It used to be that when I needed to talk to someone about something I was going through and struggled with, I'd pick someone who had gone through something similar. It was the best, or only, way to get sympathy and understanding. It also used to be that I could do that and usually find someone who just listened and didn't feel compelled to give advice like they have a PhD in whatever ailed me.
The rise of the internet changed my habits somewhat, and for years
I've vented and spilled my guts anonymously on the internet in my blogs. I don't put it out there to get advice on how to deal with my problems. I just vent.
I trust exactly one person to give me advice on how to deal with my life problems and that's my therapist, and sometimes I even scrutinize what he tells me which he tells me is healthy. When someone else (but him) turns around to me and tells me how to deal with my problems I quite often feel like they're really wasting my time.
I do it too. I dish out advice to people who really just want me to listen.
When someone tells me about something that bothers them I instantly reach into my mind's library, and fish out any and all "wisdom" I've collected on the subject and I regurgitate it. If I feel particularly sure I know what I'm talking about I start my advice with "You need to...". If I don't have information available that applies directly to the subject at hand I kind of wing it and piece together something and I regurgitate that, only now it's preceded with a "Maybe if you..." because basically I need to cover my arse in case I'm wrong.
I annoy me when I do that.
You know how so many women like to complain about how the men in their lives never can just listen to them talk about a problem, that the guys have to start telling them what to do about it to? You know how they tell you that they just wish that the guys would just listen, that it's all they want? Well girlfriend, I'm here to tell you that we all kind of have the same disease now.
I blame the self help movement, the gratitude plague, the I-can-do-it virus and the internet. Especially the internet. Since information became readily available to all of us, since it's there at our finger tips and in front of our noses in an instant, we've all become instant experts. We're read about it all and if we haven't we can find it and read about it any time.
I bet you google medical ailments before you go see a doctor? You do, don't you? Oh, I bet you do! I do.
Funny story actually. Sort of. A few years ago I got a disease called fifth disease that's more commonly known as "slap cheek" among parents and teachers because it gives you red cheeks when you're infected. It's common among younger kids and so being a mother my darling daughter Bee brought some home for me from school.
I went to my local medical center and I was seen by one of the more, in my humble opinion, useless doctors there. I explained my problem, or rather my self-diagnosis, to her and she had no freaking clue what I was talking about. Not a clue. She googled and so we agreed on the diagnosis, and she prescribed a treatment that was completely ineffective. Oh, well. I googled and found something better so no matter. I was only really there for the medical certificate so I could get my sick leave approved.
In my October performance review my ever supportive manager (in case you missed it, "ever supportive manager" was a little tainted by sarcasm) told me that I "overstate my capabilities". With the risk of sounding arrogant and up myself, in the field of technical writing as it applies to my industry and company I didn't. I'm far to self-deprecating and too much of a perfectionist for that kind of thing to occur. (That kind of touches on another pet peeve of mine: How corporations use depreciation of their employees to avoid giving them reasonable awards for their work in order to make more profit. Another subject for maybe another day.) In the workforce in general that kind of thing is rife so I kind of "grain of salted it".
As someone who hires people I've seen a huge rise in overstating capabilities in the past half decade. I know it's getting harder to get a job but the increase is so steep I'm more than a little concerned about how it actually affects people's ability to get jobs (unless you know how to talk yourself up or if you're a little shy you're stuffed) and to keep jobs (getting the job but not actually being able to do it and so wasting everyone's time).
The one place in the world where overstating capabilities is in plague proportions and driven by massive egos, the one place it all started to really gain momentum, is LinkedIn. I know for a fact that agents and employers roam that place looking for potential candidates. I know because not only do I see who visits my profile but I also get contacted a lot by people who want to to offer me interviews, and people who are looking for jobs and by agents who want me to hire from them.
It's real interesting to go in there and look at people's profiles if they have worked for you, especially if they've worked for you only for a short time for whatever reason, and see what they've said about the time they spent with you. I had one guy who apparently ran the department I ran while he.....didn't succeed in keeping his position for various reasons. LinkedIn is the place where everyone is an expert and have mad skills in anything and everything even vaguely related to anything in their chosen field which could quite possibly be everything.
I find it annoying, even more annoying than having to feel grateful even, to have to basically oversell myself or it's seen like I'm not trying.
I find it annoying when others oversell themselves when they quite clearly don't have the skills or experience.
I find it annoying hiring people who have forgotten that being humble and showing that you're open to learning are sometimes the absolute best ways of getting a job.
It may just be the case that you're hired for your kick-arse skills because they compliment the kick-arse skills of the people in the team you'll be working in, not because you will replace or dazzle them all with your expertise. I'm just saying.
I don't need more experts around me. I need real people and I think we all do. I need people who can say "I don't know", "It's out of my field of expertise" or "I don't have any experience with that".
I don't need more people to tell me how to deal with my problems or my life. I need people who are willing to listen to me when I need it and who give me a hug at the end of it so that I know I'm accepted.
I don't need people to tell me how much better they are at doing something than me because my mind is so very good at telling me I'm worthless and stupid. I need people to tell me I'm doing a great job at something and that I'm a great person to kick around with.
I could go on but I think you're smart enough to get it especially because I think that's what you need too. That's what we all need.
This competing crap that's happening, where I have to constantly impress you and you have to constantly impress me even in our daily lives, can we please just stop it? Can we please just relax a bit and stop giving quite so much advice unless it's specifically asked from us, can we please stop pretending we're experts at everything and can we please just do one thing? Can we please just accept that we're all at different levels with different stuff? Can we please just stop being quite so worried about what others think of us quite so much all the time?
There are two things in life that really makes my heart sing. The first one is feeling like you've heard me because it makes me feel accepted. The second one is being allowed to collaborate with talented people and to learn from them, and perhaps even be able to teach them something in return. Those are truly the things that makes my boat float and that rock my socks off.
I need more of that. I'm just saying.
That and world peace. There's not nearly enough world peace. You can never have enough world peace.
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