I've got two sons, and every now and then, I think about what I'd like them to become related to their professional identities... You know, skills they'll need to be good at regardless of the field they choose.
I'm adding a skill to that profile today: The ability to hear raw stupidity, look it in the face and keep a straight, emotionless game/poker face.
Here's an example of where they'll need that skill in workplace conversations. From CBS News:
"Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) is raising some eyebrows with a comment he made about the U.S. territory of Guam during a House Armed Services Committee hearing last Thursday. In a discussion regarding a planned military buildup on the Pacific island, Johnson expressed some concerns about the plans to Adm. Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific fleet.
"My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize," Johnson said. Willard paused and replied, "We don't anticipate that."
Here's what's incredible about this conversation. Willard, obviously a skilled representative for the Armed Forces, hears the gibberish and doesn't flinch. He keeps a straight face through the entire thing and basically treats it all like it's a real conversation.
Career Lesson: There's a term for professionals who can't control their emotions and get through conversations when they hear raw stupidity - they're called "enlisted men" and "sergeants"
Nothing wrong with being either. But if you want to lead, the poker face is a key skill you must acquire. Click through to see the video of Willard's reaction to the capsize comment.
God help the people of Guam. Their island is unstable. It could tip.