Why “Nice Guys Finish Last”
The definition of nice has changed over the years to become one that doesn’t necessarily apply to all people, but rather one that has become more acceptable. The idea of being nice used to be a way for people to say thank you, look good, or be polite. When you are nice to people you expect them to return the favor. It didn’t matter what they said because you were being nice. In short you were trying to make the other person feel good.
This changed during the social care movement in the 70’s. A new definition was developed that stressed individualism, which was considered to be wrong then, but is now accepted in much of the world. Basically it says that everyone is unique and so is their opinion. Thus, making someone feel nice or being nice is not the way to go. Instead, there should be positive reinforcement and support, encouraging students to reach their full potential, setting high standards, and using manipulative skills to get people to follow your rules rather than someone else’s.
If the definition of nice has moved from the public health and social care services arena, it hasn’t taken away the ability to be nice in those places. Many employers still expect their employees to be nice, and they do find it useful to have nice employees in the workplace. While it may not be the ideal situation, employers realize that being nice can help them keep a potentially troublesome employee on their team. Those who follow the rules are also more likely to stay with a company longer.
On the other side of the coin, it can be quite difficult to be a nice fellow in the health care and social care services professions. The definition of “nice” there includes being able to handle one’s job without getting yelled at or spat on. It requires tolerance for others who might be less fortunate than oneself. And if the worker does not show the ability to handle this effectively, he or she could find their job in jeopardy.
It is possible to find both qualities in one person – a quality not often seen in the first place. This person could be a very nice fellow who genuinely cares about the people around her, and works hard to meet the high standards of those people she is working with. Or she might also have very good standards, but possess a nasty personality. In either case, though, the job requires the worker to be a bit nice, because those who really do care about others won’t tolerate bad behavior from any of their peers. Therefore, a nice guidance counselor needs to display excellent work ethics, strong communication skills, and a genuine “nice” personality in order to stay in that line of work.
Does all this mean, then, that nice people are automatically bad? No, it’s not true. But employers need to be careful about whom they choose as a member of their peer group. A nice person may have a very good job, may be loyal, and may be a great team player; but he or she must be able to also maintain personal boundaries. And it’s probably best if those employees who do end up having to deal with the angry mob, do themselves a favor by always using nice quality standards even when dealing with the most difficult of clients.