Yesterday was strange and interesting. I took my vitamins which made a huge difference in my mood and how I felt. I went out and bought a bunch of junk food. That was a dumb move so now I'm thinking about what I was hoping to accomplish by eating ice cream and Cheetos that I didn't even really want. I think part of it goes back to being a kid and being a partner in a relationship where I felt as if I was constantly being controlled and always feeling as if I had to be the one sacrificing while others around me had the freedom to spend without recriminations or having to justify a purchase. If that's the case then I'm not as upset with myself. It was a compulsive shopping trip that didn't really accomplish anything except to temporarily derail me from my better eating habits plan, but I can start fresh today and do some reading on the psychology of control, power, and breaking free from the mindset that I have to quickly grab things before they're gone. I see my girls do this and it's a mindset I'm optimistic about changing.

A couple of years ago the company my mom works for had everyone buy a copy of the book Strengths Finder. I found my copy at Goodwill so the code in the back has already been used, but reading the book without knowing my top five specific strengths has been enlightening. The first couple of strengths sounded a lot like me. I am achiever, an arranger, and an activator. I am not particularly analytical and I have some beliefs, but perhaps not to the extent that it would be a key strength of mine. I feel as if I am a communicator since I enjoy conversations, writing, and people who use language to say more than the words I'm reading or hearing. I'm learning a lot from the book and I'm hoping that it will help me find a job that maximizes what I am good at. Last night I had a good conversation with my youngest sister. We were talking about my job search and in her I got the conversation I had expected to hear when I told people that I had applied to be an EMT/firefighter.

There are people who are very practical when it comes to the job market and my two youngest sisters are people who prefer safe jobs and opportunities. Her logic goes something like this. I need a job. Target is a company that offers there people a discount. I will always be buying food and clothes so I should consider applying for a job at Target as I will save money on those purchases. I value her insight and practicality. Here's where I question what she's saying although her points are valid and true. I'm pretty sure I would hate working at Target for anything other than a short stint where it would be new and interesting. I'm a great cashier, but the job is very routine and I would not be in charge although I could work up to a leadership or management role. I would be a red shirted khaki wearing drone with very little autonomy and I would have to do things their way. The job is not a good fit for my particular strengths and it would be another job on my resume that I didn't stick with for very long. 

Sometimes, a lot of the time, I wish I could be more like my sisters who recognize that there is no perfect job, take good jobs for the practical aspects, and stay at them for long periods of time. A mistake I made in the past was not understanding myself and my personality when I was considering jobs. I did look at the sensible side, but I'm not a very sensible person in many ways. While that may not sound like a great quality, sometimes it helps me because there are times when the sensible thing doesn't make sense. For instance, yesterday a guy I know called me to talk about a program he wants to implement. The sensible thing to do would have been to listen to him, digest what he said, and then offer my ideas on how to make his system work going forward. As I was listening to him I tried putting myself in the position of management. His idea is not bad. I've seen programs similar to his work, but when he was done talking I didn't tell him anything about his particular system other than he needed to greatly simplify it if he wanted to go that direction.

Instead of spending a lot of time helping him refine his program I suggested trying to get more out of the program that was already fairly successful at work. There's always a danger in redirecting a conversation like that where I'm telling someone that their pet project isn't something I would invest in, but at the end of the conversation I think he was able to see that his plan would take a lot of time and considerable resources while my idea was to further refine a system that already had a proven track record. While I am often going in ten directions at once, I can often help others stay on track when they want to go off on a tangent. I spent some time thinking about my friend and his role at the organization. I think they aren't using him and his gifts very effectively so he's frustrated with his role in the organization. From what he says it doesn't sound as if they are appreciating the strengths that he has. I wouldn't put him in the job that he has now even though he has some skills as a communicator. Social media tends to be a very fast paced free flow of information and ideas. It requires instantaneous processing and quick responses. A day is forever in social media although don't be fooled into thinking that the community has a short term memory as the internet rarely forgets and will dredge up old media with a few clicks.

