Wednesday 20 July 2011

there's no time to analyse, analyse, analyse, analyse....

For better or worse, I have an analytical mind. This is probably my defining characteristic; it forms the cornerstone of my personality; what I am, in both my personal and professional life, is in no small part down to the way my brain is wired.

This has not always been a blessing: my success in my career – such as it is – has been in large part based around my ability to process large amounts of information into simply understood documentation. I have a natural instinct to ask questions and to probe what I am being told; in the language of the business analyst, I try to find the problem behind the problem. Unfortunately for me, this instinct to ask questions and to probe and challenge what I’m being told, when coupled with a big mouth, has served to irritate the people who might otherwise be advancing my career. I see myself as simply trying to understand the thinking behind what I’m being told so that I can better appreciate why they’re asking me to do it…. And they see me as highlighting the fact that they haven’t really done a great deal of thinking and therefore making them look stupid. This has not helped my career. I could choose to keep my mouth shut, but I have often chosen not to.

In my personal life, I have driven myself to near distraction by way that my mind will latch onto something and won’t let it go. Usually, this will be something tiny, but it will be something tiny that I feel like I ought to be able to control… the classic example being that, when I wore glasses, I used to obsess constantly about the way they sat on my ears or my nose, or the way that the lenses accumulated scratches no matter how careful I thought I was being. Why can’t they fit right? Why can’t I avoid scratches? Hours and hours of my life would disappear as I focused in minute detail on something that everyone else seemed to think was no big deal (the optician was very nice but clearly thought I was crackers, which made me feel terrible, even if I still couldn’t stop myself going to see him, as though for counselling and reassurance that everything was going to be okay). Things I couldn’t control at all didn’t seem to bother me at all: the washer/dryer blew up and filled C’s flat with steam? Not a problem. Open the windows, stay round mine and call the landlord to get it sorted in the morning. Simple. When packing a bag for a trip, I fret about all the things that I might have forgotten, but as soon as I shut the door on my way out, it doesn’t bother me at all because I have what I have and I have little choice but to get on with things.

My current obsession? My work shoes. They’re squeaking. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not really a big deal: I can always take them to the cobbler to be re-soled, and they’re pretty old anyway, so perhaps I should just treat myself to a new pair. Can I let it go though? No, every single step I take, it bothers me…. Just a little bit, but it bothers me a little more with every step I take. It’s been squeaking for months, so obviously I’m managing the pain, but it still annoys me.

Funnily enough, this very same complaint was driving me crackers in 2005

Different shoes, same stupid brain. Nice to know that although lots of other things have changed in the last 6 years, I’m still crazy in the coconut. They’re bothering me less now, I’m sure.

Perhaps I’ve grown?


  1. Is it the soles wearing down that causes the squeak? I got the impression that it was more the shoe losing its suppleness? Only one pair of my shoes has ever been afflicted by a squeak, a pair of Campers. It would flare up unpredictably and once made a trip to an art gallery one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. I made a mental note to hit them with a hammer when I got home.

  2. I vote that it's bothering you less.

  3. When you saw the Eels at Glasto you should have got some novacaine for the sole. The pain would certainly decrease!

  4. It's funny you mentioned the shoe problem of 2005, because as I read about your squeaky shoes I thought, "He wrote about this before. You mean he still hasn't fixed it?" *G*

    Like you, I analyze things. I've caught myself analyzing why I analyze why I analyze. At that point, I knew things had gone too far. The thing is, I can just as easily go the other way and not think things through when I really should have. Middle ground would be nice. I need Randy to do for me what you did for C: figure out how to handle things when they go wrong.

    I've come to realize that while commenting here that, for me, analyzing doesn't necessarily equate with common sense.