Selectively Sociable

Getting back to the whole stress issue… I took a test as part of the career transition courses I’ve been taking on the old company’s dime. It was one of those job skill/personality evalution thingies, but unlike some I’ve taken in the past, this one seemed to be right on the money. Basically, this test plots your interests versus your skills, the way you work normally and the way you work under stress, and what kind of support you need in order to operate normally. All of these things are plotted on a four color grid. If the way you normally operate falls within the same color as the way you operate under stress then you have a problem. Guess where my shit falls?

According to this test my normal style and stress style of work both fall under the blue portion of the four color grid. People who’s normal style of work falls in the blue quadrant are generally insightful, optimistic, thoughtful, and selectively sociable. People who’s stress style of work falls under the blue quadrant, when their needs are not being met, generally ignore social convention, become indecisive, find it hard to act, and see the worst possibilities. They become anti-social and easily discouraged, overly sensitive to criticism, disorganized, self-protective, and evasive.

I read this laundry list to Stef and she tried not to laugh as she very sarcastically said, “That doesn’t sound like you at all.”

You see, what all this comes down to is that people can’t tell when I’m upset or not because the way I operate when not stressed is so close to the way I operate when I am stressed. It’s very hard for someone to think I’m pissed off at them because I am always insightful and withdrawn. I am always dwelling primarily in my own head. It’s hard to work with me sometimes because of this.

These courses are opening my eyes to the way I operate and helping me to define the kind of environment I need in my next position. If you ever get laid off and are offered services like these as part of your package, you should definitely take advantage.

The thing that really gets me about this stuff is that this week in particular I’ve noticed that come 7 PM or so, when I know Stef is on her way home, I am consistently falling into my stress style. You see, this is where my needs come in. I need people who offer individual support, encourage the expression of feelings, allow time for reflection, and give time for difficult decisions. I work and live better when people around me are interested in feelings as well as logic, when they let me know who’s in charge, are openly enthusiastic, and give me personalized incentives. When Stef comes home from a long day at the office she can’t offer me any of these things. She’s too burnt out to offer anything really, except how piss-poor her day was. I understand this. I’ve been through shitty jobs too. I just can’t handle all of her stuff along with all of my stuff. And she can’t handle all of my stuff along with all of her stuff so…

You can see why there’s some tension in our apartment of late.

Tomorrow I go in for the last of my four courses with the transition company. It’s a course on interviewing skills, which is one of the areas I consider myself weakest in. After that, I am hoping to set up some individual time with my counselor to go over stuff one on one before my old company paid services run out.

Today I took a day off from everything and watched a bunch of DVDs. I think I might make a habit of taking Thursdays to myself. I don’t know. We’ll see.