• How Not to Manage an Introvert – Dr. Marla Gottschalk

    Note: originally posted here


    Do you supervise individuals that would describe themselves as an introvert? If the answer is “yes,” you may want to take a moment to examine how you manage them. In many cases, we hold misconceptions about introversion, which can lead to ill-fated supervisory decisions. I’d like to point you in the right direction.

    While many people confuse being introverted with shyness, introversion is in fact about how an individual handles stimulation. (Introverts will likely feel over-stimulated sooner than an extrovert). Those on the introverted end of the introversion-extroversion continuum require a slightly different set of workplace conditions to excel — and it is not difficult to become more sensitive to their needs. Small changes in management and workplace elements can transact into an environment that is more conducive to success.

    A few things to re-think:

    • Putting them on the spot. It would be misguided to expect an opinion from an introvert at the “drop of the hat”. One hallmark of introversion is the need to sit with one’s thoughts and process information. If you offer an introvert a period of time to process, you’ll likely take full advantage of their vantage point and skill set.
    • Publicly recognizing them. Stop yourself. Really. Many introverts would rather jump off a cliff than have attention shifted in their direction without notice. If they are about to to receive an award or accolade, let them know what you are planning ahead of time. They’ll appreciate the gesture and have time to prepare.
    • That they dislike teams. Introverts are not against teaming or social interaction — they would just prefer to manage this and contribute on their own terms. This means time to ruminate over issues on the table and providing bit of a lull before they will jump into the conversation. Teaming can become a challenge, in direct opposition to how they would normally approach their work. So be sure to offer opportunities for introverts to start the idea generation process before team meetings and limit over-stimulation.
    • Open offices. Never underestimate the power of a quiet space. (You don’t have to be an introvert to appreciate a calm environment in which to process information.) Incorporating spaces within your office design that allow for quiet and privacy is always a wise move. (Read more about that here.) Someone leaning toward the introverted side of the continuum will be forever grateful.
    • That they have nothing to say. Wrong. By nature introverts can be less likely to share their thoughts, which makes it even more important to open the lines of communication regularly. Send them an e-mail, asking how their projects are progressing. Set up a weekly “touch base” meeting. They can reflect on their work and respond fully on their own terms.
    • That introverts cannot lead. Truth be told, you’ll be overlooking a lot of potential. Recent research has shown that introverts are more open to differences in opinion than their extroverted colleagues. As a result, they are more likely to make informed decisions. In fact, it has been shown their hesitancy to monopolize the conversation, can make them powerful team members. Sounds like leadership material to me.

  • Hurt – Trent Reznor

    I cannot help but notice the following. When Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, wrote  ‘Hurt’, it was clearly about his feelings of pain, depression, and suicide. At least that’s the meaning I feel that I get when listening to the NiN’s version of the song. Over time, I’ve heard many covers of this song, some have done Reznor’s work justice, while other’s have not. Clearly though, the one cover that always stands out is Johnny Cash’s version. It’s been widely disputed that the emotions being expressed in the song are either Reznor’s himself or the protagonist of the album that the song was written for. While there is an emotional attachment to his song, it’s not a full on emotional attachment. Now, when you listen to Cash’s version, you see images (in your head as well as on the screen (if you are watching the video)) of Cash in his youth and currently, an immediate and very deep emotional bond is created like a fish hook catching all of your most critical and sensitive heartstrings. No longer is Johnny strumming his acoustical guitar, but the guitar of your heart, strung with the strings of your heart. Every sound, every note that’s played, resonates with you (the listener) on a very deep, personal level. No longer is the song about illicit drug use (as implied by NiN’s version), but when Cash plays, you feel how this is *his* personal struggle with diabetes drugs, how he feels every time he swallows more pills, or injects himself with insulin, yet again. How, despite all that, he can still feel his body failing and there is nothing he can do about it but accept it.

    I think it’s really important to note that when he uses the line “empire of dirt”, it’s a clear reference (to me at least), that he is talking about how his life is nothing but a pile of dirt, despite all his achievements, everything he amounted too still isn’t worth much in the greater scheme of things. I also believe that his change of “crown of shit” to “crown of thorns”, while a clear reference to his deep personal beliefs is also acceptance of his fate. He knows that no matter how many pills he swallows, or how many times he injects himself with a needle, he’s not going to live for ever, eventually he will die, and he accepts that.

