Earlier this year, my brilliant friend Hugh MacPhie published an interesting piece: “What would Star Wars characters be like to work with?”
I sent the link off to my son Tom in England; he’s so busy launching a new business, it took about 3 weeks to respond but when he did, it was totally worth reading! Nobody loves “Star Wars” more than Tom Smith; and no one works harder. So when he shared his observations on how useless Han Solo is, and how kick-ass Princess Leia would be to work with, he definitely caught my attention.
Just yesterday a friend and I were discussing how fundamentally
useless Han Solo was to the Rebel Alliance – he’s completely
self-centred, takes them to meet his friend Lando on Cloud City where
Darth Vader is waiting for them, then he gets frozen in carbonite
because he owes a gangster money and then the whole team (Leia,
Chewie, both droids and Luke) have to stop fighting the Empire and
spend the first third of the next movie recovering Han from Tattoine.
Han is worse than completely useless; he’s a liability. He can’t even
fix his own ship and needs Chewie to do it. He doesn’t deserve to be
such a popular character. (The only pinch he comes through in is
taking down the tie fighters that are locked on to Luke in the Death
Star trench; but why did he leave in the first place?)
For C3PO, in his defense, although he is a big downer he doesn’t
actually get in the way and he is like one of those co-workers you
have to put up with because no one else has his technical skills
(“fluent in over 2 million forms of communication”). Without C3PO the
whole story would have stalled in the first 30 mins because Uncle Owen
couldn’t find anyone that understands the binary language of moisture
vaporators and Luke would just have to spend all his time trying to
suck water out of the desert rather than going to find Old Ben Kenobi.
There are about a dozen points where the whole story would just
have to stop without C3PO’s translation skills.
R2D2 is a manager’s idea of a good employee, always does what he’s
told, loyal even though he could be paid double if he went elsewhere,
he’s no threat to take his manager’s job, doesn’t come up with his own
ideas and then get attached to them. It doesn’t sound like a career
path worth emulating. He doesn’t even get a medal after they blew up
the Death Star, even though he’s co-piloting Luke’s ship. He’s too
comfortable being underappreciated, which of course the organization
If I had to work with one of them it would be Leia. She’s always on
the ball, has lots of skills, family connections and isn’t a douche.
She would be the most valuable. She’d probably be fired from a big
company because she threatens her manager but then she’d succeed with
her own kick-ass start-up.