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Why I Prefer to Work with Darkworkers than ‘Greyworkers’

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Lightworkers and Darkworkers are rare(ish) people who are polarized around a deeply ingrained intent. Lightworkers live and breathe to service humankind, whilst Darkworkers live and breathe to serve only themselves. The remainder of people on this earth could be described as Greyworkers, who tend not to know who they serve.

I’ve written about Lightworkers and Darkworkers before, and since then I’ve consciously monitored the people I work and play with to see what type they are (although if you are one of these people, don’t worry, I haven’t stared for too long), and reflected on the experience I had with them. I was surprised with how I felt in the end.
Lightworkers can be a joy to work with as I find that they tend to have an optimistic outlook and can see the good in people and understand and build on their strengths. Lightworkers tend to leave me feeling refreshed and motivated. And I am a Lightworker myself, so the (often unacknowledged) comradery feels great.

Darkworkers don’t leave me feeling uneasy, actually. I must admit that once I identify someone as a Darkworker, I understand their clear motives and work with it. I don’t feel ‘dirty’ when I work alongside a Darkworker as we collaborate to achieve the same objective (on the surface that is). What I like about Darkworkers, as I do Lightworkers, is that I always know where I stand with them and there sheer determination for self-satisfaction creates a definite clarity. This means they are easier to predict and motivate towards a goal. Darkworkers, I find, are a joy to work with too.


But then there are Greyworkers who are very many in number. Greyworkers are perhaps the most human of us all as there motives and behaviors are influenced by very many conflicting and unclear intentions. Because Greyworkers are not polarized, they have to weigh up opportunities for action against many factors, such as their personal wealth, status, contribution, friendships, colleagues, reward, etc. It is a constant battle in the head – and it is stressful. Lightworkers and Darkworkers don’t tend to have this as they operate with a much clearer head. Modern society for most people is a complex problem to resolve and this takes up brainpower, and therefore time. Procrastination is a key attribute of Greyworking.

Let me be straight, I am not describing sociopathic tendencies! I don’t hate Greyworkers – not at all. Greyworkers are my family, my friends. But in the workplace where achievement of targets in short timeframe is the norm, then I find I can do this more surefooted and to a higher quality with Lightworkers or Darkworkers because their actions tend to be performed faster and with greater commitment. They are the embodiment of JFDI. Greyworkers make a manager’s jobs harder due to their inherent latency on decision-making and taking action – it’s Grey Malaise (sounds like a kind of cheese doesn’t it?)

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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4 Comments

  1. Paul Piotrowski

    Great article. I too have found the same thing unfolding in my life. People who have “picked a direction” are easy to work with. Darkworker and Lightworker alike actually. You just have to put on a different hat when dealing with them and appeal to a different part of their desires.

    “Greyworkers” as you call them are a mess. One minute they want to help the world, the next minute they’re scared about their security. You can’t motivate them with money/power like a Darkworker, yet they still want that stuff in smaller quantities. You can’t motivate them with the concept of “giving” like Lightworkers, yet they still want to contribute.

    I think “Greyworkers” are more difficult to work with as well because they tend to gravitate towards the lower levels of consciousness. One minute they’re at a charity drive event raising money for cancer research and the next evening they’re gambling at a casino. 🙂

    Good stuff, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s noticed this trend.

     
  2. simonstapleton

    @Paul: Thanks for your comment Paul. Do a search on Google for Greyworker and there are a handful of hits, but Dark/Lightworker brings back loads… probably because the majority of people on the earth are greyworkers and don’t like considering themselves as such.
    The point you make well is that by commiting oneself to a path brings a clarity that brings happiness, fulfillment and motivation. In business, these traits are what managers want in their people!

     
  3. Terence B Smith

    Re The end of IT as we know it

    I wonder if you look back at the recent history of IT you will agree that the old term System Analyst should have had the remit to achieve the strategic linking of IT with the Business process and the design of Enterprise systems to suit?
    The fact that we failed in the past was, as now, as you suggest much to do with the availability of local processing power hardware and software (The PC and mobile phones etc) But in my view and more importantly The computer professionals not being part of the real business they are in but a thing apart, remote and often talking in technical terms so removed from the real issues of the day we were ignored. I wonder if the new breed have learnt from the past or are they going along the same path? Changing their titles will not solve the problem
    Regards Terence Smith BA C.Eng. FBCS etc etc……

     
  4. simonstapleton

    @Terence: Thanks for you comment (if anyone hasn’t seen the article on the BCS website, it is at http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.20197) Terence I think your view on this is exactly right. IT professionals have struggled to become part of the business. There are many theories why, and many are compatible, but my 30-seconds worth is that the language of IT has for most of its history been very esoteric and inaccessible for business people, particulaly as it has been a ‘craft’ for so long. The problem is that IT people have been tarnished with the same brush. The industrialization of IT is also enabling levels of abstraction that business people *can* engage with. The lessons learned I think is that technology and business don’t mix when there is a lack of a common language.

     

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