A Pair Of Ruby Slippers

February 20, 2007

Theatre of The Absurd

Filed under: MACMP — author @ 7:43 pm

“You, my friend, are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom”


I want to use my next post to assess my current skills and make a plan for the future, but I felt it needed a little more introduction. I mentioned Symbolic Interactionism in an earlier post and admitted to having a soft spot for a certain protagonist’s work – Goffman. His theory of self (or rather parts of it as it is too complex for full use here) has been my inspiration to question and evaluate my skills and investigate a future strategy. I hope by using this approach, I will be able to stand outside of myself and consider my roles more clearly, rather than try and think from the inside out as with Myers Briggs.

As I have previously stated, Goffman uses a theatre analogy to attempt to define self. He places importance on the roles we play and how they are assimilated within us to become who we are, as opposed to viewing an individual as having fixed traits. As always with these things common sense tells us that the truth is probably somewhere in between, but this approach of “role” fits well for discussing different aspects of life in a situation such as this that I find myself in. I am using a fake actress’s biography and the role idea instead of creating a more traditional plan. I have used a few of the online tools to give myself some background ideas and some thoughts for questioning myself but they felt very dry and did not keep me entertained very long. Halfway through I tended to wander off, get tea and forget about them. I hope by using a more unusual medium it will help me to really think the issue through at a less superficial level whilst also being entertaining. Entertaining not just for me but for you too. Goffman tells us we need to be aware of our audience, consider yourselves considered. Welcome to the theatre, let’s hope it’s not Absurd.

The picture above, in case you are wondering, sums up beautifully how this reflection is making me feel – no not like a naked blue boy, but rather simultaneously ancient and infantile, slightly out of place and uncomfortable. It is making me challenge “truths” about myself that were, at some level anyway, completely fine 5 weeks ago and making me focus on debunking what I assumed I wanted. A sculpture like the one above asks us to reconsider our ideas of the body and indeed, people. I am trying to turn this towards myself.

The hardest thing has been to admit that although I had had my life all figured out up until now (and when I am old) I had sort of ignored this bit. When really faced with giving it some in-depth thought I got the opposite answer to what I started with. Ho hum, maybe this will revert again, we’ll see. It also reinforced to me that my life, and especially my career is not now my own, what I want for that role is second to what I need to do for my children. I have tried to concentrate on gaining skills rather that setting out a clear career ladder as I think that, certainly in the next few years at least, this is a way for me to progress so that eventually when maybe I am able to dedicate more time to my career I don’t find myself left too far behind. I don’t see this as a problem, just a fact; the kids are much more fun than work anyway.


1 Comment »

  1. I’m sort of rolling all my thoughts into one here after reading the last 2 blogs, partly because I’m a bit tired and secondly because I’ve been thinking about what I’m thinking about all day (constantly evaluating and re-evaluting how to get 10 very different people engaged in a technical subject) so I’m affraid the old noddle’s a bit flat.

    I know what you mean about the disclosure bit. There comes a point where you wonder how much is really necessary and what the end goal of it all is.

    I read something recently about leadership ( as always I’ve forgotten the authors) but it centred on issues of “authenticity”. This boiled down (at least in part) to the apparent similarity between many inspiring leaders in that they were able to disclose “weaknesses” in a contextually appropriate way, in other words they, or someone else, would gain from the disclosure rather than squirm. They are very attuned to the setting they are in and just how much letting go builds their authenticity without coming across as needy or falsely modest. Different scenes require different means I suppose.

    I’m interested in the Goffman reference and look forward to finding out more. I understand and subscribe to many of his observations onhuman behaviour, they link directly with my beliefs about social cognitive theory developed during my time working in rehab (as opposed to my time now requiring it!). I firmly believe our behaviour, and our attitude toward dsclosure is shaped significantly by our setting and our previous programming. I guess the eternal question is the degree to which we can ad-lib and come away from the script we are currently expected to follow?

    I wonder, continuing the film theme, if your action plan takes the form of a storyboard – it’s a visualisation technique that some coaches use and is supposed to be linked (as with most things it seems) back to Disney. This involves setting up a few crude chapters and breaking them down into increasingly detailed and vivid acts and episodes. In line with cognitive theories, you apparently act like and move towards that which you think about

    which is why, as toto, I must now go and chew one of my free Holiday Inn slippers

    Comment by toto — February 20, 2007 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

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