On Maturity

Overall, I think that maturity is overrated. That is, if we define maturity as being boring, steady, and un-creative, which is how most “mature” people I’ve met in the business world define it. If we define maturity, however, as being well-balanced, able to have fun, able to be creative, and able to get the job done while enjoying it, then I think we should all be more mature.

I fell into the trap of assuming that I had to be mature (by my first definition) when I first became an IT Director. I stood up straight and suppressed some of the odder aspects of my personality. I probably wasn’t much fun to be around, and I guarantee I wasn’t having much fun–I lost a lot of weight from the stress.

Then I hired a computer training specialist. Who had many years of law firm experience and who had served in the Army Reserves for even more years. He was about 6 years older than I, and really knew how to be professional. He seemed well-adjusted, and the users loved him.

Then he brought in a wooden bear that, when you lifted its head, pooped M&Ms.

My wacky side loved it, but since it was right outside the HR Manager’s office, I held my breath and ignored it. One day, I sheepishly poked my head into her office, and she said she thought it was a hoot.

A hoot?

Turns out I didn’t really know the real meaning of maturity. A truly mature person knows how to have fun at work. Get the job done? Absolutely. But even more important is getting the job done while enjoying being there. You’re happier. Your team is happier. Staff stays longer at their jobs, and you only have one scotch at the end of the day (and that because you actually like scotch).

Okay; so making staffing decisions by allowing them to duel it out with flying monkeys at 10 paces might have been a bit much, but…