calling not missed

I think I might be slightly … odd. There’s always something faintly peculiar about learning something you wouldn’t in a million years naturally have chosen to attempt  but my sense of emotional/cognitive dissonance may have peaked because I recently got sent on a random management course.

There are a couple of lost souls like me in the class but I think perhaps it’s a good job I didn’t try to pursue a more sensible career because I clearly do not think like … well … most other people.

For example, we were asked to do an exercise where we wrote down the first five words we associated with the word apple. I went with: temptation, Eve, Milton, fall, knowledge.

Everybody else went with: red, round, sweet & etc.

Thankfully the fellow next to me had also gone comfortingly batshit and had come up with the following: Mackintosh, Sam Spade, Humphrey Bogart, weed and so on…

We hi-fived.

But I suppose, as well as illustrating the entirely banal point that People Think Differently Yo (and you should bear this in mind while managing them, presumably), I think there’s something slightly less banal about the closed circuit of one’s own mind – I mean it doesn’t matter what trend your thoughts follow, it’s the rigidity of them. It didn’t occur to me to think ‘red’ any more than it occurred to the rest of them think ‘Milton.’ I don’t, for the record, think its ‘better’ to think Milton over ‘red’ – although, of course, to me it’s more interesting.

We also did a ‘reverse brainstorm’ which is apparently meant to help you focus or thinking or … ahem … some shit like that. I don’t know. At this stage, I don’t know, and I don’t care. We were meant to be isolating Good Management Traits so the aim was to go wild and crazy with the worst possible characteristics we could imagine in a manager. “Blue skies!” cried our Management Bullshit Trainer. “Whatever you can think of!”

Well all right, thought I!

CANNIBAL! That’s a terrible trait in a manager. ZOMBIE! Also, not so great. A BIGOT!  Meanwhile everyone else was diligently writing down things like “unsupportive” and “poor communication skills.”

Which meant that when we came to the second part of the exercise, which was to reverse (aaaah, d’you see!) the qualities you’d written down and therefore come up with your perfect manager.

Which in my case iiiiiis…

An open minded alive vegetarian.


23 Responses to calling not missed

  1. Lotta says:

    I’m procrastinating at work and so it’s the perfect time to check blog archives. This really made me laugh! Perhaps I can go back to the slightly less fun translation after this. Perhaps.

  2. Bela says:

    Your reverse brain stuffing may be onto something… open minded alive vegetarians always make the best managers

  3. Bela says:

    And if this thing isn’t over and you’re super lucky maybe they’ll have you do Q-storming exercises..

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I hate to ask … what’s Q storming?

      • Bela says:

        You will be SO happy you asked! Lmao.. So (drumroll, begin quotes): Q-Storming® is based on the premise that every question missed is a crisis waiting to happen. [!!!!!! delightful, yes?] [Resume quotes] It is a method for discovering those questions to make breakthrough differences in decision-making, problem-solving, strategic planning, innovation, operational excellence, and culture. It is akin to brainstorming, yet is often more powerful [!!] in that it instills the mindset of holding oneself and other accountable for embedding this decision making process in the culture of the organization. Typically, questions open thinking, while answers often close down thinking. Q-Storming is a tool for moving beyond limitations in perception and thinking and advancing to novel and extraordinary solutions and answers.”
        Honestly, all management theory really needs is ALEXIS-Storming 😉

        • Nikki says:

          “Typically, questions open thinking, while answers often close down thinking.”

          So you’re supposed to ask questions, but nobody is supposed to answer them.

  4. Allison says:

    I love you. *dying laughing*

    Having gotten a degree in management, I can say we were definitely taught to think differently than you were. I do think you were having a lot more fun than the people coming up with the expected answers though. 😀

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Kate says:

    Welp! I’m thrilled to have subscribed to the comments because this post happened to arrive in my inbox. And, essentially, it made my night. I’ve only just now survived a round of the giggles. I fear I would have had a similar experience as you, and perhaps that is why I find this to be so delightful.

    Moreover, an open-minded alive vegetarian seems like a fantastic description in a boss. Oh dear. I’m already laughing again!

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I’m feeling less embarrassed about accidentally re-republishing this post since it seems to have amused everyone 🙂 I’m 66.6% of a good boss since nothing short of all my teeth dropping out and maybe not even then would make me turn vegetarian.

  6. Gwen says:

    I had to send this to husband’s boss, who is, in fact, an open-minded alive vegetarian. Luckily, in our case, she’s also terrific in every way.

    I also saw this, and thought of you. You wouldn’t even need the sign, you’d just cross your own way 🙂

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Alive, open-minded vegetarians are great people!

      Oh my god, that’s amazing. I love it.

      If we had that in England, though, everyone would be too self-conscious to do it. Probably nobody would dare use the crossing and would end up running through traffic. So accidents would quadruple 🙂

  7. Random management? My first thoughts were “how do you manage Random?” I mean – you can’t can you? It’s the very nature that makes it impossible…and then I read further and found I’d done it again *roll eyes*
    Granddaughter number one shares the same trait – we hear and think things differently to most people, which can cause a lot of fun but a few serious issues too.
    When i was a kid I thought the old (sexist) ads “don’t make a man drink and drive”, meant as he tipped his head back to drink he wouldn’t be able to see where he was going. Dangerous eh? Sent out for a shovelful of coal I’d spend ages piling it on bit by bit til it was a shovelful. If mum had just said a shovel of coal it would have been so much easier…

    I still do the same things, have to think twice at jokes, check I’ve understood properly what people are saying, what text says etc.
    I’ve kind of grown around it but poor Beth is still learning and its giving her a few issues at high school. Our way of thinking isn’t always in step with others, but I’m coming to realise there’s no such thing as normal, we’re all along a sliding scale somewhere and its all OK.

    My first apple thoughts were juicy, Muska ( my elderly horse – she loves them)insects ( who are currently devouring the ones in the garden) and that celeb who called her daughter Apple. Poor kid. So yeah, thoughts can be weird, and I’d be out of the norm there – no surprise.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Ahahaha, I think everyone has a few things that they interpreted weirdly. For ages, I thought “when the shit hit the fan” would be broadly positive because I was imagining a kind of … hand fan? So clearly shitting the fan instead of *you* is a good thing. I didn’t realise it meant electric fan which, y’know, would be bad were shit to hit it 🙂

  8. Kasia BB says:

    Bhahhaahah! That’s delicious. I randomly obtained a postgraduate diploma in Human Resources Management myself (no clue what it was all about). Possibly it was because nobody offered a Non-human Resources Management course–managing Elves and Vampires would be preferable IMHO.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I would so sign up for a PGDip in non human resource management.

      I imagine it’s quite complicated. You have to stop the vampires eating the elves and the centaurs from trampling the halfings and so on….

  9. Nikki says:

    The word association part seems like a great opening to a book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *