Taking the DiSC Everything Workplace Profile

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I don’t know why, but not for the first time in a college-level class have I had to take a personality test. I mean, it’s had its purpose in either situation, I guess. It’s always been in writing and communications classes, so yeah–I guess there is a purpose for it.

I don’t like personality tests. I find that while they’re a valuable tool for self-awareness, a lot of people instead use them to justify their actions or why they “can’t deal” with certain people or situations. Kind of like with astrology–which I don’t believe in, either (partly because people take forever trying to guess my sign–swear to God, they guess Sagittarius twice and work through all the other signs at least once before they get to Gemini; partly because they treat me different when they find out I’m a crazy, two-faced Gemini; and I’ll tell you the last reason later on.)

I won’t start on why I hate the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This post is going to be wayyy too long if I do that.

Anyway, I don’t like personality tests, and I rolled my eyes a bit when it came up in class that we were going to take one. However, this one has a more professional slant with a focus on how you work and how to work with people who are different from you in the workplace (am I the only person on the planet who thinks you just have to learn how to adapt to other people’s personalities and you don’t need a test to figure it out?).

The DiSC model has been around for a few decades now. D is for Dominant, i is Influence, S is for Steadiness, and C is for Conscientiousness. Some people are a solid D, or i, or S, or C, and other people can be a blend of these. The DiSC model also emphasizes that all styles and priorities are equally valuable in the workplace and no one style is better than any other. It also emphasizes building more effective working relationships through self-awareness and awareness of others.

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Anyway, it took me about 20 minutes and after that, my results were spat out into a nice little report, which I had to print out and bring to class.

I was not particularly surprised by my results–but I never really am. For the DiSC profile, I came up as an SC type–so I’m in the Steadiness group, but with a bent towards Conscientiousness. In summary, I like consistency and I aspire to be someone people can count on. Communication-wise, I am soft-spoken and seem approachable–although to people who are more outgoing, I am sometimes hard to read. The Conscientiousness part comes into play with my attention to detail and my desire to do things right the first time.

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I marked up the report after printing it, not knowing that we would be marking them up in class (the black pen is before class, the green writing is from class).

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However, like some people who take the DiSC profile, I had more than three priorities (everybody who takes it has at least three priorities). I had four. Being an SC type, my first three priorities were Maintaining Stability, Giving Support, and Ensuring Accuracy. The fourth one, which my report says “is somewhat unusual for someone with the SC style,” is Offering Challenge.

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Basically, I like to point out the flaws in other people’s ideas. I sometimes describe myself as a “no” person–I like to say “no” to other people, especially when I feel like they haven’t weighed the pros or cons or thought hard enough about something. I also am critical of things that lack common sense or logic. Yes, this might be explained simply by saying “I’m an asshole,” but I also think it ties into my desire for accuracy.

Back to the last thing I don’t like about other personality tests or astrology–they often don’t allow room for or acknowledge the role that life experiences play in shaping one’s personality. The DiSC actually does acknowledge life experience on the first page of the report. For example, Collaboration is not listed as one of my priorities. And I don’t hate working with others, but I’m generally quite skeptical of it–the result of being “the smart girl” and having to do most of the work on group projects in school (…and now I’m having flashbacks to biology during junior year).

Finally, to wrap this post up, the back of my report has a summary of how I can adapt to interacting with and communicate more effectively with people across all types. The advice I saw across all of them could easily be paraphrased as “don’t be passive; speak up more!!!”

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All in all, I am glad I got to take this test for free; I wouldn’t have taken it otherwise. I also think it’s not as bad as other personality tests out there.

Next Steps

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About a month before I graduated from college, I panicked. I’d spent four years studying, going to class and work (3 jobs at once!), writing more papers than I could count, and then I realized–I don’t want to do this. I don’t have what it takes to succeed in this field. I don’t have the personality that potential employers are looking for in college grads.

Because I was panicking, I reached out–not to my parents, but to my adviser. Because I thought she’d have some insight. That she’d tell me what I needed to do–sad to say, but I don’t think that going to college taught me how to be a free thinker; it made me even more insecure and instilled in me a desire to be told what to do.

“I think you need more time,” she said.

She also said she didn’t think I’d be successful. In grad school, specifically, but maybe she meant in general. It felt like she meant in general. It’s hard to hear someone who you trust say that they don’t think you will be successful, whether it be academics, a professional career, or life at large.

I started crying in her office and I don’t think I’ve really stopped in the three and a half years since graduation. As I walked across the stage at the Breslin Center, I was handed a rolled-up proxy diploma. I was supposed to step up to a line, smile, and wave into the camera so all the people in attendance could see how happy I was to be a graduate of Michigan State University. I stepped up to the line, smiled quickly, then stared into the camera as my face fell. My family, with their cameras pointed at the jumbotron, laughed about it–typical Shelby.

I wasn’t happy to be graduating. People were going on and on about the world being our oyster, how the future was ours for the taking, and think now about what you can do for the world, #spartanswill. All I could think about was how I would literally be going back to my parents’ basement to look for jobs in a field I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in. I could go to graduate school, but for what? I had already devoted the majority of my life to school–and I had worked my ass off. And now I was facing an indeterminate amount of time before I could be gainfully employed and able to move on with my life.

