An Important Key To Professional Success – Appreciate the Spiders

spider and webI’m not a big fan of spiders.  I’m not afraid of them, I couldn’t be because even with a house full of boys I was still the one called to kill the spider.  They just creep me out a little.


The way they move, they way they watch you (you know they do) and how they are like little ninjas – they show up unexpectedly and disappear before you come back with a shoe to squash them.


I’m just not a fan.  If one of those really big ones get in the house I squash it and leave it there as a reminder to his little spider friends as to what will happen if you come in my house.  I’m not kidding – you can ask my boys.


But I have made peace with one spider.


Outside my office window I have a night spider.  He works diligently in the evening repairing his web and I never see him during the day.  When I first saw him I wanted him gone, I didn’t really like him hanging out outside my window.  Then I realized, I was being a weenie.


He wasn’t hurting anything, he doesn’t come out during the day and try to creep in the house, he keeps the bugs from coming in my window and honestly his web is kind of fascinating.  The other day I had a wasp buzzing around the window and I was rooting for the spider to have built a solid enough net to catch him.  He almost got stuck a couple times and hasn’t been back since.


That spider is my wasp defense.  Way to go spider!  I may not be a fan of spiders but I don’t like wasps at all.


Sometimes in your career you have to work with people you just don’t like.  Period.  And yes, I did say “have to work” with them.  You have no choice, you can’t get them fired and it would be ridiculous to leave a great job just because you work with a spider.


The best way to deal with it to be successful in your job and continue to grow – play nice in the sandbox.


Instead of looking at this person for the reasons you don’t like about them, figure out your spider/wasp treaty.  There is a benefit for them being there – what is it?  How does it affect you and how can you benefit?  Is there something they can teach you?  Is there something that they are really good at that you can collaborate so you both benefit?


Where is the happy medium?


Sometimes it is a matter of being a grown up and looking at the professional side.  I have worked with people I don’t care for but mature enough to realize I could learn from them.  So I asked, I listened and I learned.


We didn’t become friends but we did develop respect because I was honest enough to admit they had strengths where I had weaknesses.  I also showed appreciation for their time.  Guess what – maybe they don’t like you either so it may have been quite the task to sit down with you and teach you something.


Once you build a level of respect that sandbox gets much easier.



Let’s face it – you are there to do a job, not to be the office homecoming queen or king.  Grow up and focus on the importance of what you do: for yourself, your company, your clients and your community.


If you do find yourself looking for another position do not be surprised if working with difficult people is a question during an interview.  Putting this thought into practice now gives you a solid response to that question.


The interviewer wants to know if you are a team player, if your priorities are in alignment with the organization and if you can get the job done.  If you throw a fit in the sandbox or just try to ignore them it is not helping your cause.


As I finish up this blog I looked out the window and noticed that it is raining –again.  Now that I have a little appreciation for it I feel a little bad for the spider.  Poor spider, he worked so hard on his web last night and now the rain has done some damage.


A little appreciation can go a long way….



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW


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