Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Nota bene: From now on I'll be rambling a little as I type. It's an effort to beat out writer's block. See, whenever I pause in typing it seems I get stuck and I lose my train of thought. I've discarded or put on the back burner at least a dozen posts, all of which made a lot of sense to me in my mind, and all of which I lost the gist of once I started writing. They just didn't look right once I typed them out. So I'm just going to keep typing from now on, and try to edit later. I'm not used to this form of blogging at all, which is perhaps why it's a good idea for me to try it once.

It's fortunate for a number of reasons that I plan to stay in the academic world rather than the business universe. Still, I believe I have a good answer to one of the more clich├ęd interview questions out there.

Interviewer: So, Patrick, what do you think is your biggest weakness?

Me: Leadership, or lack thereof. Once you have me, you are never, ever allowed to promote me. I don't do a good job directing other people and setting my own goals.

I wouldn't say exactly that it's indecision at work here. If you give me a well-defined project that's difficult and requires creativity, I will set to it and I will produce something I'm proud of. I've done it a thousand times, and I'll make all the little decisions that are involved in a larger project. But ask me to take charge of an enterprise and I'll become paralyzed with fear. Apathy destroys everything I wanted to accomplish; I'll dream up ideas and I'll never actually get around to doing them.

There's also the fact that I don't tend to notice things around me. I don't think of all the little details, and I don't see the big picture either. I have a very intense, direct focus on one thing at a time. It also hurts me that I never take the time to organize myself. I'd really manage much better if I did, but I refuse to. So I need to be given a mission, worked into a larger whole.

I'll be your best employee or your worst manager. I give you the choice.

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