Sunday, October 21, 2007

Someone's Idea of a Cruel Joke

One of those projects that has been sitting on my desk... sort of since July... is actually laughable. It's laughable in that it has taken me so long to finish it; laughable in that I'm even doing it; laughable in that I've been asked to do it. But I was called upon, and I shall carry out my promise.

The project? Birthday cakes.

Ah, yes... the age-old office debate of how to handle the birthdays of our fellow employees. Apparently, the staff at my library, despite how amazingly nice and considerate they all are, have been having trouble coming up with a system that works for all. So I mentioned to someone this summer while we were closed that we had a very smooth, easy way to handle it at my old library, and next thing you know... POOF! I'm the birthday fairy.

The irony here is that there isn't a person in the building (or probably reading this blog... except maybe for Amy and certainly Chris) who is as "T" (per Myers-Briggs) as I am. "T: for Thinking" as opposed to "F: for Feeling." Those of you familiar with the test know that this does not mean that I am merely a Vulcan, ruled completely by logic, but generally, I tend to squelch my personal emotions for logic when the situation arises. This gives me the ability to "not care" when, for instance, an organization is reorganized, as long as I see the sense in what is happening. "Oh, sure, combining two identical jobs into one to save money... makes sense. Sucks for Joe, I suppose, but it makes sense."

See? I have some feeling in there... a little emotion. "Sucks for Joe." I recognize (usually) when someone's feelings are hurt, but that is only because I have spent over a decade of self-improvement getting to that point. I am, in fact, a nice person. But at work, I am, predominantly, all about work.

And here I am, trying to figure out how to be sure that those who wish to have their birthday trumpeted are duly heralded and those who don't are permitted to fade away to anonymity on their natal day.

And if you think this is easy... you have not done it. I actually produced a list in August, only to find out that there was a whole set of staff I had not included (long story) and now I am redoing. Fortunately, one of my colleagues who is particularly strong in the "F" category stepped in to help me out and deal with the ugly conversation where we apologize for not including people in the birthday cake rotation. I am VERY grateful. I would have handled it like, "Uh, hey. I heard through the grapevine that you want a cake. That true? Cool."

And you wonder how I'm a manager? Same reason my "F" colleague is. Because when it comes down to it, I care about my staff, and I get the job done... unfortunately not always in that order. But now we all know why I am kind of self-conscious about my skills, no matter how often they are touted.


Shelley said...

I was in charge of birthdays and our quarterly parties in the Shared Service Center of ~275 in my previous life. IT STUNK BIG TIME!!! Try making all those people happy....

It is a thankless and utterly silly job, and I wish you the best of luck!!!!

Jason said...

99% T on Myers-Briggs.

50/50 on E/I
99% N
99% T
75% J

I acknowledge your pain, without actually feeling it.

eaf said...

I knew there was a reason I liked you, Jason. At least, as much as I CAN like someone.

And in case you're curious, I used to be INTJ, but am now ISTP. The "S" is Chris' influence. The "P" is most likely my children.

Jason said...

My theory on my I/E is not that I'm neither intro or extro, but that I can turn it on and off at will.

NT is a really rare function group, so they say.

I also think they need to add a fifth grouping: L or U, for Lucky or Unlucky. Guess which one I am?

Anonymous said...

There's someone in our office who doesn't like celebrating his birthday. He actually doesn't like us celebrating anybody's birthday, and would rather the firm just send them flowers, because he feels the cake celebration takes away from actual work. I thought about bringing in a cake for him on his birthday anyway. I suppose logic prevented me from doing so. That, plus his birthday was like on a Tuesday, and I have lots of tv to watch Monday night.

Chris said...

Heh. One of my reports asked me what kind of cake another of my employees (Hunter) would like. I asked him. It was what I thought it was.

Brant said...

I'm in the 80's on "T"
barely over the "I" line on I/E
But when I read the ISTJ descriptor, it was much more descriptive of me than ESTJ was...

Oh, and what are we doing for Chris's birthday? Surprise cake at work?

eaf said...

Might be the best option, but I ain't organizing it! I'm taking him trick-or-treating with the cutest kids in the world. And then I'm taking him to Disney World.

Clearly, I always thing of HIM when I plan his birthday. One day I'll really surprise him with something he actually wants. (Although he did dictate some of what we will be doing at Disney, so don't be fooled... he'll have a good time too...)

Chris said...

Did I? I forget - it's the work thing, I think.

The COO actually gave my team and I two personality tests to do ASAP. One was Myers-Briggs and the other was one called FiroB (if I recall). We're the first run of what I'm sure will be many company-wide. This is actually not an uncommon thing with my team. We're trailblazers, us. ;-)