Saturday, February 02, 2008

Where have I disappeared to?

Navel gazing warning.

Recently, I was given a psychometric test. Yes, yes, I know! I'm not a fan of them either. I don't like the idea of pigeonholing people. I believe we are too complex and too able to change in response to the situation in which we find ourselves to be categorised. My own view is that there are about 6 billion personality styles, learning styles or whatever.

In this instance, the test involved ranking four statements: one as being least true of me, one as being most true of me and the remaining two on a scale of 1 to 5 of accuracy. However, it was not possible to give them the same rating. Based on Jungian theories, and not a million miles from Peter Urs Bender's model.

The problem is that in some cases the thing that was least true of me, was still very true of me and, in other cases, the thing that was most true of me wasn't very true of me at all. Sometimes more than one statement was equally un/true of me.

Be all that as it may, I was given a profile statement.

Much of what it contained was true. Some of what it said could be true of just about anybody. Some of what it said was totally inaccurate. This was my impression, which was echoed by my husband, who knows me as well as anyone.

Overall, the impression was of a confident, outgoing, bubbly person to whom others are drawn. Popular in the workplace, naturally endowed with leadership skills, happily followed by others.

I could have cried. I knew this girl. This was the girl who left South Africa nearly 9 years ago to come and live in England.

But she has disappeared, to be replaced by someone who is something of a cultural misfit, causing raised eyebrows and rolled eyes wherever she goes. Opening her mouth far too often for the liking of the English populace, only to say things they find difficult to deal with. Assailed by self-doubt, and permanently somewhat bewildered, like a person with no sense of rhythm desperately trying to clap in time with everyone else, but unable to crack the code and read the signs.

I miss her.

She made a brief appearance at Learning Technologies during the week, and she tends to emerge in online spaces, where there seems to a be a community more accepting of her.

Bless him, Jay Cross looked me in the eye as we parted company at the end of the conference and said with quiet (and, yes, Jay is a rather quieter man than one might expect) certainty, "You're in the wrong place."

It was sobering to realise the extent to which living in the UK has influenced me, and not all for the better.

Hmm. Off to the drawing board, methinks!


Anonymous said...

I so totally agree with Mr. Cross and would like to thank him, very much, for expressing my sentiments.

Harold Jarche said...

I've lived in over a dozen different places in my life and a while back a friend gave me some advice that reinforces my own experience. He said that first you should find out where you want to live. Then you should move there and figure out how you're going to make a living. Place (including culture, etc) is very important. I've had some bad jobs, but in places that I loved, and I was overall quite happy.

Maybe that's how I've been able to live the topsy-turvy life of the self-employed. I'm happy here.

Anonymous said...

Eva: how nice to encounter you in this space! Welcome to my online stomping grounds.

Harold: You are so right. Reading back over my post, I realise it looks as if I'm declaring it impossible for me to find the "right place" in the UK. However, I'm sure that, were I to be able to find an environment in which I felt I could flourish, I would be singing a different song. In the interests of etiquette, I can't go into detail in this space as to what the current impediments are to that, but I have already had one job in the UK in which I worked with a wonderful team of supportive people who respected one another and liked one another as people. That counted for a lot, but I didn't see a professional future for myself in that formal learning environment.

Not to sound defeatist, but sometimes living where you want is easier said than done. If that somewhere is the USA, there is the little matter of a green card. If that somewhere is Australia, there is the little matter of getting enough points together - sadly their list of desired professions doesn't include any learning consultants :-( So it's plan B - find a way to bloom where you're planted. I haven't given up hope, and perhaps this is the wake-up call I needed!