I have been out of college and working as a “professional” for 37 years. I have been a CPA, Controller, CFO, Treasurer, VP, SVP, EVP, President, Founder and now finally, Head Hooligan. I ran out of titles, so I made one up when I started Wine Hooligans.
During the last 37 years I have worked across multiple industries in publicly traded companies, large and small privately held companies, as well as start ups. All the experiences I lived through during those years brought me to one simple conclusion… I Like Boring.
In this transient, always changing and increasingly superficial world we live in, boring has become an attribute in people that I like. Modern culture tells us that boring is the worst thing you can be. Politicians who are labeled boring are chastised by the press and questioned as to why they think they can lead. Every Millennial in San Francisco has to be starting a tech company that will be worth a billion dollars in 5 years. Vacations have to be “experiences”… no more loading the kids in the station wagon and driving across the country. That would be boring.
So why do I like boring? Isn’t it cooler and more inspiring to be around people who are exciting and engaged? It depends. When I was younger, I worked in many companies with inspiring leaders who were energetic, charismatic and dynamic. I was impressed with their success and energy. However (you knew it was coming), they were also scattered, undependable, egotistical, loose with facts and fully capable of dark mood swings. It was always just a matter of time before I got tired of being around those types of people and moved on.
Oh, I still am susceptible to the energetic pitch, or the person who promises way more than they can deliver. But by and large, I am far more comfortable with the “boring” person. Boring is a very subjective description. It conjures up images of men in gray flannel suits, singing The Police’s Synchronicity II, or the guy who walks his dog at the same time every night.
I define boring as predictable and dependable. It strikes me as odd that most people want predictability and consistency in their businesses, yet, they want to hire people who are interesting, exciting, engaged… real go-getters. Those employees are also usually undependable, easily distracted, too aggressive and burn out at a high rate. The very thing people value in their business, they discount when hiring people.
Maybe it’s because I am older. Maybe it’s because I have interacted with thousands of personality types over the years. I put a huge premium on “boring”. Give me people who will “do what they say” and “say what they do”. I am suspect of the people with the “answer”. I gravitate towards people who will stick to the facts, no matter how painful they may be. I gravitate to people who will provide predictability in unpredictable times.
I greatly value these people in my professional and personal life. In fact, boring could become the new cool!