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"Life is short -- you should spend time working with people you enjoy." [email protected]


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I have spent a lot of time searching for this line from Eric Schmidt:

Life is short -- you should spend time working with people you enjoy.

Or as Marc Hedlund put it, Work only with people you like and believe in.

I have my own rephrasing of this that I like:

The older I get, the more I think all that matters is working with people you like.

Is there a difference between "people you enjoy" and "people you enjoy working with"?

Definitely. I can enjoy the company of someone but not feel pushed or inspired by him or her.

Personally, I think it's less about working with people you simply like, and more about working with people that make you a better person in some way. Hopefully, you like people that make you a better person.

Make you better in terms of your value system? Make you better in terms of your knowledge?

Or both?

I think both! But, it's probably up to the individual to define how s/he wants to grow.

I choose value system over knowledge since knowledge tends to disappear over time but values get stronger over time.

But, we should also to explore the unknown to make use of the limited resources....

Explore the unknown with someone whose company we enjoy.

That way we can do both!

How about getting to know the unknown and turn them into people we like....

Working with friends is key to health and career success.

I like "getting to know the unknown and turn them into people we like".

I'd rather a stranger be a friend I haven't met yet, than be an enemy I haven't met yet!

Before we become friends, we were once strangers, so turn our peers into friends and iron out differences so we can enjoy working with one another.

You make a great point.

If a person follows the policy of "don't talk to strangers" that person will not make new friends.

The possibility of a new friend is worth taking a chance on.

It's almost impossible not to like working with someone if you both share a focus on achievement and are mutually implicated in driving those results... consistent achievements bond people and create lasting friendships better than any other feeble excuse of local proximity or fickle dalliances of passion.  

At least in my experience.

Yes, but we don't always work with someone with focus. 

And we don't always achieve. 

So there's room for not liking in your model. :)

Adam, Schmidt is quoted above as saying "you should", which is prescriptive.  I shared that liking someone is inevitable given a certain type of work – one focused on achievement and requiring mutual effort to achieve progress.

Whether or not we work with "someone of focus" as you suggest was not my point.  I was simply sharing experience based on direct evidence that you inevitably like people when such circumstances are in force and you don't need to find and search out other likable people to import into your work.

I've also worked with people that didn't want to achieve, nor contribute any effort towards helping others achieve in their work, but they rarely stuck around in such above structured work environments.  Those folks also never got invited over for dinner or out for a beer either...

I'm curious about your saying "we don't always achieve".  What does that mean exactly in a work context?  Do you mean people don't often hit expected targets and results, perhaps coming up short from time to time, but at least they have performance targets and can share them with others in the workplace (which is what I'm also saying); 

or, 

Do you mean there are specific types of work people do where achievement and a focus on progress shared with others is of little value or merit (which is not what I'm saying, but I recognize as true) and that this is a majority experience of work and one should then seek out and work with likeable people instead of restructuring their work to be achievement based (which is always an option)?

I meant the first. We don't always achieve the goals we set out to achieve. 

And good point about liking being inevitable if you have shared mutual interest and effort.

Shared achievements bond people, it's true.

But doesn't that start with shared values?

I wrote above:

...liking someone is inevitable given a certain type of work – one focused on achievement and requiring mutual effort to achieve progress.

You ask and imply that people start with shared values before they do shared work.  Well yes, that could be a true statement, why not; but, it's a small and derivative aspect of the much larger point: 

The requirement of having shared values and dispositions respective to one another are irrelevant in any work as long as the work is to achieve a mutually desired goal.  

So my point is that if one engages in a certain type of work – one focused on achievement and requiring mutual effort to achieve progress – one will bond with others of any type of value system, even one initially repugnant to you.

There are so many movies here that make this point so well... where to begin... how about this oldie and goodie that speaks to how two people with racial values antagonistic to each other actually bond by being required to work together for a mutual purpose:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051525/

...and you get the drift...

Yes I do, oh defiant one. Thank you. 

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