Monday, August 1, 2011

What I Wish More People Knew About Me

I've mentioned that I like Amber Naslund's ideas over at Brass Tack Thinking. A while back she wrote a post about what she wished more people knew about her and I was so impressed by it and the follow-up posts that I committed to writing one. So if you're thinking this post has nothing to do with your small nonprofit, you're right.

Many times since I said I would write this post, I've thought about not writing it. I'm sure I've worried and wondered over it much more than it deserves, since there's a likelihood that fewer than my three regular readers will ever see it and judging by the number of comments I usually get, this post will probably go largely unremarked. Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. So, here goes.

What I Wish More People Knew About Me

I'm an introvert - expending energy in social situations, rather than acquiring it. In real world terms this means I usually have to be dragged to parties involving people I don't know and I always feel like I have three heads at networking events.

Katherine Hepburn gave me poise. I admired her strength, so when I got into confusing social situations as a girl, I would ask myself what I thought she'd do, and I'd do that.

I'm not as fearless as my friends and family think - or as transparent. Most of the time if I'm doing something that seems to take courage, it's only because I don't see any other alternative. If I'm transparent, it's because I believe it saves time and sanity to not have multiple faces. But this doesn't mean that I don't get anxious or that I don't withhold things. Sometimes I'm withholding the fact that I'm anxious.

I'd rather not be the leader. Some people like that role, but I'm not one of them. I prefer to work as part of a team in a collaborative style. If the team I'm on can't collaborate their way out of a paper bag, I'd rather work alone. If working alone isn't possible, and there's a leadership vacuum, I'll lead and I won't complain. Out loud, anyway.

I hate being singled out, having my picture taken, or thanked in public. Praise the team, please. I very much enjoy having someone tell me I did a good job - but in private.

Geeks and nerds are my people. I love, love, love technology and computers. I think this is funny, because when I was in college, computers were programmed using punch cards and I couldn't care less about them. Then I tried my first word processing program, and I was a goner. I'm also a history buff, a political scientist, a typography junkie, a foodie, and a captive of the Oxford English Dictionary and Chicago Manual of Style. I love space and science fiction, like to watch operations and had lots of fun diagnosing cause of death on the U of Edinburgh's online autopsy site. I collect slang and word origins, adore Japanese anime and rock music and think puns in Latin are funny. If I could go back in time to see one thing, it would probably be the moment that our species began its evolutionary path.

I'd always rather know the truth, even if it hurts. If I know the truth, I can take an action to deal with it and move on. I hate finding I've expended a lot of useless effort because of a lie.

I use personal anecdotes as illustrations. If I tell you a dark story from my past, it's not to get sympathy or because I think we've become best buds, it's because it's relevant to a point I'm trying to make, that's all. It's something I've dealt with and it's become an abstract for me. What's still painful to me, you will never hear about, unless you are a very, very, very good friend.

Animals and small children are important to me and for the same reasons. They are helpless for the most part and don't know how to ask for what they need. To me, all pets and children should have loving homes. People who can't give them one, shouldn't have them. Period.

I contradict myself. I love other peoples' vacation pictures, but I won't look at pictures of your kids unless I know them. I have gone out of my way to comfort a stranger, but fired people for poor performance and been unmoved by their pleas. I dislike artifice and snobbery, yet will set the table by the book. I love people, it's humanity I can't stand.

Finally, if I could do anything in the world and be anyone in the world, I'd do exactly what I'm doing and be exactly who I am. Only I'd make a little more money.

Tool of the Week: 25 Ways to Use Twitter to Improve The World

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