Why Brad Pitt Might Be Working in The Next Cubicle

Your manager hired your coworker for a reason, even if you can't see it.

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Suzanne Lucas
I picked up the morning newspaper yesterday to find out that Brad Pitt is in town!!!! Yes, it was front page news, and everybody was so excited. Except for me. I honestly can't see what the big deal is. In my opinion, he always looks like he could use a shower, a haircut and a shave. I don't think his acting is all that great either.

I know, I know, I'm out of step with the rest of the females on the planet. I just don't see what they see, and I would never have cast him in his first movie role. I probably wouldn't notice him if I passed him on the street. (Which could happen--because he's in town! Or maybe he left already. I admit I'm not monitoring this situation closely.)

Now if you're wondering why this career advice column has suddenly become a Hollywood gossip column (albeit a lousy one), hold on. I can't see what is so great about a particular actor, but the casting agent that first hired him could see it. And that person was right. I wouldn't have chosen him and I would have been wrong--not in a moral sense, rather, in terms of making good business decisions. It was right to give Brad his first break. That decision has made a lot of people a lot of money.

Sometimes you look at a coworker and think: Why does my manager love Steve? He's a jerk, or he's lazy, or he grates on your nerves, or he comes in late. Whatever the reasons are, you don't like him and you wouldn't have hired him. But, there is something that your manager likes about him. You may not see it. That doesn't mean that your manager is wrong. It means that she can see something that you can't.

Being a good manager requires a different set of skills than being a good individual contributor. Some of those skills overlap, of course, but some are unique to a management role. Your awful coworker may be the Brad Pitt of your department. Before you go around complaining, try to figure out why your manager likes this person. What qualities does he have that you lack? Asking this question may clue you into areas that you need to work on.

We should always be looking for ways to improve our performance. Looking to your superstar coworkers can help you figure out what needs to happen.

Suzanne Lucas has nine years of human resources experience, most of which has been in a Fortune 500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources Certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady.