My Hogwarts House and How it’s Relevant in Business
It wasn’t easy to accept when I first took the official Pottermore Hogwarts Sorting quiz, but several re-takes and denial periods later, and I can now tell you that I am a proud Slytherin. My sister is, too, so it definitely helps having a mischievous P.I.C. Reading more on Slytherin house, its defining traits, and many of the great, non-evil wizards (including the great Merlin himself!) has made me even more proud to claim my distinctive house affiliation. If you didn’t know, we Slytherins are also known for our pride and for our vast loyalty to our “own.” This can mean fellow Slytherins, our dear friends, and our families.
I wouldn’t say pride is the best Slytherin quality, but it is a good thing to have—in moderation—in the business world of today. As a Slytherin, I believe my pride and loyalty work together as an asset. I always look to work for companies that I can be proud of, and once I find a company where I’m happy, I am very loyal. A great example
from my work history is Aldo. I started there as a part-time sales associate shortly after finishing high school. I was taking time off from school, and it was a second job to make extra money as I was saving up to move out of my parents’ house. I was already an Aldo customer when I was offered the position. In fact, it was part of how I got the job, and I was already sold on the product. I loved Aldo’s shoes and accessories and I was excited to utilize my employee discount once I started!
I ended up working for Aldo for over five years. I worked my way up to a store manager position while I was in college. I quit the other part-time jobs I had been juggling and started working 80 – 90 hours per week there to get the store in order for the holiday season, while keeping costs as low as possible. The pay wasn’t great and the hours were obviously far from ideal for a full-time college student, but I loved the company. I believed in the brand. I was proud to tell people I worked there. And I remained loyal. Even though recruiters from other retailers attempted to poach me countless times, I never so much as entertained other offers. After completing my BSB, I even stayed with the company as I moved out to California. Unfortunately the culture was very different out here, and the company values that I loved so much were not displayed in the work of many of the Aldonians I came in contact with. Thus, I ended up leaving the company shortly after arriving in California. Since then, I have yet to find that perfect fit of a company with products I can stand behind, values I believe in, and a culture that makes me excited to go to work each morning. But I know that it’s out there.
Another defining Slytherin trait that I am quite proud of is ambition. If you’ve browsed my website or some of my previous blog posts, I don’t have to convince you that the girl who completed a BSB with a triple major and a minor in four years—complete with a month studying abroad, and with a first year that barely counted—while working 80 - 90 hours per week almost the entire time is ambitious. But, I am. I would argue that, true to my house, it is one of my defining personality traits. There is never a challenge I won’t take on to achieve my goals. I may not be as fearless as a Gryffindor, but I will face those fears head on when they stand in the way of where I want to go.
I think I’ve shown pretty thoroughly how my house relates to the skills and abilities that I can bring to a company. But what does it mean for everyone else? I have a theory. In a leadership class I took in business school, we focused heavily on personality testing. It was then that I learned that some companies require all of their employees to complete a personality test, and some even include it as a part of the hiring process. My theory is that the Hogwarts houses represent the four basic personality types I learned about in school (essentially a more simplified version of the Myers-Briggs model, focusing only on the introvert/extrovert and thinker/feeler attributes), thus making employee sorting the millenialized personality testing.
If you’re not familiar with the practice, many companies use personality testing to get a deeper insight into their employees, their work and management styles, what motivates them, and what type of work environment they thrive in. Generally the goal is to keep your team as balanced as possible because, as we see in the Harry Potter series (albeit a short-sided view of Slytherins), each brings a unique view and adds value in their own way.
Side note: I also have a theory about the main trio, Harry, Ron and Hermione, and how the three of them actually represent the four houses. But I’ll leave that for another post…