I want to be a robot again. How on earth do humans human?

Emotions are weird, why did I learn to feel them?

My wife has called me a robot for years. And I totally understood why. I never used to feel emotions like normal humans do. And I rarely understood why humans were acting the way they did when they got all emotional about some trivial (or even not so trivial) thing.

When something happened in my life that I wasn’t fond of, I’d simply do whatever was required to address the issue and move on. I wouldn’t dwell on “how it made me felt”. In fact, if the problem was dealt with, I would typically forget that what ever had occurred took place and would move on.

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But then I went and bought a gym

And buying a gym had one particularly odd consequence. All of a sudden I was exposed to a wide range of humans and their various human related issues and feelings. People started telling me their life stories and problems and expected me to have some form of response that sounded human like.

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And by being exposed to these strange aspects of human life, I started to understand humans better and experience these odd things called emotions myself. And my wife started noticing that I was becoming some what less robotic. She actually started to like the fact that I was becoming more human and understanding these emotion things slightly better.

I was experiencing this thing called empathy as a result of talking to humans about their lives and life related problems. And through learning what this empathy thing was, I was also personally experiencing a wider range of emotions that I really wasn’t used to experiencing.

And then came the time to sell my gym, and move on to something new and different

My business had been performing poorly for roughly 12 months so I needed to decide whether or not the business was worth saving, or if I should simply go back to my old career. Before owning a gym I worked in the mining industry as an environmental scientist. I am very fortunate that this career pays well, so recovering from a failed business wouldn’t be too difficult.

So for the past few months, I have been trying to sell my business and find employment again. And this past Monday I not only signed the offer documents for a new position in the mining industry, but I also received a formal offer for the purchase of my business. In fact both of these things were completed within the same hour.

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And this is where the title of this post begins to make sense: Signing the letter of offer for my new role brought with it an extreme sense of relief and happiness. The position is one that I had been really hoping to be offered. And I had worked extremely hard to impress my new employer. So setting a start date and reviewing the employment documentation brought with it a great sense of happiness, relief, pride and excitement.

But signing the formal offer for the sale of my business brought with it a great feeling of sadness along with some regret. I’ve worked so hard on this business for the past 3 years. And further to that, I have built an amazing community within this gym. The members are all so warm and friendly, and a lot of fun to spend time with. And after recruiting Personal Trainers for the past 3 years, I have finally built a team of trainers who are friendly, intelligent and hard working.

So, during that hour of signing paperwork, I felt a the bizarre sensation of being both extremely happy and incredibly sad all at the same time. What a confusing sensation.  Is this what being human feels like? I don’t like it. Can I go back to being a robot?

Something tells me that I can’t.

 

Re-learning the art of the interview (read – I suck at interviews)

It’s time to find a boss again

I’ve decided to head back to my old career, so have been applying for jobs once again. What this means for my business, I’m not too sure. It can operate without me, but I suspect that the performance of the business will head south with me not being present on a regular basis.

I have the business up for sale anyway, so I’m not too worried about what happens to it. What I am worried about are my pitiful interview skills.

An accurate representation of my recent interview

Once upon a time, back when I was an employee, I used to be an absolute pro at interviews. It was rare that I wasn’t offered a job after completing the interview. But wow… how times have changed.

Once upon a time I would:

  • Research the company extensively to understand their direction, recent achievements, standards of practice etc.
  • Understand all requirements of the role and breadth of responsibilities.
  • Have prepared answers for the standard suite of questions and any position specific questions that I was able to anticipate.
  • Have a list of questions to ask about the company and role.
  • Know the names and positions of the people interviewing me.
    and so on.

I was always prepared, and would walk into the interview with the attitude that I already had the position. This may sound arrogant, but by acting this confident I never felt nervous.

So what happened?

I suppose it’s a lack of practice. If I total it up, it would be almost 6 years since I actually interviewed for a position. And when you’re self employed the idea of interviewing for a position sounds like hell.

I interviewed for a position early last week, and while I was well and truly qualified for the position I made some absolute blunders during the conversation.

Egg and my face were in alignment
  • I mentioned aspects of employment that I didn’t enjoy.
  • I actually swore… (facepalm…)
  • I went off on tangents rather than sticking to the topic at hand.
  • I spoke too much about my experience that was well beyond the level of responsibility of the role.

Needless to say, I could have done a lot better in this interview however I still have hopes that I am offered the role. The position, while not overly challenging, will be fun and it will allow my wife and I to move back to our home town of Adelaide.

So now it’s the waiting game, which is the worst part of interviews. Everything is an unknown until you get the call that lets you know the outcome.

Life is made complete by the people you meet – or made all the more disturbing

Life is made complete by the people you meet

I’ve always believed that you can’t really understand what life is really about until you’ve met people from all walks of life. And, thankfully, I’ve met an incredibly diverse range of people over the years who come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds. I’ve met some incredibly interesting people over the years, and some incredibly scary people as well.

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There was the time I met a homicide detective in outback Northern Territory, Australia, who seemed to love murder way too much.  He spent the evening describing the murders that he had investigated in graphic detail and with an extreme level of enjoyment. It wasn’t so much his love of his work that worried me but the excitement that he expressed at how people had been killed.

I’ve also met some incredibly inspirational people, such as a paraplegic who was told he would never walk again after breaking his neck.  Not only is he now walking again, but he’s since become a highly sought after public speaker and has opened multiple businesses across the globe while raising his daughter as a single dad. His story alone would fill a book, which I’m sure he’ll write one day.

Darren’s Story

Of all the people that I’ve met however, there’s one person who disturbed me the most, but also gave me some incredibly bizarre stories to tell. I met this chap while working on a gold mine in central Western Australia, and we worked together for about 12 months.

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