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When I first picked up this book, I thought it was a self-help toolkit that would teach me how to be more out-going, more extroverted. A few pages in and I realised it was the opposite. Susan Cain wasn’t trying to get her readers to be gregarious at parties, instead, she painted a beautiful picture of why the world needs introverts (and had the research to back up the claim).
As a deep introvert, this book was a refreshing and enlightening read. I still wished I could be more gregarious but it’s made me appreciate my placid temperament a lot more than I used to. While the tone of Cain’s writing was decidedly leaning towards celebrating introversion, it was not completely as one sided as one would expect. She presented all facets of the broad personality spectrum and often had interesting anecdotes to share.
It was evident that many years of research had gone into this book and it was not penned by a lazy author. Even though Cain came from a law background, her materials were as psychologically insightful as factual. The gist of her message was clear; the world needed more introverts and that over reliance on the extrovert ideal could yield undesired consequences (such as unguarded risk taking and having bold speakers stunt better ideas of quiet thinkers).
Throughout the book, Cain made one continuous assumption, which was introverts had brilliant ideas lying dormant in their heads and most were simply too shy to compete with the loud mouthed, energetic extroverts. I’m not sure if I completely agree. I feel that often, introverts are quiet not because they lack the courage to speak, but rather they haven’t got anything clever to say. In that case, introversion isn’t so powerful.
Have a listen to Susan Cain’s TED talk:
During my two weeks off, I decided to visit the Kruger National Park. It’s been on my bucket list for a long time – I am a big animal lover and to see them roam freely in the wild really makes my heart sing. We bought a 3 day package with Outlook Safari and I was quite impressed with their service. Their staff were knowledgeable, friendly and attentive. The package included a two course breakfast and a three course dinner with wine. The food was amazing, and they cater for all dietary requirements. The chalets we stayed at were also comfortable, with en-suite bathrooms, aircon, outside patio with a fitted kitchen unit and a braai stand.
The itinerary included an early morning game drive (getting up at 5am!) and a sunset drive. There was an option to take a day tour that took us to see a bit of the scenery outside of Kruger. Unfortunately the Kruger has been experiencing severe drought this past year and has seen little rain fall. It made the landscape look barren and decrepit. The animals were suffering too, which made it a bit difficult to spot the game. Still, we got to see four of the big five, plenty of birds, other mammals and a pack of wild dogs!
It truly was an amazing experience and a much needed holiday after the January madness.
Today is my last day at EY. What a bitter sweet moment. I have made so many good friends and memories during my time here, saying goodbye is incredibly hard. I am not an overly emotional being… I was probably the one one who didn’t cry at my valedictory, but today I was on the precipice of shedding a few tears.
Leaving was not an overly difficult decision though. Sometime last year I realised I was not cut out for the auditing life. Not that I minded the work… but the hours were just insane. It was not an oscillation between peaks and troughs… it was rough all the time, and often I would wake up in the middle of the night panicking about work.
“And I realized that there’s a big difference between deciding to leave and knowing where to go.”
― Robyn Schneider,
I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I just wanted to get away. I was even looking forward to a few months of unemployment, living off the grace of my parents. As luck would have it, I received an email from a recruiter. One of those generic mails that I normally trash… but that day, I decided to reply, even though I didn’t really meet the requirements set out in the job spec. I didn’t get that job, but they kept my CV, and a few months later, a new position opened up.
I’m usually not someone who believes in fate and I don’t go around sprouting “everything happens for a reason”. But sometimes it really does feel like that. I have a 2 week break before starting my new job and I am really looking forward to the new adventure. I will miss my friends at EY terribly. My new colleagues have some big shoes to fill.
I was angry with my friend
I told my wrath, my wrath did end
I was angry with my foe
I told it not, my wrath did grow
– William Blake
I got angry with someone last week – really angry. And I’m not the type of person to lose my temper… but the stress of having to run with multiple clients and the lack of sleep just got the better of me. I’ve barely had any time off these past two weeks, often only leaving work after 10pm. Even though I knew it was going to be crazy, it was still a shock to the system.
Up till now I have been fairly fortunate in that I’ve always had a strong team. I knew I could count on them to get things done… but I guess that luck has run out. The hardest part with being a manager isn’t so much the difficulty of the work – but rather the people management. Now that I am no longer the one doing the work, it is so much more difficult to keep things under control.
I realise that coaching and helping under-performing teams is part of my job, but boy it is an enormous task. I am not a micro-manager so having to check up on someone frequently is not ideal. While I understand there is a learning curve, I also expect there to be a degree of critical thinking which is unfortunately lacking in many people. I think that part makes me upset the most. Really wish there’s more sense in this world.