An Industrial Psychologist, member of a group of Professionals to which I belong in WhatsApp, conducted a survey among us about our experiences as employees and citizens. He is trying to draw up a profile of our group so that matters of common interest can be discussed in face to face meetings. Among the questions was one that asked – “Describe in one word or phrase your strength while in employment and as a citizen.”
This is one of the most difficult questions that I have ever had to address on my career and life. I decided to ask a cross section of my contacts the same question about me. These are the unedited responses that I received.
Caring father figure.
Friend, philosopher and guide. (Two people responded with this, one 60 years old and the other 45.)
Naughty and Learned.
The friend who offered “Enigmatic Sage” has never personally met me despite living in the same city as I do but, we have been internet friends for some time now with some very interesting exchanges via blogs, WhatsApp and emails.
I was quite taken aback with two people calling me naughty. I suspect that my sense of humour comes across as naughty to them and that it is not to denote anything negative.
The last one naturally comes from a very dear friend who has had nothing to do with my career or social work but, who and whose family have been part of my life from 1985. Fortunately I did not ask his wife as I know she would have called me Anna which has two meanings. One, elder brother and the other, the local Mafia Capo.
On reflection, I have concluded that such a variety of perceptions is due to the many roles that I have played in my life and continue to. Family, friend, colleague, boss, parent, advisor etc depending on the other person’s position in my life as well as the length of time that s/he has been part of my life. For each individual, my relationship was/is tailor made to suit that person. I would say now, after having received these responses that my strength in one word would be “Flexibility”.
I however answered that question before I asked my contacts, that my strength in my view was “Effectiveness.”
I still believe that it would be the most appropriate for that particular survey as, even in relationships one must be effective.
When I discussed this with the friend who is coordinating the survey, he laughed and offered his very wise comment that I am a chameleon.
Through this post, I express my gratitude to the friends who took the trouble to think and comment and also share the perception of others of me to them.