Cats, eat your hearts out.
If curiosity kills, I’ve metaphorically burned through at least seven cattish lives, and that’s … oh … roughly one life for every five years I’ve spent on this intriguing planet. Hafta. Gotta. Know. That’s me.
Many things arouse my curiosity, but two primary passions have sparked, driven, sustained and sometimes dramatically changed the direction of my journey: information and people. Humans, information technology, human communication … I’m what you might call a meme-oholic.
What does that mean? Well, in some ways, I’m a jack (or Jill?) of all trades and master of none – I’ve worked as a project manager, a business analyst, a drafter, a business administrator and even as an industrial cleaner; I’ve studied tertiary subjects in philosophy, law, politics, psychology, commerce, engineering and IT. And yet, in other ways, I’ve switched from field to field successfully by applying the same set of specialist skills to each new area.
First, I have an eye for detail. I can spot a spelling mistake on a jam-packed sign of ludicrously legalistic four-syllable words, a missing bracket in a line of code in a programming language I don’t even know, or a total at the bottom of a page of numbers that doesn’t make sense. “Mismatch” – between what should be and what actually exists – is typically the first thing I see … and as you might imagine, this regularly drives people round the twist. Annoying habit, yes, but as many of my colleagues over the years can attest, it’s also a rather useful one when applied appropriately.
Secondly, I have a knack for systems. Human systems, business process systems, computer systems, natural systems. I find them logical, intuitive, and at a particular level of abstraction, amazingly similar to each other. Understanding the consequences of an action on one part of a system I know comes easily to me, easily enough that it took years before I realised these things were not quite so glaringly obvious to everyone else as they are to me.
Thirdly … you know what? Curiosity is useful. I’m always interested in learning more, and being interested in things gives me focus, initiative and creativity in spades. I don’t approve of death marches, and the word “impossible” frequently strikes me as little more than a challenge to ingenuity. If curiosity has gotten me into scrapes, it’s also helped me get out of most of them before I was forced to deal with the reality of not really being a cat.