Why am I incompatible? Why is it I keep to myself and don't interact with many people outside my family and work relationships?
I like strange things, strange music, doing things that are strange to most people. I like listening to strange music on strange sound systems in strangely loud ways. I like exercising in strange ways at strange times in strange temperatures (ask the many people who have called the cops on me). I like strange TV shows (NOT TV at all really) like How It's Made, Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Extreme Engineering, anything to do with Science and Nature; I pretty much keep my TV on Science and Discovery channel 100% of the time. I like to be strange, and that makes me incompatible.
I hate the normal. I hate normal music--if I find a song I like and it starts to play on the radio, I stop listening. I hate normal sedentary habits, normal TV (did I mention I won't turn on the TV), normal routines and work habits. I hate what is considered normal human habits and behaviour like treating females like objects--which makes me incompatible with about 90% of the male population, and which is why most of my friends are females. I hate self destructive habits and relationships--I avoid people who have a tendancy toward self destructive relationships like the plague.
I like making things, fixing things, working with my hands until they're caloused and raw. I like to leave it all behind and just run with something I'm truly convicted in. I like freedom and insecurity and challenges. I like to step out of my comfort zone and get my hands dirty. I am an introvert who actively and fervently tries to be an extrovert. I take ownership of whatever I do, and I tend to take over positions and companies I work for and with. I know what I want, I deliberatley plan what I want, and I work hard for everything I get.
I run multiple companies, I create and grow businesses and companies, I create and grow products and services, I do so much more than my resume says, or than I even tell my closest of confidants. I am extremely humble about all that I do, and if you meet me as a technician at the tech company I run, you will know me as a technician. If you meet me at the graphic design company I run, you will meet me as a designer. I don't flaunt my "positions", although many times I want to in order to gain some respect, but then I will be like every other overly proud business owner. I believe humility has to come with any business venture and this makes me incompatible, and many times disrepsected in my fields. But that's OK, because if you show the lowest of who I choose to be to you disrespect then you probably don't deserve my business.
I love learning and growing and developing my mind. If I see something as a detrement to my long term goals I will drop it like the perverbial IT that is so often dropped in our pop culture due to its hot nature. I play video games to relieve tension and create a sense of accomplishemnt after a particularly un-accomplished day; I read more though, because it makes me a better person, increases my vocabulary, keeps my mind sharp, and benefits in so many other ways (and I'm not talking about fiction).
This is alien to most, and to most I have to bid adue because most see my mindset as a threat to them. They see my manner of communication as a threat to their intelligence and my efforts to express my opinions as patronizing and rude. I refuse to appologize for expressing my opinions and if you view my vernacular as an offense, then I will just stop communicating. I am fervent about my opinions and my opinions are not those of any other, they are well thought and a product of clear and intent purpose on my behalf.
I love family, being a full time independent single dad, spending time with my son and doing things together. Teaching my son new things and learning from him along the way. This is completely alien to most adult males my age--especially the single ones--and it makes me incompatible.
I think, love, work, play, and generally live my life passionately. I have a head on my shoulders and a big heart in my chest, and I'm not afraid to use either one.
This is a fraction of why I'm incompatible. It's also a fraction of why I am who I am. A fraction of what makes me proud to be who I am. I am not ashamed to be incompatible and I refuse to appologize for the way I am. I am who I am and that's that.
What makes me incompatible is what makes me unique, and if you can't see the value in that then you can just get lost.
I do very little without very clear and intent purpose. If you catch me off guard or on an off day, you may think I'm a little slow because I think very carefully about the things that I say. Almost everything I do has a purpose, is a means to an end, or can be explained in a logical manner. If I find myself doing something that doesn't have purpose or meaning behind it, I question my actions and evaluate them; logically process them and come to a conclusion as to their usefulness and purpose in the course of my life. I am very methodical and careful not to waste time doing anything in an inefficient manner. I always try to find a better way to perform every task -- and I mean everything -- from taking a shower to the way I run a business. If I can find a better, more efficient and cost effective way to do something, I will seek to do my very best to bring the highest level of efficiency to every aspect of my life and business endeavours.
I am careful to use the proper noun when referring to a generic subset of any given subject, because I choose my words carefully, and I choose them for a reason and not without weighing their meaning carefully. When I go to buy a product or service I generally research said product or service in every manner at my disposal. I take the sum of the positive and negative input I see and find a cost to quality ratio that I am content with settling on for the given category that the product or services falls into.
The important decisions I make are thought out, planned ahead of time, and very carefully scrutinized under the light of every angle of logical thinking. After such scrutiny I will sleep on my thoughs for several days to months and re-visit the decisions after having had time to separate myself from the immediate emotional impact my thinking may have had on the decisions at that point in time. Important decisions like lifestyle, career, relationships, habits, traditions, and choice of entertainment for me and my family are all conscious, explicitly pre-defined and backed with the utmost in logical thinking.
