World’s Strangest

Your source for the strangest things around!

Why Working Alone is Better

heard the saying that "a
camel is a horse designed by committee

Despite the many downside of working in a group, your boss may be insisting
that you "be a team player" or put you in an office without

Well, hand him this article by Susan Cain, author of the forthcoming
book Quiet:
The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
excerpted here in The New York Times Sunday Review:

SOLITUDE is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our
culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds
that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place.
Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers
who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration
is in.

But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests
that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from
interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields
are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They’re extroverted enough
to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and
individualistic. They’re not joiners by nature. [...]

The New Groupthink has overtaken our workplaces, our schools and
our religious institutions. Anyone who has ever needed noise-canceling
headphones in her own office or marked an online calendar with a fake
meeting in order to escape yet another real one knows what I’m
talking about. Virtually all American workers now spend time on teams
and some 70 percent inhabit open-plan offices, in which no one has “a
room of one’s own.” During the last decades, the average
amount of space allotted to each employee shrank 300 square feet, from
500 square feet in the 1970s to 200 square feet in 2010.

(Image: Andy Rementer)

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