After the Thanksgiving meal, our family conversation somehow landed on the topic of personality traits. Each of us seems to be bent toward a particular action. Caretaker and fixer are the two types our nine members discussed around the dinner table. I have thought often about my inherent nature. What I have discovered is this: I am the problem solver, the fixer. Many a dilemma places me on a path of contemplation and brainstorming, sometimes to a fault…
I first discovered this about myself three-and-a-half years ago. The work I loved had been restructured–my position obliterated–moving me from an active, on-my-feet and creative role, to a sedentary, non-innovative chore. I knew I wanted to make a change. But should I? And, what? These were the questions rattling around in my brain as I faced the ensuing changes.
Within two weeks of my boss’ notification, I received a phone call from a local organization who was looking for a manager for one of their departments. My name had come up in their meetings, as a person who not only had experience in the field, but would be an asset to them. They were inquiring about my employment status: Was I employed? Would I consider a change?
The stars had aligned, the universe had graced me with a potential job–precisely when I needed one–and a big ego boost, to boot.
The group needed a part-time person right away, and the job and I seemed tailor-made for one another. The position afforded great flexibility, a program needed to be created, facilitated, and implemented, and it happened to be in a specialized field in which I had expertise. But after the phone conversation, a nagging tugged within me. The workload description did not fit the quantifier part-time. Of that I felt confident. To the contrary, it would likely have included many full-time-plus weeks.
A longstanding, months-long, community wide series of events was about to begin, and the group was suddenly without a supervisor. Additionally, the organization had been discussing new, long-range objectives, and they needed an innovative person to help move them forward with their planning and implementation.
Forty-plus-hours did not fit into my active household schedule. I knew specifically what I wanted and needed, both for myself and for my family. A polite, Thanks, but no thanks, should have been the end of the interview. Yet I grappled with my decision, even more so, after the face-to-face that had me believing the company was telling me everything I wanted to hear, simply to bring me on board. Not that they were misleading me, intentionally. But, I do believe the urgency of their needs clouded their discussions and thought process.
The universe sent me this job. They had no way of knowing I was thinking about changing employment. The heavens literally opened up and plopped this position right into my lap. This line of thinking was justified and augmented by the fact that I hadn’t worked in this field for six years. I understood the image bolstering part of my decision making dilemma. But ego would not be the crux of my angst.
From the onset, I had discussed this situation with a good friend, and shared this last frustration with her. “I’m guessing they know I will get the job done, regardless of how many hours it takes…fortitude…diligence… They know I won’t quit until the project is completed. I know I’m that way, and I don’t want to invest that sort of time right now.”
“Then why are you having such a hard time saying, ‘no’?
“Because they are desperate. They need someone immediately, and–“
“And, that’s your problem, why?”
Oh, my sage, sage, friend, whose question landed in my lap, much like the job offer had…
There in lied the heart of my dilemma, pumping life into my conflict. These people had a problem. I had the resources, much of the experience needed, the skill, not to mention the ambition and drive and dedication to help them. And, they had come to me for assistance.
I was making their plight my problem. To the detriment of my private and familial needs… There in lies the fault part of my otherwise constructive, problem-solver being… My own little personality peril… The epiphany provided me a golden nugget of self-awareness knowledge, an ounce of wisdom…
What drives you? Are you a fixer? A peacekeeper? A caretaker? What personality peril(s) causes you conflict? Have you unearthed it yet, or does it lie dormant?