This might be a “duh” to you, but I just had a big realization today. I love rules. I thrive on them. I’m not classified as an ISTJ for nothing. And sometimes this makes me come off mean and heartless. I don’t want to be that way, but rules are really important, people!
On Tuesday I talked a little bit about the Proof Corrections Form. Well, what I didn’t mention about that particular PCF was that the author wanted to completely change up her dedication page. I rejected it out of hand. It’s obviously a preferential change. But then on Tuesday the layout designer came by my desk to talk to me. The author was was already worried that her book wasn’t being handled correctly, and the layout designer was certain that rejecting the dedication change would upset her beyond repair. I remained adamant–it is a preferential change. She should have changed the dedication while she was still in the editing process if it was so important to her. And this is all true. But then the layout designer said, “I don’t mind doing it if it makes her happy…” which caused me to stop in my prostestations. Could this possibly be a situation where I was being too rigid and it was okay to make exceptions? Could I really approve a preferential change? Knowing I couldn’t look at the situation objectively, I turned to my trainer. She recommended that I allow the change.
It hurt me to do it. It didn’t matter that allowing the change required no work on my part, and hardly an work on the designer’s part. It was the principle of the thing. Rules are not meant to be broken.
I write this to let you know that while I see rules and my adherence to them as an asset, in this moment of clarity I have realized that it can also be a flaw. So when I’m editing your book, rest assured that I take rules to heart, especially grammatical ones. But here’s another great thing about ISTJs–we’re rational creatures. I’ve discovered that if you can present me if enough and concrete facts, you can convince me to change my mind on something (most of the time). Something of this nature happened when Aaron, Courtney, Josh, and I were discussing the bio for Courtney’s book. I really did bring props to prove my point (because I need evidence). I appreciate that Courtney took me seriously and brought her own examples. I needed that.
I have taken a small moment to admit that my strength may also be my weakness. Now I count on you guys to remind me of it. This doesn’t mean that you can just tell me to break rules willy-nilly, but, you know, if there’s a good reason, I’ll consider it. It’ll help if I like you, too.
Have you discovered that any of your strengths, if left unchecked, can turn into weaknesses? How do you overcome your weaknesses? How do you strengthen your strengths?
I think we all go a bit too far sometimes. Often when taken to an extreme, a good thing can go wrong.
I know how you feel about rules. Though not as extreme, I do have a preference for order and rigidity. But, I’ve learned that a little grace can go a long way. Sometimes compromising to keep the peace is the right thing to do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to do that with clients.
The good news is, your affinity for rules will come in handy when you become a parent. Kids thrive on consistency. Mine often “correct” me when I make an exception or bend a rule once and a while. So you’ve got that one in the bag.
“I think we all go a bit too far sometimes. Often when taken to an extreme, a good thing can go wrong.”
I think that’s a really good point, Becca. I think I’m starting to learn that breaking the rules and compromising are a necessary hazard of my job. I just don’t like to do it.
Thanks for your comment!
I appreciate people who care about the rules very much. They probably don’t think I do because I mostly use the rules as a semipermeable membrane that can only slow me down rather than hold me back, but sometimes that isn’t good and people like you rein me in. I approve and appreciate it.
Also, I loved that you brought handouts. I may have made a joke about power point, but a reference for rules that I didn’t know was very handy and I took it very seriously.
I was pretty sure that you and Aaron took me seriously, but it was nice that Courtney also brought props so that I could “see” her argument. And I’m not against a little cajoling on my account.
Since you have some of my genes coursing through your veins, I can empathize with your occasional dilemmas. Mentors of mine through my decades of government and military work coached me with a great Army adage that I use now almost on a daily basis. “Choose your battles wisely.” Good advice that bolsters good people skills. xoxo