Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Casseroles & Collegues

I just put the finishing touches on a casserole and slipped it into the oven, yum. The weather has cooled enough for me to be hankering for warm, oven baked food such as roasted meats and casseroles. The other night I made stir-fry; I cook in the summer, but not like I do come this time of year. I eat soup year round but come autumn and winter you will find me making a pot of soup virtually every Sunday afternoon. However, I'm not going to talk about my cooking habits, rather I wanted to share my thoughts on people's eating habits and work styles.

Many years ago I was talking with a HR director of a large employer, who in the course of conversation mentioned that she often asks interviewees how they eat; do they eat one food at a time, mix it all together, are they a slow or fast eater...etc. Over the years this question has stayed with me and two nights ago as I was mixing chicken with green beans, onions, garlic and green pepper in a stir fry pan it returned. Per usual, I “Googled” eating habits and work; needless to say most of the articles were on how badly we tend to eat at work, so back to searching. I struck gold when I searched for eating habits and work styles. I came across a fun little article by “Workopolis” that reviewed what each meant. I just have to share:

Fast eaters
Disorganized and lacking focus, fast eaters can be unsure of what is a priority. Fortunately we’re also known as “productive powerhouses and excel at finishing projects.”
Slow eaters
These people tend to thrive with routine but can be stubborn. Savoring their food indicates they enjoy life’s experiences and put themselves (and their careers) first.
Enjoys trying new food
This is an indication of someone who could excel in a creative position because they enjoy trying ideas that challenge the status quo.
Someone who orders without even looking at the menu
Never mind that this comes across as seriously snobby, it can also be a red flag that someone doesn’t like to embrace change—a major problem in the business world! Asking questions about the menu, on the other hand, shows open-mindedness and a thoughtful nature.
People who mix foods
These folks will take on a lot of responsibility effectively at work but will have trouble prioritizing what should be finished first.
People who eat foods one at a time
Methodical and detail-oriented are the trademarks of people who eat foods one at a time. But beware—these people can also be inflexible at work and set in their ways.
People who cut meat all at once
I was totally baffled by this, but apparently there are people who cut up their meat all in one shot before eating. What they lack in dining etiquette, however, they probably make up for with in-demand jobs skills. These people tend to be precise, logical thinkers, and are well-suited for highly analytical positions like engineering, accounting, or IT.

Takes a long time to order
Someone who never settles for ‘just ok’ and is driven by the creative process rather than the end goal. Despite that taking a long time to order sounds seriously indecisive to me, they are often the leaders of projects.
I saw my self in this article and chuckled. Most who know me would agree I fit the description of those who “mix” their food, enjoy new foods, and take a long time to order. As for being a fast eater, it all depends and that has changed over the years (I'm not quite as disorganized and can be quite focused) I doubt I will ever not want to mix my food, or be able to quickly order, for if I'm one thing it's creative and have difficulty prioritizing.

Do you see yourself in these? I would be interested in knowing how accurate this portrayal is. You never know when you might find yourself out to eat with a stranger. If this article is true you'll sound like Sherlock Holmes or better yet, you will know if you can work with them in the future. Have to go, my casserole is coming out of the oven, and I have the makings for soup, let the creativity begin.... but where do I start?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Being Normal but not the Norm

Back a few years ago I had thought about writing a book called “The rants of an insanely normal woman.” I had come to the conclusion that despite all my idiosyncrasies I was for the most part “normal.” However, upon further introspection I realized I may be normal, but I am not the norm, and can be thoroughly grateful of that fact.

In my opinion, (which is why it's posted on this site,) society has some fairly strange ideas. I was told recently by a good friend, that “normal is just a setting on a clothes drier.” What's funny about that is when I looked at my drier AND washer, neither had a “normal” setting. The closest I could find was “Regular” on the washer! I say all of this to say, really folks, what is “normal” in today's world?

On the other hand, I think it's easier to define “norm” than “normal.” A definition I found from Princeton says: “Social norms are the behaviors and cues within a society or group. This sociological term has been defined as "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.” By stating there is no such thing as “normal” we need to accept the fact that social norms are cultural, and people who claim to be “counter culture” in America are now “the norm.” 

I really dislike politics, especially when people become sectarian about it. Notice I didn't use the word “partisan” because that would denote someone being a dyed in the wool (you fill in the party.) I am fine with people who hold strongly to their personal political and cultural leanings. I can appreciate those who are clear in their views and opinions, I believe...... everyone has a right to be wrong, including me. I've heard the word “tolerance” thrown around a great deal, and how those who don't agree with a certain viewpoint are “intolerant.” I just don't understand how someone who claims to be tolerant; vehemently so, can even conceive of calling someone “intolerant.” I mean, isn't calling someone “intolerant” being a bit intolerant yourself? Why can't we be civil and understanding about differing opinions? Why can't we politely attempt to persuade someone toward our viewpoint without resorting to name calling, and then be willing to agree to disagree when needed?

Okay, so what started all of this was an off handed question, which then morphed into an informal survey of people at work. My answer to the question, was obviously not the “norm” and I was blatantly in the minority as others were polled. Although all done in good fun and no offense committed, I was reminded of being normal, but not the norm in this situation. There are many social norms in today's world that I do not adhere to because I have personally held beliefs that dictate my thoughts and actions. One of the biggest ones for me is, just because the majority believes it, doesn't mean I should. The other.... everyone has the right to be wrong. Ya know come to think of it, after writing all of this I've decided some folks should probably be approached in the “delicate” cycle, since on my drier... there is no normal and I'm okay with that.