    It’s amazing though, the long and short of this is that the change of one word, played and sung in a different key and different images changes the whole tone of the song. It certainly makes you stop and think.

  • Featured Image Preview: [Tentative] A day in the life of a gargoyle …. (Draft 1)

    Chapter 1:
    My toe itches and I can’t scratch it! My joints are stiff and I can’t move. But I can see. I can see the alley and the street below me. I can see everything. The muggers, the rapists, sad people, poor people, happy people, nobodies and important people alike. And all I can do is watch them, from my lofty perch atop this monolithic tribute to a decadent time long past.Tonight, it’s raining. And my toe still itches. It’s been raining for days now … it’s amazing this putrid, obscene and squalid collection of buildings called modern society hasn’t destroyed itself yet. Something doesn’t feel right though, there is an electricity in the air. The storm is growing worse. It’s gotten darker and there are more and more lightning strikes everywhere … I see some small fires in the distance, burning bright, despite the torrents and torrents of rain everywhere.

    Somewhere near by, I can here a woman crying, pitifully. I think she is in the same ally I overlook. GOD! My toe itches and I want to scratch it so bad! I think she’s in trouble, I wish I could help her. [Radical jump here, brings story out of context*]Don’t get me wrong, I was once human, but I was cursed by a powerful wizard, eons past. Cursed at first to prowl the night, hunting it, haunting it. This curse came with gifts too, heightened speed, sight and hearing, and a need for blood and flesh. So I could very well hear that this crying woman was down the ally from where I was eternally perched. I didn’t know why yet, I might not ever know why. I can only suspect.

    For a while I was content with what I did. But I killed and fed upon the child of someone more evil then I or my creator. He wasn’t happy that his child was defiled by someone of my nature, he was especially enraged that his child had died by the hand of a night defiler, a gargoyle. This evil man set out to hunt me. Imagine that! I was the king of the night for countless millennia , no one challenged me and everyone feared me. To go from hunter to hunted in one night was not easy. For a while I was able to stay ahead of him …. but he had things more evil and deviant then I ever imagined, things I could never dream of, at his disposal. For centuries I was able to stay a few steps ahead of this man. In that timed I learned about some of his demons, many damned souls like myself. I even learned a few names … that’s the key, know there true name in the ancient tongues can set a damned soul free.

    • * doesn’t fit, needs to be excised and transplanted elsewhere, later in the story.

  • Walt Disney

    Seriously, no one was as sick, twisted, dark, and demented as this man was. Personally, I think he’s brilliant (and all the truly weird ones are!). But I do have to ask, why do we subject our children to his cleverly hidden humor? Just look at some of these quotes and think about them for a little while.

  • Everyday emptiness is sadness. (Spoken word)

    Everyday I wake up and wonder why. Everyday, I see people in love and I wonder, why not me? Why can’t I find mine? When will I ever get my chance again? Everyday, I wake up feeling empty, incomplete, hollow. Everyday, I am reminded of that pain and it’s a fishhook In my cheek, pulling me down the ever familure downward spiral, awash in the sea of despair.

    Everyday, I show strength in the face of others, I am the lion, fierce and mighty about my beliefs, never backing down, never giving up, always fighting the good fight. Everyday, I am the meek field mouse, quiet and unassuming about what I really want. A simple life, happiness, to be happy with someone. Everyday, I am the monkey, cunning and agile. Quick of wit, quicker of tongue. It’s my shield, protecting me from being hurt again, and again.

    All of this for what? What has it gained me? Has it earned me anything? Have I been given special awards and rewarded for my ingenuity in my personal struggles? Nothing comes easy to me, I get it, life is hard. Well, life has always been harder for me, every victory hard won, bittersweet and usually mixed with the all to familure taste of copper. I can’t just stand up and take what I want. That would be too easy. It carries little in the way of meaningful achievement. I want to earn it, at ever personal cost. If I earn it, then it is mine, till then, it is just something else to tirelessly work for as it is always one step ahead of me.

