One of my dearest friends (a self-proclaimed psychologist), said to me ‘let me tell you what’s wrong with you.’ So I thought I’d give it a try with the best and brightest members of society. The other day I read an article that caught my attention; it essentially said don’t hire the smartest person for the job, you’ll live to regret it. At first it offended me, but it soon started to makes sense.
Tomorrow I’m having dinner with a guy who is an unlikely combination of things; a model, a salesman and a physics major. To say he is intelligent is an understatement, his mind is exhaustingly chaotic, constantly changing from one unlikely venture to the next. These range from becoming Georgio Amarni’s next poster boy to world famous astronomer. On the side, he also plans to write a book series and start up a coffee shop next to a train line that serves a brew called Rail.
Whilst I find this endless list of projects entertaining, they’re going to be complete train wrecks. The truth is he’s too smart for his own good. His reckless mind will make it impossible for him to achieve anything. The boy can’t even sit still.
The article itself argued that intelligence is one of those characteristics where the minimal level is needed to stay above water; too much can weigh you down. Which to an extent I agree with, the world has enough on its shoulders; it doesn’t have the strength to hold up your big head too. The problem with smart people is that they believe they know more than everyone else, which makes it impossible for them to see other points of view. They think they’re always one step ahead, but in reality they’re flailing. They can’t believe that everyone else doesn’t see things the way they do and just mindlessly fall into line.
For these reasons, I agree that smart people do often crash and burn in the workplace. The worst manager I’ve ever had was one of the brightest, most creative people I’ve ever met. He had the tortured artist persona down pat. His beard trickled down his face and he bathed rarely, because who has time for such primitive things when there are poems to write. Sadly, because he smelt terrible and no interpersonal skills, his employees had no confidence in him or a clue about how he got the job. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised when the store closed down less than a year after he was appointed. In his defence, the poor creature would have suffered being surrounded by imbeciles like us.
On a side note – I have a theory about why artists remain unappreciated in their lifetime. Because after they die, people forget that they were utter wankers.
At the end of the day employers are looking for resourceful, independent workers, who can also work in a team. Not antisocial, self-entitled bookworms. That being said, creativity and instinctive entrepreneurial skills can’t be overlooked. My friends with their constantly swirling minds will amount to something spectacular; about that I have no doubt.