Working Blue

Working Blue is the title of Jenny Edbauer Rice’s blog, and the coincidence of this post title her blog title are simply that, coincidence. Though perhaps not — perhaps this title would not have popped into my head as appropriate for this topic if I didn’t read Jenny’s blog. Jenny’s blog is smart — I love reading it — so it may be that the name was already in my head as a possibility and it was accessible to me.

But onto the content:

Working. I feel like I am constantly working, when I am not de-stressing from work. It seems that much of my social time is actually spent not as social time but as a break from work.

Blue. A few years ago I got 3 speeding tickets in a year’s time. In Iowa (where I lived at the time), 3 speeding tickets equaled mandatory driving school in order to keep one’s license. I attended, of course (on September 11, 2004 — a date easily remembered) and we took a personality test. I am not one for personality tests, but I feel like I actually learned a lot about myself that day.

I am Blue. Blue is the color of those whose priorities are other’s needs and feelings. I’m also Green, almost as much as Blue. Green is those analytic types who solve problems. The other types? Gold, who like order and planning and organizing; and Orange, who are partiers and like disorder. I’ve got some Gold in me. Orange: barely any.

We talked about how we can understand ourselves and our driving habits based on these personality types. Oranges get speeding tickets because they want to have fun and disrespect the law. Besides when I was 17, this was never the case for me. Golds are concerned about their schedules and their meetings, or they are distracted because they are thinking about their to-do lists or what needs to be done. This is sometimes the case for me. Greens are usually either distracted because they are solving some problem in their head, or they are stressed because they can’t figure something out. Yep, that sounds like me.

But mostly, I’m Blue. Stressed because I might be late to some event or to meet someone or to fulfill some obligation, and I’m hurting someone else’s sense of time. Blues, according to this test, are notorious for their inability to estimate how long something will take. Oh, that meeting, it will only last a half hour. Oh, that session of grading, it will only last two hours. Nope, we’re wrong, because we put too much time and energy into others. So I’m constantly mis-estimating the amount of time I need to put into something.

This post isn’t about speeding or traffic tickets at all. This post is about my estimation of how long tasks take. And how I constantly find that they take longer than I schedule. A meeting with a student. A session of grading. A meeting with my co-teacher to plan a class. I estimate X amount of time; it takes twice as long.

I then get stressed because I have other commitments and I might let someone else down.

I’m much more of a green than I was four years when I took this test. Grad school does this to folks: makes them analytical and less emotionally and socially driven and more logical. I suppose. But there’s still this large part of me that can’t figure out how long a social endeavor (be it grading papers, planning for class, meeting with someone, co-writing with someone) will take.

So I’m constantly Working Blue, trying to figure out how to deal with my schedule and meet the social needs of myself, my students, my friends, my colleagues. The Blue is stressed thin because he can’t say no, because he wants to help everyone, because he forgets about his own personal boundaries and puts too many others first.

Until he begins to burn out and the Green analytical and Gold organizer kick in and make him a bit more organized and a bit more selfish.

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3 Responses to Working Blue

  1. dawn says:

    I’m a green with almost as much blue, then orange and gold in the distance. And yeah, I will find myself speeding because my mind has wondered to something else.

    In fact, it isn’t uncommon for me to walk into walls, hit door jambs, etc., because my head is elsewhere.

    I think my blue kicks in enough that I can’t say no, either. That’s a hard one.

  2. chris says:

    You don’t want The State to define families, but you let it color code your personality? tsk tsk 😉

    /yeah, I went there.
    //I guess I’m green — except with driving, I’m more orange, which makes it a good thing that I don’t drive anymore, because I’m a danger to myself and others.

  3. Michael says:

    hahaha. that’s great chris. I don’t buy into the personal tests as “definitions” — in fact, I usually abhor them. I just felt I learned about myself from the silly test.

    It’d be nice if we had a society where we actually learned to listen to ourselves so that these tests were meaningless. I mean, not in the same sense that they are meaningless now, but in a way that we actually thought, I don’t need this test. I already listen to myself 🙂

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