By Joe Natale
Oh, bother. The other day I overheard a couple of co-workers trying to bring up to speed a person in the office who did not know about Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh stories. For the record, the person who was uninitiated to all things Tigger is a computer programmer.
In case you are a programmer, or never heard about Tigger, the orange tiger bounced on the scene in Pooh’s tree trunk home in the middle of the night searching for something to eat. Eeyore, who is a bit of a loner, eats thistles.
The aforementioned conversation continued with the observation that a person is either a Tigger or an Eeyore. In a nutshell, Tigger considers the glass half full; Eeyore considers the glass half empty. Then the conversation took a hair-raising turn when I overheard someone say, “Joe is an Eeyore.”
As for Eeyore, you should not confuse being pessimistic with being realistic. As for Tigger, you should not confuse being optimistic with being obnoxious.
Tigger is enthusiastic and has endearing qualities, but if Tigger acts on the job like he does in the Hundred Acres Woods, he would be disciplined for creating a hostile work environment. His constant bouncing could be considered disruptive, and it was Tigger, after all, who – unprovoked – bounced Eeyore into a river.
Tigger and Eeyore do have something in common: they think highly of themselves. Tigger is self-confident to the point that he exaggerates his capabilities, often to his own detriment. He can climb up a tree, but he can’t get down without a little help from his friends.
Eeyore is generally unimpressed by the other animals in the woods. “No brains at all, some of them,” he believes. “Only grey fluff that’s blown in their heads by mistake.” Don’t say something like that out loud in the office.
Limiting people in the workplace to two personality traits like a Tigger and an Eeyore is, in my estimation, too limiting; especially when you have a a winsome Pooh, a pontificating Owl, a bureaucratic Rabbit and a timid, yet brave, Piglet, running around the office with their hair on fire. In my case, it wouldn’t burn for very long.