Less whining, more working

This project won’t happen unless you work together, guys!/ Michael Chmielewski

This project won’t happen unless you work together, guys!/ Michael Chmielewski

Stop complaining about groups and do your work.

We all have to get along. I know it sucks, but hey, that’s how this world works. Every day, we rely on someone else to help, provide for, or generally aid us in some way. From the exchange of money for coffee, motorists braking, yielding and signaling for each other to working on a group project in class.

The dreaded, ‘Can I just work alone?’ and ‘We get to choose our partners, right?’ prompting assignments we’ve fled from and hated since our first days of school. Anyone that’s made it to this stage of education likely has a horror story of working on group projects.

Like, one time, I had a group member go to Mexico without telling the rest of us. Or, another time, where a co-worker sprung an article request on me last minute because his section needed content and he needed it to be over 500 words. I, myself, remember an assigned partner insisting on showing our class a five-minute video on YouTube during our assigned three-minute presentation on potassium (K).

Needless to say, we did terribly. But, I learned something from that day. Sometimes in life, you will work with jackasses. Years later, I’ve found this holds true. Not to throw everyone I’ve worked with under the bus, most of my experiences with group projects have been good. But, I’ve learned more from my failures than my successes.

There have been times where a partner backs out, drops the class, leaves the country or just goes MIA, and at the last minute, the entire work load, in theory, dispersed across an entire group, falls to you and maybe one other person hours before the project is due.

Despite my typical hatred of group projects, the most important thing you can learn from them is how to cope with an uncooperative, unresponsive colleague or colleagues. Because, guess what. In the ‘real world,’ you will have colleagues just like that.

All of us who have worked in any discipline can speak to this. From the asshole that shows up an hour late to work in the kitchen, or the guy that arrives at nine and won’t stay a second after five, this is the unfortunate nature of working with some people; they are flawed, lazy, apathetic, or maybe just shit at their job.

So, when people whine about how much group projects suck, how it would be so much easier to simply do this work individually, that’s the bloody point. Working with people is hard, and regardless of what your project is on, the most valuable thing you can learn in a group project is how to work together. Despite how smarmy and trite that sounds, it’s true.

So, next time you have to work in a group for an assignment, remember, this what the rest of your life will be like – working with people of varying competence and dedication. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

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