Project 14 – Day 12: My Personality

Day Twelve is me trying to balance being honest about my personality and how I act with trying not to be pre-fired.

When I turned 20, I thought a lot of this one quote from the Anne of Green Gables series, where Anne talks about turning 20 too.

“… by the time I was twenty my character would be formed, for good or evil. I don’t feel that it’s what it should be. It’s full of flaws.”

“So’s everybody’s,” said Aunt Jamesina cheerfully. “Mine’s cracked in a hundred places. Your Miss Stacy likely meant that when you are twenty your character would have got its permanent bent in one direction or ‘tother, and would go on developing in that line. Don’t worry over it, Anne. Do your duty by God and your neighbor and yourself, and have a good time.”

Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Now, I once went in to interview for a teaching assistant position, and one of the first questions they asked was, “How would your family and friends describe you, in three words, and why?” Now, me being a really smart and incredibly sleep deprived person, I put together this great answer in about two seconds:

“Brilliant, a leader, and pig-headed”

And it only went downhill from there. I didn’t get that job.

That three phrase summary isn’t exactly wrong. I make a point of trying to keep my fingers on the pulse of everything, which involves some mental twister, and I like learning. I’ve also never been very good at that silly trick 50s charm school pamphlets advise for getting boys, which is pretending not to know anything so they can explain it all and feel “manly” and “smart”, since I have no patience for people getting things wrong. I like leadership and tend to reach for it, and I think I’m getting better at it. Pig-headed… well, it was honest. I am determined, and once I’ve made up my mind, it’s hard to change it. That’s not always a good thing.

Of course, boiling down something as complex as a human personality down into three words is a gross over-simplification. There were definitely three other words I probably should’ve chosen for my interview that still describe my personality, but so I actually would seem like a good candidate to guide a bunch of impressionable first years through one of their core classes.

In four words, I’m an ENFJ, which is no surprise to any one who knows me and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, and I have been since the first time I took this test in middle school. You can read more about it here and take your own MBTI test here if you’re interested, but the gist of it is that ENFJ are Extrovert, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Judging, which pretty much nails me… kind of. Hey, even if four words are a whole word more than three words, it’s still dramatically oversimplifying something complex. ENFJs are, apparently, the generous pedagogues of the world, who are adept at social manipulation, high-minded idealism, dynamicism, and juggling a lot of projects. I think most people would agree that describes me… kind of.

I feel like I could go on and on about my personality, but I’ll keep it succinct by giving a 20 item list and limit myself to one quip each so I don’t ramble. So in no particular order, me in 20 items:

  1. I’m at least an extroverted ambivert. While I have moments where I like to hole up and knit and read a book for seven hours, I usually like being around people; it’s how I recharge.
  2. I am also sometimes socially awkward. Just because a child likes kittens doesn’t mean that child cannot also be allergic to cats. It sucks to be that child, but it does happen. In a similar vein, I am a shy extrovert. I love having friends, but I sometimes am so excessively awkward or overbearing or… me, that I have a hard time making them.
  3. I have an opinion on everything. I think I’ve pushed so hard to finish this blog because I want to go on long rants about everything. Look forward to it!
  4. I will alter my opinion if someone gives me good enough reason. It’s up to me whether the reason is good enough; it is my opinion after all.
  5. I tend to err on the side of bluntly honest. It could be bad (witness the “Brilliant, a leader, and pig-headed”), but I also can admit when I’m wrong, so it balances
  6. I’m curious. I will ask all kinds of questions bordering on the offensive, I will try to learn everything, and I will try everything, limited only by time, opportunity, and my student budget.
  7. But I make my judgements quickly. I threw up once when I ate mushrooms when I was four and decided I didn’t like them. 16 years later, I still don’t eat them.
  8. I have no patience. I move fast, and I deal with the rest of the world not catching up me by doing something else. Sometimes this is good and productive, sometimes… it is not.
  9. I’m sensitive. That’s where the name of my blog comes from: I got so riled up over one injustice or another, one of my older, jaded coworkers told me one day, I would duck my head and let everything go by. This blog was to meant to help me balance between jaded and naive, I suppose, and always hold my head high.
  10. I’m artistic and creative. I have doubts about my talents, but life is more fun when you make something out of nothing.
  11. I love learning. There’s just not enough time to learn all the fascinating things in the world.
  12. I can be really, really insecure. I guess you can probably tell that from all the disclaimers I make in these statements… I’ve written more about the imposter syndrome here.
  13. I’m superstitious. I’ll write more about it tomorrow, but I’m triskadekaphobic, amongst other things.
  14. Yet I try to be rational and logical. I’m not always successful, but I like it when things follow reason and logic. I guess that’s why I like programming so much; it’s very rule-driven, but you can be incredibly creative with it and yet the result is always the same, unlike writing, where the result means different things to different people.
  15. I like teamwork, and leading teams if I’m suitable for the task. It works with my extroversion: life is more fun with more people, but only if they’re working together to get something done and if they need a kick in the rear to get moving, I will give it.
  16. I am a feminist. I don’t hate men and I don’t burn my bras, but I do believe that society has some very deep prejudices against women that are just illogical, because we’re under utilizing half our population, and I believe it’s most dangerous when we believe we’ve conquered these prejudices, especially when we haven’t.
  17. I’m protective of my friends. Some of their boyfriends find out the hard way 🙂
  18. I am ambitious. I’ve dreamed of being lots of things in my life (See day 3) , and my latest professional goal is to move into senior management of a company I believe in. But we’ll see.
  19. I am a planner and a detailist. I’ve talked about planning being a weakness of mine, but at the same time, it’s comforting and just prudent to have a plan. I also tend to drive people batty with my love of details.
  20. I can be really arrogant. It’s strange, combining insecurity and arrogance, but I take my arrogance for granted instead of wearing it like a garish cape. It takes an honest friend, or some fortunate happenstance to knock me back on my ass and teach me otherwise, for which I will be forever grateful.

This may not exactly be a comprehensive list; I’m sure there’s more about myself that I haven’t mentioned, and I’m sure my friends and my enemies  and the people who just read these blog posts will have different opinions of me. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’ll have a different opinion of myself some other day. But for now, it’s interesting to see all facets of my personality that work together, and the facets that contradict each other.

Now, here’s hoping I haven’t pre-fired myself from any future job.

Project 14 is how I’m going to start my journey of self discovery, to memorialize  who I am when I start chronicling my life. Each day, I’ll approach who I am through a different paradigm people use to define themselves. Read more about it at my About page.




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