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…
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.