Apr 21, 2011

Do you need to live you work in order to be good on it?

There's different level of devotion to work. There are guys who really live the work life with all of their cells. They are genuinely interested on the subject area of their work. Then there are the other kind of people, those who work and are interested on their area, but they don't really live it. Are ones better than the others?

I know some people, who really live their work with every cell of their body. They seem to know everything that's happening in that area. They know all the fancy stuff and latest trends in their area. They can be seen as gurus of knowledge in that specific area.

Then the other people, which I think most of people actually are, those who do keep track on their work life during work times. Still they are not that devoted to the work that they don't use their spare time to keep up with work related stuff.

So do you need to live your work in order to be good on it?

The first ones are in many ways good on keeping up the competition. They can drive changes more easily and can be quite a fact droppers. They can eat alive all the others with their superior facts about area of interest. They really help all the others to keep up with technology or interest just by sharing so much valuable information about surrounding environment.

Bad side on the devoted ones is, that they often doesn't seem to value opinions of the less educated ones. In many cases that might be excusable, but also they might miss some important point of views at the same time. There's two sides on this one too, part of those devoted ones can't get away from the main stream thinking of the topic under interest. They can't really invent anything other than the things that other devoted ones also see and invent. There are exceptions, there are guys who know everything, but still can see the trees from the forest.

What about the ones which are not devoted to their work? Are they less valuable workers?

Surely they can't be as knowledgeable about all the things happening in their field that the other ones, but they still can keep quite well up-to-date if they just want to. Their main benefit comes from possibility to see the totally stupid things out of new thinking in their field. They might have better position to model what they see with some other knowledge they've got from their different interest field. Of course that requires that there are some real interests, other than TV and the yellow press.

As dull it might sound, there's room for both. In order to stay on leading edge of something, you really need devotion. There needs to be true interest to always keep up with latest that is happening on the field. But also there needs to be this larger and different points of view. There needs to be people who can see things differently and map things surprisingly.

Maybe the most worrying thing on the devoted ones, is that they can easily demotivate the ones that are interested on other things on their spare time. There's a change that really motivated, but not devoted ones, are put down just because they don't seem that motivated and capable due to their personal priorities being something else than work.

It's a true challenge for managers to get these people to work effectively together.  

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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