Just a short one because I have to go back to work tomorrow and I’m really having trouble finding motivation. Part of the problem is that I am an INFP and we really don’t fit that well in the corporate world. From what I’ve read, I’m pretty typical for an INFP and things like titles and promotions don’t really offer the motivation that they would for other types. But the higher ups tend to assume that we are all about title and careers and structure things that should be motivating.
Case in point. The new VP in charge of our entire global division is visiting our little city next week. As a perk, they issued invitations to a dinner with this guy on Thursday of next week for all of us at a certain level. Basically, those who were within 2 levels of this guy.
Faced with a decision like this, there are maybe three potential outcomes:
- Those who would enthusiastically drop all other plans without even a second thought and jump at the chance to sit at a dinner table with a higher up.
- Those who would really not want to go but would probably assume it would be rude or it would look bad and they would go but not likely have a good time.
- Those who say “Screw that, I’ve got a dance lesson on Thursday and that’s much more important.”
Can you guess where I fell on that spectrum?
Don’t get me totally wrong, because I’ve met this guy and he seems like a decent fellow. There is a part of me that is glad he is trying to reach out and be visible and get to know people. Its just that is not my scene, man. For some reason, people at that level tend to drink and the restaurant they’ve selected has a huge wine list and pretty much any cocktail you could want. In the past year, I can count on one hand the number of drinks I’ve had and they’ve only been when I’m out with family. So right, away, you don’t fit in because they’ll start pouring wine and I’ll have to say “No thanks.”
And then there is the awful small talk and the people who are really into it who will be in full suck up mode. There is nothing worse than that. And people who want to talk about nothing but work to discuss the latest trends and ideas by thought leaders to show how smart they are so they can make a good impression. It will all be so fake and phony and I’ll have to wear my own mask just to pretend I belong.
The funny thing is that the other higher ups would have no clue that anyone could feel this way. We are all “leaders” and we should all want to band together with other “leaders”. Now, I’ll give credit to those who’ve fought the corporate wars and have been promoted to various levels. But I’ve never automatically assumed that title grants someone infinite wisdom or that my life will be significantly improved by spending a few hours in the presence of someone who has risen through the ranks. There is just something that rubs me the wrong way about how this corporation (and probably others) seems to do everything they can to convince us “people leaders” that we are special and somehow different from the riff raff in the working ranks. And you stroke egos long enough and some people start to believe it. Those are the ones who become a little insufferable and why I don’t spend a lot of time with other managers, sorry “people leaders.”
All that just makes me feel like I’m behind enemy lines at times when I’m in meetings with these people. Like I’m a mole that has been placed among the real leaders and that every meeting they might find out that I’m really just one of the common people. OK, it probably really isn’t like that but it just feels that way at times.
So, come Thursday, I’ll be dancing rather than furthering my career. For me, it was the obvious choice.