But is not being a “yes man” a good thing or a bad thing, job-searchwise?

Jack Van Loan, continuing to promote Steve Benjamin’s candidacy for mayor of Colatown, is hosting a serious of informal meetings with the candidate and folks Jack hopes will support him, or at least offer constructive feedback.

I was one of the guests for coffee this morning. As I’ve done with Vincent Sheheen and everyone else, I made it clear from the outset that I was just there to collect info, that I have NOT decided whom to support. I like Steve, but I also like Mayor Bob. They said fine, they understood.

Anyway, perhaps because of that statement on my part, but probably also based on knowing me over the years, Jack said something at the end of the meeting that got me to thinking about my own situation. I forget the exact context. I think he was saying he hoped Steve would get support among people who think for themselves. Anyway, here’s what he said:

This guy is the last guy in the world if you want a “yes man.”

He was indicating me when he said it.

I thanked him for the compliment — and coming from my friend Jack, I knew it was a compliment — but then I thought, Is it a good thing for people to think of me that way? Is it good, in particular, for prospective employers to think of me that way?

There’s no doubt that it’s accurate. It’s not that I’m not a team player — I am very much a team player, vigorously so, once I’ve made up my mind to be on the team. But I may take some persuading.

A couple of nights ago, I watched the Jim Carry vehicle “Yes Man” (which by the way was a lot better than I thought it was going to be). The idea was that a very negative guy resolved to start saying “Yes” to life, “Yes” in all circumstances, and it made him more open to life and happier — until it started to catch up with him.

I’m not a negative guy, certainly not the way the Carrey character was. But I do question, and challenge, and need to be persuaded if you want me on board. Once I am on board, I’ll be your fiercest ally. Under certain circumstances, I’m thinking that could be invaluable to the right employer. But do the employers themselves think so?

5 thoughts on “But is not being a “yes man” a good thing or a bad thing, job-searchwise?

  1. kbfenner

    You’re an INTP or J. It’s a hard sell, regrettably, because you guys make excellent employees–very loyal indeed once you’re convinced. People like me, ENFJs, interview wonderfully, but can get sidetracked feeling everyone’s pain, helping everybody, etc., and become pains in the neck.

    Take a copy of your Myers Briggs profile and what it means. My husband is an INTP. I know of what I speak.

  2. BillC

    Brad’s a “yes man” when it comes to Mayor Bob. “Yahsa massa Bob… you are correct, I concur with your every word. Can I shake that for you?”

  3. Randy E

    Brad, in your profession isn’t the think for yourself, principled approach fundamental to your most important resource, your credibility? Given this, wouldn’t you eschew any position that asked you to compromise your journalistic integrity?

    There is a lawsuit pending in CT by a former Courant consumer reporter (Gombossy) against the Courant. He claims the paper directed him to notify the editors ahead of time if he was going to write negatively about any of the paper’s advertisers. Given the financial state of newspapers, I am inclined to believe him.

  4. Brad Warthen

    Kathryn, I forget — did I tell you I was an INTP, or did you infer it?

    What I am is extremely I (meaning that it doesn’t really matter to me if I stand alone, as long as each time I run the facts, I come up with the conclusion that my position is the correct one), extremely N (meaning that I reach conclusions quickly and impatiently, which is infuriating to more methodical people), somewhat more T than F (meaning I’m like Spock, given to cold logic but tempered a bit by human feeling), and slightly more P than J (meaning I can suddenly change that conclusion I was so certain of in light of new evidence, which drives the Judgers bonkers).

    Not to say I’m a complete believer in the assessment, or that I am a Jungian. But I took the test along with all the editors of The State back in the early 90s, when I was still in the newsroom. And I was struck how the types seemed to help explain my relationships with other people in the newsroom — the good ones and bad ones as well (it particularly helped me understand the permanent gulf of understanding between me as an N and those who were strongly S).

    I was the only INTP in a management position in the newsroom (out of 20 to 25 people).

    My boss, with whom I had a great relationship, was an INTJ. And as it happened, when he and I later had a falling-out, it was over the difference between a T and a J. I had supported him strongly on a project that was extremely important to him. I initially believed the idea was sound. But as time went on, the evidence indicated to me that the experiment was a complete failure, and I started saying so rather vehemently, which he did not appreciate. He didn’t see it, because he’d made up his mind, and that was that. Very T vs. J…


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