Too efficient

12:00:00 AM

So a friend emailed me the link to an article he found on LinkedIn written by Beth Comstock, CMO at GE. She shares how, a decade ago, GE CEO Jack Welch hung up on her. Thinking the line got disconnected, she dialed Mr. Welch's assistant, who informed her that the big boss cut the line on purpose. The problem was that Comstock was she was too efficient. (Click here for the link to the full article.)

I used to be like that. I was the model of efficiency. When I was still in SMX, I was the one-woman Marketing and Communications Department, and I handled three major event facilities. I was very efficient in my job, and my bosses gave me credit. One of them even said that I did the work of an army, which I thought was quite flattering. Nobody questioned my capacity to get the job done. Nobody questioned my love for the job, and for the brands.

I was a robot. In heels. Yes.
(image from the internet)
But I got into a lot of fights. Some were cold wars, others were all-out riots. I was young so I wasn't exactly mature. I won't go into detail, but the bottom line is, I was a bitch (there, I said it). I went to work to work, and I didn't bother with human connections. I forgot about the people around me. To enjoy their company. To get to know them. To connect with them. Except MM (my ex-boss) and a handful of other good people, the only connections I made with people there were based on the relation of their function to mine. They didn’t exist if my department didn’t need anything from them.

Indeed, Comstock was talking about me, too, in her article. Little Miss Too Efficient, who never took time to get to know and to understand people. In turn, people never really got to know me. They didn't know that I'm driven by a strong desire to excel and that I don't mean to be mean to them. They didn't see me as a potential friend, rather as someone they're glad to leave in the office when they clocked out in the afternoon. I knew people hated me, and for the longest time, I didn't care because all that mattered to me was the job and what had to be done.
Master juggler
(image from the internet)
To be fair to myself, I know that I’ve come a long way from the lady described in the article. My mother’s death was a huge wake-up call. She died quite young (which is why I’m going to try quitting smoking again), but I know she lived a full life if the number of people who went to her wake was any indication. Most of the people who went were her colleagues and subordinates in PLDT, and I could feel that they really did love her. At the time, I knew I didn’t have that in SMX. Mother was Little Miss Efficient, too, but she knew people. She treated them well, and she connected with them.

So when I switched jobs, I switched attitudes, too. I became a person at work, not just a worker. And that choice led to me looking at people as people. I still forget sometimes, but I know that I'm much better to work with now than before. Sometimes I find it funny when people at work tell me that I'm such a warm person, because just a few ago, I was a cold-hearted bitch. I've always been sweet to close friends and family, but I have a hard time showing that side of me to people at work because I didn't want personal connections in a professional environment.

But people are people. Personal connections are not only inevitable, they should actually be encouraged. There is a way to make friends while maintaining professionalism; the two are not mutually exclusive. My mother's passing was unfortunate, but at least it wasn't for nothing, because I learned this most important lesson on humanity.


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