There are many aspects of working for the CDC that I loved. Being on a collaborative team of hard working people on a mission to address serious public health problems is awesome. Feeling good about the work you are doing is critical to your well being. I loved knowing that I was contributing to the greater good. But there are some down sides.
Type A much?
I would say that 99.99% of CDC scientists and public health specialists would qualify as people with Type A personalities. Well, to be honest, this is only observational. There are no statistics to support my claim. (Do I really have to be such a scientist?) Working with a full crew of folks with Type A personalities can be, shall we say, interesting.
According to Wikipedia, the robust and highly revered source of on-line information (not really, but usually if you take it with a grain of salt it can be useful),
“Type A individuals are ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics” who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.”
Wikipedia doesn’t list my name as the poster child but I am a high-achiever for quite a few of those endearing behaviors.
Ok. Ok. Now I will admit that I can be a bit of a control freak.
My inner control freak “Miss Freaky” is pretty well mannered and “controlled” (pun intended) for the most part. But that doesn’t stop her from poking me in the ribs now and then. And giving me an ear full.
One of the down sides of being a federal employee with a measure of control “issues” is that you are required to work in a hierarchical environment. Big surprise, right? You have to play by the rules and let your bosses do the controlling, whether they are right or wrong. That is the way hierarchy works. For know-it-alls, working in a hierarchical culture is super hard. Especially when Miss Freaky keeps whispering loadly in your ear, “Tell her!! You are not the boss of me!” I have learned to ignore her because that NEVER works. Your only option is to let go of things you cannot control. Or go nuts.
Queen of the World
So I thought that retiring from CDC and starting a small business would completely free me from Miss Freaky. I mean, why not? I really AM the boss of me now.
The only problem is that being my own boss is not the same as being queen of the world. When you have a number of pieces in the textile production train, one domino can mess up your entire train. The whole kit and caboodle comes to a halt because that is not what you anticipated. Spoiler alert. In most cases, whether you are playing dominos or playing a much larger game with higher stakes, ain’t nothin’ you can do about it. Things happen when they happen. No matter how carefully you have planned and organized your dominos. No point in getting your shorts in a wad.
Even the strongest control freak has to relinquish control, unless she has been named Queen of the world. Does that title even exist? If so, maybe her name is Houston. Remember the mission control conversation? “Houston, we have a problem.”
Oh yeah – I had Chinese food for lunch yesterday. Interestingly, here is what my fortune cookie said: “Success will come from your plans.” Hmmm.