Ending My Stigma Against Myself

I recently did my Myers-Briggs personality breakdown.

For anyone who may not be familiar, the Myers-Briggs system sorts people’s personality types into sixteen different categories, based on four sets of criteria: introverted vs. extraverted, intuitive vs. sensing, thinking vs. feeling, and judging vs. perceiving.

MB

I am an INTJ. No surprises there. If you’d like to take the test, you can do so here: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test (and about 999 other places on the internet).

I’ve never really been a fan of these sorts of things, but I go back and forth on why, depending on the day. Either I think it is impractical to box humans, with all of their complexities, into a simple 16 categories, or I think you’re either a dumbass or not a dumbass and there is no reason to over-complicate it.

It turns out this is a very INTJ thing to say.

Another INTJ thing: this was the most concise chart I could find, but it is taking all of my strength to ignore that it says “extrovert” instead of “extravert.” Extrovert has evolved into an acceptable spelling over the years, but it doesn’t make any linguistic sense.

A me thing: I hate myself for making that statement.

I did the test because we often use it in my office when students are struggling to find a major or a career path. I thought it would be useful for me to better understand the system so I could help the students. As I stated already, I wasn’t exactly shocked by my results, but when I started to do more research, it got a little crazy.

Reading about the INTJ experience was like reading a description of myself: the things I like, the things I’m good (and bad) at, the way I approach conflict, relationships. It was all laid out there on my computer screen.

INTJ is one of the rarest Myers-Briggs personality types, and an INTJ woman is the rarest gender/personality type combination of them all, making up roughly 0.5% of the population. Because of this, an INTJ woman notably has a harder time connecting with other women (and people in general). At first, reading all of this gave me comfort. I had some definition, a name to put to all of my questions about why some seemingly easy things, like being in public, were difficult for me, why I never felt like I was getting anywhere with people. I was just on a different plane. Not a better or worse plane, just different.

There were some qualities of a typical INTJ that I consider good qualities: they are competent workers, they have high professional standards for themselves and others, they embrace the weird and the creative, they are known as the entrepreneurs, strategists, architects. Some famous INTJs include Mark Zuckerberg, Nikolai Tesla, and other innovative thinkers.

But then, I started to get angry.

Because as I scrolled through my Google results, I started to see headlines like, “How to be a Likable INTJ Woman,” and, “Maintaining Your Femininity as an INTJ Woman,” or, “What It’s Like Being an INTJ Woman (And How to Fix it).” It was like the greater population’s consensus was that I needed to be repaired, reprogrammed. And there was nothing about being a likable INTJ man or person. Just woman.

This all started to make me think about all the times I’ve been called a bitch, arrogant, odd, crazy. How many times people have offered up ways I could improve myself, tricks and tips for behaving like a normal woman. I absorbed that information deeply within myself, as an INTJ would, and took it seriously. I set out to make myself a different me because I truly believed the me I had developed over the course of my life was poorly built. I’m really, really tired of thinking that way. It is hard to be fighting with yourself all the time.

Now that I’m older, I realize…I am odd. That’s okay. Call me odd. But if we are going to throw around nasty terms at one another, I think they should be reserved for those filled with malice, ill-intent, hatred, sadism. I’ve never approached any social situation with anything other than discomfort and obsessive concern about whether or not I’ll be wanted. I don’t think I deserve to be called a bitch because I don’t fit into your idea of what I should be. We may have different interests, but we are both human, and that means something.

And you know what? As Tina Fey once said, “bitches” get stuff done. And so do INTJ women.

 

Too Awkward to Fail: My First Week as an Accidental CEO

On January 1st, I became CEO of my company. This is not because I am a power-hungry stony bitch who wears a lot of pencil skirts and is determined to claw her way to the top of the corporate ladder, nor am I a hip, young engineer, with a pool table and tap beer in my office, who has figured out a way to make apps greener or something. I became the CEO pretty much for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I’ve never been an overly ambitious person (ambitious people have to network). I’d always thought I’d end up a jaded lit professor at some mid-tier private college who spouted worldly wisdom in a 60-year-old-chainsmoker voice and gave everyone As because what does it even mean anyway. But I’ve always somehow ended up being in charge at nearly every job I’ve ever worked. This is because a) I cannot physically function without a system in place. I need to know when and where and how things are going to happen. Surprises are for extroverts. Give me schedules and reassurance! And b) I am very, very bad at saying no, especially to work, because I am too stubborn to admit that I am lazy.

To make a very long story short, my company was acquired by a much larger company as of January 1st. The acquisition was nearly an 18-month-long process filled with renegotiations, disputes, and a bit of grown men crying, but when it was all said and done, the new owner came to find he did not want the ex-owner (my boss) in charge. Then he met with me and asked me a question about finances, and I said something ingeniously along the lines of you-shouldn’t-spend-more-money-than-you-have, and badda bing…due to the age-old mixture of logic and spite, I was CEO.

I was technically asked but didn’t really have too much of a choice, and the position came with a bit more money, and I have essentially been living off of peanut butter and pretzels. So here I am, a CEO, and I feel really obnoxious about it. And after one week on the job, I can officially say I have no idea what a CEO does.

It’s true. I tried googling it and everything. I don’t really know what the nature of my job is. I just know Bernie Sanders hates me.

But like a true American, I suppose I’ll have to figure it out as I go.

Here are some of my observations based on my experiences of the last few work days…

  • CEOs delegate: I decide what gets done and when it gets done. This is actually something I can do. Time management is one of my two skills (that and rapping, obviously). The challenge here is being assertive enough to tell people to do something, and to occasionally do it faster and better than they are willing to. On top of that, I do not want to come across like an asshole. I do not like assholes. The people or the things (seriously, who came up with those anyway?). Thus far, this has resulted in a lot of stammering and confused sentences.
  • CEOs solve problems: Heat broken in the office? Either I talk to maintenance or everyone freezes. Freeze, it is! (Just kidding, I talked to them, but I did not like it one bit!)
  • CEOs make decisions: Keurig or coffee pot? Excuse me while I deliberate with myself for 3 hours.
  • CEOs talk on the phone: And evidently, it is often about things I know nothing about, like professional liability insurance, interest rates, and profit margins. My only hope is that I can confuse them with big words like “synergy” and saying things like “correct” instead of “yeah.” Still have yet to uncover the appropriateness of “okey dokey.”
  • CEOs sign checks: Which either makes me the most popular or most hated person in the room. I’ve always been too apathetic to be either, so this’ll be interesting.
  • CEOs look at spreadsheets: At this point, I’m just nodding a lot.
  • CEOs are the face of the company: Hope you like masks!
  • CEOs wear professional outfits: So I guess it’s time I learn how to walk in heels and if I’m an autumn or a summer. I still don’t understand a lot about fashion, and I especially don’t understand why I must get dressed up to sit in a cubicle. My computer has seen me at my best and worst and loves me just the same. I also could never get behind the “look good, feel good” mentality. Ya know when I feel good? When I get the extra fifteen minutes of sleep. But I am a CEO now, and so may my eyes be lined, may my blazer be pressed, may my pants be trousers, may my mirror be sturdy.

Clearly, I am currently faking it. Right now, I am sitting at my computer typing this with a furrowed brow and look of determination so my staff will think I am up to things of utmost importance. I really miss being an editor when I just got to read stories all day and nobody’s livelihood was in my hands. But I will not fail. I will climb the ladder very carefully in the hopes that I do not slip and fall in my insensible shoes.

That is not because I crave success. It is because I really don’t like it when people yell at me.