Monday, July 29, 2013

a good colleague

What do you look for in colleagues? What makes a good one?  I think we look for those with traits similar to ourselves ... which is why I like asking the question in interviews.

Every year, we make the summer pilgrimage to watch an odd canoe race on the Au Sable river - paddlers race 120 miles through the night for a few dollars of prize money and bragging rights. Very few of our friends understand why we do this.  

But I love this race.  These paddlers, they don't do it alone.  They have a team of people supporting them.  Through the night.  Meeting them at each portage with food, clothes, beverages, first aid gear, encouragement, and race updates.

So I think about these colleagues, these supporting teams.  People who are willing to give up a night's rest.  Drive 120 miles through the night to meet the canoe team at each portage. Trudge through fields and grass and uneven terrain at 3 in the morning. Just to help the paddlers - transitioning in a frenzy to  feed them, hydrate them, dry them off, cool them down, pack it all up and meet the canoe in another 30 or so miles.

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Best part?  It comes with absolutely no recognition.  No name on the website, facebook page, Twitter, or grease board. 

What kind of colleague do I want?  I look for those qualities that I am willing to bring - I will paddle if I need to;  I will trudge through uneven terrain at 3 in the morning if necessary; I will haul water, drive the car, and clean the canoe.  Someday, someone will do it for me, too.

No one can do it alone.  This race is a living example of the best in people. And I love it. 

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