Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Show Your Colors!

Last week I attended colors training at Bismarck State College. I teach night classes for the Computer Science department. BSC started promoting this training last year and got so excited, they now require it for all new employees. As a part-time teacher of 15+ years, I was exempt from this requirement. But that didn't stop them from trying to sign me up anyway.

Well, this time I indulged my curiosity. It so happens I find myself with a bit too many vacation hours at work (my full-time job during the day) than I am comfortable with. We are only allowed so many to carry over into the next year and I need to "use them or lose them" so to speak. This means I'm typically looking for any excuse to get out of the office. Why do I need an excuse, you might ask, haven't I earned these hours? Shouldn't that be excuse enough? Yes, it should, but I guess I'm just weird that way.

At any rate, I decided I would sign up and check out this colors training they were so gung-ho about at the college. I still wasn't completely sold on the idea so it was with some trepidation that I entered the training room. Incidentally, one of the other reasons that convinced me to sign up was that it was in the National Energy Center for Excellence (NECE) building. I teach in the armory right next door and watched the building get constructed from the ground up as I went to my classes 3 nights a week. I had been on the main level several times but had never been into the bowels of the building. It's weird the "main level" is actually the 3rd floor due to sloping nature of the landscape and my class was on the first floor which felt like I was going into the basement. Anyway, these new buildings are really something. Made me jealous because my classroom is so old.

I was nervous when I walked in the room and the decor did nothing to assuage my worries. It was decorated like a kiddie birthday party with garishly colored streamers and balloons and there was this horrible kiddie music that was more weird sounds and noises than actual instruments or people singing. Unless you include people singing after inhaling a few lungs full of helium. It was all I could do to suppress an audible groan. The teacher was wearing a clown's party hat and quickly grabbed one as I walked in. I gave her the "dagger-eyeballs" that said, "don't you dare try to stick that thing on my head." The teacher, thankfully, got the silent message and quickly put the hat away. I sat down in the back and started praying I would somehow survive the next 3 hours.

I was pleasantly surprised. She shut the "music" off after she started, which brought her stock up a few points. She took off the ridiculous hat, which brought the stock up just a little more, and started in on the training. I have been to several seminars and enrichment classes over the years and have taken more personality profiles than you can shake a stick at. I've also spent quite a bit of time studying what exactly makes people tick. I know what kind of personality I am and if I do say so am a pretty good judge of others so I didn't really expect to learn anything new.

I was more or less correct. I didn't learn anything new because I have been to seminars that divide people into 4 personality types although this was the first time they labeled each personality as a color rather than a letter or number. So that was interesting. But the personality traits were more or less the same as I remember. However, it was very nice to get a refresher. I knew most of these concepts already, but it was nice to bring them up to the surface and dust them off so I could actually try to make use of them again.

On to the colors, it was not surprising to find out I am still a "gold" person. Gold people are obsessed with order and rules. They have a strong sense of loyalty and duty. If a gold person makes you a promise you better believe they will keep it. Gold people are very organized. I usually have my day planned the minute I get up in the morning. They are the type of people who alphabetize their spice racks and arrange all the Tupperware by size. I kid you not, my closet is arranged so that the clothes I haven't worn for the longest time are in the front so they are picked first when I get dressed in the morning, the clothes that have been washed go to the back of the rotation so every article gets equal "wearing" time. Gold people get annoyed when people mess up their meticulously laid plans or choose not to follow the rules. They annoy others because of their insistence on always doing things "their" way. They've also been known to be called "neat freaks" but they usually take the term as a compliment.

I also scored quite high as a "green". It almost tied with my gold score. Green people are the brainiacs. They love knowledge and learning and usually perform well in math and science. They are great under pressure and stress. Nothing phases them. They are good with gadgets and gizmos. Green people are good for showing you how to program your VCR/DVR or telling you what all those buttons on your digital camera are for. They love getting gifts that say, "some assembly required", and the first thing they do when opening the box is to read the instruction manual cover to cover. Sometimes I also read the Spanish version just to see how many words I recognize. Strange, huh? Green people like to be by themselves so they can ponder the universe. They get annoyed in crowds or when people "freak out" over things. They will annoy others because they tend to act a tad big-headed at all their knowledge and look down upon others that don't know as much as they do.