I'm not sure, but I think he may be more analytical in nature. He's for sure a detail person and I think this job would be better in the hands of a larger picture person. He's very sensitive and connects well with women which is where I see his value. He's well educated, that's apparent from talking to him. He's found a way to reach out and support a group that isn't often respected or seen as a driving force in the marketplace. I think that if he could spend more time talking to a couple of these mom bloggers he would get a staunch and stable community that would be very dedicated to him and what he hopes to accomplish. From what I've seen he wants to control certain things and in my experience, this kind of thing works best when you share as much of the control and power as you can. The company has one idea, he has a second, and I have a third that I think they haven't explored to the extent that they could.

When I was talking to my sister she was trying to tell me that I'm a detail oriented person instead of seeing the big picture. I didn't agree with what she said so we went online to find more information about the differences between the two. I asked her a series of questions and had her tell me what she thought about me in comparison to the question at hand. At the end I had six yeses, one for each of the big picture identifiers while I only had one yes in the detail thinking category. She had three yeses and three noes in the big picture category while most of her detail question answers were yes. I think she's closer to the middle in terms of a raw score. She has some big picture views, but she's more of a detail person than not. We got to talking about the Myers-Briggs test which led to a different personality test. When I was finished I read my responses and my mood sunk. The person they were describing sounded very unattractive and I know it's just an online test, but it was pretty accurate and it made me wonder if I'll ever get to the point where I realize some of the positives of being who I am.

It said that people like me are relentless self improvers. They argue just to argue and enjoy being the devil's advocate even if they have no belief in what is being argued. They don't tend to be very empathetic, I really struggle with that and constantly try to see things from other's point of view, I'm just not very good at it the way that my sister is. There are good things about being me, part of this is probably not having very high self esteem, but it did say that these people often feel misunderstood and left out which really hit home. I guess it was particularly upsetting to see how my natural tendencies often worked against me instead of working for me. A lot of the time I want to be more feminine. Being girly isn't a priority necessarily, but there are so many women like my sister who are gracious and sensitive and know just what to say to make others feel better while I tend to be the type of person who hands out advice and uncomfortable truths as I see them. There is a benefit to that, but it doesn't tend to win friends and influence others in a positive manner.

My strength finder book talks about competitive people needing time to mourn a loss. I didn't really think about it this way until I read that, but I feel very stronly that marriage was an arena where I was competing with ???, I don't know who I was competing with exactly, but I feel the loss very keenly like maybe other women are better mothers and happier homemakers and the career women I know are better than I am and I'm kind of a loser for not being able how to make things work. I wasn't even the one to file, that's another wound. Like if I would have been the one to throw in the towel I would feel better about myself somehow. The test said that people like me avoid grunt work at all costs. The truth of that made me angry. I hate doing dishes and housework and it seems like people should know how hard I work to overcome this as I know these are things that need to be done. Fortunately the book offers some tips and strategies for working with each type of strength and its limitations so I guess I can take some comfort in that.

I'm afraid that I'm never going to find a job that I really like where people also really like me. My last job was like that. I miss the people I met through my work and maybe on some level I'm still mourning the loss of those friendships that I so carefully nurtured. I would feel better if I went out and actually did something, but I have to be very careful to keep my impulsiveness from sending me down destructive paths. I'm nervous and jittery this morning. I read an article that listed things to do while feeling anxious. Taking a walk and staying hydrated seem so obvious, but they are things I have to work at to keep them a part of my daily routine. I hate feeling like this, as if everything in my head was tossed into a blender going at full speed. I need to slow down, to take some deep breaths, to realize that things are going to be okay if not great, and to accept that uncertainty and chaos are a part of everyday life that I can respond to and thrive like a plant that finds itself in rocky soil, but keeps growing nonetheless. 

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