Three Superpowers

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In our one-on-ones (things that I am generally bad at turning into "here is my status" meetings), Luke started asking weird questions that confused me, mostly in the sense they seemed to come out of the far left field (for the record, I'm still unsure which side is the left field, though I'm fairly certain it's the third base line).

When I asked something to the effect of "WTF?" he explained they were from the Better 1:1 program series. It's a group of emails sent to a lead and to a team (sometimes slightly different formats), designed to give the entire group insight into team dynamics, items to talk about in the one-on-ones, and ways to gain insights into areas employees may not be able to talk about directly.

Cool. I love this idea. I signed up for myself and myself-as-a-team.

The question that triggered this for me, my total "WTF?" moment, was, "What are your three superpowers at work?"

What?

My response went something like...

"..."

"..."

"..."

Though it might have been something more like...

*blink*

*blink blink*

*blink*

Luke was able to give me his superpowers quickly. He had been thinking about his:

  1. Fast
  2. Follow up relentlessly
  3. I forget.

That last one is a direct quote. He couldn't remember his last one.

So, I thought about this for a bit, now that I understood the parameters. The first one was easy:

I can explain something until you understand.

If I have to explain something 17 times and give background going back to the fundamentals, I will do that in order to help you (for any definition of "you" as my coworker) understand. Sometimes that process is straightforward, and sometimes it is not. You will, however, understand what I'm explaining, when we're done.

I can present to a crowd

If you tell me what you need to say, and I don't have to wing it, I can present to a crowd. Meaning, I can't stand up in front of a crowd if I don't have anything to say. I can stand up in front of a crowd and talk to them, explain 17 different ways if I need to explain something 17 different ways, and not be wetting my pants. I do tend to speak quickly, not because I'm nervous, but rather because I usually have a lot to say because I want the people I'm speaking to walk away with a way for them to be awesome. In those cases, it's not about me, it's about them. But, yeah, I can stand up in front of a crowd and present.

I can organize thoughts well, creating a coherent presentation

This superpower took a while to develop. It's easy to throw a bunch of numbers and charts and sentences on a slide and call your deck done. It's harder to create a coherent thread and possibly a story with a deck. What you've seen are likely my public speaking decks, and not always my internal presentation decks. There's something for being able to design a deck that is useful outside of the talk itself.

This one related back to the first one, in being able to explain something you can understand.

So, those are my three superpowers at work that I listed. I rather left off the "you can give me any bug and I will track it down," mostly because that's a learned skill, not really a superpower. I'm a dog on a bone if you give me license to stick with it. There are practical concerns that make that not necessary, but I do possess that skill.

And I also care a great deal about automating development processes. That is important to me, but skill that is often left to the dev-ops people for infrastructure. For development processes, though, yep, a budding superpower.

In our one-on-one, I did present the reverse of my superpowers. I was able to quickly present my three areas of kryptonite.

While I could argue being able to point your what's wrong with you faster than you can point out what is right with you is rather a thing that is wrong with you, I am glad I listed them to Luke. Because I had, I am aware of them, and am now fighting tooth and nail to change them from weaknesses into strengths.

Maybe, someday, I will be able to list them as additional superpowers.