S has been my boss for about 2 months now. It's my 2nd time with a female boss. The 1st experience (I've alluded to this before) was nothing short of 'part-trauma-part-unreal-drama':). This time is a diametric opposite to my internship experience at Citi. :) Like my previous bosses, S exudes warmth and possesses everything that could possibly endear her to a direct report. That's just for background.
S drove me to our venue for this evening's dinner with the other CMKers and our conversation touched topics I wouldn't have ventured near with a male boss. Not cause they'd be any kinda disappointment, but just cause sometimes it takes a woman to be able to let your guard down.
Anyway, where the conversation ended up was at that enigmatic thing we call chemistry.
Now for me, chemistry is a more than 'spark with a person that can end in romance'. To me it denotes the richness of the space between people in general. Chemistry exists with better halves, yes. But chemistry also exists with friends, bosses, co workers and most other people we interact with right? So how come it gets mentioned only in romantic contexts all the time?
Take for example, that delicious thrill you feel when a coworker gets exactly what you mean when you explain a theory to solve a complex problem. You don't have to spend a good 10 minutes explaining the why's and how's. They just GET it. THAT's chemistry. Intellectual maybe, but chemistry it is. :)
Then there's the boss who when he coaches you just has to say the words and understanding dawns on you like the first rays of the morning sun. Principles simply glide their way into your mind without the obstruction we term 'doubts'. THAT's chemistry.
Then there's that friend who when he hears you say "I feel like SHIT" may not always know how to SOLVE your problem, but can certainly take your mind OFF it. This is the class of people who know just the thing to say to make the sun shine out from behind the clouds for a teeny bit, even if they can't really chase the rains away. People, the very thought of whom, gives you that wonderful reassuring warm feeling in your soul. THAT's chemistry.
Remember the person you met and just KNEW this was gonna get interesting? That exchange of repartee, casual banter, the ability to make each other laugh, to get into a conversation that kept you awake past the wee hours, that left your hands hurting from all the typing, that took your mind off even your favorite most critical activities? THAT's chemistry.
What I've observed over my short life although, is that chemistry doesn't have as much to do with individuals themselves as it does with the space between them. What do I mean?
It means A can find chemistry with B even if they're both the most insipid boring people in the world (heck, maybe THAT's what lets them click!), even if A is this hyperactive talkative being and B is the quiet sober rarely speaking type, even if A knows a LOT about everything, and B knows nothing about absolutely anything.
It means that when you think you've found chemistry with someone, there's very little you can actually credit to the person in question. Likewise, and more importantly, if you DON'T find it with someone, it's no judgment to how interesting/ wonderful they are. Net - the feeling is largely independant of the individuals involved, but hugely dependant on the intersection domain of their interactions, and hence completely unpredictable and varying!
For good reason too! Imagine if all of us could 'click' with only certain personality types! If the world ran on formulae like that, we'd never be able to form and maintain the diverse circles of 'special' friends/ co workers/ bosses etc that we can now. :-)
Some other time maybe I'll dissect the subject further, but for now remember, its not you, its not me ... its the space BETWEEN us that determines our 'Chemistry' :D