How Are You In Charge?

There are people who I encounter in all parts of my life who beg the question, “how are you in charge?”

One of them is my landlord, as I am constantly amazed at how hostile, disorganized and careless they are. But the heat works and the ceiling in the bathroom hasn’t caved in yet, so I guess I should just keep my mouth shut.

Sometimes I get this feeling about people I interact with who have a ton of money or who are really successful (artists, writers, entrepreneurs, whatever) who are hostile, disorganized, angry, resentful, or unable to wear normal clothes. I wonder, “how did you get here?”

I don’t subscribe to the idea that this kind of anti-social behavior is somehow adorable. For me, this kind if self-involved, cultivated weirdness is almost nauseating. I like powerful people who keep it simple. President Obama said in a recent interview with Michael Lewis that he wears the same colored suit every day because he literally cannot waste any mental energy on these small decisions, preferring to keep him mind clear so he can deal with more complex issues. This explains so much about 1) why I am always late to work, and 2) why I am not president–I can never decide on an outfit (I obsess about small, dumb things, and don’t obsess about big, important things, it’s a bad trait).

But I have cultivated an ability to sublimate my rage at this type of behavior and manage up. If I offer a wackado type person a set of very concrete choices, they will 1) choose one of them, or 2) reject the premise of the question, while simultaneously realizing that they didn’t offer appropriate information for me to use to help them. It’s fun and a challenge to me to think of all these eventualities and head off problems at the pass.

But I am always left wondering why I have to manage up, while other people are in the position of being so exceptionally crazy in my presence. I know the answer, because it is one of my major failings. I started my career with no large-scale objective in mind, and I always bail too early. I don’t allow good things to develop over time, and in the past I had a really hard time seeing long-term benefits.

I am trying to be better. I am trying to settle into a vision for my career, though this is still the hardest thing for me to do. I want so badly to give up, go back to school (again) and become a lawyer, an accountant or a consultant. I really do. But I can’t do it. I am physically incapable. But I also have to come to term with the fact that I have spent 10 years basically d*cking around, changing my mind constantly, moving on before I was really done with a certain project or facet of my work life. Setting arbitrary standards for myself that are really just excuses to bail on a bad situation of my own making.

Writing this is making me feel badly about myself, even though it was my intention to rag on other people who are disorganized and weird. But what is a blog if not a place for long-winded, odd introspection?



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