Life on the borderline

We all know an introvert.  The quite one who doesn’t engage until you know them well. Often quiet, understated, and thoughtful. We all also know an extrovert. Confident, loud, overstated and the centre of attention (or looking to be).

But what about the people who live on the borderline? Chameleon like in their switching of roles dependant on the company and the situation. That’s where I find myself.  Firmly on the borderline between I and E.

I’d never really thought about it until until I took the Myers Brigg’s personality profile as part of my job.  The system gives you a four letter code for your personality and working style based on four spectrum. The first is the I-E spectrum signifying Introvert and Extrovert personality types.

I came out as an ISTJ or ESTJ, bang on the I and E borderline.  That was a few years ago and I often think about it and my behaviour in situations and I think it is an accurate assessment of that area of my personality.

There are times when I like to be centre of attention and the life and sole of the party, and times when I come across as introverted and quiet in the presence of others. I am more than happy to stand on stage and perform in certain situations, and in others I will take a back seat and blend into the background.

I think a lot about what affects it.  The only thing so far I can come up with is the company I am in.  In the presence of assertive extroverts I take a back seat. Surrounded by more introverted types and the extrovert in me comes out.

Its a curious one as I don’t really feel like either. I am happy, although not always comfortable, being centre of attention, but equally enjoy my quiet time and alone time just as much. I guess that’s just life on the borderline.

 

Are shorts acceptable for an office?

I addition to the make summer footwear dilemmas, as the warmer weather hopefully approaches there is another dilemma I have never come to a conclusion on.  Are shorts acceptable office wear?

For those of us not lucky enough to work in an air conditioned space, the thought of sitting there in our jeans as the temperature starts to increase is not a particularly appealing one. Overheating in those regions is not pleasant!

But surely turning up to an office in shorts just makes you look like a little boy on ‘bring your kids to work day?’ Or alternatively like you think you work at some Silicon Valley start up and long to sit on a bean bag?

Case in point below. Left; young boy. Middle; please no. Right; maybe.

men in shorts at work
Image courtesy of NY Times

AN call me old fashioned.  But it becomes difficult to asset any authority over a situation when sat there with you legs exposed and flip flops on.  Maybe that is just me getting used to it though.

So, what do you think? Acceptable office wear, or something to be avoided?

The age of denim as acceptable workwear

Admittedly I work in a creative industry.  But it would appear to me that we have officially entered into the age where jeans are now considered acceptable work wear.

Partially driven by a more flexible overall approach to work clothing by society, partially by an improvement in the quality and variety of jeans now available on the market, denim is now a stable of the business wardrobe.

Of course different industries will take a while to adopt this and I don’t think we will see bankers wearing their jeans to work anytime soon, but it has become that common place that it is only a matter of time.

Obviously not all jeans are created equal, so there is a need to ensure they are suitable.  And it is also situation dependant. I wouldn’t expect to wear my jeans to an uber important meeting, or when the rest of the room will be in suits.

However a smart pair of quality jeans, coupled with a crisp shirt and blazer is now as appreciated as a well fitted suit, and I’m all for it.

man in jeans and blazer
Disclosure: this is not me!

Adding a bit of colour this summer

Summer is a great time for adding a bit of colour into our lives.

One of my favourite trends which has come about in recent years which helps me do this is coloured chinos.  In years gone by your options for leg wear were generally black, brown or blue.  But in the past 5 years coloured trousers have become standard issue to those wanting to stand out a little.

Red is my staple.  In any shade other than the pink variety (too far!) But there are some great blues out there and I might give green a go this year too.  Obviously you have to couple it with something a bit more plain on top to avoid looking like a multicoloured cacophony but with a plain black/white t-shirt and blazer combo it can be a great look.

Give it a go!

coloured chinos

Taking a Zuckerberg approach to workwear

Mark Zuckerberg is a very, very rich man. $37.5 Billion worth of rich.

Yet every photo you see of him he is in the same, plain grey t-shirt. Surely a man of his wealth can afford a bit more diversity to his wardrobe?

Image courtesy of the independent
Image courtesy of the independent
Image from Facebook
Image from Facebook

Well, of course he can. According to Mr Zuckerberg there is a method in his madness. In his words, “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,”.

While this may seem a bit of an exaggerated view of his responsibilities, I’ve read of a number of other people following this approach and have a ‘uniform’ for work.  It does strike as evidence Zuckerberg is somewhere in the autism spectrum, but I guess it does mean one less decision to make each day.

So I’m going to give it a go……sort of.  I’m not going as far as having  a rail of the same tshirt, but I am limiting my work wardrobe.  For the coming summer period I have a number of plain tshirts (white,grey, black), a couple of pairs of trousers, and a couple of blazers.  This will make up my work wardrobe and so my choices will be severely limited, even if not quite so much as Mr Facebook.

If it works, maybe I will adopt it for Autumn, Winter too.

Why I don’t buy expensive clothes

I’ve stopped buying expensive clothes.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Primark regular either, but I’ve just decided the real high end stuff just doesn’t represent good value anymore.

