I’m not sure I like people. At least, that’s how I’m feeling after a day-long meeting.
I’ve been in my room for the last four hours, writing up minutes, reading emails and watching clips from Last Week Tonight, which gives me enough distance to realize that I’m not a good person in a meeting. There’s lots of talking through information that is sitting in front of me; there’s a review of things I’m not that interested in knowing; there’s voting on issues that are somewhat important. But there’s also the person who has to ask questions every single time we move to a new topic; there’s the person who offers insights that don’t make any sense; there’s the person who takes everything much too seriously.
I get impatient; I get annoyed; I get bored; I get frustrated. All of that would be fine if I didn’t then show those responses. I do try to smother my natural awfulness, and I can usually manage for a few hours, but it’s hopeless in an all-day meeting.
Today was not my finest moment. I had to chair a small group in the afternoon; we weren’t quite sure what we were supposed to be doing and we didn’t want to do it in the first place. People were tired and snippy and uninvolved. I was right there with them but I’m supposed to be in charge so I was trying to muster some leadership. I did right the ship, eventually, and we managed to accomplish something; by the end, people seemed pretty pleased with the outcome and we moved back to the large group in relatively good spirits.
In sharing with the large group, however, I had to field a lot of questions, many of them coming from the same confusion we had over the project. I tried humor, I tried repeating myself, I tried to let other people answer but I could hear the annoyance creeping into my voice. By the time the leader of this weekend insinuated that we hadn’t done what we were supposed to do, I was suppressing my frustration quite poorly (you don’t give a group ill-defined parameters with no clear end goal and then muse that we haven’t completed the task). The teacher voice came out; I could hear the steel in my response, and it was clearly directed at the person who asked the question.
Not professional. Not nice. Not a good idea.
And this is why I won’t move into administration or take on large-scale leadership roles or win popularity contents. I don’t play well with others, especially those in leadership positions. Oh, I do okay for a while but then I’m just over it. I don’t feel like playing the game anymore, I guess – especially if I feel like I’m being insulted, directly or indirectly – so my natural unpleasantness comes roaring to the front.
My only saving grace is that I get shit done. You may not like me when I’m finished but I can promise you that I’ll complete whatever task you put in front of me.
Why can’t I just sit there, smile and let it all wash over me? I could use that character trait.