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brain fART

Helprpa040001There was a great article in this morning's Des Moines Register about a Vice President at Principal Financial Group, Jerry Patterson, who turns the corporate antics around him into art.  Having been employed by and contracted at PFG, I'm sure there is no lack of corporate fodder to inspire him.  His artwork has a bit of an edge to it, playing off the years of material he's observed while working at the Des Moines employment giant.  You can view some of his artwork at his website, including the image to the right.  Congratulations, Jerry, on the well-deserved publicity.

I've been thinking about creative outlets quite a bit recently.  Scott Adams turned his days of dysfunctionality at one of the Baby Bells into Dilbert.  Personally, I have journals bursting at the seams with notes about specific people and their behaviors over the years.  Earlier in my career, I figured out that I could either let the difficult personalities get to me, or I could just make a few notes about them during the exchange and preserve the moment for later.  The results of that behavioral record-keeping have been Race Through The Forest and GUST.  The best compliments I receive on either book are when people ask if I've been spying on them in their companies.  Regardless of which "big box employer" or "small mom and pop shop" you work for, there will always be bad behavior.

The question is:  do you let it get to you or have you created an effective and healthy way of coping with it?


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Coping with those outside the bell curve is tricky. I do keep a little project notebook and discreetly jot notes and move on (similar to your strategy). If they are team members or even sponsors, I have to pretty directly clarify roles, responsibilities and expectations and consistently reinforce that. I'll be interested to see how others respond.

Josh More

I generally work towards a consensus, which means a lot of fighting at first, but everyone goes home fairly happy. This could be one of the differences between large business and small-medium (where I play). I've found significantly fewer politics and personality conflicts when everyone is clearly striving towards the same goal.

Eric Peterson

Unfortunately, I probably let it get to me more than I should. I need to try and develop a creative way to deal with it, but I haven't seem to come up with a good system. Jotting notes might be something to try, but do you have any other suggestions?



Optimists always see something positive in negatives (and even turn negatives into positives). As someone who can sometimes be a bit negative, I value this article.

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