Science postulates intuition is a self-preservation mechanism that has slowly developed since the evolution of man. Instinct, or what lay people commonly refer to as the sixth sense, helps us navigate through dangerous encounters and tumultuous periods of our lives. Without intuition, we would base our decisions on trial and error. Unfortunately, trial and error gives us only one chance to get it right. The wrong decision may cost us our most cherished possessions, or worse, cost us our lives.
Intuition also guides us in the nurturing of relationships. First impressions go a long way in our decision whether or not to pursue dating relationships. The popularity of speed dating events has soared because many people make up their minds about another person in the short period of eight minutes. When introduced to a close friend’s business associate, we often decide the level of affinity we have for our friend’s associate before the bartender comes over to take our drink order. We all have an innate set of criteria that instantly establishes our like or dislike of another person.
As an adolescent, I encountered the first situation where an instant unbridled loathing came over me towards another person. Childhood rivalries bring out disdain, and I did not like the new kid in the neighborhood who overwhelmed my peers with a buoyant personality and effusive energy. I despised the new kid so much that I had to take a long walk around the neighborhood in order to devise ways to undermine his newfound celebrity status. My intuition was derived more from jealousy than any perceived abhorrent character flaw. Nonetheless, I hated the new kid in the neighborhood because of a hunch.
That hunch stayed with me through my education years. Whenever I met someone in an educational milieu who immediately became the dominant topic of conversation, my intuitive radar honed in first with a skeptical eye, and then with a growing and intense animus. Intuition tells me that people who join a group, or become a new member of an organization, should tread lightly until they integrate themselves in the social order. Loud, overbearing people disrupt the fragile order. They also destroy the group dynamic in a work environment.
The hospitality industry has afforded me with innumerable opportunities to meet people for the first time. Employee turnover is one of the highest of any industry. Some restaurants churn employees so often that the only way to get to know someone is by reciting the name on their uniform tag. . Thus, the group dynamic in a restaurant is volatile at best. The best way to fit in as a new employee is not by acting like a bull in a china shop, but by deftly meshing personality traits with the traits of tenured workers.
Ron did not view his introduction into a new work environment as a subtle way to integrate with tenured workers. In fact, his demonstrative behavior began the moment he set foot into the restaurant. As a transfer employee, he understood the operational facets of the business. His primary objective was to meet his new peers and acclimate to the group dynamic. Ron’s headstrong attitude of tooting his own horn and boisterously conducting himself while at work turned off virtually the entire restaurant team. I disliked him the moment he first spoke to me.
I instinctively dislike people who thump their chests with a “Hey, look at me” persona. Ron bragged about why he accepted the transfer request to our restaurant. He claimed the company brought him aboard because his high level of performance would improve our service scores. He constantly harped on his management potential. Instead of politely introducing himself to fellow workers, Ron chastised them for making mistakes or not following service standards. An employee revolt, led by yours truly, brought Ron’s behavior to the General Manager’s attention. After a browbeating, Ron changed his demeanor to one that fit in, instead of a demeanor that trampled the feelings of his coworkers.
I immediately disliked Ron because he defied every personality trait that I believe should be exulted in the workplace. His wanton disrespect towards people he did not even know, coupled with his haughty nature, triggered the dislike impulse in my brain. It did not take long for the dislike impulse to grow into an unequivocal hatred. Intuition is the bell that sounds when someone violates my preconceived norms. Ron rang that bell loud and clear.