#193 from R&D Innovator Volume 4, Number 12          December 1995

FORUMófrom our readers

Leave Me Alone!

Iím a biochemist whoís been working for a small company ever since it was founded ten years ago.  Most of our key patents came from my ideas, and Iíve been well-rewarded through salary raises, bonuses, and personal recognition.  I have been very happy here and continue to be very productive.

However, I like doing things by myself.  That doesnít mean I donít go to other people when I need advice, and that doesnít mean I donít let other people get advice from me.  I just like being alone in the lab, working hard to fulfill an objective.  All of my work ties in to various company projects.   No one has complained about the way I workóuntil now.

You see, our company has recently been purchased by a large corporation.  We were told originally that our policies and practices wouldnít change.  Supposedly, that companyís executives realized that our productivity requires a unique environment.  They told us that it would be silly for them to interfere with that environment.  ďWhy mess with something thatís working very well?Ē

Here we are, six months after being taken over, with a corporate executive now telling us that we arenít sufficiently disciplined and that we must all work in teams.  Teams have to be defined, leaders have to be chosen, and monthly reports are required.  I neither want to be a team leader nor a team memberóeven though I feel that I am a great company citizen. 

Itís not that Iím being stubborn.  I just know that with all the coordination, planning, reporting, arguing, etc. that will now be required, I wonít enjoy my research, and I probably wonít be as creative as Iíve been. 

I sure wish they could make an exception (as a formal team participant) for me.  My productivity would remain high.  If Iím forced to participate in these team activities, I really feel that my value will decrease.  Iíve never done well in group activities.

The president of my small company supports me.  Itís just that he may not be able to defend my independence before the new parent company executives.  Iíve asked if he would be willing to hide my non-team membership, but he says that it would soon be found out, and he doesnít want to cause problems with the new corporate executives.

My basic nature is that of a loner, and by being a loner Iíve come up with all sorts of neat discoveries that have helped the company.  In fact, itís my independence that has allowed me to have such a creative careeróIíve managed to keep from falling into otherís ruts.

Anyone out there whoís been in the same boat?  Any solutions?

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