The ideal worker? I’m an idler and proud of it

I heard in a podcast lately that the age of the “Process-oriented” worker is out and the era of the  “Creative” worker is on the rise.   Sometimes I’m slightly irked by such broad statements because part of me thinks… while it’s nice to be creative and have no limits to one’s imagination, there are points where we still have to come back to Earth and translate our ideas into application.

My question is… instead of booting the “Process-oriented” worker out the door, why not get these structured individuals to work well with the “Creative types?”

Easier said than done.  I suppose I could make a great deal of cash if I figure that out. I suspect that the reason why so many corporations are hot on innovation (teaching innovation- or innovative behaviors) lately is that they’ve pounded the creativity out of many of their normally creative workers by demanding that they fit in a more ‘process-driven’ mold, but that’s another train of thought that I should explore in another post.

I can see where I frustrate some of the more process-oriented people at work. By the way I’m not qualifying myself as ‘truly’ creative more than I’m just an insomniac who likes to connect things or make connections between people, ideas, tools and processes.  I found this reference on the a blog “Creative Generalist” to a work type defined by  Tom Hodgkinson called the “Idler.”  I’ve decided that I actually fit this to a tee:

He may work all night, all weekend and sleep till noon in the week. This is because the idler is more interested in the results of his labour than in the amount of hours he has to put in. Again, thse unpredictable working habits disturb the non-idler, who likes to see workers arranged neatly in rows and working to certain schedules.

I think I’m going to have to read more deeply on the subject of idling, because what I would like to develop eventually is a sort of handbook: “Care and Feeding of Your Domestic Idler.” Soon to be folllowed by “How to Socialize Your Idler with Process Driven Employees.”

So, I’m an Idler but I’ve learned to don camoflauge of the corporate worker-bee and I’ve ever becoming adept in the lingua-franca of Project Managementese, and I’ve learned how to weave a Gantt chart and set timelines and schedules.  I can be the yes dudette along with the best of them (sometimes). Though it still does irk me when people keep plugging at me and asking …but if we added another person or resources, would you be able to do that?  Huh, huh, huh…. Would you? My smart-aleck response is usually, sure… I’ll get Harvey (the six foot tall pink rabbit) to start working on that right away.

I guess my biggest deal with process/project management and being a truly innovative employee is I feel that sometimes the staple-by-the-book  ‘project management’  solutions don’t really address the need to have time to be creative or to explore ideas and solutions that aren’t previously benchmarked or ‘proven’ to be safe risks. Also, I do feel that while Project Management is an incredibly useful and essential skill I do believe that it becomes a panacea or solution to end all delivery problems.  As a result, an organization may not place some needed attention on fostering team-work and creativity. Maybe this is true of companies that have a very strong manufacturing culture. (Tom Hodgkinson)


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