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Type A SEOs: Lapdog Heroes

Type A SEOsThe reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself; therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

- George Bernard Shaw

It’s a rarity that I lead anything off with a quote; it’s cliche and uninspired most times. But today is the exception because that quote address the situation perfectly. We know that SEOs come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. But, today, I’m going to focus on one particular brand of SEO: The Lapdog Hero.

What’s The SEO Lapdog Hero?

It’s a special breed of Type A SEO. First let’s look at some of the common Type A personality traits:

  • Competitive (more toward the hyper-competitive end of things)
  • Strong Achievement-Orientation
  • Blunt (i.e. pulls no punches)
  • Aggressive and impatient
  • Rude or sarcastic
  • Likely to be a “Work-a-holic”
  • Perfectionist
  • Realist (usually cast as pessimistic attitudes)

Are You a Tremendous Asset or PITA?

The Lapdog Hero is at once the most tremendous asset a company has, and is also the biggest pain in the ass a company can have. I know because I am one. And, without a doubt, I align with a majority of the characteristics in the trait list above. Chances are pretty good that if you’re an SEO, you’re Type A personality. Because, let’s be honest, we live in an industry that never sleeps. And, if you aren’t a Type A, it’s a difficult task to do what we do and be great at it.

Clearly, to suggest that extraneous social factors or specific nurture factors don’t play a role in shaping the adjacent traits would be short-sighted. It does. Many times our adjacent traits, at least in my case, are leaned on more heavily in a work environment in order to be tolerated by others. But it’s akin to a coping mechanism; they don’t last and cracks in your armor come through.

Why I am Telling You All This?

Certainly, it’s less for us (we know who we are and have accepted that about ourselves), but those around us. Most SEOs are I know are brilliant, generous, Salt-of-the-Earth types, but competitive, driven machines. Nothing is ever tackled in a half-assed, half-measured way. Ever. You get 100% of us: bullshit and brilliance together. The hard-charging, driven machine that has a very sharp “my way or the highway” mentality.

It is the Type A personality traits that corporations/bosses love. We are the ultimate soldiers of fortune. Ask yourself this question: when something has to get done, has to get done to perfection, and has to get done quickly, who do they call on? Yep, you guessed it. You. Because they know you’ll eat whatever they’ve given you alive, and ask for seconds. Because you are clutch; because, like it or not, you are the Alpha. Things gets done, and done well. You are the Lapdog Hero. Called upon when needed to fill a massive void and winning out.

There is a reason only a few industries are jam-packed with Alphas (i.e. search marketing, medical doctors, lawyers, etc), because that’s what it takes to be successful. Anything cut of another cloth withers and dies.

Hiding Your PersonalityWhen the Job is Done?

This is where the PITA part comes into play. You are not supposed to be you all the time, just one of those unwritten codes in the corporate play book that most of learn the hard way. You are supposed to revert your entire being to something other than the Alpha you are. The bottom-line: go back to be being a submissive until your are called upon again.

Then the trouble starts. Mediocrity exists everywhere and Alphas/Type A’s love nothing more than to fix, correct, and abolish mediocrity. If it doesn’t work right now, then there’s no reason, in our minds, that it can’t work right. Then moment you get feisty and/or refuse to accept the status quo, is the moment everyone that’s not like you tells you to sit down, shut up, and do as you are told. Don’t rock the boat and just deal with it.

Therein lies the problem. We can’t just shut it off. We can’t just sit by, be lackadaisical, settle for half-assed, and be content puppies. We are the harbingers of change, and change is always a violent endeavor. That’s where we thrive: high stress, high pressure, constraints. When it seems insurmountable, that’s where we shine. And that’s we are tolerated in the workplace; we do what no one else will do or touch. And, we kick its ass. Hence the phrase: Lapdog Hero.

A Dying Breed and Dealing With Us

We’re still around, we “unreasonable” people as Shaw calls us. But we’re far an few between. I don’t want to say that people enjoy being mushy, gooey, and are just satisfied with “good enough”, but the older I get the more prevalent it becomes. It only serves to make me more unreasonable.

Dealing with us isn’t easy, I’ll be the first to admit that. And, we do try hard to keep our most intolerable, ferocious instincts at bay in order to “play nice” in the corporate sandbox. But, the rest of the world has to give us a break and cut us some slack. We’re honest with everyone because we know there’s enough greasiness in world. It’s refreshing. We drive hard in everything we do because we only have two gears: 100 MPH and Off. We want to be the best at everything we do because not being the best is just a waste of time (that doesn’t mean we don’t fail. We do A LOT of that. We just drive harder the next time.)

So the next time you’re annoyed with us, just come back to this post. Take a deep breath and cut us a break on our “over-bearing” attitudes, our outlandish snark, our brutal honesty, our what-have-you.

In Memory of Steven William Verre. I love you. I miss you.


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