Does your ego get in the way of your work?


There is something I say to every employer I ever have when they try to get me emotionally triggered in some sort of debate or decision making process where we find ourselves at odds, “I do not get paid enough for my ego to get involved.”

Oftentimes I find people in the work place claim to “not care” or be objective about a work product, but then you find the one topic they are in their minds experts in the field. Why do I say “in their mind”? Because if they were truly the experts in the field, I would hope they would be writing the books that guide us, and not simply having a series of tense conversations with coworkers attempting to convince people they are experts and therefore correct on the issue.

The truth of the matter is, even if I think others are wrong, I will do whatever the organization I work for decides. That is a simplification of it, of course. I present my position, show my research and supporting data, and explain why it applies to the current situation or project. If after stating my case I am told to do things in a different manner, then I will do as told (barring anything illegal or harmful). Of course, I maintain my receipts – I keep note and emails of my attempts to present my side, in the event that my position be called to question or it is determined that the path I presented was the one expected, I can defend my actions as presenting the correct path before being overruled.

Despite my experience, industry standard, current research, I will do what the organization requests as long as I have provided educated options for consideration. I do not push, press, or fight for the methods I use to be applied. Why? Because it is not my organization, and my ego is not part of the equation. I find that when we get to a point where a person is refusing to stand down on their methods of doing something and refuse to acquiesce their ego has entered the chat. This… This is a bad place to be.

Disclaimer: I know I am speaking vaguely but I mean tasks such as how to present a program, how to write a paper, how to design a website, how to clean a room – things that are essential to work but not detrimental. Things have have no one objectively correct method, but instead many means to the same end.

Let’s talk about ego and work. I am no expert in the matter, but I know when I see it. I know when I feel it. One of the most professionally destructive and alienating things you can do is lead with your ego. Your ego is always a part of you. It plays a crucial role in your success, but can also play the lead role in your failures. Understanding your ego and how to manage it, is the best way to move through life, otherwise you will find yourself on the wrong end of a lot of perceptions. The worst part about ego is that the person it hurts the most ultimately is you. So maybe take a page out of my book, and try to check your ego at the door! For your sanity, and those around you.