"MAN, I HATE WORKING WITH HER. SHE BUGS ME."
Have you heard this recently in your clinic? Maybe you said it yourself. So what do we do when the people we work with really irritate us? The busybodies. The bleeding hearts. The walking encyclopedias who insist on being right all the time. It sure would be easier if other folks were just like us, seeing things our way and not being so, you know ... different.
But that's life. People are different. In fact, psychologists commonly agree that people are born with one of four general personalities. If you add in all the other traits that contribute to our individuality, suddenly there are lots of ways for us to drive each other bonkers. Life, however, already drives us crazy—who needs co-workers to help? Luckily, we can learn to tolerate other people's temperaments and even see the strengths in their differences.
Just for fun, let's pretend that people are bugs. As veterinarians, we're always talking about animals, so let's talk about insects for a change! I'm a bug. You're a bug. And for the sake of our foray into entomology, let's imagine our veterinary clinic is a garden. Four kinds of insects work in this garden—each representing a different personality type.
Water Bug: The life of the party
This is the "live it up now, pay later" insect who skips across the pond of life. Water Bugs make up about one-third of the population and—besides being adventurous—are highly verbal and artistic. Water Bugs are also resourceful, flexible in changing environments, and capable of handling a crisis. They're excellent negotiators and problem solvers.
On the downside, Water Bugs can be self-centered, irresponsible, and superficial. They may become easily bored and are often impulsive. Other bugs often see them as indecisive. They need emotional connections and enjoy being noticed.
Ant: Loyally pulling her own weight
Ants make up almost 40 percent of the population and are the Boy and Girl Scouts of life. Kind, courteous, trustworthy, and loyal, they consider life to be a serious endeavor and insist on playing by the rules. Marching one by one, they do what must be done and much of what they do is for others. Intimacy and deep friendships are important to them, and they seek to love and be loved. They thrive on details and organization, and they glory in imposing order over chaos.
Ants, however, are prone to melancholy and deep insecurity. They can be critical of others and become flustered when plans change. They're notorious for revealing their inadequacies to others and can be perfectionists.
Wasp: Flying to the top
Wasps are the movers and shakers of the bug world. While they make up just 10 percent to 15 percent of the population, they create quite a buzz in the garden with their love for verbal argument. Because these insects learn by challenging, they question others about everything and are convinced only by pure logic. Analytical, resourceful, and self-reliant, Wasps fly high over the garden and easily see the big picture. They have a talent for developing and planning, an insight into the inner workings of systems and organizations, and the ability to speak and write clearly and precisely.