Galloping, gallumphing

So Charli has given us this, this week

February 24, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about galloping. It doesn’t have to be about horses. Is galloping a burst of energy, a run for freedom? Or is it a sense of urgency that borders on anxiety to get tasks accomplished? Explore the motion in different ways — a galloping stride, a galloping relationship or a galloping mind.

One time I did a Myers Brigg personality test at the behest of my Law Firm. If you’ve not had a go, do. It was really quite informative. You answer what seem like a series of random questions and some boffin feeds your answers into an abacus and out pop four letters, from a possible eight. These describe your personality type. Sounds a bit unlikely but it fitted me.

Now I’m no Jungian mega-brain so I may have this woefully wrong but here’s my take.

The eight possibilities are:

Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)

Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)

Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

I’m ENTJ. Strongly in 3 of the categories.

As anyone who has worked in an office environment will recognise, often with a sinking heart, you can be subjected to the launch of a new initiative, possibly emanating from some dusty corner of a well meaning but under employed HR department. We had one a year for many years, much like the dose of flu you’d expect in January. Indeed the drop in energy levels, the tired eyes and sweating, the enervation make flu and team building initiatives natural bedfellows. If only they would leave us in bed.

The MB test formed a central plank of one of these, aimed to help each work group function better as a team. The results were announced and explained, publicly, to my team of eight partners. We were a complete mix and, in some cases poles apart.

P1020787

Part of the department – on the annual ski trip; no doubt a few ENTJs amongst this lot… There’s definitely one I can see

One of my characteristics – J with a ladle full of E – is a need to keep the jobs moving forward and tell everyone that’s what I’m doing. I press ahead. I gallop, trying to corral everyone to come along with me. I want an empty desk, an empty in tray, an empty inbox because that means I’ve done all I can to make the jobs progress. Part of this may be the thought that I can’t be criticised if everyone knows I’ve done all I can. Others, however, like to think, to absorb eveything and only move to the next stage when they have to. They keep things to themselves until the are ready. They don’t care what others think, or if they do they live with it because it’s more important to them that the decisions are right rather than quick. Such people necessarily drive me f*****g demented. One of my eight partnes was very much like me, three were at the other extreme and the rest floating between.

After the inevitably simplistic explanations we broke for coffee before our first exercise that aimed to see if we could modify these urges (for that is what they are). I gravitated to one of the three who joined the firm as a junior associate about three months after me. We had grown up together, been promoted together and utterly detested working together because the other was clearly out to do our head in by their approach. Here, at last we had the explanation.

We nodded to each other, G and me.

He said, ‘So that’s interesting.’

‘Yes,’ I replied.

‘Good to know you can’t help being a complete arsehole.’

‘You too.’

‘Quite. Milk?’

And the exercise? As a team, we had to design and build a working windmill from balsa wood sticks, wire and paper that would spin at 50 rpm and be strong enough to support a house brick. In one hour.  I and my fellow ENTJ, (let’s call him C for that is his initial) who tended to gravitate to the management roles, sat on our hands while the middle group took charge of leading the debate on design. C and I let the discussion range here and there. We fought the urge to glance at the clock and cough. I smiled indulgently as C picked up two balsa sticks and played with some wire, binding them together. I knew what he was up to: he was testing for strength, just in case that’s the way the decision went.  He can’t help himself, I thought. Typical. He saw me and nodded at my hands. I looked down. Absently I had been twisting some wire into a propeller shape, seeing what might be best. Sometimes I sighed and we just got on wit our self selected tasks:  some days, there really is not point holding back the tide.

And this week’s flash sees Mary at her doctors

Heart of the matter

‘This health check is routine for a woman of your age…’

Mary growled inwardly.

‘… a blood test, a stool sample, BP, heart and lungs, your BMI score.’

The doctor wrapped the blood test band around her bicep and studied the read out. ‘147 over 87. That’s rather high, Mrs North. Have there been any changes in your lifestyle recently?’

Mary knew. The change sat on her bedside table. A letter from the private detective she and Rupert her brother had employed in Ireland to track down her sister. It was enough to make anyone’s heart start to race.

Catch up wit Mary’s story here

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in flash fiction, miscellany, short story, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Galloping, gallumphing

  1. Always liked the gallumphing crowd.
    Enjoyed your post

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cliffhanger! Again. Great flash. (Don’t get me started on “woman of your age…” I’m growling, too.

    That conversation with your colleague made me laugh out loud. I recently took that test and it’s so interesting I added it to my About page. I was… ? But it’s spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allie P. says:

    Ha! It’s been awhile since I took one those tests, but I seem to recall I am strong in the J. P drives me crazy. I don’t care if it is the wrong decision, we can fix it later if we have to, just make one already!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They asked me to take the test twice.. there was much shaking of heads..something about multi-personality disorder!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Handy little blighters those tests aren’t they. It’s always good to have a letter [or a number] to hang beside your personality disorder. I was deemed an IFNJ but with strong ‘get on and do it already’ tendencies when it comes to doing stuff, especially in groups – I so often ended up in trouble……….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Charli Mills says:

    We never got skiing with our yearly team building sessions. I liked MB for understanding how to work with one another or who to avoid. I’m a pesky P — so many possibilities! Actually I don’t have problems making decisions; I have problems making too many. I’m borderline if that makes me more acceptable. 🙂 One year we did a different assessment and my score was vastly different from my fellow managers. Then the workshop leader informed us that no one ever got such a score or if they did they’d need serious therapy. Later, when asking each of us to share, I simply said I needed therapy and walked out of the room. My favorite one, though is StrengthsFinder by Gallup. More meaningful than therapy!

    Great return to the mystery of Mary’s twin! We’ve been wondering for a while now…do be a good J and get to the point! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Galloping Stories « Carrot Ranch Communications

  8. Norah says:

    Those wretched tests. I can never decide with multiple choice – a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Like Charli, I was also deemed in need of therapy.
    The indignity of (medicatl) tests that people of “our” age are subjected to. I understand Mary’s galloping heart. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. rogershipp says:

    A well told story! As soon as I heard of the letter… loved the reasoning!

    Liked by 1 person

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