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Well, my weaknesses really are my strengths.

/ Featured in Life

Michael Scott using a Blackberry

The golden interview prompt: “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.” Oh. Gladly, sir.

Strengths are easy. You know what you’re good at. But when it comes to weaknesses, eh… I’d rather not. Not tonight.

And it’s not that you don’t know what you’re not good at. It’s that you may not want to admit to these things, or, it’s hard to put into words without making yourself sound incapable.

“I work too hard. I care too much. And sometimes, I can be too invested in my job.”

– Michael Scott, The Office

The Regional Manager says his weaknesses are his strengths. Wise man.

But if you say that, you’re just being too fluffy. And you should kindly think about getting yourself to the groomer for a quick trim.

A weakness should be something you’re working to improve. It’s a challenge for you. Your weakness may resemble a strength—such as being too invested in your job—but it overall needs to be a problem for you.

When I think about my weaknesses, stress is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But stress on it’s own is not a weakness. Everyone gets stressed from time to time. Hey, you’re only human! If you get stressed out easily, then you need to find out why. And that’s your weakness.

For me, I’m like the neighbor you’ve never had but always wanted. Because I know you have a lot of web projects that you need help with. And I’m your man. Woman.

At my job, I’m always willing to help out. I generally say “yes” to most every new project or opportunity to learn something new. Since I’m a young professional (YEAH FORBES) I feel like I should embrace as much opportunity as possible.

But this is not good for me to do. This leads to stress from too much going on at once. I get neck and back pain, I don’t sleep well, and thus, I pretend on the surface I’m fine, when I’m really kind of uncomfortable.

So my weakness is that I don’t say “no” often enough. I don’t think most people would immediately think of this as a traditional weakness. Because saying the word “no” is usually seen as a negative. And I’m saying I should say this negative word more often.

Saying “no” to things that will throw off my time management skills will be better for me in the long run. By saying “yes” too much I run the risk of creating a problem if I overcommit myself and can’t return high quality work on every project. And this is honestly something that I’m trying to work on, so that I can avoid walking around with heat and ice packs taped to my body.


Overcoming your weaknesses

So how do you overcome weaknesses, and talk about them in a way that doesn’t make you sound like a sack of meat needing to be carried around?

The main thing is finding a way to demonstrate you are always working to build your character and always willing to learn. There is no way any one person can walk into a new job and know everything. You would be a robot and scare all the children.

Also, don’t highlight things that make you look weak. Mention something you’re working to improve, and circle back with a strength. So you’re not an incredibly patient person. But given that you hate waiting for things, you always stick to your timeline and never miss a deadline. Something like that.

Admitting to things you’re not good at, or that you’re working on improving, makes you a better person. People like knowing that others face challenges too. Think of it like a community builder. And trust me, people will respect you and want to help you succeed.

(My other weakness would be donuts.)

Image via www.teamliquid.net