Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

What Should You Do If Working For a Scorpion?

Chapter 4: Who To Trust In The Workplace Post 9

The Scorpion is motivated by an overarching vision or idea about how the world should be, and doesn’t let reality get in the way.  (Steve Jobs, who I classify as a Scorpion, believed that he didn’t need to get surgery for his cancer.)  While the vision itself may be very positive and something you agree with, the welfare of individual people takes second place to that vision. A Scorpion (and everyone who follows them) can be very successful if his or her idea happens to be correct. But even if the Scorpion is correct, they are difficult to deal with.  And remember the fable of the scorpion and the frog: the scorpion’s nature can lead them to act against their own self interest, as well as the interests of their allies.

Many people react to a scorpion with a combination of anger, frustration, and fear. Some work frantically trying to ‘please’ the scorpion. Others fight the scorpion, which can be even more work than trying to appease the scorpion.  It is not uncommon for a Scorpion to develop a following of very loyal, devoted people. It is hard to remain neutral when dealing with a Scorpion, and few people understand that the Scorpion does not care about consensus.

If your goal is a people-first lifestyle, in my experience, the only safe way to deal with a Scorpion is exit, either yours or theirs. (See this post on The Rule of Self-Preservation for the background.) If a Scorpion is in a position of power, try to move to a part of the company outside their influence. If you have more power than the Scorpion, actively try to limit their power.  If a Scorpion is a peer, keep all interactions transactional, document everything, and do not give them any ammunition to use against you.

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