Case in point; in early 2012 (about 2 years earlier than the writing of this article) I was very discontent with the state of my long held job at a trailer factory. I had started in 2002 as a cost accountant, coming directly from a construction/remodeling job. I had no experience in the industry, and the only thing I had going for me was my attention to detail and ability to learn quickly. I learned a lot from this job, and don't discount the many lessons learned that have made me the dysfunctional team worker I am today. I was "Let Go" once, and worked as Graphic Designer for a few years, then came back in 2009 after the 2008 Great Recession and a short period of unemployment. I came back initially as a tow-motor operator, eventually got back into cost accounting, moved into engineering/drafting for about a year, and eventually worked as the sole purchasing manager, overseeing $5 million a month in production, by myself.
They eventually saw the stress it was putting on me and hired some help -- in the form of a "more experienced" boss -- who said to me after seeing what I had been doing that he could never do what I was doing alone. I was the assistant purchasing manager for a short while, and then they hired a guy to replace me so I could go back into cost accounting. This guy who was replacing me knew almost nothing about purchasing, let alone simple things you take for granted working in the 21st century; things like knowing how to capitalize a letter on the computer keyboard, or how to operate a two-way radio. But all of the rapid promotions and demotions aside, and all of the poor decision making on management's behalf, that's not what I was having a hard time with. I could swallow my pride when it came to training a boss who was being paid more to do less. The disrespect and nepotism wasn't the issue, as I was already very used to the politics of a trailer factory.
Quite simply I hated cost accounting; it was the most tedious and boring job I had ever had. I wasn't given the proper tools to do the job, and the information I was creating wasn't making the impact that needed to be made and wasn't being utilized in the manner it should have been. I was unhappy. I hated my job. I had to make a change, so I made a definite decision to make a change. I made it my job to find a new job; a new career; something I enjoyed and something I could be proud to say was indeed a career and not just a job. I had outgrown this factory and had learned the lessons it had to teach. It was time to move on in my life and in my career goals and get back on track with something I could be content with.
Sure enough persistence paid off, and after a short period of serious job searching, interview after interview, I finally found a company who saw potential in me and my skills, and not surprisingly it was a small business. When they offered me the job I didn't think twice. Even with a significant pay decrease and the uncertainty that comes with any new position, I jumped on the opportunity. Was I comfortable at my old job? Yes. Did I have security? Yes, I had all the benefits and would probably still be working there. Was I happy? Not in the least. So after securing a new position with a new company, I quit, and have never looked back or regretted the decision once. And I have never been so happy and proud to tell people what I do and where I work.
After only a year at this company, I ended up running the day to day operations and have taken ownership of the position and responsibilities that have been given to me. There is definite uncertainty in running a business: I have to drive sales, perform technical duties as well as management and accounting, but I made the concerted decision to do so, and have been given multiple opportunities to take something "stable" and "comfortable" since then, but have passed on such offers and kept my focus on furthering something that I can truly take ownership of and say that this failed or succeeded because of my work; all because of my blood, sweat and my tears. I can claim it as my own and be proud of every last little bit of struggle and torment it took to achieve whatever it is that I end up achieving. Whether that is miserable failure or incredible success, I can and will take full credit for all that comes from my efforts here in this profession. No cop-outs, no excuses. I consciously choose courage over comfort, and while comfort and security provide a nice womb to climb back into, you will never achieve your true potential if you never get out of your comfort zone and dive head first into something bigger than yourself and beyond your own expectations. If you never take a risk, you will never experience that reward that the risk takers achieve.
This is my choice. This is my decision. This is how I live my life, and it wasn't without serious thought and self doubt. But I made a decision to make a change, and when I put my mind to something I do it; when I say I'm going to do something, I do it. I don't make idle threats and I hate telling lies. I've got the word "Truth" tattooed in Japanese on my right fore-arm for a reason.
I take decisions about my family most seriously. I have a ten year old son who is my reason for doing everything I do at the level I do it. Yes I do these things for myself to have a certain level of self confidence and pride about what I do, but I find the drive to do these things in an effort to provide for my son and I, and to show him a good work ethic and proper money management. But even more important than that, I do what I do to provide a loving, caring, healthy environment to raise a child in. I didn't always look after my son full time; the first three years he was living with his mother and great grandmother, both of whom passed away within a year of each over -- his mother first, then his great grandmother who was looking after him. I wasn't ready to be a dad, and it scared me to death to be responsible for another human being, but I made the decision to step up and be a father to my son.
