A while ago, I found myself in a tricky situation. As someone with invisible illnesses, it is not often easy to explain why I do things the way do. What had happened was that my colleagues were not aware of some of these aspects. I usually detail on a one-to-one basis and only after a certain length of acquaintance.

With several colleagues in the loop, it appeared to be a done deal. But what if it surfaced again with new colleagues? In a big organization, it can be challenging to explain yourself repeatedly on the same level. Then, I remembered… 

My boss had told me about a user manual someone had written about themselves. Would I want to write one about myself? At first I was reluctant to pen something while other matters were pressing. However, after the afore-mentioned situations I was on fire.

On a Sunday evening, I sat down and wrote to me heart’s content for 1,5 hours. I ended up with 3 pages that detailed

  • that I’m quirky and why
  • my personality and what shapes it
  • my handicaps and how to handle me
  • how to handle tricky situations when my handicaps come into play
  • my understanding of communication and what information I need to work best
  • my cultural influences and how they shaped me

After adding headings and sorting the text into paragraphs I ended up with 6 pages. Sound much? The role model manual had a bit more than that (and more text). So I think it is still humble in comparison ;-D

I am not convinced that a dossier will replace learning about each other in personal interactions. Nonetheless, this helps to advance towards each other (it is a bilateral thing, after all!). For me personally, it replaces many awkward conversations and thus saves time and energy. These are the resources that I’d rather invest in enabling my community or making processes better.

For my colleagues, they now know how I function. It is up to them to decide how to use this knowledgetw. I would use the term “manipulate” in this case as I do not regard it as negative. If it works, harms no one and is in the best interest of all? Then I’d love to be manipulated. Manipulate away! 

Do you want a more detailed description of how I compiled the manual? Talk to me on Twitter!

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Categories: Worklife

Franziska

Owner of this blog. Tech and culture. Community strategist.