By Rich Weissman
I spoke with my son the other day as he was about to leave for his shift in the ER at a local regional medical center. He had been off for a few days and he said he was looking forward to seeing his ‘work family’. And I knew exactly what he meant. He was not disparaging his ‘real family’ but acknowledging the bond he has with his coworkers. I was happy for him.
I also have been fortunate over the years to have had a series of excellent ‘work families’. I’d say that the one I have now in academia is extraordinary. They are friendly, compassionate, interesting, empathetic, and fun to be with. By far my college is the best place I have worked. I didn’t quite enjoy my college years and I’ve been fortunate to make up for that during my ‘second’ career.
But I think the ‘work family’ in my manufacturing career comes close to what my son experiences in the ER, less the life and death situations he is dealing with on a daily basis. Procurement groups tend to be ones that work strongly together. Perhaps it is the constant battle to demonstrate operational importance, or showing a unified approach to a global supply community, we tend to show a united front. Perhaps it is the stress… the never ending shortages, the constant pressure to reduce costs, international travel, fights with accounting, or just the never-ending work flow.
I always include a healthy dose of organizational behavior in all of my classes. I tell my students that as long as basic qualifications like education and experience are met, I hire with chemistry in mind. I can teach anyone a job…but do I want them to be part of my ‘work family’?
In this case I indeed can pick my relatives.
Endicott College Assistant Professor Rich Weissman teaches management courses for the School of Business and the Van Loan Graduate School. He is also the director of corporate education, which includes the Center for Leadership, Endicott’s management development institute. He is vice chair of the planning committee and also serves on the technology committee and the Institution Review Board. A practitioner turned educator, Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of procurement and supply chain management. He has held positions with large business units of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized contract manufacturing companies, small venture-backed Internet startup firms, and third-party procurement, consulting and strategic sourcing firms.
Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Lesley University and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University. He is past president of the Purchasing Management Association of Boston and a recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association.
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