August 13, 2006

King me

I applied for a job once as a Resident Assistant in college. I was struggling financially to stay in school and my part time job that clothed, entertained and transported me made me too much money to keep the student grants and loans flowing. I decided living for free in the dorm and being fed at the expense of the school was the right ticket.

At one of the interviews, I was asked, "How would you define a perfect community?" My immediate answer, "One where I make the rules." As soon as I said it, I knew I'd made a mistake. I didn't even think about the answer, it was just there flowing out of my mouth like toxic waste from a punctured 55 gallon drum. Poisoning the environment of trust and peace I'd built with the interviewers. "I'm kidding," I followed up, but even to my own ears, the comment was hollow. I was kicking an empty drum and I knew it.

The answer was truthful though. As I look back on that moment years later with a lot more insight into myself, I wonder if that is fixable. I like environments where I make the rules. And if I don't make the rules, I like to bend them, twist them and use them to my own purposes. I read a philosophy once that said, 'if it's not specifically proscribed, then it's legal.' At the time I was interviewing to be an RA, I didn't much like things to be Gray. I liked things to be black and white. It either is or isn't. I didn't leave a lot of room for maybe in my world. Perhaps I still don't.

I've always been an extremist when it comes to the language I choose. Examples being - I hate that - for something I mildly dislike or - I love that - for something that was a simple pleasure or delight.

Ultimately, I did get the RA job and found out a few things about my hiring later. The Hall Director quit and moved to another job, leaving the position vacant for a staff that was hand picked to work with him. That I'd barely been hired because I was a 'loose cannon'. That the Director of Resident Services told the newly hired (and inexperienced) Hall Director that she would have problems with me. (A self-fulfilling prophecy that consequentially led me to quit the job 2 months into the second semester.) I was told at the time I quit that I would have been fired soon thereafter anyway. I won't say that this is all the fault of the Hall Director or even the DoRS. I made some poor judgement choices along the way as well. I was 21 years old and certainly had a lot to learn about how people respond to other people's statements and actions. There were other factors as well.

With my 20/20 hindsight, I can see that a community where I make the rules might have been perfect. Idyllic even. At least for me. I often wonder how people would have felt living in a community where I made all the rules. That's called a dictatorship, which has a negative connotation, but is it always bad when one person is in control? They work to their own set of beliefs in what they see as the best interest. Perhaps people don't always agree, but then if they had the drive and self power to become the one in control doing the same thing themselves instead of complaining about how someone else does it?

My personality type, INTJ/INTP, says that I don't like to be the leader, but rather in the second hand or right hand position to the one visibly in control. Pulling strings and making things happen in the background. If a leader fails to appear, I will reluctantly take the leadership position where I will excel, but I won't enjoy the position. That's true as I look at my life. I'm not lazy, but I'm perfectly happy if someone else wants to lead. I'll use my own position to advance the cause in the background.


At 5:57 PM, Blogger Ki Two said...

I'm INTJ, too. :)


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