What is Your Greatest Weakness

December 15, 2009 at 8:56 am (Misc, SQLServerPedia Syndication) ()

I was tagged earlier this week by Tim Ford to comment on my biggest weakness. I wish I could say that it’s the color yellow (stupidest weakness, ever), or kryptonite. I don’t have to wear ruby-quartz glasses everywhere (and good thing too). Certainly getting tied up by a man isn’t my weakness (eeewww). And while I do agree that with great power comes great responsibility, I don’t feel responsible for everything. I’m not suffering from a terminal heart condition (or shards of metal in my blood stream). So, I’ve avoided all the obvious (or silly) weaknesses. No, unfortunately, my weaknesses, and they are myriad, varied, and far too numerous, are pretty much of the straight human variety, despite my rather obviously being a mutant. Trying to pick one that stands out, it almost depends on the hour of the day, from the hundreds & thousands there are to choose from, is tough. The one weakness that does immediately come to mind though is communication and communication style.

I don’t have Asburger’s, I think. I  tend to speak directly and bluntly. That’s when I speak at all. With effort I can be personable and friendly and, on rare occasions, charming. But it’s an effort. I have to try, and I have to keep thinking about talking to people, it’s a struggle and it shows. Left alone, left to my own devices, I stop talking or I only blurt out stuff occasionally or I try to run conversations, talking over people. It’s tough. The interruptions especially get people upset.

The obvious shortcomings of poor communication aren’t even what bothers me about it the most. The one thing that I think hurts me, and makes this truly a major weakness, is that I make people angry, but I do it unintentionally. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind making people angry. I’ve even gone out of my way to do get certain individuals good and upset. It’s when I do it accidently, because I’ve interrupted or because I’ve blurted out that their pet theory, whatever it might be, is stupid, that really hurts, me and that person. The fact is, what they’re saying may very well be stupid, but people don’t appreciate getting told that, especially in such a blunt manner. If you make people angry, they remember that. They don’t remember that you did help fix their problem, or that you saved the company oodles of cash or that you kept the project afloat. Nope, they remember that you really made them mad, which means that you’re “hard to work with.”

I’ve been working on this, a lot, over the years. Some of you who have met me out at conferences or at user group meetings might never have noticed this behavior. That’s because I’m using all that communication time to try to work on it. Some of you at those same functions may have been all too aware of it. I really have gotten pretty good at staying “on” and communicating at least reasonably well for long periods of time, but it’s bloody tiring.

My version of kryptonite is now on the table. Let’s see who has trouble with materials made out of wood, the color yellow, or gets weak when tied up by men. How about I tag, oh, Mike Walsh (I’ll bet it’s that tieing up thing) and Gail Shaw (probably red kryptonite).


  1. Wendy said,

    Having conversed with you numerous times at the PASS Summit, I’d say whatever work you have put into overcoming your percieved shortcoming has worked tremendously! I would never have guessed. Especially considering one of my favorite conversations was with you!

  2. Tweets that mention What is Your Greatest Weakness « Home of the Scary DBA -- Topsy.com said,

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Grant Fritchey, Grant Fritchey. Grant Fritchey said: @sqlagentman I did not enjoy that one, but I answered your tag: http://is.gd/5ovEP […]

  3. Tim Ford said,

    Looks like all the weaknesses in this excercise across all the blogs are things we *Geeks* are stereotyped as exhibiting in our traits. Why can’t we have some of those “you know what they say about a guy with big feet” myths tossed our way? (So says the geek in size 9.5 shoes.)

  4. scarydba said,

    Hey Wendy,

    All rules are off when talking to good looking women. The incentives, and therefor the responses, are all changed. It’s still work, only not as much, and I enjoy it quite a bit more.

    But I really do like the Summit just because I have to walk out on the limb and really behave like a human being for an entire week. It’s fun, if a bit of a challenge.

  5. David Stein said,

    Thanks for participating in my Tag. :) I really empathize with what you wrote about bluntness and angering someone accidentally.

  6. scarydba said,

    Hi Tim,

    Sitting in my size 10.5’s, I’m not sure if it’s a myth or not. Problem is, stereotypes frequently have a basis in fact.

  7. scarydba said,

    Hi David,

    So you started this painful excercise. We need to talk…

    Kidding. I really like the ones that make me think.

  8. Mike Walsh said,

    Hey Thanks for tag. Can’t say you nailed my weakness though :-) Samson couldn’t be tied until his hair was cut and I’m going bald, so maybe there is something there. I never made it to Eagle scout so perhaps a weakness that has to do with Knots? (or not’s anyway)

    I’ll work on getting a post out a bit later.

  9. My Greatest Weakness? | SQL Server Blog - StraightPath Solutions said,

    […] reading the posts. That changed this morning when I saw Grant Fritchey, the Scary DBA, post his version of the answer. His answers were great but.. I got tagged and reading some of his hit too close to home for this […]

  10. Chuck Boyce said,

    You know, Grant? I’m really pissed off at this blog posting. You’ve really made me mad. If I want to have stupid ideas, that’s my God given right.

  11. scarydba said,

    Oh man Chuck, you’re right. I’m so sorry. You go right on and be as stupid as you want to be.

  12. Chuck Boyce said,


  13. SQL in the Wild » Blog Archive » Greatest weakness said,

    […] went off and started asking people what their greatest weaknesses are, then someone else decided to pass the question my way. Perhaps those someones’ weaknesses are curiosity… […]

  14. Andy Leonard said,

    I identify with this Grant. I once lost an opportunity to move from contractor to full-time because of a conversation with a director…

    Director: “How long will this next project take?”
    Me: “Six months.”
    Director: “We need it in three months.”
    Me: “This work will take six months, or we can deliver a three-month project three months late – your call.”

    :{> Andy

  15. scarydba said,

    Ha! Andy, I honestly can’t see you delivering that in a mean way at all, but I can hear you saying it, for sure. That’s just excellent.

  16. Andy Leonard said,

    LOL Grant!

    After I left that gig, I heard it took a couple developers nine months to deliver. But I bet those developers didn’t say things like that to directors!

    :{> Andy

  17. My Greatest Weakness? « Microsoft Lessons from the Web said,

    […] reading the posts. That changed this morning when I saw Grant Fritchey, the Scary DBA, post his version of the answer. His answers were great but.. I got tagged and reading some of his hit too close to home for this […]

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