Monday, 9 August 2010

Those Darn "People Skills"

My reflex answer to "what are your weaknesses" is: a) hiring people and b) "people skills".

Yet the people I have hired over the years have all gone on to do well for themselves. I cheat, of course, because I only hire smart people - it makes my life so much easier. I have had to let people go, and in both cases I believe I did so in a manner that let them keep their self-respect and dignity.

When I'm talking about something with someone, I'm fine, even if it's a "personal" matter like behaviour or even dress. I can do that so indirectly and tactfully they don't even notice - and sometimes I don't realise I've done it until later. As long as there's a thing we're both talking about, I'm fine.

I'm not so good with dealing with people in authority, I tense up the same way I do if someone points a camera at me - and what are the odds of that for an ACoA? I am not good at being polite to people who are supposed to be helping me but clearly don't know enough to help me (most IT help desks and shop assistants): I tend to cut the conversation short. That's not unique to me.

I think I'm bad at dealing with and communicating with people because I know they don't understand me, nor me them, unless we're just exchanging practical information. I read that sharing mutual interests with another human being is supposed to give you a warm glow of belonging: I'll assume you have felt that. I haven't, or if I have then it was so faint I missed it. The thing is, the Normals don't know this about my communications with them: they think they are communicating as if with another Normal. I really should stop worrying about this.

I'm really bad at dealing a bureaucracy that's designed to make my life more difficult for no actual reward - we're talking about a large retail bank here. Its IT and data security would not stop a halfway decent Russian hacker from stripping it of valuable data at the end of a six month stint, but sure as heck stops us doing our jobs. Which is a special case of what my real weakness.

Which is dealing with people who are not actual rogues but are practicing denial, lying, misleading, obfuscating, playing games, or who are insecure in their job, or who aren't quite up to the job and have to hide it or try to bring the job down to something they can manage - to the detriment of my plans and intentions. You can be as mendaciously bureaucratic as you like if it doesn't affect me. Once you mess up my plans, you are no longer a person, but an obstacle, The Problem. You are not with me, so you must be against me, and are therefore The Enemy. You. Personally. No hiding behind job descriptions: a decent person wouldn't do a job like that, so you cannot be a decent person. In the movie Clean and Sober Morgan Freeman gets the line "You know the addict's least favourite word? It's NO". When you become an obstacle, you are saying NO and I can barely contain my anger. My father's first reply was always NO and a boy can get fed up and angry of hearing that after a while. It turns you to that Jesuit thing about being easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

This world is full of such people and I have no patience with them. That's my weakness.

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