Incompatible Qualities

N’s work evaluations say he “totally rocks” (this is the official formulation)  on research and needs to improve the sales aspect and interaction with customers.

What nobody seems to realize is that nobody can be both things at once. Good salespeople lack the personal qualities that make good researchers. And scholars don’t have the qualities needed to make good sales.

It’s the same in one’s personal life. If you want a romantic partner who is sensitive, gentle and kind, don’t expect this same person to make a packet of money and buy you a jet. If you want a sexually voracious, passionate partner, don’t expect this same person to be calm, quiet, meek and reasonable when discussing what to make for dinner or what political party to support.

Or, to put it more succinctly, if a person possesses a certain quality, this quality will make itself felt in a wide variety of circumstances.

9 thoughts on “Incompatible Qualities

  1. People have a lot of bull* formulations. My biggest encounter with one was quite personal. I have a really good mind for pattern recognition, both in social and systemic contexts. That is my fundamental skill. But I am very poor on detail. I just don’t find a lot of things interesting enough to capture my attention.

    As a result, in the past, I had masses of people accusing me of being possessed by huge intellectual pretensions and to be placing myself way above my league, because quite clearly, in their views, I was a dunce who couldn’t even focus on what was in front of me.

    The metaphysical demand that some people have, that one must plod up a ladder of accomplishments gradually, but not to flower as an intellectual until one has deposited one’s foot on every rung of the aspirational ladder, is crazy-making. “You have to be social and detail-oriented before you become a thinker, otherwise you are a narcissist and a pretender!”

    I am, to this day, traumatized by this demand, but more so by the fact that I tried to accommodate it. I developed extreme doubts about my abilities to attend to detail and to socialize effectively that I didn’t have before these sorts of people got on my case.

    Ultimately, I had to erase all that weird programming and my attempts to integrate it. I wiped the slate clean and went back to how I was thinking before I became a migrant. So long as I don’t try to adjust to other people’s demands and weird ideological expectations, things seem to go swimmingly.

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    1. And the majority of the guys who attacked me in this way were leftists of the Stalinist sort, who thought that everybody should be the same, sunken in the mire of an antagonistic “equality”. Later, I was attacked by those who considered themselves “Nietzscheans” but were actually advocates of any extreme form of mob mentality that they could follow on the bandwagon.

      I came to realize how very little people can use any critical thinking skills.

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  2. Oh my GOD I am so sick of my fellow Americans assuming everyone can be all things to all people “if they just try.” The sales/people skills thing is the worst: my entire life has been a struggle to avoid being forced to be a “people person” because I have NO ability to do so, and as that personality trait is also necessary in order to be a salesperson, I can’t do that either. Guess what job is considered so quintessentially American that saying you neither want to nor can do it is basically saying you’re un-American. Guess what job I keep getting offered despite the fact that I put right there on my resume: “does NOT want any type of sales or commission-based position.” *angry face*

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  3. Work evaluations? I sense HR-isms in the “needs to improve” statements. Frequently they come up with that in order to justify not giving raises. I’ll bet they didn’t hire N for his salesmanship.

    I find I lack the cheerful cold optimism and the need to please people that corporate America seems to demand of everyone. No, I’m not always thrilled to see you. No, I’m not going to apologize for someone else’s faults because you are personally irate and you’re in front of me. I am not emotional mood-lighting. As a customer, I find most attempts to personally flatter me weird and off-putting.

    I was a terrible seller of grapefruit and cookies for fundraisers as a kid. I just couldn’t be bothered. I was far more interested in my own creative efforts and sucking up information from the encyclopedia.

    I’m going to be polite, but I’m not going to prop up your ego.

    (If it makes any sense to you, I test as an INTP on Myers-Briggs.)

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  4. “If you want a sexually voracious, passionate partner, don’t expect this same person to be calm, quiet, meek and reasonable when discussing what to make for dinner or what political party to support.”

    I’m not sure about this! 😉

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