All socialized out

Sorry I’ve been gone for a few days, but things have been sort of crazy here … and not the kind of crazy I’ve been going through for the last year, a different kind.

Me and John, a friend of mine from my college days, hadn’t seen each other face-to-face in a decade.  But we’ve been trying to get together on and off for a couple of years now.  It took a while because he lives in San Diego and I’m up here in Stockton, 400 miles (650 km) away.  Plus we each have two kids.  And then last summer Sean got sick.  So it wasn’t until this last weekend that we were able to hook up — he was on vacation with his kids, traveling all over the West, and made a swing through town for a couple of days.  We had fun, our kids had fun, the conversations were great and all was right with the world.

They headed out Monday morning … and on Monday evening, some college buddies of the Supermodel came through.  They’re both Northern California natives but currently live in Savannah, Georgia (the husband is stationed at Fort Stewart) and were taking their four kids and their motor home to visit friends and family.  Again, we had fun, our kids had fun, the conversations were great and life was good.

So needless to say, it was a wonderful several days … and this morning I could barely peel myself out of bed.

Seriously.  I was so totally shot from all that time spent with our friends that I was barely able to get up, get Sean out of bed, get his meds prepared and take Charlotte to school.  (She started fifth grade Tuesday; more on that in a later post.)  From mid-morning until after 3 p.m., I spent most of my time just resting and trying to get my strength back.

This, actually, isn’t all that unusual for me.  Most people, I’ve found, get their emotional tank filled by being around other people.  I’m the other way around — I need a certain amount of interaction for healthy living, but socializing, especially for several days running, tends to drain me.  It’s not as bad as it used to be, but I still need a good book to crawl into and hide after a lot of time with others.  It’s just how I’m wired.

I know I’m in the minority on this … or at least, that the world is structured by folks who are at the other end of the spectrum.  So much of American culture is geared around the idea of teamwork, of everyone getting along with everyone else, of group gatherings and “tiger team” meetings and committees and so on and so forth.  It’s especially common in the business world, but you find it pretty much everywhere.  And there never seems to be any acknowledgment that there are people for whom such activity is not the beau ideal.

Now, if you’ve read this space for any length of time, you know how much emphasis I put on the importance of relationship.  I’m not backtracking on that.  Jesus considered relationships — with God and with each other — the most important thing in His ministry on earth, and I’m sure not going to argue with Him.  Relationships are hugely necessary, and I’m all in favor of them.  All I’m saying is that for some people (including me), they take a bigger toll and require more work than for others.  And that we need to recognize that, and work with them accordingly.

I think my friend John has a grasp on that.  At some point in the weekend, we were talking about a business book he’d been reading, Good to Great by Jim Collins.  Apparently one of the things Collins talks about is how you need to have a good team in place for your business to make that leap from a “good” business to a “great” one (thus the title) — but that you need different kinds of people in that team to do different things.  The skills a salesman needs to succeed, for instance, are not the same as those needed by a quality control manager, or personnel director, or accountant.  It’s the business owner that can use disparate types of people in the right way for each, at the same time keeping them pointed toward a single goal as a company, that will see their company make the jump from just another company to a world-changing one.  (At least that’s what I got out of the discussion; I’m gonna have to read the book.)

And he analyzed me pretty well.  I’m the type that you stick in the back and say, “here’s the paper — push  it.”  (And I’m a good paper-pusher.)  At meetings, I’m the “crazy idea guy,” the one who thinks outside the box because he lives outside it, and who just throws out stuff that nobody else thought of — 30% of which is worth exploring, but still.  Basically, I’m the office manager.  Too much of the time, I’ve had bosses who expected to come across like a salesperson — and I can’t do it.   The salespeople are the ones who thrive on interaction, not the ones who need to recover from it.  It’s part of why I haven’t had a full-time job in a while, too.

And it’s a big part of why I spent a lot of today reading and beating the Pogo.com server at Risk.  And I feel a lot better now.  Give me a good night’s sleep on top of that, and I’ll be ready to churn out blog entries from here until …

… well, until I get tired again.  Man’s gotta know his limitations …

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One Response to All socialized out

  1. Inglan says:

    I know what you mean when you say that socialization can take a toll. If I’m just hanging out for the sake of hanging out, I burn out really really soon- it’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just that I don’t really have the stamina/energy for this type of thing.

    I remember at church once we had an Art Night, and I was hanging out with people. Soon I felt stifled and had to go outside, b/c I felt like I was “drowning in people.”

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