The tug-of-war between ‘nice’ and ‘competent’
Temperament and competence have often been framed as a dichotomyin life and work
My grandparents had four sons and one daughter: my mother. My grandmother’s favourite son was her eldest. He had a sweet word for everyone; sent my grandmother photos from faraway England with lines of Tamil poetry as captions; and was ever-smiling. Her third son lived in the same town as she did. He was the one she called when she needed to go to the doctor, have a piece of furniture moved, or speak to her tenants about rent increases. He was her SOS and showed up when he was needed.