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One More Trait to Fake

11 Mar 2012

A snippet from my annual performance review.

My Boss: You had another great year.

Me: But?

My Boss: Your people skills.

Me: I’m working on them, but you know I’m not going to become you. It’s not in me.

My Boss: I know, but you’re better now than when you started.

Me: Yes. I still call people idiots, but I do it in my head like you told me to.

My Boss: That’s good.

Me: But?

My Boss: There’s something else you should do.

Me: Yes?

My Boss: When someone asks you a question, don’t answer right away.

Me (very confused): Why?

My Boss: When someone asks you a question and you give the answer without even having to think about it, it makes that person feel stupid.

Me: I’m not trying to make anyone feel stupid.

My Boss: I know. You just think faster than most people.

Me: I think it’s efficient. And when I’m juggling multiple projects, efficiency is good, isn’t it?

My Boss: Yes. I’m not asking you to slow down. I want you to take a few seconds after someone asks you a question, like you have to think about it, then answer.

Me: So, you want me to fake being slow.

My Boss: Yes.

Me: I’ll try.

My Boss: Especially with senior executives.

Me: Oh.

(Sometimes I entertain thoughts of going back to the high tech industry…but my boss always comes through with a decent raise. Yes, I have a price.)

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