Sadly, my other two colors were so low they almost fell off the radar. With regret, I remembered the first time I took a personality class half a lifetime ago. I was pretty proud back then when I scored almost equally among all 4 personality types. The instructor told me this was a very rare gift that enables me to get along with almost everybody and see all sides of any issue. However, the gift came with a price that I would struggle with making decisions and reacting to situations. Part of me would want to do one thing and another part would want to do another and these personality traits would always be at odds with each other struggling for dominance. This explains a lot about my behaviour during my younger years.

Now I'm older, crankier, and more set in my ways. I also think I just got tired of fighting with myself over how to respond to situations and just let whichever side was strongest win out. Over the years, gold and green personalities just got more playing time. But it is important to note that all of us have at least trace amounts of all the colors, no matter how small. Very few of us are also totally dominant with just one color. Usually it's a mixture of 2 or more colors that are strongest.

"Orange" was my 2nd lowest color. Orange people are the party animals. They love a good time and are usually fun to be around. They enjoy crowds and whichever group of people they are with is usually laughing. If they aren't, an orange person will just find another group of people. Risk taking comes naturally to oranges and they like competitions and games of chance. They get annoyed when people expect them to act or behave a certain way. They annoy others because you can't get them to commit to anything long-term, they just get bored too easily. It should be obvious, they are polar-opposites of golds.

"Blue", sadly, was my lowest score. Blue people are the compassionate members of our society. They care deeply for everyone and do not like conflict. Their first response when people are fighting is usually to try and jump in to settle the disagreement. They tend to be quite emotional. They cry at the drop of a hat and tear up during both sad and happy moments at the movies. They are sympathetic and can be counted on providing an endless shoulder to cry on, or to be a sounding board for any ranting or raving you wish to do. They enjoy hugging and being hugged. They get annoyed when people are cold, insincere, or refuse to care. They annoy others because they tend to worry too much and can be kind of "touchy-feely". People don't always appreciate them invading their personal space. It follows that blue and green are opposites of each other.

I enjoyed the training. It was good to be reminded that there are all sorts of people in this world and that everyone brings something of value and worth to the table. Once we learn to accept that not everyone is the same and encourage and motivate our strengths as well as the strengths of others, that is when our colors can truly shine!

What are your colors?


Steve at Random said...

I have had lots of personality testing as well, but have never done the "colors." Some of mine have been based on how "open" and how "direct" we are. Certainly, there are people who are more direct and open -- people who go to parties with lampshades on their heads -- but my personality tendencies certainly lean toward being open and direct. Hence, my family reminds me at times to use my nice voice, and others have told me to think before I speak. All good advice. After reading yours, however, I would say that I have to agree with your test results. And in some ways I'm quite envious. I'm not particularly gifted at being organized or assembling things. However, generally I've been considered creative...and these seem to run countercyclical to organized. I can't say if I'm getting grumpier as I get older or not. I would like to think that I'm not, but it's hard to judge yourself. Certainly, I'm not the open minded individual that others would like to see...but I hope I'm not Archie Bunker or Hank Hill, either.

randymeiss said...

I guarantee you are not Mr. Bunker or Mr. Hill. I wasn't aware that you had anything other than a "nice voice". Our families, unfortunately, always see a different side of us than the general population.

AZJim said...

I am a T-Shirt collecter. (At last count I had a little over 100). I have them in stacks according to what they say/advertise. A pile of car shirts, sports shirts, Harley shirts, Christian shirts, everyday shirts, etc. When I wear one it gets washed and goes to the top of it's respective pile. I then take from the bottom to wear. Now I know where I get it from! I see myself in almost all colors, not sure where I would fall.

Steve at Random said...

I've seen this type of personality testing done with the four main Seinfeld characters also. Obviously, Jerry -- the neat freak -- would be gold. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Can Kramer's color be anything but oranger. He's a party animal and isn't likely to change his colors. George could only be green during the episode where his girlfriend has mono and he's sworn off sex. I think he's evening speaking a little Portuguese by the end of the episode. As for blue, it's hard to think any of the characters as "touchy-feely," which is why they ended up in the slammer during last episode. They had no compassion for their fellow man, who all rebelled on them in courtroom.

BismarckMandanBlog said...

The only personality test I ever took was the Kiersey test, which classifed me as an Inventor, a subset of the what they call the Rationals. I never got much into colors.

Steve at Random said...

The most complicated one I took was at a "leadership" training conference in southern California. The test said I had the same personality profile as the infamous baseball player Tyrus Raymond Cobb. This is like being stamped as the devil. If you need a refresher on Ty Cobb, rent the video "Cobb" starring Tommy Lee Jones. I might be a Type A personality, but I certainly don't have the fiery temperament of Cobb.