The Importance of Being Earnest: When Social Justice, Entrepreneurs and Naked Emperors Collide

StockSoapBoxIn me lies an inherent desire to support justice and authenticity. It’s in my blood. I’m a passionate person by nature and it’s just the type of person I am to challenge literally everything I come across. If I don’t understand something, I make an effort to understand it. My mind operates in a very logical way – if I cannot see that there is a logical reason or method behind something, I can’t operate within it. This is some of the reason I’ve never been able to work for anyone.

I’ll tell you a little story about a law firm that I got a job at when I was in college. It was like $9/hr doing administrative work for a collections attorney, or something. The gist of this was that you answered phones and stapled paperwork. On my first day, the girl that was training me was giving me the run down of how to put together the paperwork. In the process there were a lot of the same copies being made for multiple people  (“This copy goes to _____ department, this copy goes to ____ department”) and I looked at her and I was like, “Wow. Seems like a lot of paper to waste.” A girl that had just gotten discharged from the Marine Corps (which I thought was super badass, being that I was dating a Marine at the time) and I chatted about our mutual first day as we were stapling that we were sure that there had to be a more efficient way for all of those people to get the information they needed and we might’ve chatted about the green screen archaic technology they were using. That afternoon we both got called into the office and got let go for “questioning the way we do things around here”.

I remember looking at the Marine Vet and laughing. I think the attorney probably thought it was extremely disrespectful, but I vowed in that moment to never have such a big head in any business that I did that I couldn’t see how to make it better or more efficient.

I went through a few different jobs like that. Jobs with awful managers. Jobs with processes that didn’t make sense. Jobs where the morale in the company was so bad because of poor communication in the organization. Sometimes when I challenged things, they got changed. But by and large, things remained the same and I moved on.

Low-angle close-up of a vintage classical gavel placed on a round sound block, on a wooden table, with copy space on black background

You see, social justice and logic are so deeply engrained in me that even in my Myers Briggs personality trait test, I test ENFJ. Here’s somewhat of a brief rundown:

“People are drawn to strong personalities, and ENFJs radiate authenticity, concern and altruism, unafraid to stand up and speak when they feel something needs to be said. They find it natural and easy to communicate with others, especially in person, and their Intuitive (N) trait helps people with the ENFJ personality type to reach every mind, be it through facts and logic or raw emotion. ENFJs easily see people’s motivations and seemingly disconnected events, and are able to bring these ideas together and communicate them as a common goal with an eloquence that is nothing short of mesmerizing.”

You can read the full personality here.

Strangely enough, I’ve also tested and gotten the Entrepreneur personality result (ESTP). Which basically tells me that I’m impulsive as hell.

“With perhaps the most perceptive, unfiltered view of any type, ESTPs have a unique skill in noticing small changes. Whether a shift in facial expression, a new clothing style, or a broken habit, people with this personality type pick up on hidden thoughts and motives where most types would be lucky to pick up anything specific at all. ESTPs use these observations immediately, calling out the change and asking questions, often with little regard for sensitivity. ESTPs should remember that not everyone wants their secrets and decisions broadcast.”

You can read that personality here.

So, in addition to having multiple personality disorder (this doesn’t surprise me at all, and if you know me well, it won’t surprise you either), I come from a long line of seriously impulsive people.

Clusters of soon to be red mangoes are hanging from a fruit tree

In fact, most people don’t know this (mainly because the attorney forced me to not talk about it until the proceedings finished), but my mom is a felon. She shot a BB gun at a guy taking mangoes from her yard. While this news story would have you believe it was an actual gun, it really was a BB gun. The situation is pretty crazy when you consider it all… Especially when you go back to the super Asian strict standards I grew up with. It’s just ironic. And a little funny. But kinda sad. But kinda funny.

In talks with her attorney throughout the process, she insisted that she couldn’t possibly be in the wrong, because the person was stealing from her. Even the day in the courtroom when she accepted the deal from the State Attorney’s office, she thought she was right for what she did. For her the most basic principle was that those people were wrong. They were stealing from her. It literally blew her mind that no consequences should befall them, and even more, that she should be in trouble for dealing out what she determined as justice.

I guess maybe that’s why I don’t see her as so crazy. I identify somewhat with it. Now, being party to my own share of impulsive responses over time – I like to think I’m my mother, but evolved to a certain extent (at least I can keep my impulsivity within the constraints of the law, lol). My personality closely considers the feelings of others in my actions. But, still, I find that the social justice aspect along with my impulsive nature almost always gets me into a little trouble.

HiRes copy 4I sat down for drinks with a friend some time ago. We were discussing the fact that I’ll debate something I believe in indefinitely on Facebook. She laughed and she said, “You know, you’re the kid on the Emperor’s New Clothes.”

I was like, “What?” She said, “You know, the one that screams he’s naked and everyone is like, ‘uh…’ You’re the one that says what everyone else is thinking.”

I stopped in the moment. I think I toasted her with my martini. I AM the kid on the Emperor’s New Clothes.

A normal person might just leave that comment to hang out. But with my social influence and my entrepreneur mindset, I find that more than ever I’ve been strong about communicating injustices.

THREE times this past week my personality and nature has gotten me into trouble.

Once it was challenging the preconception of a friend. The other time it was attempting to exit a contract with a client over somewhat of a moral debate. The final was a post on Facebook where I called someone out for something that… everyone else was thinking. Or, at least, as I was messaged afterward, at least two people were thinking. (Good enough for me.)

As I learn and grow in my journey, I find that these qualities that I possess are “Take me or leave me” qualities. I can’t make someone understand who I am, but I also have a greater purpose for connecting, inspiring, and influencing others to find their way. Sounds a little hokey, but truly – if I’ve learned nothing else in my time on the planet, it is that.

So, what’s my point in all this? Just to maybe offer up a little of the person behind the curtain and say that being who you are is the best way to honor yourself. NEVER apologize for who you are, and while you can take pieces of information along the way and assess and reassess and learn and become even better, you should always call bullshit when you see it.

You don’t have to be me.

I don’t think the world could handle another me.

But you have to be you. Authentically and unapologetically.


    • 2

      Amber says

      There’s SO much! Middlemen that don’t need to be there, business owners that are completely disengaged, employees who have so so much potential being wasted in roles they’re not suited for, crappy processes, stupid rules, vacation policies, micromanagement… all of it.

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