Does the job make the person?

Quick reading through the overflowing inbox today (it’s overflowing with news and info, rather than work, as I am freelancing right now until finding the right fit), I ran across this question in the Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge section: To What Degree Does the Job Make the Person?

Intuitively, I would answer that we assume behaviors and patterns that we learn in our professional lives, and apply them in our personal ones (more than we do the reverse). For example, I tend to  plan, make lists and document findings when I am researching electric ovens just like I learned and schooled myself into doing when I am researching markets and consumer behavior.

But the studies quoted in the article go beyond these behavioral patterns, as one suggests that for example our hormone levels change when assuming power (testosterone increases, for one) so there are physical changes directly related to our professional position. It’s challenging, and opens a whole area of inquiry into how to select or ready people for certain jobs, and whether Gattaca was such a fictional future after all.

Do read the warmth and competence findings as well. Never thought of it as being a sliding scale, with competent equating chilly, and warmth translating into less professionalism. Stimulating, just like morning coffee.


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