In college, we are forced to work in group projects and take part in organization that are reliant on groups people working together to achieve goals. We are told that in the “real world” employers are going to expect us to be able contribute and successfully complete assignments. But ultimately, the ability to succeed in any and all of these situations boils down to responsibility.
If one person fails, the group fails. I am in my third year, a senior by hour of credit and in ME 1770. Personally I am terrified that my grade in the class is highly contingent upon my group members. It is not that I do not trust them or that I think they some how will not hold up their end of the bargain in terms of the project, but I know that I cannot control their actions. I have to assume they are responsible. And that is very unsettling.
I, like most over-achieving people at Tech, believe I am the only person who can do everything perfect all the time. I believe my way is always right, and success is my destiny. This disposition of mine also causes me to be paranoid when I have work with and trust people.
Admittedly, I am not a very trusting person either, even in situations where another person’s work is the point of concern. So what am I suppose to do? Freak out at every instance I have to work with a group of people?
No. I have to be responsible and mature enough to adapt. Regardless of what happens I must do my personal for what I am responsible for. I have to be a passive leader. I have to show that I am going to do my part, and, in a way, guilt others to do their part.
It sounds simple, but most people have been in similar situations, but things did not go as smoothly. Somebody decided not to their part and everybody suffered. And that is where the maturity comes in. Move on.
If the problem cannot be fixed, there certainly is no point on wasting time on it. Take the hit, get acquainted with a bottle of liquor, wake up the next morning and ask, “What’s next?” I have found this acquired sense of helplessness reassuring and grounding. It teaches me that sometimes life happens.
But there is also a bitter sweet justice when such a circumstance occurs. The person who fails to fulfill their end of the bargain damages much more than a grade; they damage their reputation and the reputation of the company organization they represent. In the especially small world of today, that fault cannot swiftly be made up for.
For all the supposed evils of instant access to information and the constant stream of gossip that goes with the “now society,” this benefit is invaluable. It allows paranoid people like me to research any company before I buy anything or it allows me to check reviews and health department ratings for restaurants before I even look up the address.
This forced accountability has been the greatest lesson I have as of yet taken from my still unfinished college experience. Responsibility defines people, organizations and companies alike. We are forced to be accountable to one another. Professional networks and shorter careers mean the days of being able to leave town and get a fresh start are all but over. Burnt bridges will need to be traveled over one day.