Friday, November 3, 2006

Inside the Machine

When you first take a job, you are interested in how things work and what tasks you are responsible for. This is only the first superficial level of understanding how a system like an office or a studio or a lab are run.

It is so important and illuminating when you figure out how things REALLY run. As in: how the unspoken hierarchy of people is arranged and how it influences facts and progress. I have always found this a difficult thing to figure out, but some people are geniuses at it and it can make up for miles of deficiencies in hand and brain.

Last night I was reminded of someone who is extremely cunning and deceptive but, to my astonishment, manages to engender respect and adoration from everyone she encounters. She worked at my last place of work and, needless to say, I hated her. But it did me no good, she had a one way ticket to the tower of power and I was just, well, a loser in comparison.

This woman was evil, green slime leaked out of her pores, practically. But she was a magician, things happened before my eyes that could not be explained by logic or science. I hated her and her ways with such vengeance, but I admired her too. She had the only skill that matters in the end, people skills.

Again, I am reminded of how people skills trump even the most refined quiet skill. I am hit with this realization time and time again but I don’t always know what it means to have people skills. It does not mean you are honest, it means you talk a lot but you don't have to have anything worthy to say, it means you smile a lot and kid around with the people above you and it means you are confident far beyond your means.

I like to find out how these internal political systems run, and about the people who exploit them, but it takes me a while and once I have figured it out, it is usually too late for me. I have already been branded, and it is all but over.

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