INFP Unleashed

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I actually have two things to discuss so I’m torn.  I thought about jamming them into one post but one is on work and one is on dancing and they don’t really go together.  So I’m going to save the dancing one until tomorrow.

This post might be a little short then or I might find ways to ramble on longer than I expected.  You just never know.

I don’t normally like to write about work.  First, it is work after all.  It is really just what I do to earn money to enjoy life and it doesn’t really define me.  No, it isn’t totally soul crushing.  There are things I enjoy and we make things that help people and that’s important to me.  Plus, I’m surrounded by some really great people.

As you know we went through some “rightsizing” last year.  That’s the word the HR guy used at a big meeting earlier this year.  Frankly, I hate it when people try to dream up softer words to describe harsh things.  Look, buddy, you fired several people.  Don’t try to sugar coat it.

I ended up with a new boss who seems pretty cool but, because they took out a layer (my old boss), it looks like I’ve moved up the org chart.  My new boss is a direct report to the new big cheese of our department and so I’m just 2 people removed.  Actually, they took out a couple of layers because I used to be 4 people removed.  Not that it changes anything about the job or who I am but suddenly they now consider me part of some “extended lead team” for whatever that’s worth.

Buried in the paragraph above is the fact that they just hired a new guy to be the overall head of the department.  The guy who was in charge agreed to retire after being in charge of firings – er “rightsizing”.  As a perk to those of us in these coveted positions, we all got invited to a lunch with this new guy.  Oh, and just our level so none of our immediate bosses were going to be there.

See, this is why I know I was never really cut out for the corporate world.  Rather than seeing this as some kind of networking opportunity, I’ve been stressing out over it for the last couple of days. I was pretty sure they were going to do the “let’s go around the room and introduce yourself thing” (which they did) and that’s worse than death for many introverts.

As an INFP, I hate phoniness of any sort.  Maybe I should just say I hate phoniness of any sort which is a common trait of INFP’s.  And there is nothing worse then being in a room with a bunch of self-important types who are puffing themselves up to look good for the new guy.  I expected a whole lot of hot air and talk of “systems” and “agile” and blah, blah, blah.  All strategy and tactics so people could show how much they really know.

To paraphrase one personality site, the INFP tends to be quiet.  We are listeners and we don’t like interjecting ourselves into conversations.  We don’t like fighting for air time.  Mostly, we take a live and let live attitude so a lot of things just bounce right off us.  But, we have a strong core of beliefs that we keep to ourselves and if you cross something we care about, then we will fiercely defend it with a fury you wouldn’t expect.

I should tell you something else.  While the higher ups have discussed our need to change, they haven’t given us a real road map to where we are going and what kinds of projects we’ll have in the future.  Plus, the project work has slowed to a trickle and people want to work but don’t have any projects and they are concerned about the future.  I’m a bit empathic, so I hear this from people and it bothers me because these are good people who are capable of doing good things and they are dying on the vine because of inactivity and indecision at the highest levels in the company.

Anyway, so after the obligatory and painful introductions, this guy starts by asking what we needed from him to make our jobs easier.  This may not bear out but the first vibe I got from him was that he wasn’t the “command and control” type and maybe was a bit more of the servant leader.  Well the first guy spoke up and launched into his biggest problem and then when he finished I suddenly jumped into the conversation.  So I basically just laid out all I’ve heard about the lack of direction and how people don’t feel that they have a future and they need something to get excited about.  I finish and the guy next to me says “I second that”.  Seems like I struck a real nerve there.

Someone else gave a blander description of needing a blueprint and roles and responsibilities.  That’s true but it is also spoken from a tactician.  I was speaking more from the human and feeling view.  I came back to that point a couple of other times.  I guess I’m closer to the people who work for me and my friends at the bottom of the corporate ladder than to management and I felt the need to speak for them.

At some point, I just randomly asked him a question.  I prefaced by saying it was a bit personal but I wanted to know why he was interested in this job since what we do is different from the places he came from.  This is also a bit INFP because we want to know the person.  This is the type of question that I was hoping would give me a little window to look inside him and see what makes him tick.  The answer he gave was brilliant.

So we walked out and I had two of the others in the room tell me that this is the first time they’ve seen me speak up so much.  Couldn’t help it.  Had to speak for those who weren’t in the room and get a read on this guy.  I’m hoping first impressions aren’t wrong because a lot of people always start saying the write things but my BS detector didn’t go off so he seemed genuine.

Of course, as an INFP, I’m now sitting here replaying the meeting in my head and wondering if I said too much or if I said something the wrong way.  Its just what we do from time to time.  See we just don’t talk that much unless you hit a nerve and then we kind of go off.  Its like something takes over your body and you start just saying all kinds of stuff (or asking a lot of questions like I did).

And I also wonder what kind of impression I left on this guy.  Guess it is better than being the person who sits quietly in the corner and doesn’t register with anyone.  Then again, the highest nail is the one that gets hammered down the hardest.  On the other hand (how many hands is that), I’m not truly concerned with career advancement so it doesn’t really matter if I damaged my rep.

You may now see why I had to deal with this first.  Got knocked off my equilibrium and was actually a little surprised at how I behaved so I’ve jut got to sort through what happened.  But it really seems pretty textbook INFP from what I’ve read.

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