Friday, May 12, 2006

Last Pick.

Writing a summary e-mail at work today, I realized that I almost neglected to include an item that someone else had worked on.

"I am not a team player," I thought, with some guilt. Chances are, if I'm not working on it, then I'm not thinking about it. Hell, I probably don't want to even know about it: That's someone else's problem.

I remember scanning want-ads in my early 20s, fresh out of college and eager to please. The ads featured hiring phrases that I initially tried to embody, and then came to loathe:

  • Team player
  • Self-starter
  • Go-getter
  • Detail-oriented
  • Flexible
What about the candidates who would rather not concern themselves with what everybody else is working on and instead plug away at an assigned task in a non-aggressive and non-anal fashion, for a specified period of time that does not include weeknights, weekends or holidays?

"Team player" bothers me because in general, I do not like "teams." I hated group projects in school, since they usually involved being forced to go over to some random person's house and share extracurricular time, not to mention a grade, with peers not of my choosing. As for team sports, I lost interest in those when puberty struck and I wasn't allowed to compete with boys anymore.

There's no "I" in team, but there is usually a windy individual who swiftly becomes despised by the others. There's usually someone who cares about everything *except* the task at hand. And there's usually someone who can hardly spell his or her own name, much less contribute anything useful.

The worst manifestation of the team is at seminars, where it is accompanied by a host of unsavory concepts such as name tags, white boards, public self-introduction, random partner assignments, working lunches and presentations. My last temp-team experience involved a "skit," role-playing, and being required to consider and reveal what kind of musical instrument I would be. At that particular event, I suppose the instrument that best expressed my performance would have been the triangle, or perhaps the gong -- you know, something that gets trotted out every once in awhile, but is usually content to hang in the corner.

So no, I do not like teams. On the other hand, I don't like being lonesome or unpaid. So I endure the team (and it endures me), while I dream of someday getting one of those elusive employments that seem autonomous yet not isolated: pop star, pro tennis player, masseuse... clown?


pbdotc said...


this is a super-triple cash money post

and i applaud it

next time i have to introduce myself at a seminar i think i'll say something that completely ruins the whole thing and must be dealt with, possible even by the authorities.

Christina said...

I like that idea. Maybe a pseudonym for starters...

pbdotc said...


yeah, like, 'well first off, sorry i'm late. i ... well i ran over someone in the parking lot and it took a while to get 'em in the trunk.'

KPC said...

As my team members often say, there may be no "I" in "team," but there are an "m" and an "e."

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