Thursday, May 20, 2010

On Being Blue

I’m blue.  One of my good friends says, at least once a week, “Queer, you are SO blue!”  I reckon she’s right.

She and I work together.  We were brought into the company almost three years ago now, along with about 30 other men and women.  The department was in a sort of totally screwed-up shape, had become known as a people-mill (sucking in and spitting out employees at rapid speeds), and had finally got the approval for a mass-hire to help stop the bleeding.  

So my friend and I were part of a large grueling training regimen.  This started with a full week of nothing but specifications training that made me want to cut myself by class end on Wednesday.  The next two weeks were mainly training on our sister departments in the company and customer-service skills.  

But the three-week training nightmare was brought to a close with a little team building activity.  The final class was a type of personality study that divided people into three different color categories:   Red, Green, and Blue.  The Red folks were the leaders, who took charge, didn’t mind hurting feelings and, above all, got things done.  The Green segment was the worker bees, those dedicated to the details, wanting to find solutions and solve problems.  The Blue group were composed of those who were all about feelings, making sure people around them were “all right,” and maintaining a social workplace.

Yes, my friend was exactly right.  The Queer is Blue.  Archetypically Blue.  No surprise to me.  I had taken similar personality tests.  One at a former employer was all about colors as well.  I was Yellow for that test, not Blue.  But for that test, the “yellows” were the “people-people.”  (and man … do I hate to hear someone refer to himself as a “people-person.” Ugh.)

I had taken the Myers-Briggs test.  ENFP.  Yep, classic.  From the Wikipedia description of ENFPs:
ENFPs are initiators of change, keenly perceptive of possibilities. They energize and stimulate others through their contagious enthusiasm. They prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship, and are tireless in the pursuit of new-found interests. ENFPs are able to anticipate the needs of others and to offer them needed help and appreciation. They bring zest, joy, liveliness, and fun to all aspects of their lives. They are at their best in situations that are fluid and changing, and that allow them to express their creativity and use their charisma. They tend to idealize people, and can be disappointed when reality fails to fulfill their expectations. They are easily frustrated if a project requires a great deal of follow-up or attention to detail.
And that is why I surprise many people.  In my writing, I may come across more laid back that I actually appear in person.  I’ve stunned a couple of guys, who I communicated with on-line over a long period of time before meeting.  When the face-to-face happened, I often got quite puzzled looks.  I’m a bit more energetic and animated in the flesh.

But I always express.  Expressions of amusement at some mishap that I may have been in the middle of, usually manifested in laughter and kidding those who are in the boat with me.  Expressions of outrage when the odds are insurmountable, marked by my outbursts on the department floor and my stating to my co-workers that my resignation letter is already typed on my hard-drive.  Expressions of concern when one of my team is in over her head.

This concern showed itself tonight.  There are five women who I check on each night before I leave the floor.  Tonight one of the women was in the cubicle of one of the others.  When I stuck my head in and asked like always “Let’s go.” (I guess that’s not a question), she sighed and said that she had too much work.  

The three of us (along with another of my daily “check-ees”) tackled the outstanding issues in minutes, dissecting the problems, tearing them apart and solving them deftly.  We "greened" it up.

As we four exited the building on the way to the parking garage, one of the women (our de-facto "red" leader) suggested that I send a text message to my final “check-ee” (who is visiting family in the Middle East) and let her know not to bring her lunch tomorrow.  We were planning to eat at the nearby Asian restaurant.  So I did, and we laughed.

Although it is eight hours later where she is, my friend texted back:

Enjoy :-)  I’ll won’t bring my lunch tomorrow :-)
We’ll see her in two weeks.

Hell, I’ll be as Blue as you want me to be.

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