Hi I’m Kristen and I’m a Neurotic Tortoise

So there I was. Minding my own business at work, doing some research when BAM! The intriguing headline of “Should You Hire a Neurotic Tortoise?” flashed across my 20″ monitor. “What’s this all about?” I thought and proceeded to read the post. Now, before I go any further, I should bring you up to speed on a couple things:

1. I’ve been struggling to accept my faults as well as striving to improve myself as a general human being as of late – both of which have been difficult to do considering the fact that I’m highly critical of myself.

2. I move slow. Over the years I’ve been labeled a slow-poke, dilly-dallyer and lollygagger, which, fyi, was a term that was used as far back as the beginning of the 20th century and was slang for “fooling around.” Says so here. I’m also perpetually late.

So now that you know that, you can understand why I immediately took interest in this read. Turns out, I’m not the only dysfunctional worker who takes entirely too long to get things done and then berates themselves afterwards, regardless of whether or not the final product was any good.

There is actually a name for my type, and it’s called the neurotic tortoise. Ha!  Who knew?

In his recent talk with the team at Indeed, Malcom Gladwell points out that the hiring world discriminates against neurotic tortoises. That is, those individuals who take a while to do their jobs. Being the manic-obsessive that I am, I not only agree with this notion, but completely relate.

Now, there’s obviously some jobs that just aren’t possible to do as a neurotic tortoise.  I get that.  Take, for example, a factory worker.  You remember what happened to Lucy don’t you?!

Neurotic Lucy scrambling in the assembly line

But generally speaking, I’d argue that not only the hiring world, but people in general have a low tolerance for my kind. And that’s coming from someone from Jersey! I can’t even tolerate myself!

Fascinated by the discovery of my newfound identity, I meandered over to PyschologyWorld.com to test just how neurotic I am and you won’t believe the results. Well, maybe you will.

I scored 63 out of 100  which I guess puts me in the range of moderately neurotic.

Continuing down the rabbit hole I learned that neuroticism is actually one of the “Big 5 personality traits.” And although many studies suggest that being neurotic can make you more successful, being conscientious gives you a much greater likelihood of success in life.

Interestingly enough, when I read through the list of behaviors of people who are high on the conscientiousness side, my husband, Travis was a mere perfect match, while I, on the other hand fell on the low end…the very low end:

Those who are high on the conscientiousness continuum (Travis) tend to:

  • Spend time preparing – yep
  • Finish important tasks right away – oh yea
  • Pay attention to details – si
  • Enjoy having a set schedule – haha yep

Time for the kicker…

People who are low in this trait (Me) tend to

  • Dislike structure and schedules – yep
  • Make messes and not take care of things – sadly yes
  • Fail to return things or put them back where they belong – what, are they reading my freakin’ mind?
  • Fail to complete the things they are supposed to do – ok I hate myself.

Who cares about all this psychology crap anyway?! Actually, I do. It’s always been an interest of mine but I think we can agree that we all have our own kind of crazy going on within ourselves from time to time.

As a woman, our own human anatomy works against us throughout every single month which is enough to make us ladies insane.

Neurotic Pam from the office PMSing

That being said, I’m already aware of my unendurable tardiness. I realize I suffer from analysis paralysis. And I beat myself up pretty well whenever I fail at any attempt to rid myself of these faults.

But you know what?  All I have to do is flip open my Facebook feed and find a post from some fly-by-night company that tells me that “late people” are more optimistic than most.  Or that night owls who are messy are more creative.

There’s still hope for me yet.  I know I can change.  But not at the expense of a job well done while stopping and smelling the roses along the way.  As far as I’m concerned, slow and steady will always win the race.

 

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