Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Norse God Career Knowledge

Recently I took in the movie Thor, the latest in a seemingly endless number of superhero-themed films that are debuting monthly. My usual SOP when I go see one of these guilty pleasures is to 1.) buy a ticket; 2.) buy popcorn; 3.) enter theatre; and 4.) turn off brain. Thor was different: not only a lot of fun to watch with great special effects and actors who seemed to really care about their performances, but I could see parallels between the plight Thor created for himself and the situations of Thor-like individuals. Let's discuss this, and in the interest of those who have not see the film yet and want to, SPOILER ALERT!

Arrogance: Arrogant employees over-inflate their self worth, and Thor saw himself as God's gift (or, more appropriately, a god's gift: his father Odin) to Asgard. No battle could be lost if he was a part of it, and Thor did like to fight. He almost brought down his father's kingdom because of his arrogance...just like an arrogant worker can decimate productive teams, sabotage projects, and make work environments unbearable. It's not to say that those who are arrogant are incompetent; most aren't. But if their attitude is affecting productivity, it needs to be addressed.

Being head-strong: Thor nearly started a war with a neighboring kingdom because he followed a philosophy of "point, shoot, aim." He did not think through the consequences of his actions before he acted and the consequences could have been dire. The intervention of his father held peace in check for a time but the relationship between father and son was significantly strained. Thus, before you go charging in a direction that you are just certain is the right one, pause to consider what the impact of your actions will be and how they might not be well-received. Ambition and activity can be good things, but they must be tempered with wisdom and thoughtfulness.

Holding one's own interests: In all of his actions that led to his banishment from Asgard, Thor held his own interests above his father's, his people, his kingdom. A team cannot function if there are those who are prioritizing their own needs above that of the group, for often those interests contradict each other. There is plenty of success to go around for everyone, and if those who keep their interests close to them realize that, they will soon be accomplishing their goals.

There is a saying that "no one ever choked to death swallowing his pride.” Perhaps if Thor pondered this quote he would have made different, more productive choices. Be it in your career or your job search, keep your pride in check and heed the lessons learned from a Norse deity: you'll be better for it.

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