Here’s another good game for imposing simplified Platonic categories onto the chaotic mass of humanity: work types. I’ve carefully avoided business management books as best I can throughout my career, so I expect this has already been written about many times, but two broad categories of worker I’ve noticed are tortoises and hares.
It’s obvious enough: tortoises fill the 9 to 5 day with a steady, even distribution of work, while hares work in short furious bursts of super-activity interspersed with long periods of idle, almost braindead doziness.
(I’m so much at the hare end of the spectrum that it’s possibly bordering on mental illness. Certainly it’s a running joke in my office. uh oh, he’s off on one again. Back here Martpol suggested that I must be having a ‘quiet Friday afternoon’ on the grounds that I posted three ridiculous missives in a day. In fact the opposite is the case: you can be pretty sure that if ToE is busy then I’m also simultaneously banging away at numerous real work projects, plotting strange and unrealisable epic prose-poems, compiling a fantasy all-time cricket XI etc*; whereas if ToE is quiet, then picture me sitting staring into the middle distance without a thought in my head, drooling gently onto my collar, and pound to a penny you won't be far off the mark.)
I’m very lucky in that my job is ideally suited to haredom – project-based, unsupervised and based on results rather than clock-punching. For small businesses, getting hares in tortoise jobs and vice versa can be disastrous. A hare in a tortoise job will be slapdash and demoralised; a tortoise in a hare job will never get anything finished because they’ll endlessly try to perfect the minutiae.
It’s up to employers to get the right ones in the right jobs. The problem being, of course, that humanity is a chaotic mass and most people don’t fit neatly into the categories, being Hartoises and Tares and so on, which is why business management books never work and why this whole post was, ultimately, a bit of a waste of time. Still, we soldier on, we soldier on.
*That's another stupid myth, isn't it, that only women can multi-task?