Accept it if you want to get ahead.
ROCHESTER, New York- My father is the classic example of a working man. He rose as high in his profession as he cares to go, he does something he seems to like, he seems to have a good time when on the job.
When I would be out with him as a kid and we’d see one of his co-workers he would bellow out to him in a loud voice, usually calling him my some nickname that he probably made up and often reciting some kind of inside joke. It was strange watching my father talk recreationally to someone who wasn’t in our family. His voice and demeanor was different to me. He never really hung out with friends and never brought any of his buddies over to the house, so this was really the only time that I would see this side of him.
I live a life that is rather different than his. He used to tell me when I was a kid that I should get and education so I don’t have to do what he does, but I don’t think what I ended up doing was what he had in mind.
I often say that there are two sides of any art: being able to do it well and having the interpersonal skills and drive to sell it. But there may be another as well: the ability to get along with people. Just because you’re right doesn’t mean you’re going to win. Part of getting along with people is accepting them for who they are — deficiencies and all.
Now, I don’t drill my dad with barrages of questions like I do everybody else. I just kind of stand next to him outside of his house and he imparts old stories and little parcels of wisdom:
“You have to realize that everybody you work with is going to be an asshole at some point. Once you understand that you’re alright. The question is how much of an asshole they are and whether or not you want to deal with them.”