I yam what I yam

“Survivor” starts it’s 2,000th season this Wednesday, February 13th. My wife and I have watched almost every episode of every season, starting with the inaugural contest in Borneo…Sonja Christopher is tagged with being the first ever tribe member voted off, and Richard Hatch was the show’s first winner (for you neophytes, cross Nathan Lane with Lex Luthor, and you get Richard Hatch.)

We watch it mostly for the pure entertainment value, with absolutely no delusions about its true “reality.” Inevitably, we also have the same recurring conversation almost every show – which one of us would last the longest before getting their torch snuffed?

To me, it’s not even debatable ~ I’m everything an island bunch could ever hope for (just ask me.) My wife counters that sarcasm and a penchant for stubbornly (I say loyally) sticking to my ideas as gold may actually work against me. The nerve of that woman.

And of course she believes that her work ethic and MacGyver-like ability to fix anything from a fishing net to a ’66 Fairlane makes her the ideal tribe member. If pressed, I may (carefully) suggest those qualities may manifest into a controlling, almost obsessive need to be “right.” History has shown that may be a quality that gets you the boot rather quickly.

To accommodate, we would suppress our peccadilloes and make nice, right?


We just can’t help being us. That’s the beauty of the show…these people KNOW they are annoying or offending the same people who will decide their immediate future on the show, but after a while, they just can’t help it. Ironically, many of the stronger players in strength of body and/or character are sent packing in the early stages of the game, while there is open discussion about keeping the weakest or most unlikable around to provide extra bodies to purge when the need arises. This is the equivalent of losing your High-Potential employees while at the same time retaining cubicle lumps with tenure (nobody would let that happen, right?)

How many times do you mask who you really are in order to fit in, get ahead, get a job, get a date, etc.? We see it in the interview process all the time; granted, it’s a very stressful situation, but it’s immediately obvious to the interviewer when a person “breaks” character & reverts to his or her true nature.

That’s not a bad thing, believe me. No matter the role to which you aspire, there is a tremendous value placed on sincerity. Be who you are and make that person represent you in your job search. You may get voted off several islands, but the one you find will be a home.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ movement. We’re known for our straight talk, no-nonsense approach to complicated issues. The Tribe has spoken. 

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