Learning to work as a team

Kristen Smith

     In life, there are often times when we find it difficult to get along with everyone we’re surrounded by. We’re constantly searching for different ways or ideas to make sure peace is kept in our lives and we distance ourselves from the unneeded drama that comes from pettiness and differences in opinion.  Perhaps the place we struggle most with others is in the workplace or at school.  Those are ones we  have to put up with on a day to day basis whether we like it or not. Learning to deal with people we are forced to work with is a tough lesson, one I learned after a long year in the CPHS Journalism department.

     When I joined the Wolfpack staff this year, I knew I would be working with somebody who intimidated me. That person was Zachary DiSchiano. I knew coming into newspaper that he would be my boss, and I had to follow his orders. Over the past eight months, I’ve learned a few things that have helped our relationship grow from one of intimidation to one of camaraderie.

     The first thing I learned is that I don’t know everything.  Everyone thinks they know best but working with Zach opened my eyes to the fact that I certainly do not know everything about sports journalism. So take that first step and swallow your pride. In the long run, it’ll help you and in the end you’ll realize that by not knowing everything, you can accept a whole new level of knowledge.

     I also learned to be more open to new and different ideas.  In most cases, if I have an idea in my head, I think “it’s my way or the highway.”  Over the past eight months in newspaper, I’ve learned you can’t do that because it’ll get you nowhere. Open up your mind to your boss and your coworkers. Even if you think their idea isn’t the best or it’s the complete opposite of what you were thinking of, chances are your boss can incorporate your idea somehow. Zach’s done this with me a thousand times this year, but it’s helped me to learn to not be so close minded and that other people hear what you’re saying but have a better way of communicating it to the world.

     Along the way, I also learned it’s in my best interest to be compatible with my coworkers.  If you go into the situation and are completely against the idea of becoming friends, then you’re probably going to hate going to work everyday. Even if your personalities are polar opposites, it won’t kill you to actually try and get to know the person. Zach and I both took the chance to get to know one another and today, I can honestly tell you I don’t know what I’m going to do without him once he graduates in June. We still have the occasional argument, but that’s normal in any healthy relationship.  You don’t have to become besties, but becoming friends  with the people around you can only help you and decrease the tension that could arise. Who knows, you may have more in common than you think.

     Finally, if you work with someone as closely as Zach and I do, you know that communication is vital. Zach and I are both sports reporters, so we have to work together on most tasks to make sure we get everything covered on time. If we don’t discuss a topic and something falls through the cracks, only he and I are to blame. Zach and I try to communicate a lot, and yes, occasionally there are those slip ups, but I’ve learned that communication with your coworkers is a huge advantage, and often times can save you from getting in trouble later. The communication skills I’ve gained now will not only be beneficial to me, but to everyone I work with as well.

     What I’ve learned over the past eight months has strengthened my relationship with Zach and other fellow coworkers. They have strengthened my journalistic and professional abilities.  In fact, looking back I don’t know why I was intimidated by Zach. If you are struggling with getting along with people you work with, these lessons I’ve learned may help you break the ice. They worked for me and I hope they can help you too.