I can be a hopelessly frustrated and irritable sort. Nowhere is that more apparent than when I’m behind the wheel. I’m not a road-rager, per se (don’t quote me), but I do consider myself one of the handful of people who really knows how to drive correctly. That means that on any given day, literally thousands of you , (excuse me) other drivers offer me the opportunity to coach, advise, kvetch, bitch, and/or vent. It’s maddening, but drive I must – quickly, assertively, decisively, and without hesitation, trying my best to dish out tough love to those around me.
Why do I tell you this? Besides the obvious opportunity to glorify my unrecognized driving prowess, I’m also bringing to light the identity of my arch-nemesis – the “Left-Lane Monitor.” The yin to my yang, the push to my pull, this creature is the most infuriating foe I encounter in my travels. Whereas I may be an aggressive driver, this person is decidedly passive-aggressive. [Note: This does not include the obliviot, who may mindlessly drive in the left lane for miles without realizing they are an impediment to fluid traffic patterns. Mom, are you reading this?] No, “The Monitor” is different. This person is happy to consciously plant him/herself in the speed lane (or “passing lane”) at exactly the posted speed limit, absorb any amount of scorn/hand-signals/flashing headlights/vicious horn usage in their continuing efforts to act as the safety monitor for all of us. Their respective mission in life is to restrict others from surpassing a speed which they have determined as appropriate. Admit it, you’ve imagined turrets on your hood when faced with this driver….maddening.
Not surprisingly, I tend to work this way as well – not recklessly, mind you, but quickly, decisively, and yes – sometimes aggressively. So I ask you, as one HR professional to another, are you in the left lane?
Have you assumed a position of “power” by controlling the pace of others around you? Does speed scare you? Are you impeding progress?
No fingers pointed, as I’m fairly certain that most of my readers are made of different stuff, but I’m guessing you know of those who fit the Left-lane Monitor description.
And they are killing Human Resources.
The challenge for us is that many times the “Monitor” is at the upper-levels of HR, perfectly content to safeguard the prime real estate they occupy. It’s part of the gig, the higher you go, the more you have to lose, so why take a risk? Just stick to your left lane, let those other folks deal with it.
If you do know these people, let them know you’re there, anxiously waiting to increase the speed to your desired location; without someone closely riding their rear bumper, there’s no reason to let us pass.
Move it the hell over bud, we got places to go.
*This post is an excerpt from “The Physics of HR,” available in late 2015.