My Poker Face

My 9th grade teacher once said to me:

“Do you know how I know if a lecture I’m giving or a class activity is going well or failing miserably? I just look at your face, Annie!”

My Poker Face: let’s just say I don’t  have one.

This morning I woke up all agitated. I must have changed my clothes five times, going from casually professional to  jeans and a sweater, and back again, finally just sticking to the jeans.  Although I do take some care in what I wear, I am not usually obsessive like I was this morning.

But I figured out that my indecisiveness this morning was merely a precursor to today’s big meeting where we had to make a big decision, and face a conflict between two members of the committee where we would  be asked to pick a side.

I wouldn’t say I usually make decisions easily, but I am not one to agonize over every decision. There are those, however, some small, some huge, that I do struggle with, and today’s was one.  Luckily, the decisive vote was majority rules, so my position of “neutral” since I truly believe that either course of action had strengths and weaknesses  (but yes, still a non-position if there ever was one), was ultimately a non-issue.  And now that it’s made, I’m happy with the decision.

But then there was the choosing sides conflict.

One of the committee members said to me after the meeting that watching my body language as the discussion moved to the area of conflict was quite entertaining (he is easily amused).  He said I turned physically away from the two combatants, and averted my gaze completely from them.  Even when I spoke up, and ultimately chose a side (this wasn’t a difficult decision, just an awkward one), I still physically leaned away from the sources of conflict.

Clearly, I’m never going to be an actress, never.

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10 responses to “My Poker Face

  1. That’s really interesting, Annie Em! And I’m really glad that you’re happy with your decision. Those kinds of situations can be so complicated. Herky for you!

  2. Yes, Decision Making 101 and Conflict Resolution for Dummies should be required courses for academics.

    And maybe some Poker face lessons;-)

    Thanks for reading such a non-audience participatory blog posting. Hope you enjoyed Lady Gaga?

  3. This week we had to take a vote on what has become the most contentious issue in our dept. since I’ve been here (three years). So contentious that the adivosry committee (which I’m on) decided to have a secret ballot. The side I wanted to win, won. But god was that painful.

    I have a poker face too. It’s probably more of an endearing trait than not. Probably.

  4. Alas our dept. has had several such conflicts over the last few years—and really, none of us are good at it. We’re basically all introverts.

    But congrats on “winning” Pocha, and yes, let’s just say that at least in academia, our poker faces (not!) are not as big a liability as they would be in other fields;-)

  5. I do not have a poker face either. You can read me a mile away. I also lack a filter between my mouth and brain.

    Many years ago I went to dinner with Big Famous Scientist D00d. There were about 10 of us and him. He actually turned his chair away from the 2 women seated to the left of him so he was only answering questions from the guys on the right. There’s a picture from the event on a dept newsletter somewhere. In it, you see BFSD’s chair turned toward the guys with his cold shoulder toward the women, and my chair pushed way out from the table and turned away from BFSD! I couldn’t get far enough away from him. On the way out, BFSD asked me for my pen to sign one of the books that the guys brought, and I told him no and zipped up my purse. I wish I would have said I AM NOT YOUR SECRETARY. He saw that I had his book too, and I told him that I didn’t want his signature. I changed my mind.

  6. Oooh, good for you! What was his response when you said you didn’t want his signature??

    And yes, that missing filter: I got that, too. My friends say that I’m unnaturally “blunt”–not so sure what my enemies say;-)

  7. He looked down at the book in my hand (it was on the floor beside my chair throughout dinner), and as he was about to presumably ask me if I wanted his autograph, I said I didn’t want his autograph and I walked past him to my car. He didn’t have a chance to say anything. Doubt he cared at all. I was told by one of the guys that I was rude. *eyeroll* of course. Then I pointed out how rude BFSD was to the women and that he deserved rudeness back. grrrrrrr.

    Nothing wrong with blunt!

  8. Heck he probably did care, but that’s a good thing! Maybe he was less rude during his next dinner event. I don’t suppose you bump into him at conferences?

  9. Hell no we don’t bump into each other. He only gives lectures for his peeps, like ya know, former Presidents, World Ambassadors, the UN. I did watch his TED talk. He’s in his nineties now, doesn’t get out much at all anymore. He is an alumnus of a school I attended, which is why he went back to give some lectures and why I was asked to have dinner with him. He knocked himself right off the perch I put him on. Even his (also famous but not stratospheric) former grad student ignored me when I asked for help with something a few years back! Teh r00dness, it burns and gets passed on by d00ds.

  10. Yes!!! Heart the Gaga. Thanks for posting the vid.

    (Confession: Telephone has been stuck in my head for weeks now.) I think she is the shizzle.

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