Which do you prefer? Fire hose, squirt guns or tides?
You’ve heard the term, “Drinking from the firehose.” Some work environments are like this. There are only two modes: on and off. You tend to work on a small number of projects at a time. When they start, they start hard and fast. Each project is significant on its own. They have a clear beginning and end. When you complete a project, there is a tangible relief.
Other environments are more like what I refer to as being drowned by a million squirt guns. It’s a constant deluge from lots of different sources. Any one of these sources is minor. But, you add them all together and you feel like you are drowning. You can finish one or two, or even ten or twenty, but there are still so many others vying for your time that there is no relief, ever.
Still other environments are more tidal in nature. They are somewhat predictable. They ebb and flow. Projects have slow starts and slow endings. At their peak, the projects are all-consuming and you may feel like you are under water. After the project ends, there is a lull and you get to catch your breath. You may even become bored. But, you know another wave is coming.
Different people prefer different models. No one model is better. However, it is important to match the working styles of the staff to the environment.
As an employer, be sure you understand which model describes your environment and seek to hire staff who fit. Also, consider whether this is the model you desire. If not, what can you do to address it?
As a job seeker, know which of these models you prefer and ask questions in the interview process to identify the environment you are considering. If it’s not your preferred model, can you adapt?
Fire hose, squirt guns, or tides? You decide.