Sunday, September 05, 2004

A Thin, Lanky Boy

Let's face it, I look like a geek. Not that the reactions I get from that is all bad. On one hand, people usually pity me and underestimate me: they think I'll crumble with with one flick. On the other hand, they may feel threatened because I do look like a geek: they expect me to be knowledgeable and the like. And there's also the possibility that because I look weak, I'm the perfect target for abuses or intimidation. Four years of high school taught me how to handle that.

(Un)Fortunately, all these impressions people have are based on sight. When I'm say, on the phone, or online, people don't get those impressions. All I have is my wits, and hopefully, my skills as a writer (when online).

Servant vs Leader

I actually have qualities of both. I'm eager to serve others, and similarly, I am aware of other people (and what they're capable of), how to entice them, maintain responsibility, and plan for a future goal. Although honestly, I prefer the former.

I mean where you're the leader, most (not all!) of the burden of responsibility falls upon you. If you made the wrong decision (or plan) and everyone else does their job 100%, you fail not only yourself but the rest of the group as well. And of course, leader-types tend to disassociate themselves from their members (no matter how much they try against it), either because they try to be impartial to the rest of the group, or they are isolated by the group because he/she is their "leader" (I mean do any of you, for example, have regular lunches or dinners with your boss [in a regular work environment] wherein you're the one doing the inviting?).

Serving is as easy as doing what you're told. It may sometimes be difficult, but at least the instructions you're given are clear. You don't have to formulate what to do: it's already been decided (by the leader). And if you somehow screw up, sometimes, it doesn't result in the collapse of the whole group (note that I said sometimes... some delegated tasks are after all integral to the entire group and may result in everyone's failure if it is not accomplished). There's also more camaderie among members than among leaders and his members (in fact, members usually unite because their leader is either "great" or they all hate his guts).

In high school, since I am the class outcast, I do get passed around the various social circles. If I'm lucky, I'm usually with the "smart" group (which is in fact only run by one smart person and the rest are made up of his friends who aren't lazy). There's no need for me to be the leader-type there. And of course, there are also times when I end up with the less-desired people (i.e. the delinquents, the bullies, the lazy people). At that point, I know I can't relax because if I do, it'll result in the failure of all. That's usually the point that really challenges me, since they're far from the "optimal" choice people would usually make, yet they are actually quite capable, if you only know how to encourage them and recognize which tasks they should be delegated (i.e. you don't delegate problem solving to someone who's bad at Math... but he can take down notes or jot down what you're saying).

And there are also instances when being a "servant" allows you more freedom. For example, in writing, editorship is usually the goal of some writers. Being freelance or a regular writer could be considered being in service, while that of an editor as leadership. When you're the former, you can write (although you don't necessarily decide what you write). With the latter, yes, you do get to meet a lot of writers, and get to assign tasks to others, but sometimes, amidst all the planning and editing, you yourself don't get to write as much. Sure, the pay is higher, but the burden's also larger.

Of course there are some fortunate people who manage to balance the two. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. At least not at this point in time.


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