Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year - Same Old Me

If you didn't know already - this is me.

I learned today that I'm a highly creative thruster organiser! Or at least that's what the latest psychometric tests say, as explained by the workplace psychologist who spent two hours dissecting my results.

He said I have a highly unusual set of preferences - a creative thinker with a passion to get things done; an influencer who prefers working alone, a strategist who is happy to be grounded by what is practical. And evidently this is a very different profile to my colleagues and the organisation in general; so much so that I'm considered a maverick.

But I'm not to worry, because it is my 'split personality' which explains how I hold down such an eclectic mix of responsibilities! I am both Company Secretary with Head of PR - not a typical combination I'd admit. And my difference is appreciated and valued - so it seems that somebody loves me after all.

I'm not negative about psychometric testing - it's a useful tool and the intellectual side of me is intrigued. Nor would I question the results; when the psychiatrist asked me to guess my profile I was just about spot on. And frankly, I like being a bit of an oddball - seeing the world differently is part of my personality: if I tried to conform, I'd surely fail.

But actually, I knew most of this already. Throughout my career I've done similar tests with comparable results, and I suppose as we get older we know ourselves better. In my case, as the years pass I'm increasingly comfortable about who I am and what I'd like to be. This seems to me to be one of the joys of getting older - and I'm lucky to have a job that fits.

None of this should be taken as complacency. Every January I set myself goals; pleasures to look forward to, rather than vices to give up. I used to write them on a beermat, now I use the computer but the list is as long as ever. If past experience is a guide I'll tick about two thirds, fail spectacularly on the remainder and compensate with some unexpected alternatives.

So if writing down goals confirms my thrusting/organising side, what of the creative and thinking bit?

You judge for yourself - here is this year's list.

Learn to play the banjo (an unexpected Christmas present)
Read at least 20 good books
Complete my creative writing degree
Go walking in Austria or France (preferably both)
Go camping with family and friends at least 6 times in the summer
Complete the Pembroke Coast Path and walk some more of the Pennine Way
Go to the theatre - something I've not done for years
Visit one place in the UK that is entirely 'new' to me - Tintagel perhaps?
Write at least 52 blog posts - one a week
Complete the renovation of my house in Wales
Travel on the Swansea / Shrewsbury railway with Dylan
Be a little more sociable - only a little mind you!

What do you think? Did they get my profile right?

Looking at the list I'm reminded of something my mum said to me when I was a child. 'There are three things I'd love to master: to type, to speak a foreign language and to play an instrument.'

So why don't you? I thought.

Forty years later, I feel much the same.


  1. I have never undergone psychometric testing. I understand it is now used in rescruitment, but why do you - well up the food chain, as it appears to me and apologies if that is a crude way of putting it - undergo it?
    Clearly what you do is working for your organisation, so the value of the exercise escapes me.

    I do agree about the setting of positive goals, rather than resolving to correct vices. I quite like some of my vices and would be lost without them, but I do need to keep myself up to the mark doing things that I want to do and, for stupid reasons, let slide.

  2. We did the testing as part of a Board evaluation exercise - team dynamics and all that. And yes we use it for recruitment too.

  3. Thanks for the explanation - I am well out of touch.

  4. Who wants to conform to some stereotype? Not me! Enjoy your uniqueness! I've done quite a few of these over the years and sometimes they've been quite fun. It's always interesting to see the make up of your team and then you understand why you need each other to 'fill the gaps'. I think there's a real value in recruitment.

  5. Such an interesting post. You know what they say "Be yourself, everyone else is taken".

  6. That's funny Mark because I went to bed on 31st December 2009 and woke up the next day as a green faced pixie with magical powers (I can even turn things into chocolate now). I think you need to take your new year back - I hope you still have the receipt.

    Go, go oddball!!! I hunt them out. Mavericks are the ones that change the world and challenge conformity and let's face it - there's a lot of ill-informed, ridiculous, unhelpful, damaging, misery-inducing conformity out there!

    As you know, I also believe self-awareness is a very useful tool (if you are wired up in a way that makes it useful to you that is!!!) Some people just live in the now and take each moment as it comes with no interest beyond the immediate or interest in speculation - that's fine too - they tend to make each moment fun).

  7. I would add Tom Foolery (my imaginary best friend) to your list in a mischievous way.

  8. Well, if you live up to the 'passion to get things done' and apply it to your list of aspirations/intentions for 2010, you will be busy indeed, but at the end of the year will be able to look back and feel you done good!! You'll have been new places, had new experiences, and hopefully the books you read were all good. Will you keep a note of this list to look back on at the end of the year?

    By the way, totally going off track here... I used to enjoy 'Maverick'... James Garner always my favourite!

    And a further by the way... you have a nice smile!

  9. Marching to the beat of a different drummer is a surefire way to come up with the best tunes in my experience...!

  10. As long as we get some vids of the banjo-playing... Tell you what, I'll do you a deal: you post some banjo, I'll post some uke! Done?

  11. I've never been tested like this but have always wanted to be. As for your picture - I think you look lovely.

    Tintagel is very disappointing - all 'King Arthur's tea shoppe' - you know the sort of thing.

  12. Thanks for popping by and answering questions on my blog.

  13. I see you have gained more face since childhood...a bit greedy?

    Sorry I am being very bothersome to Blogsville today! It's easy to get lost in Blogsville isn't it and I have yet to find a map.

  14. Working freelance as I do I have managed to avoid these psychometric tests for many years, until recently, where a client thought it would be beneficial to include me as part of the "team".

    Well I was being paid for my time, so I went along with it, and much to my surprise, found it both interesting and informative, if only in that it allowed me to label my personality in a manner recognisable to others. (i'm blue by the way)

    I too have been labelled "maverick" a number of times, I always take the time to thank them for the compliment.

  15. After looking at your paintings, which to me have two different styles, the watercolour landscapes master the medium, whereas the others are coming from someplace else, deeper - you would know. It fits to read that your personality is split.
    It's very powerful to know yourself.

  16. It all sounds very interesting indeed. One of my New Year's resolutions is to be more myself so good for you for being you.

    I'm a bit of a maverick myself and like the fact that there are fellow mavericks around. I try to rebel against being like "the crowd". Keep up the good work!

  17. The banjo would fix me. I cannot even beat a drum.

  18. My psychometric tests have always come back saying that I'm a bit of an oddball too...and long live oddball's is what I say....who the hell wants to conform anyway? *shudders at the thought*

    I couldn't agree more regarding the feeling that the older we get the more comfortable we are with ourselves. I have always said that we grow into the people we were meant to be as we get older :-)

    C x

    Ps. Sorry I've not been around much...Uni work has kinda taken over my life recently!! At the moment it feels like it's never ending!!

    Oh, and package is going in the post today so should be with you tomorrow.

  19. The last resolution on your list is on mine too.
    I would be totally against any testing in my workplace!

  20. I'm just relieved to find someone else is learning the banjo!