Clicking at work

Interpersonal skills are often very important for success at work. Think about this for your own career, and if you’re hiring people.

By aggregating new research from various fields—since no specific discipline addresses the phenomenon— we endeavored upon a project to find what actually happens when two people click. More importantly, we wanted to discover if and how these moments shape our lives. While researching this topic, we initially discovered two big surprises. First, some people are more naturally inclined to form clicking relationships. Second, these people are much more likely to succeed in the workplace. Clicking at work can mean a promotion, a raise, or a position at the center of the company’s social network. Take someone like Moseley. “I do an accountant’s job, which is really administrative,” she reflected. “Because of my relationship with Kelly, I now get invited to events, meetings, and conferences that I’d have no business going to as an accountant.” Professionally, the relationship was mutually beneficial. “Knowing Heather,” McVicker says, “I find out what’s on people’s minds. As a supervisor this is crucial information.”

Moseley wasn’t strategically kissing up to a superior. Rather, she possesses a trait that University of Minnesota psychologist Mark Snyder has dubbed “high self-monitoring.” By interviewing subjects about their ability to imitate the behavior of others and to become the center of attention, Snyder developed a scale of self-monitoring. High self-monitors, he discovered, are social chameleons. Without even realizing it, they adapt their personalities, behavior, and attitudes to fit the people around them. They pick up subtle social cues and tailor their responses to the situation.

Adaptability – that’s the key. It’s not being fake, just understanding that context is everything, and work is no exception.


More workers use the beach as their office


This is a great trend. With easy high-speed Internet access and improved technology, more people can work anywhere they like, and many of them are choosing to work at the beach.

While you’re Dilberting away in your cubicle, there are people taking conference calls in board shorts and flip-flops. While you’re saving your two weeks of vacation to hit the sand, they’re getting paid to be there. There are people—even respectable people—who have somehow turned a folding chair into a place of work.

Aided by technology, pioneers are now converting the beach into a fully functional office. People who work from the beach in non-hotel, non-burger-stand, non-pot-dealer capacities are still rare enough that no agency tracks the phenomenon. Brooks Brothers does not yet make a three-piece bathing suit; Herman Miller doesn’t sell an Aeron chaise.

It’s not like these beach workers are slackers; they just don’t like being controlled. It’s the same reason why we TiVo shows or e-mail and text more than call. When you can work from wherever you want to be—especially if it’s the place where everyone wants to be—work isn’t so bad.

It helps to be self-employed.

Yes, it definitely helps to be self-employed. It’s frankly one of the best reasons to take control of your career and start your own business from home . . . or the beach.

That said, this option is open to everyone who is willing to take more control of their career. Sure, you may not be able to do it all the time, but you’d be surprised how often you can escape the office if you begin to train your boss.

This is one of the arguments popularized by Tim Ferris. Check out his site at 4-Hour Workweek for ways to do this. In a nutshell, they key is showing your boss over time that you can spend days away from the office and still be just as productive. Once you establish this, it won’t matter whether you do this from your home or from an exotic beach. He doesn’t have to know and he shouldn’t care if he does.


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