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Coping With Hitchhiker and a Couch Potato, Article Writing Example

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Article Writing

During my freshman year in college, I had the experience of working with both a Hitchhiker and a Couch Potato on the same project.  There were five of us on the team and it was stressful because three people were doing all of the work.  At first it was not a problem because we were able to easily complete the extra work.  As the semester progressed, our workloads were increasing in other classes.  The three of us were experiencing increased stress with each week and neither the Hitchhiker nor the Couch Potato seemed to care.  The Couch Potato was a nice guy, but he was failing other classes and was not fazed by the potential of receiving another poor grade.  To my knowledge, the Hitchhiker was not failing any other classes, but he was very disruptive to the project.  His work, when he attempted it, was poor and his schedule always conflicted with our meetings outside of class.  If he did show up to any meetings, he was unfocused and wanted to discuss social matters.  Unfortunately, we did not handle this problem as well as we should have.  We were passive and did not confront them about their behavior; the three of us completed their work and they received the credit.  The situation became very stressful and it escalated into an argument between the Hitchhiker and one of the more quiet members of our group.   Even though this was humorous to observe, the situation should have been handled differently.   In our defense, it was our first year in college and we did not want to cause trouble.  I personally felt it was better to do the work myself and not be mean.   We later learned that the Couch Potato was having family problems and difficulty adjusting to school.  He did get some help and turned things around for himself.  On a positive note, the three of us who actually worked became close and we discovered how well we worked together as a team even when faced by challenges.

Even though we received good grade for the project and did enjoy working with each other, the three of us could have handled the situation much differently and may have had a better experience in working on our project.  We wasted too much time and energy trying to be polite. We did not want to be mean and we thought that if we just worked hard that everything would run smoothly.  But that did not help anyone and if we would have confronted the Couch Potato sooner, he may have gotten some help faster.  The Hitchhiker was unapologetically difficult and we should have been firm with him from the beginning.   We did not discuss the problem with the professor because we did not want to get the Hitchhiker in trouble.  If we had, we may have been able to have reached a solution, whether it was him not receiving credit for his lack of work or him being transferred out of our group.  Because we allowed the situation to escalate, the result was an argument which could have been prevented.  We should have spoken with the Hitchhiker sooner and told him that his behavior was unacceptable.

Problems arise when “nice” people stand by and do nothing.  True, the Hitchhiker and the Couch Potato were both poor workers, but if the rest of the group had been more proactive, then this issue could have been resolved within the first few weeks of the project.  Reading this article helped me to understand a few issues which I have been experiencing.  I like to please people and it is very difficult for me to be assertive and delegate responsibility.  The article made me ponder if people who are too “nice” are actually social couch potatoes.  We may work hard, but when it comes to taking responsibility, we are slackers.  While the points in the article will not turn things around for me overnight, it made me reflect on the things which I need to do in order to improve my relationships, both professionally and personally.

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