On superpowers and work

Remember when I wrote somewhat well-thought-out essay-ish posts without all the hyphens and “ish’s” and such?

Yea, me neither.


My husband and I have been getting along really well, doing a fantastic job of being nice and taking care of things and loving each other even though we often get on each others’ nerves.

This is my best friend. Every time she writes a post about friendship, I cringe, fearing this one will be about me, the friend that loses her phone for a whole weekend, keeps up with what’s going on over blog but not phone calls, and didn’t throw her bff a bachelorette party because time got away from her.  I suck.

But Jennifer, she loves me even though I’m not the best friend.

Funny thing, though – as I was writing this post in my head in the shower (what, you don’t do that?) I was thinking about how our husbands are always lecturing us each on how to be friends with people, and every time I get a, “You can’t give someone ‘He’s Just Not That Into You” book as a gift!  I don’t care how good a friend she is!” from my husband, I reply that I’m not worried, she knows I love her.  And I don’t love her even though she’s hilariously direct and honest, I love her because she’s hilariously direct and honest.

I love my husband because he’s attacking the pre-work for his Spring classes with a vengeance, not despite the fact that his books and special pens are spread out all over the place and quickly approaching the cost of a textbook.  And I love Jennifer because she tells you what’s on her mind but with genuine concern and affection.

I love them because they are themselves; I’m relieved to find they love me even though I am myself.

At work we’ve been talking about superpowers.  In Corporate Land we assess our employees on their strengths and weaknesses, but I think we should be frank and honest about those things throughout the year.  If someone has a really hard time saying no, I don’t think we call it a “growth opportunity” and put her in a role where that’s all she does.  Unfair.  Her strength is getting people to play nice, not to say no, so we arrange her role so she gets to cajole people into playing nice and find someone else who doesn’t find it personally painful to say no.  So what if that means if she leaves we have to rejigger the role?  In the meantime, she gets to use her strengths!

However, talking about “strengths” like that is too Corporate-ish for me, so I prefer to talk about superpowers.  Take my peers and I.  We all have the same title but we each have a different superpower.  I can work a room with the best of ’em (even when “working a room” is just an analogy!); another guy can manage a team of big personalities into shipping product.  If we can distill our strengths into something akin to a superpower, we can start to build an organizational structure that plays to our those superpowers.

And I can send each person a cape. Capes!

So I’ve been thinking about my superpower, which reminded me of a simple exchange I had with a wise friend more than ten years ago.

Marisa: I just feel like I’m too much for everyone – too loud, too opinionated, too impatient – too everything.

Him: Then you need new people.  With the right people, you’re just enough.

I’m with the right people at work, now, I think, because I get to use my superpowers quite regularly – the same ones that drive me to blog to find connections and shared experiences.  My superpower is knowing people (really knowing them and what makes them tick) and using that to find the things we can agree on.

I need to challenge myself to believe my personal people love me because rather than loving me even though, then, because I have superpowers here, too.  I just need to figure out what they are.

What are your superpowers?


One thought on “On superpowers and work

  1. You are so cute! (I mean that in a cool-chic way) Never fear—you were not the flake, but you do know them. I have reigned in my hurt feelings and reassessed who I give power.

    Thank you for loving me….and I truly do know you, strengths and not-so-strengths, and I will take the whole shebang!!! After all-anyone who gives me a bed to sleep in WITH Harry Potter books within reach is…….perfect.

    I love superpowers; if only I could fly.

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