Volume 62: Are You An A-minus?

Posted on 12/14/2011


What’s up good people? My life is filling up more and more, but I’m still committed to posting to provide thought-provoking (and sometimes insightful) content. As you probably know, I’ve missed the mark recently; however, I have made some necessary adjustments in order to meet the demand for more Sillethoughts. So, with no further ado, let’s get started.

Unless you work from home by yourself, you have coworkers. And, as we all know, personalities vary from person-to-person. In colloquial lexicon, we have two commonly used monikers in which to summarize the personality “type” of those who surround us – especially in the workplace. Those descriptions are Type A and Type B. These monikers not only satisfy our need to summarize and classify; they also satisfy our need to split and create dichotomous and opposed entities. In layman’s terms, we create good vs. evil, black vs. white, Democrats vs. Republicans, etc. Conflict is inherent in all of our literary and theatrical themes as well; yet, in the Type A vs. Type B argument, can there be a third option? I mean, do we have to be either right, left, Black, White, good or evil? I ask the question because I wrestle with this myself. I’ve never been comfortable with being labeled “Type A” or “Type B”. I believe that I have the qualities of both A and B personalities. In fact, I believe that most people are a mix of the two qualities instead of being just one or the other. Doesnt’ black and white mix to make gray? Aren’t most Americans more central in their political views versus being far right or left? And, haven’t we all been both good and evil at times? It would suffice to say, then, that our work “types” could also be a mix. It was this thought that caused me to ask, “Are You An A-minus?”

A and B Defined

Wikipedia.org describes the Type A individual as “ambitious, aggressive, business-like, controlling, highly competitive, preoccupied with his or her status, time-concious, and tightly wound. WOW! Now, if I’m being completely honest with myself (and some of you are honest with me) I know that there are times where I meet the criteria for a Type A individual. In colloquial use, we tend to have a negative connotation when describing someone as “Type A”. In fact, we’d love to add the words pushy, narcissistic, and overbearing to the list above; at the same time, in order to be successful, don’t we have to display those characteristics at some point? I mean, there’s only one job listing for Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama. The rest of us are going to have to compete for success. I think a person that is ambitious, business-like, competitive, and time-concious will have a better chance of winning the work wars, don’t you?

Contrasting the Type A individual is the Type B. These persons are described as being the “perfect contrast” to the Type A. “People with Type B personalities are generally patient, relaxed, easy-going, and at times lack and overriding sense of urgency.” Wait….what? That doesn’t seem to compute. Being patient, relaxed and easy-going doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of urgency. It means that I see the bigger picture and don’t lose my mind competing with others. It means that I recognize the toll stress can have on the body and I employ techniques to limit or minimize my stress. It could also mean that I’m not an @$$hole that needs to run over people to get my point across or succeed. I’m just sayin’…


Those of you that know me know that I’m not the conventional-type guy. I enjoy being atypical and, at times, seek being different for difference sake. Thus the creation of the Type A-Minus personality descriptor. The A-minus person has the edge of the Type A, but have sanded them down with the positive aspects of the Type B. What does that mean? It means I’ve replaced “aggressive” with “assertive”, “controlling” with “stewardship”, and “tightly wound” with “puposeful planning”. It means that “we” is not just a French word meaning yes. It means that I can become more of a success by making my superiors, peers, and subordinates feel as if the two most important letters in the word team aren’t the ‘m‘ and ‘e‘. Being an A-minus means I take charge of my life and work to climb the ladder of success, while at the same time appreciating those who contribute to my ascent as well as the journey itself.


Whether you agree with his leadership and/or policies, I believe that President Obama is a classic A-minus personality – even to his own detriment. Over the past three years, I’ve watched him struggle with this because his supporters want to see more Type A and his opponents want more Type B. I know I just extolled the virtues of being an A-minus, but it can be extremely difficult to navigate our dichotomous world successfully. People want to be able to lable you Type A or B – even though there is no statistical evidence supporting either theory. Those monikers sound good because they are nice ways of calling someone a jerk or soft without being mean. Being an A-minus means you have the potential for both. It means you are providing an honest and well-rounded assessment of who you are; and, really, who does that? Honesty in self-assessments means you’re comfortable with what and who you are. It means that you like yourself, but see room for improvement. It means that you’re satisfied with your imperfections while at the same time seeking to correct them. Overall, being an A-minus means that you’re a work in progress and you’re okay with that.

That’s just my three cents…


“Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act…”