#39 Do you need to fire yourself?
How many people are you managing within yourself? In my case, it’s quite a few.
There’s Elizabeth the writer, Elizabeth the editor, Elizabeth the cleaner, Elizabeth the reader, Elizabeth the medical student - the list just goes on, and all of these girls come with their own baggage. They all like to work on their own schedules, have their own needs, issues, goals and growth trajectories. Some hate their job and some love it. Some need tough love and some need gentle caring communication.
I’m managing them all, and it drives me crazy.
It’s easy to think that what we do is “intuitive”, that there’s no need to overthink it and break it down too much. But if that were the case, why do I find it so hard to get the things I want done? I find somwhere between thought and execution my desire gets lost, so I’ve decided to delve deeper and see where the issue is. And I think it’s that I’m a horrible manager.
If I need to get a video done: Elizabeth the scriptwriter needs to have planned it in advance and needs to go through it one last time, Elizabeth the filmer needs to take the 20 minutes to set up the gear and get me ready, Elizabeth the editor needs to get ready to start thinking of how to put it together for the next 5 hours and Elizabeth-Elizabeth has to put aside her tiredness, desire to just call it a day or procrastinate for this all to happen. You can imagine how one of these Elizabeth’s (or more) very often just doesn’t cooperate. The editor just can’t be bothered tonight. And so I can’t get things done.
I need to hire, negotiate, plan, inspire, catch up on and evalutate the work of so many people within myself. But noone taught me how to manage. I’m strict and demanding, set ridiculous and vague outcome goals, provide only negative feedback, never give holiday leave, punish generously for any imperfect work, and have never handed out a bonus in my life. Or accepted a resignation.
If I were this sort of manager in any other job, I’d be fired on the spot. And so, I’m doing the same to myself: I’m fired from being my own manager.
From now on, I’m going to turn off the forceful, borderline abusive voice in my head shouting at me to get things done, and I’m going to read a few people management books. I’m going to think about the roles I’m doing and try and understand those girls (my) needs and preferred styles of communication. I’m going to rehire for a manager role. (One who takes holiday leave too.)
Maybe you need to do the same?