A few weeks ago, I began to work with a new administrative worker. In my first interview, X was friendly. I asked a series of questions developed for the work. After the interview, I felt really uncomfortable. Something wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t explain it.
The logical side of my brain jumped right up and pointed out that X’s background was right on target and so was the experience. X’s answers had been acceptable. I was being a jerk, inventing reasons not to hire X. But still, I felt something was wrong.
Probably, I thought, it’s just resisting something I need to do. It’s hard to interview someone who will be dealing with your paperwork mess and knowing more about you than most friends. Harder still to hire someone that makes you feel funny around the edges. Because believing my gut, which has seldom lied to me, is hard to do when there isn’t a clear, totally understandable-to-everyone-on-the-face-of-the-earth reason. So it had to be my fault.
We sat down for our first business meeting. It seemed strained. Red flags began to pop up in my head, but I couldn’t really define exactly what was wrong. Couldn’t explain it to someone else. So I ignored my gut.
Don’t do that. Your “gut” is years of experience distilled through your emotional-limit-filter. It is not a random piece of voodoo or magic or angel wings. Your gut is a boundary warning bell that you need to pay attention to. It will do you no harm.
In the end, my gut was right. Our second business meeting started on shaky grounds and rose to a new height of weirdness when X began to berate me–in a loud, angry voice–for not “doing exactly as I had been told.” The episode ended when X angrily fired me, and sent an insulting email as a follow-up.
Your gut is not vague intuition. Your gut combines your emotions and values and sends signals when other people don’t match your values or understand your emotions. That’s not a good working relationship, that’s a recipe for disaster.
—Quinn McDonald trusts her gut. Now.