Do you know how many people have this sentence written on their CVs and in fact, they are the worst team players? Nobody believes this anymore, so they want to see it in action. This often plays out in the interview in the form of a scenario described to you and asking you how you will react or asking how your classmates, lecturers or previous part-time employers would describe you. On this note – please refrain from giving the very fake-weakness answer “I work too hard”. Employers are tired of hearing this. Just be honest and own up to it without giving the employer a reason to NOT hire you.
Collaboration doesn’t mean sitting together in one room and talking about a shared problem. It doesn’t mean we all put our names on the report yet only one person wrote it. It also doesn’t mean brainstorming new solutions with ten people in the room and only two of them talking.
The fast-paced society we are living in requires constant collaboration. Even your favourite TikTok influencer does not work in isolation. Because of the possibilities that the digital era brings, the focus is very often on the details which can easily take up your entire day. The TikTok video that you see of about 20 seconds most probably took a couple of hours to make. Sometimes the influencer films him or herself, but often they have people assisting them. They might need lighting or music. Then the video editing itself can take hours. Often, it requires multiple takes to get the message across which means lots of time is needed to cut and trim all the video takes and put them together in one flowing clip.
The workplace is no different. Time is limited and collaboration is the way to get around more work with less time. Be smart and divide the report according to the skills and competencies of the team. Not all members have to be part of it. Perhaps next time your colleague writes more sections so that you can focus on research instead. The takeaway is that very few people nowadays can work in isolation and learning to work effectively in a team will only benefit all of you.