It took forever. For every twenty jobs I applied to, I only heard back from one, and fewer than one were actually requests for a phone or in-person interview. My self-esteem and self-worth crashed horribly during this period. I took what was supposed to be a temporary job at a restaurant just because I had to do something. I was there for over a year before I was hired as a secretary somewhere else.

Over this three-year period, starting about six months after I graduated, my parents–but mom especially–started bringing up graduate school. That I should think about applying. That maybe it will help me get a better job. Don’t worry about the money. If you want to go, go.

And the whole time that was going on, I was flip-flopping on the issue myself: I want to go. I won’t be successful. I miss school. What would I even study? I want to teach writing at a community college. A Master’s degree is going to overqualify me and then I really will struggle with finding a job. I’m going to prepare my writing samples this week! I’m worried about the money and the time.

I never did go. What it came down to was the money, the time, and the fact that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get a better-paying job with a graduate degree. My current employers are famous for never giving their employees a raise–how can I afford grad school? I’ve spent so much time in school already; can’t I just move on with my life?

And to be honest, I am still not sure that a Master’s degree will help me find a job that will pay me a good salary.

But I’m going.

I caved a few weeks ago and applied to a graduate program at the local business college. For a Master of Science in Finance. I got in. And furthermore, I found a program that works for me. I could have started taking classes immediately, but I decided that I will start in January.

This is my next step. I don’t know what it will bring–but just about anything is better than what I have going on in my life right now.

LIFE LATELY

A picture from Independence Day, which I didn't write a post about

A picture from Independence Day, which I didn’t write a post about

I borrowed this idea from Desiree because I haven’t posted anything real in a while and I feel guilty about it.

A few things have happened recently! Not a whole lot. I had a birthday at the end of May (why I’m telling you about this in almost-August, I don’t know). I am 24 years old now, and while this makes no sense at all, I feel no different being 24 than I did 23, even though 23 was a really difficult year for me and 24 has been not-miserable. I was so happy to turn 24 and tell 23 to kiss my ass.

My mom got a Barnes and Noble membership, so I’ve been reading and buying books. Not including all of the used books I bought for my birthday, too. Meg Cabot’s Royal Wedding came out in June, and she really hasn’t changed much, HRH Princess Mia, but I won’t lie, I still loved reading this newest Princess Diaries book as much as I loved reading the others as a tween and a teen.

In addition to that, and rereading Ken Follett’s Kingsbridge books, I read a book last weekend called Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. I was excited to read it, but very quickly I started calling it Broken Book because it was bad. I gave it two stars on Goodreads. (ALSO: When people who live in/near Detroit read books set in Detroit and think “Where are all the Black people?” you have a problem)

A few weeks ago Arthur Chu wrote this post for Thought Catalog (which, I really kind of hate TC but Arthur Chu wrote it and I quite like him and his writing) about one of my favorite shows, Dollhouse, Joss Whedon, and Hollywood. I appreciate that Arthur Chu, who is also a fan of Dollhouse and a fan of Joss Whedon, is okay with acknowledging that the show isn’t without its problems. To criticize something that people like can throw fandoms into an uproar (but Dollhouse was cancelled in 2009, so people may look around and say “What fandom?” at this point, I suppose). Not that Joss Whedon doesn’t ever get negative backlash; the response to Avengers: Age of Ultron from early May is still clear in my mind. The post by Chu makes many good points, but among those is My Fave is Problematic And It’s Okay to Know That And Still Like It.

(And yes, I re-watched all of Dollhouse after reading, just for the sake of it. Boooyd! #NotOverIt)

Then there was this piece, “How Not to Be Elizabeth Gilbert,” published by the Boston Review. It’s about travel writing but also about not being “an obnoxious white lady in brown places.” The piece says a lot about travel writing, things I agree with. Not only are successful travel writers typically male, but a potentially dangerous trait of the travel writing genre is that one’s self is the center of attention, and the location (however exotic, however beautiful, however whatever) is just the backdrop.

(It also reminds me of that time my 11th-grade English teacher was reading Eat, Pray, Love, and loving it, and would most likely be that obnoxious white lady in brown places)

IGGPPC is having their second annual summer camp in August! It’s not real sleepaway camp, which I never did, but I participated in some of the activities last year, like the care package swap and some Google Hangouts-based events! It’s a lot of fun!

Also, in spite of being a shiksa, I love reading the pieces at Tablet Mag, and they’ve done a few pieces this summer about summer camp. I liked reading about all the things Marjorie Ingalls’s daughters learned at camp, as well as this piece about how her experiences at camp shaped Margot Kohn’s positive relationship with her body.

Common Room had Potter Week, which is likely a good thing. Harry Potter was one of my early fandoms, but I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything to write along Potter-inspired lines. I like Hadas’s post about crackpot theories (because who doesn’t love a good crackpot theory?). Who doesn’t love a good fan theory, period?

What have you read lately? How is life treating you?