It’s not because the quality of the clothes has changed at all, it hasn’t.  But it is primarily because of the way fashion trends behave these days.

Aside from some wardrobe staples, a piece of clothing rarely stays current for more than a year, which means in real terms a single season.  So even if you are being generous and saying two years, or two seasons, you are talking about a piece of clothing having a possible 6 month lifespan.

So you may be talking 30-50 wears for a piece of clothing before it is out dated, never to be worn again.  With this in mind it is easy to equate the cost of clothing back to a price per wear and judge the value.

If you are only getting 30 wears out of a piece of clothing before you don’t plan on wearing it again, what price represents good value?  Too cheap and you wont get 30 wears. Too expensive and you don’t get the value and whilst the clothes might still be in perfect condition, you are going to wear them anymore regardless.

So now I aim middle of the road.  Good enough to maintain quality during its viable lifetime, but not expensive I will never get the value out of the cost.

Summer footwear dilemmas

As summer approaches I’m faced with a familiar dilemma around footwear as a male.

Whilst some women may rejoice at the thought of striding around in open toe sandals and strappy heels. Us men (if you are like me) are face with a raft of unappealing or uninspiring choices.

Flip-flop a flop. Even the most preened of men leaves their feet till last (and by last that usually means never). So whilst strolling down the high street with the wind between your toes might feel nice, 90% of the time, if that high street isn’t on the Mediterranean, it’s not a good look.

flip flops

Want a ride on my yacht? I’ve owned boat shoes, but I’ve never owned a boat. They are OK when going for a certain look but wear them too often and you risk looking like a Private Schoolboy.

boat shoes

Time for worship The Jesus sandal. Its not looked good since bread and fish constituted lunch.

jesus sandals

None of the above are particularly appealing. Leaving us making do with sweaty feet or a trainer which is more ventilated.

If anybody find anything more interesting then let me know.

Religion and higher meaning

I should start this post by explaining I am an atheist. I don’t believe in any higher being and align with the belief we are merely highly evolved monkeys.

I also believe that everyone is free to make their own mind up. I have no problem with people who want to follow a religion if that works for them. So long as they don’t harm others in the process than that’s fine with me.

What I have found interesting recently in discussions with friends who believe in something different, is that our believes actually originate from similar principle. That principle is that we, as humans, shouldn’t expect to be able to comprehend or understand everything. The difference is how we use this.

Other’s use this to justify the exist of something they have never seen, never experienced, and makes no sense to any logical thinker. They suggest that is because it is difficult to comprehend or above our level of thinking.

I use this as proof of why people concoct religions and higher existence. It is difficult to us as conscious beings to comprehend nothingness or complex scientific occurrences. Either in what we experience after death, or what exists in space, or how we evolved to be thinking talking human beings. We struggle to comprehend them and so we create stories explain them to ourselves and to others.

Me, I just accept we can’t understand it but that is a fact. We are evolved animals who at some point die like any other animal.

Enjoy your time. Live, love, be happy, because one day there will be nothing.

Identifying your weakness

Nobody is perfect, everyone has their weaknesses. And understanding what our own are is important if you are looking to improve of make changes.

For me, I’ve decided I want to make a few changes to my diet and drop a few pounds. I’m far from obese, but we all know ourselves and I know I’m carrying 6-7lbs more than I should be.

In order to lose this weight it will take some changes in lifestyle and routine. Its not wholesale changes, there will be no diet as such. But it will be about identifying my weaknesses and working on them. My overall diet is OK, but there are some areas I know I am weak, and working on these alone should produce some results.

When I think about my daily/weekly nutrition I’ve identified the following weaknesses:
– Not eating breakfast – obviously this reduces calorific intake but I think it is affecting me later in the day.
– Not preparing enough for lunches – I always eat healthier when I make my own.
– Hunting snacks late afternoon – linked to a lack of breakfast and also being unprepared. When I go hunting its rarely health food I find!
– Sugar……enough said.
– Dairy – primarily in coffee but generally as well.
– Alcohol – I’m a sucker for a cold beer after a hard days work.

By having an honest look at my habits I have now identified 6 things which, if changed, should have a significant affect on my body.

Other people’s vices will be different, but identifying them rather than denying is a much better method for weight loss than any diet plan on the market.

The primitive appeal of boxing

It’s a weekend again where I will be up late on a Saturday evening watching two men (or a series of pairs) punch each other in the face for my amusement. I am a big fan of boxing, but often I wonder why.  Why is it that I enjoy watching two men fight in a gladiatorial manner?

Its something that dates back centuries. The arena. The gladiators. The baying crowd. The blood thirst. Only one winner.

There must be something innate about it. Something in us deep down that makes it so appealing. Historians will tell you humans as a race have a strong tendency towards zero sum competition. Winners and losers.

Couple this with tribal desires to have a single alpha male and I guess that’s what makes it so appealing.

So as I sit here, wondering how I’m going to stay awake beyond midnight, I console myself that I am not a blood thirsty individual, but merely a typical human being with the same primate desires we all have.

Now where’s my coffee?