Sunday, August 26, 2007

What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

I probably spent the most time in my preparations thinking about this question...partly because I knew it would be asked and partly because I was incredibly unhappy with the answer I gave last time. I think I said something about not looking stressed out...which was not in any measure untrue, but in retrospect it seems like a pretty lame answer.

And I realized that the reality of the situation is that, at any given moment, I could give you a fairly robust list of my weaknesses...

...sometimes, I do the things I'm least excited about last.
...sometimes, I speak as though I'm the final voice of God even though I know I always welcome discussion.
...sometimes, my life is seriously lacking balance. I mean, I recently lost my gym membership from lack of use.

I am always my own worst critic. I am constantly aware of my shortcomings...always in a state of self-assessment...always working on ways to address the issues that I see:

...I keep my to-do lists handy and all my work visible on my desk so that I don't miss a deadline on the "un-fun" work.
...I know that the way that I speak can be off-putting to some, so I've taken to warning people about how I may sound and proactively encouraging them to challenge me.
...I've yet to fully solve the riddle of a balanced life, but I've been trying to implement some...radical...techniques: like sleeping at night...and not eating crap (must...avoid....candy...jar!)

So maybe my biggest weakness is self-criticism: this voice in my head that's much more critical of my failings than I could ever be of anyone else's. I'm actually fairly generous and patient with others...but rarely am I that kind to myself.

And it's not that it's made me an sub-standard employee...quite the opposite, I think. The thing that drives me to be a high performer is the very thing that drains my energy when I fall short of my own expectations. I've made progress as I've gotten older. I bounce back a little quicker these days, but still not without that solid self-reprimand.

And that's the part that I'm working on:
to spend a little less energy beating myself be as patient with my own shortcomings as I would be with anyone else's. I've always known I'm evolving...I just need to work on being a little nicer to myself on the journey.

Instead of going to the Indigo Girls concert tonight, I've been home prepping for a job interview. This question was bothering me to no end. I'll be sitting with people who know the standard "strength as weakness" approach will scream of bullshit. I thought I'd go with something novel...the truth.


towwas said...

Aw, you missed the concert? That's too bad. :( Good luck with the interview!!

I Blog, You Blog said...

ha! And the question didn't even come up...

towwas said...

So, I haven't actually had that many job interviews, but still: this question has never once come up. Have you ever been asked it?

I Blog, You Blog said...

Oh yes... It was asked of me in the last interview I had, in fact...and I hated my answer...which is why I spent the time thinking about it before this one. Nothing like spending an evening ruminating on why you suck to get you ready for an interview!! Heh. :)

They said they're hoping to make a decision by the end of the week, so my fingers will be all tangled up til then...

towwas said...

Fingers tangled! Ande it is hard to typw like this!!