I’m not very good with boxes. We’re continually asked to think outside the box and yet modern life is all about fitting into boxes and ticking boxes and being mocked by a box that will ONLY ALLOW YOU 140 CHARACTERS!

Actually I’m ok with twitter and although I loathe the concept of being asked to think outside the box I’m yet to actually meet someone who has asked it of me. No, my issue is more that I don’t really fit into boxes or tick the right boxes. I’m fond of the saying ‘I reject your reality and substitute my own’ and this is not merely a witty little statement I’ve latched onto in the hopes of enhancing a vapid personality. Don’t you just hate those people by the way? Those overweight prematurely middle-aged women that describe themselves as bubbly; one of whom I met recently told me within minutes of meeting her that she’d been a Kathryn/Katherine but she’d recently decided to go by Katie as she felt it was more youthful. I pitied her at this (I’m not wholly without compassion) but she went on to say she’d put it in a company memo...

I’m just saying.

Anyway, I’m not an overweight prematurely middle-aged woman that describes herself as bubbly. No, for me witty little statements are simply convenient shorthand for complex ideas. It’s not so much that I’ve an anarchistic streak claiming that rules are made to be broken but I don’t see them as necessarily rigid as other people do.

I work with a rather rigid individual who fortunately for me volunteers at the museum and as such her role is to assist the employed staff with their day to day roles. Despite there being a degree of personality clash I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with her as she has a lot of experience in the museum industry and while her knowledge may be imparted upon me with a fair degree of derision and incredulity that I’ve found meaningful employment in her industry, I’m happy to learn from anyone who can teach me something.

I think the personality clash largely stems from the fact I casually reject her reality. She lives in a world where museumology is a requisite for a museum job and her way of explaining the loophole of my job is to define me as essentially being a businesswoman located within the museum industry; I don’t really count because I’m a marketer. Of course what matters is that my employer looked at my unrelated degrees, took in my personality and skill set and hired me anyway. After a rather amusing (for me) lecture on how to get a job in the museum industry I suggested to this girl that the rules might be somewhat more flexible than she realised. She shrugged off the notion, clarifying that there may be some flexibility in marketing but in other areas definitely not. I decided to leave her to her views.

But sometimes there are boxes you need to fill. This week I found the house I’m going to share with the boyfriend. I found my current place on Gumtree and my landlord never asked for references; she just believed that I was a student working part-time in retail. This time I needed to remember all the addresses I’ve lived at and all kinds of detail that I tend to forget. I’m hoping the fact that I’m only on a temporary contract won’t be a problem because it doesn’t bother me. I’ll always find work to pay the bills. It sounds arrogant but I find solutions and I’m not precious about what work I’ll do if choices are limited. But that doesn’t fit in a box. Fortunately the boyfriend is a box ticker (I mean this in a nice way) so hopefully there won’t be a problem.

I don’t mean to flaunt the system and when the boyfriend calls me a free spirit I don’t think he means slutty hippie and that it’s a compliment. And in day to day life I enjoy playing by my own rules and not taking life too seriously. For the most part it works but application forms are difficult. In academic circles, my four years of postgraduate research count as work but outside academia this suddenly counts as education; a subtle but significant difference. The issue is that I onlysee working towards my BA as being a student because that’s when I lived like a student. After than I essentially worked from home, for myself and to my own schedule: planning research, managing budgets, collecting and evaluating data and presenting findings in a variety of formats.

There’s a limit to being a free spirit and sometimes there is just a correct way of doing things. I don’t fight the boxes en masse. One needs to pick ones battles. So I edit my personality to fit boxes and I try to tick the right boxes.
7/26/2019 10:40:54 pm

I have a different take on this topic. There may be situation that will require you to adjust for people, but you should always stick to the person that you are. You don't need to fit in when you know that you can stand out! It's quite a challenge I know because of people's thinking towards you. But if you know that you aren't doing anything wrong, then that should serve as your motivation to be yourself. It's never wrong to adjust, but you should not lose yourself too.


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