I was just tagged by Brent Ozar with this latest blog tag session that harkens to an enclave, a phone, and the worst interview for a volunteer position I’ve ever been a part of (let alone the candidate for). The question posed: “What is Your Greatest Weakness?” The originator of this purging of personal demons in the clear light of day is none other than David Stein, aka Made2Mentor. (Quite funny how this circled back to West Michigan so fast David.)
To answer this question I’ll need to consult my PDW (Personal Data Warehouse)…
SELECT COUNT(T.[trait_name]) FROM [traits] T INNER JOIN [trait_types] TT ON T.[type_id] = TT.[type_id] WHERE [type_id] ='weakness'
> 1 records returned
Wow, um okay… let’s just pretend none of us just saw that. (I’m refering to the fact that my PDW is not Celko-compliant). Heck, the row count is no surprise to anyone who knows me. It should not be a surprise to anyone who draws a breath on this insignificant blue-green planet run by mice knows – I am faulty. I’m perfectly content with that though; you are faulty as well. Take comfort that you and I don’t even rank on the top 10 list of weakness-laden individuals. According to the most recent colorful pie chart from USA Today that I made up in my very own head here is the week’s ranking of Most Flawed Individuals:
- Tiger Woods TIE Josh Duhamel (Anyone that would go astray when they have access to Fergie? You sir are a Douc**.)
- Ann Coulter
- George W. Bush (still #3 and he’s not even stuck his head out of a brush pile in 11 months.)
- Axl Rose (if not for you we’d still be listening to new, decent GnR tracks instead of Nickleback.)
- Antares Audio Technologies (Inventor of Auto-Tune.)
- Kim Jong Il
- Bobby Brown TIE Dick Cheney (Emeritus standing for both.)
- Entire state of South Carolina (you’re soft, SC! NC could kick your tookus with one hand tied behind its collective back!)
- Entire news division at Fox Networks
- Valerie Bertinelli (You ruined Van Halen.)
No, being weak is not a sign of weakness. Not embracing your weaknesses and finding strengths in them is a sign of weakness.
Let me tweak that query a bit and see what comes back:
SELECT TOP 1 T.[trait_name] FROM [traits] T INNER JOIN [trait_types] TT ON T.[type_id] = TT.[type_id] WHERE [type_id] ='weakness' ORDER BY T.[priority]
> 1 records returned
Yes, though I have quite a few personality traits that I would categorize as considerable flaws/weaknesses/what-have-you, impetuousness would that which I would identify as the one I have to deal with on a consistent basis. Many of the other issues I have which number as many, if not more than Buck Woody stream from the tendency I have to jump right in on a project, initiative, or problem with, in some cases, reckless abandon. I see this trait frequently in the Information Technology field so I take comfort that I am not alone in this regard.
I think my afliction comes from a deep-seated desire to want everything to be perfect; to have order. My rational side knows that nothing can ever be perfect except maybe Joanna Krupa or chocolate sundaes or, even better, Joanna Krupa feeding me chocolate sundaes on a clothing-optional beach in the South Pacific. However, my irrational side still craves perfection and order – and that always seems to get me in trouble. I’ve had a craving for perfection/order since I was a child.
Who had their Star Wars trading cards all in numerical order, by release? Me.
Who had their albums, tapes, cds all ordered by artist (alphabetically) and release date? Me.
Who had their books ordered by artist, publication year, and sometimes even size? Me, of course.
Yet who also had the messiest room you’ve ever seen otherwise? Well, me.
Yes, I have this quest for order and perfection in myself and others but have demons that cause me to practice what I crave in an unbalanced fashion. So when I see something out of order – imperfect – I want to work my mojo on it. Show me something else that meets that criteria and I jump right into it again. Imperfection is my shiny. Some may consider this an effect of losing my Dad at such an early age and such a violent and instantaneous fashion – the need to have order is derivitive of not having order in one’s personal life. I’ve thought this over many, many times. I don’t know where this desire sprung from, but it is probably the driving force behind my tendency to jump in hot, with guns a-blazin’.
Of course this can cause problems. I will see an issue through to the end, but I may tackle more than I should at any given time because of my desire to jump in a solve an issue. I also may find myself making recommendations that, while not out-of-place, may be more about generating consistency than about fixing something that is broken. A for-instance being something I encountered just yesterday when I reviewed a commercial solution that our company added stored procedures to. The naming convention used by our developer was sp_<procedure_name> and I made a minor stink of that. Yes, it’s wrong. Was it causing noticeable issues for the customer or anyone other than the DBA? No. Yet I’m also the guy who blogs about the need for perfection, but doesn’t run anything other than a cursory spell-check against his posts. Quite often he doesn’t even re-read the post before publishing. Sometimes he even posts out embarassing Tweets in Twitter without making sure they are direct messages.
There you have it. Firefighter Tim. Jumping into hot spots without sometimes making sure his hose isn’t knotted and his parachute works. Matter of fact I even did it here – I answered the question raised by stating impetuousness and ended up with a deep-seated need for order as the true answer. I should not be so impetuous!