Did you ever have to do those stupid self–evaluation exercises in middle school where your teacher made you pick out a piece of work the demonstrated a strength, and another that demonstrated a weakness? I always had the most obnoxious problem of not being able to find something that I was bad at because I was getting A’s in everything. It wasn’t until college that I figured out what I was bad at, but as soon as I did, it seemed like it stopped being okay to be bad at anything.
Now, when you walk into a job interview, they ask you to describe a personal weakness. But they’re not actually asking for a weakness, they’re asking for a strength disguised as a weakness. For example, my weakness is that I don’t like to be wrong. This means that I will do everything I can to ensure that I’m right, which would make me an asset to the company because I won’t make mistakes. I.e., this is not a weakness.
My question is, why did it stop being okay to be genuinely horrible at something? I suck at singing. That doesn’t mean I won’t succeed at your consulting firm, unless you were planning to make me sing in every client meeting. I’m also terrible at saving money and I have an addiction to $12 salads, but apparently that's not a good answer to the question.
Last week my dad told me that I like to make other people feel better with my letters. I told him he was wrong, and that I’m really just trying to make myself feel better. This is true, but the other truth is that I don’t always have the answers to my own problems. Maybe it’s your turn to make me feel better.