Monday, 18 June 2007

Introvert at work

Ages ago I completed one of those schedules that's supposed to tell you about yourself.

In this case it was really quite useful and interesting. Whilst I was working with a consultant at the Tavistock Centre I completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

I can't remember the details of the findings, but I do remember coming out very clearly as an introvert. It was a little shocking. I thought, here am I, supposed to be running the place, and this schedule tells me I'm an introvert, someone happiest closed away in a darkened room.

The consultant helpfully explained to me that the Jungian concept of the introvert is a little different to my idea, and anyway being able to think clearly and analytically about things might be rather a useful quality. Though I don't think it helped me much with girls (or boys) as a teenager.

Looking back, I can see how the type of person I am made my first year in my current job very hard - I am a schemer, a designer, an organiser. In a place that's going off the rails I lack the ability to get on and sort things out quickly, person to person. If a blaze had started up in the staffroom, I would have probably taken the time to think about the different approaches to managing fires.

But after that year of hell, the plans, designs, strategies, started to work out pretty well.

But not long ago I found myself back in that somewhat lost, thoughtful, drifting space you really shouldn't be in if you are supposed to be running somewhere. It was all set off by the thing I hate the most, which is money and making sure a big capital project is all OK and I won't end up remortgaging my house because I can't read a spreadsheet.

That drifting feeling is hard to live with, it's to go on as if I'm feeling alive when I have it.

And it struck me that I don't think I've ever read much about feeling lost, cotton-wooled, depressed at work when you are supposed to be in charge. For me it's like there's something wrong at the front left hand side of my brain. The events going on at work are muffled. I find myself thinking that the world is weary, flat, stale and unprofitable.

Later in the week, all the figures added up. The building project looks like it is going ahead. Something isn't there any more, in the front of my brain, left side.