At the time I was very unhealthy and headed in a very bad direction in my life. I was smoking, drinking excessively, and quickly gaining weight because of poor diet. So I decided to get in shape, stop smoking, and get my addictions under control. I wanted to be a stable, healthy person that I was happy with, and that I could be confident in taking on the responsibility of taking on the incredible task of caring for my son. I did just that, started exercising regularly, stopped smoking and got my act together. I moved into my parents house for help with my son and started saving money for a down payment on a house. Over two years ago I purchased a house and my son and I live there happily today. I have been working out regularly for about eight years now, have been able to keep my weight under control, and smoking hasn't been an issue at all.
During this transition phase and before that, I wasn't happy with myself and who I was. I had no self esteem or confidence, and you wouldn't recognize me today from the person I was 10 or 15 years ago. I was a fairly smart guy with a good education. I could hold a job and worked hard, but I was -- as I like to refer to it -- socially retarded. During the first few years of my life up until I almost hit puberty I was fairly well rounded, had plenty of friends and wasn't at all nervous in front of crowds. I was home-schooled but I had plenty of friends and I was a fairly regular child. When I was six, my older brother died of brain cancer when he was eight. Not long after that my youngest brother was diagnosed with Leukemia. If you know anything about chemo-therapy, it basically kills your immune system in order to kill the cancer cells, so if you get sick you are very, very susceptible to that sickness, so out of a very rational concern for my brother's life, we were abruptly cut off from the outside world. I don't fault my parents for this, as I would do just about anything to save my child's life. However, being cut off from the world during the most important transitional years of your life can cause some big issues in a child's life. I was socially and emotionally stunted, and I had to find myself when I was 18-20, and went through some pretty rough things in the process of finding myself and testing the boundaries of my surroundings. It wasn't a pretty time, and I was a wreck with no purpose and no meaning in life.
I had no people skills due to my sheltered childhood, and suffered from extreme panic attacks whenever I was put on the spot in front of someone I didn't know, and if I was in front of a group of people I would completely shut down. Fast forward to today, and I am giving sales and educational presentations in front of groups of complete strangers. By no means have I conquered this inadequacy in myself, and I struggle with panic attacks and anxiety to this day, but I made the conscious decision to tackle this problem head on, and put myself directly in the line of fire; to push myself out of my comfort zone and -- as the saying goes -- do that which I fear most in order to conquer fear. It took many years for me to be comfortable with myself, and even longer for me to be confident in who I was. It took a lot of self motivation and positive self talk to dig myself out of the hole I was in. I never really leaned on anyone for help and was very self reliant. I was and am single since shortly after my son was born, and have never been co-dependant.
When it comes to relationships I am very careful who I let close. For the most part it's family, and I have very few friends because of the way so many have abused and used me in the past. Call it cynicism, call it antisocial behaviour, I call it a conscious decision to very carefully filter my interactions with people who may potentially have a negative impact on me and my family. I will cut you out of my life if you prove to be unfaithful and your only intentions are to misuse my trust and genuine caring in order to achieve personal gain. I have dropped many of my childhood friends because they never outgrew the high-school mentality, used me for money, and were a very negative influence. I have chosen to be positive in every aspect of life, and will not tolerate those who speak negatively of me or anyone else.
When I decide to persue a romantic relationship with someone, it is not without incredible thought and a serious and very realistic analysis of compatibility, with all emotional and chemical influences being taken out of the picture. I have conditioned myself to depart from the natural chemical response that comes with the initial "infatuation" phase of a relationship, and scrutinize the person based on my interactions with them and observations of them in order to asses compatibility. I give this process at least six months before I make a decision, and 95% of the time I decide not to; I have extremely high standards. While I may be damaged goods, I'm still a Ferrari, and I'm not going for cheap. I haven't dated anyone in the last 10 years without having known and interacted with them for at least six months. This is a conscious decision that I make, not a whim of the heart or primal urge; it's a logical and carefully thought out decision.
This might not sound romantic at all, but it's the way my brain operates. My love is complete and my trust is whole; when I decide to open myself to the potential of being hurt I take it very seriously, because I've been hurt time and time again. My trust may be free, but you break it, you buy it. When you give your heart to someone, you give them the power to rip it out, and to a truly loving, caring person, that hurts. I know that with any relationship there is always the chance of getting hurt, and more often than not you're going to get hurt, and that's why I have gone pretty much 10 years without pursuing a serious relationship with anyone. This is my choice. It's a conscious, concerted, clear and intent purpose.
I don't write this information to tell you about myself, I tell you this information to consider the choices I have made and consider the significance of them. The depth of thought that went into the decision to take part in any action on your behalf. The incredible positive potential present in order for me to take the actions I take. Despite the attempt to rationally and logically persuade myself not to get hurt, the knowledge of the sacrifice it takes to put myself out there, to wear my heart on my sleeve, and to give you a chance. Please don't take that lightly.