‘Inconsistent’ — these were people who started and stopped. Then, after a short while they started up again strong, and then stopped again and walked along. This pattern repeated for 13.1 miles. We see the ‘Inconsistent’ in the working world. One day they work hard. One day they don’t. It all depends on how they feel — how they’re treated and their ever-changing views on their colleagues, customers and management. The externals largely influence the ‘Inconsistent’ worker — what happens to them dictates their spurts or slowdowns.

The third type we saw on the hills of Hawaii was the ‘Selfie’. These were the folks who kept stopping to get that ‘selfie’. Whereas the ‘Inconsistent’ stopped to huff and puff with their head down in a defeatist position the ‘Selfie’ held their head proud and strong. If their pictures had words they’d be screaming: “Look at me!” The ‘Selfie’ can be very poisonous in today’s working world, as they often don’t play well with others. Why? Well, they’re so used to being up front and center they don’t like having others in the picture: ‘Selfies’ picture themselves in the corner-office and connive about how management decisions affect the three most important people in their lives — Me, Myself and I.

Three down, two to go, to finish this race. The fourth category I observed was the ‘Hypo’. I am hearing our clients talk more and more about the ‘Hypo’ — these are “high potentials” the organization believes are destined for greatness. I always wonder what happens to the ‘Hypo’ in say 7-10 years time: did they reach their potential? Did they fall down into mediocrity or take their talents elsewhere? Sadly, we don’t get to always hear the end of the story. I saw many a ‘Hypo’ in the half-marathon: they had all the right clothing. They had all the latest accessories. They looked like they’d do great. I did see some of them fall by the wayside as they went too fast, too quickly. I’m sure some of them did finish strong — I’m just not sure how many, as I didn’t see them again.

And lastly, there’s what I would call the ‘Energizer Bunny’. They just keep going. Their energy and purpose comes from within. Not to be the hero of my own story but I like to think of myself in this last category. I’m not the fastest but I’m a finisher. Someone once said to me: “Keep running in a straight line until someone tells you to stop.” My wife and I are running these half-marathons, yes to keep reasonably fit but more importantly, we’re doing them because we love America and want to see the country we now call “home”. That’s the purpose that drives us. Yes, two days later I’m finding it difficult to walk but I have a cool medal, which is nice. The pain will pass and the medal doesn’t mean much to me but the memories will remain.

We see the Energizer Bunny in the workplace — these people work hard each and every day. They take time to recharge on the evening but they’re ready to give 100% tomorrow regardless of what’s happening around them. Their energy is within because an external force has charged them all up. Gosh, that’s deep — must be the Hawaiian air or my lack of sleep.

So we say “Mahalo” to the big island — thanks for the memories.

Leave a Reply