    And who cares? Really cares? Who has really been there for me? Who notices how hard I really work? Who notices that I am beaten, broken, and yet, I still go on anyway. Always remember, the face I show you everyday in public, it’s just as hollow and empty as I feel behind closed doors. And that’s not because I don’t care, in fact it’s because I do care, too much.

    I am the folly of a good man pushed to far in a world where not enough people care about the depth and breadth that is me.


  • Give a man a fish and he eats for a day,

    I’m not one to quote scripture in any form because most of the time, I don’t believe it myself. But, every once in a while, there are stories that are relevant and religion-neutral. The story of the fisherman is one of them. This story is actually very simple in it’s telling, but very complex and rich in its meaning. Teach that same man to fish, and he will eat for life.

    But, I think this begs the question, what if that man is greedy and covets all the fish in the sea? No matter how you split this hair, it’s going to end badly because; a) the fisherman will have an endless supply of rotting fish or b) the fisherman will be rich, rich beyond his wildest dreams because he managed to sell all the fish he caught in the sea and now all of his fellow people are poorer then they were to start, but have full bellies (of fish). Either way, there will be no more fish in the sea for someone else to catch (and eat).

    In my case, I was was taught to fish, I did my due diligence and was patient. That patience has finally paid off, but now I have my hands full of fish I don’t know what to do with. I only wanted one, now I have three.

  • Untitled.

    Mostly because I’m not sure how I would actually classify today. In short, it sucked, no one cares, boohoo. It still sucked, major monkey nuts. In the midst of all this, I had someone inform me that they failed to understand how someone who is naturally shy, is a raging introvert, yet be capable of deeply intelligent, constructive conversation can still be shy.

    Clearly, this person doesn’t get me, has no interest in getting me and to be perfectly honest, I don’t care. I’m not going to loose sleep over it. I’m just left in a more then slightly befuddled state as I sit here and reflect on the day before heading off to bed.

  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia

    I’ve always liked this song, the first time I heard it was on a Charlie Daniels CD I had heard, later I acquired a Greatest Hits and this was (quite obviously) on it. Since then, I’m heard various covers that have been OK and/or mediocre at best. The one exception so far was Primus’ unique cover of it, and it actually seems to be quite rare to find. With all of that in mind, and rather randomly, in my Pandoa playlist a few minutes ago was the following; “Mark O’Connor – The Devil Comes Back to Georgia”. Like many, I wasn’t thrilled at all and thought to myself, what if.

    What if some YouTube sensations actually got together and covered this song, I was thinking of the following lineup;

    • Lindsey Stirling on Violin (obviously)
    • The Piano Guys (for piano/standing base effect)
    • Peter Hollens (vocals/vocal drum effect/other music instruments)

  • When I Die

    A little late night insomniac fulled #wordporn.

    I grew up not knowing who I was,
    I grew up not knowing who I wanted to be,
    I grew up not knowing who I wanted to believe in.

    Now I grow older every day, knowing who I am
    Now I grow older every day, knowing who I want to be,
    Now I grow older every day, knowing who I want to believe in.

    When I die, I will know who I wasn’t, who I was, and who I am.
    When I die, I will know who I wanted to be, who I wasn’t, and who I should have been, but never who I was.
    When I die, I will know who I never believed in, who I did believe in and who I could believe in.

    When I’m dead, I will know nothing.
    When I’m dead, will I be remembered for the man I was?
    When I’m dead, whom will I have left an impression on?

    When I die, I will have known [nothing].

    v1© Chris Brennan, 1/19/2014
    v2© Chris Brennan, 4/12/2014

  • To sleep or not to sleep: A computer that suffers from insomnia

    Friends, Romans, Technophiles! Lend me your ears! My desktop suffers a malady that I cannot cure. If left alone, it will gracefully go to sleep and stay asleep until a key is stroked or the mouse is moved. This behavior is expected and wanted. The quandary remains that if I artificially accelerate the process and force the computer to go to sleep when I want, it will go though the shutdown-to-sleep process and then immediately wakes itself back up. This is completely unwanted behavior. It’s a clean reinstall, only about 6wks old and the first thing I thought to check is WOL status with the NIC, it’s off (there is only one network adapter)