I never thought I was someone who’s good with people. I talk a lot, yes. But being mildly extroverted does not mean I’m a natural at dealing with people.
Take me, for example. I’m hypersensitive. I take offense easily. But this also inevitably leads to me worrying too much about offending other people. This is both good and bad.
What’s ironic is despite how I tend to worry about offending people, I still speak my mind. Sometimes, way too liberally. But I often try to structure my sentences in a way that brings my point across without coming across as too rude or harsh. (May not be successful all the time, but at least I try.)
There’s also the occasional time where I become a bit too passionate about what I’m talking about and end up speaking in a highly exaggerated, agitated manner – leading people to think I’m mouthing them off when actually, I’m not.
Then again, that’s because I’m too highly strung about how other people think.
The reason why I’m now watching my interpersonal relationships more closely is my change in career environment.
I’ve been with this startup company since the beginning of the year. I’ve an awesome partner in crime in one of my favourite fields of work which is UX design. But I also have to oversee several fresh faces in the team who are completely new to the startup scene and the tech industry.
Given my perfectionist nature, I wanted everything to be in its place and up to speed at all times and yet give ample room for the freshies to grow.
I never liked micromanagement and dictatorship. I’ve been at the receiving end before at a previous job. I know how it’s like to be belittled. I know how it’s like to be looked down upon. I know how it’s like to simply carry out the desires of others with little room for own input. And I can honestly tell you, the feeling sucks.
So, when it came to my turn to oversee people in a fresh new environment, I didn’t want to make the same mistakes. I don’t want to stifle. I don’t want to belittle. I want to give constructive criticism and yet still make people feel empowered with new knowledge.
It isn’t easy, and I still occasionally feel like I’m stepping on toes.
Like how I occasionally get too animated when trying to provide feedback or constructive criticism. Thankfully, my hypersensitive self tends to pick up hints of annoyance or when a person is getting demoralized – sometimes hints that are not even there – allowing me to react accordingly. But I still feel bad afterward.
I want to be the type of person that offers gentle yet firm guidance and support.
It ain’t easy. Because human nature causes us to constantly want to be one-up above others. But it crushes, disheartens and discourages. And after what I’ve been through before, damn right I don’t want that to happen to anyone.
Managing people can feel like rocket science. But I’m willing to invest time and energy in this kind of rocket science. The gains from having positive team morale is absolutely priceless.
Call it luck or the outcome of hard work (for some) – I am actually really happy with where I am right now.
1. I’ve an awesome Dad who supports me 100% in any career I choose to do, and every decision I make.
2. I’ve an extremely patient Mum who is willing to tolerate all my shit, my mood swings, and patiently bringing me for my frequent doctors’ appointments.
3. I’ve really supportive friends who – even when we don’t meet or contact for a short while – still keep me in their minds, and I know they love me as much as I love them.
4. I’m working in a really awesome company, with bosses (who also happen to be my friends) who took me on despite knowing my medical history, in full faith that I can bring value to the team. Also, I’ve colleagues who care for me, cheer me on when I’m down, and remind me gently to slow down when I’m go on full-workaholic mode.
5. All the past opportunities I’ve had: Enrolling in and graduating from a university that I love (and enjoying almost every single course and module that I took – in contrast to most other students who faced each school day with dread). Having previously worked at another startup company with people who are elites in their field, and gained invaluable experience in user experience design and web programming.
6. My natural myriad of interests in computers (since young – I first touched HTML code when I was 11), reading, writing, photography and human-computer interaction design which gave me much insight and help in my work. This also allowed me to combine work and pleasure at the same time.
It’s a mixture of of all the above factors that led me to where I am now. There are times where things go downhill, but everything happens for a reason. Ultimately, there will always be people who care (despite the well-known perception that this is a cruel world) and the fact that you have to be the one who stays in control despite all the events that fate swings your way.
With all the upsides, there is still one downside – my poor health.
But looking at it from another perspective, I’m happy I’m still alive after the past 4 years of struggles, and that I’m not dead yet. :P
How about you? What are you happy for?
I was walking with one of my dearest friends while she was in the midst of deep thought, when she suddenly whirled around and posed the following question to me.
“Have you ever wished you were someone else?”
I’ve always known the answer to that one, although no one has ever directed that question at me before. It was just one of those questions which I’ve previously pondered about.
“I wish to be no one else except myself,” said I.
“Although, if I could change anything about myself – it’d definitely be my health,” I continued. “I wish I wasn’t a sick kid.”
A few seconds passed.
“No, wait. Scratch that. If I weren’t sick, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to find out who my true friends are.”
With every bad thing that happens, there will always be both positive and negative sides. We just have to unblind ourselves from all the negatives to find the positive.
As the day grows bright, we are turning pages
And we write new chapters of our life
Some are strong and long
Others weak with sorrows
Keep the focus on the rising sun
(Ace of Base – Beautiful Morning)
This song is for you. You know who you are. (: