Do You Like People?
I’ve blogged about introverts and extroverts, broad categories that define how we react to social settings and theorized that our profession may attract the former. Social butterflies and gadflies alike stand out in any laboratory. But that is their nature.
Working with people in general, introverted or otherwise, can be difficult. Professional differences, pecking orders, local culture, gender roles, and ageism can all drive wedges between individuals and groups. I’ve worked in places where individuals, managers, or whole departments are rude. Patients and family members can also be difficult, demanding, or unpleasant. It’s all part of the magic.
But often enough I’ll hear someone say, “I hate people.”
I’ve said this too, usually after shopping at a crowded retail store for an hour to get one item. My guess is most of the shoppers would happily agree. It’s just difficult to cram so many people into one area shopping for scattered items with three cashiers. I think this kind of frustration is common. But generally I don’t mind people. They are what they are.
The “I hate people” reaction is more of a general workplace preference. Some people don’t like working with the public. These are the techs who avoid answering the telephone, don’t volunteer to talk about the lab at the local high school, and prefer email over conversation. As with many statements of frustration and exasperation, the confession is exaggerated. I suspect what these individuals really mean is “I don’t want to work with the public.”
I hear that, having worked retail.
As with introverts and extroverts, I wonder if there is a tendency in certain professions to naturally select those who enjoy working with and for customers. The public can be a fickle beast, but the work can be rewarding. I can imagine, for example, that social workers like working with the public. Perhaps, nursing also falls in that category. But I can just as readily imagine that the lone night tech would just as soon never see “the public” again. Maybe.
How about you ? Do you like people?
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