Category: Things people tell me

Everybody knows!

Who is this everybody, and why are they such a know it all?

Although I’ve been guilty of using this phrase myself, it kind of bugs me. If ‘everybody’ knows the thing, then you wouldn’t have to be told about it.

This stems from my mini adventure yesterday. I wanted to get my hair cut. The hairdressers is next door, but it turns out it is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Fair enough. I did mention it in conversation with my sister, and she uttered the phrase ‘Everybody knows hairdressers are closed on Mondays!’.

Well, I didn’t. So not everybody knows. So nyah.

Of Marriage and Commitment

The blokes kids took me by surprise this weekend.

Are you getting married?

After I’d stopped spluttering, I replied with ‘Nope, no plans to!’. Somehow, the little ones have this idea that I’d be around all the time if their father and I were to tie the knot. Not sure where they got this idea from, and the bloke was as mystified as I was. I pointed out to them that it would make little difference, and that they’d get annoyed with me if they saw me all the time anyway. Hell, I get annoyed with me, because I’m around me all the time.

Now, it’s not that I’m against marriage. It works for many, many people all over the world. That said – it’s not for me. I’ve never felt that I needed a bit of paper or a ring to know that I’m committed to someone. Also, being very honest with myself, I have a poor track record for relationships. Sometimes because of me, sometimes because of the other person. Usually a mixture of both. Maybe that’s part of my aversion to the idea.

Of course, that’s not to say that I’d flat out refuse to consider it ever. But I’d need some pretty compelling reasons to do so. It’s not a deal breaker issue for me, mainly because I don’t have any really strong feelings on the issue. I guess my view on it is more along the lines of I can be in a partnership with someone without the need for a ceremony and legal trappings. And I’m ok with that.

Professionalism

Merriam-Webster defines professionalism as ‘the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well’. It goes on with a further definition of ‘the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person’.

I guess that my own confusion in terms of being seen as a professional is that unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), such expectations as defined in this context are not actually down to the person who wishes to be seen as professional.

I have been called unprofessional a few times in the past. Usually when I have disagreed with someone about something. Strange, that.

A comment once made to me did actually cause me to reflect slightly on *how* I disagree with people:

‘You always argue your point strongly, even when you’re wrong.’

Did the person who said this to me have a point? Possibly. I was raised to speak my mind, and engage in debate. While I acknowledge that I can be *very* stubborn, I can be argued around to a different way of thinking – because when all is said and done, I wouldn’t be arguing any point if I thought it was actually wrong. I have no patience to play devils advocate. That said, some people see any kind of headlong disagreement as an intimidating confrontation. I honestly still have no idea how to deal with that. Should I sugar coat my thoughts? Tip toe around an issue? I don’t know.

This does bring me to the point of this post, though. Which is more professional – giving (and occasionally arguing) an opinion in a professional capacity, or keeping your mouth shut for the sake of not disagreeing with someone higher up the food chain?

I guess the answer to that depends on who’s answering the question. I know where I stand on it.

So, for me, I guess showing professionalism comes down to the following:

  • Don’t be afraid to speak up. *
  • Share your knowledge.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Always do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.
  • Don’t play the blame game.
  • Get on with the job.

I freely acknowledge here that my list may seem incomplete to some. I’ll quite happily argue/debate the points and amend said list if I can be talked around. I’m not right about everything. On the flip side – I don’t think I’m often wrong, either.

* Though try and be tactful about it. My brain to mouth filter is malfunctional. Announcing to an entire room that something is stupid does not win you friends. Trust me on this.

A Lesson in Perception Management

Yesterdays post, Perception is more important than results, discussed how a bad perception can render your achievements null and void. One response I got from a former manager of mine after the blog was posted was ‘Do you actually do any work or just write blog posts now?’.

Obviously, the answer to that is that I *do* work at work. By setting a posting schedule for WordPress to publish my blogs in the middle of a working day, I have to acknowledge that he makes an excellent point. The schedule, while saving me from having to log on and post things manually, is giving the perception of someone who is more focused on writing blog posts in the day as opposed to doing actual work.

Your online activity during the day (regardless of if you have a bot posting it for you or not), sends one overriding message – at *that* time of day, you are surfing the internet, posting things on social media. There is a time stamp right there, with your name next to it, for all of your contacts, personal and professional, to see. We’ve all been guilty of having a quick browse during the day, but if you want to leave the right impression to your peers that you’re actually being productive, it would not behoove you to leave the actual posting and sharing of content until outside of work hours.

Thanks, Mr Manager! I have changed my blog post schedule so as not to add to a workshy perception. I probably owe you beer.

Things my Father told me.

My dad has the advantage of having numerous t-shirts in the ‘been there, done that’ category. I would do well to pay more attention to the advice he has given me over the years. Here are some of his nuggets of wisdom that have stuck with me – even if I haven’t always followed them when I should. My navigation of office politics or life in general would have been much smoother if I had.

  • To be seen as just as good as the boys, you have to be better than the boys.
    • I strive to do this. Probably the only place I consistently succeed is playing computer games. Unfortunately, this is coupled with being a rather graceless winner.
  • For once in your life, keep your head down and your mouth shut!
    • Father brought me up to be outspoken, and to question everything, and this does run counter to that. However, not every situation is helped by speaking my mind. Sometimes, I do need to just shut up. I’ll work on that.
  • You’re responsible for your own happiness.
    • I sometimes forget this. In a bad situation? It’s up to me to get out of it. There is no knight in shining armour waiting to save me, so I’d better get up and slay that dragon myself.
  • Don’t be a victim.
    • Sometimes, it’s too easy to wallow in self pity. In times when I’ve been depressed, I wish I’d kept this at the front of my mind.
  • You don’t give offense. You *take* offense.
    • Nothing is more annoying than someone who *looks* to take offense. Although the main thing that has happened as a result of taking this on board is that I find people more annoying.
  • Stop cutting off your nose to spite your face!
    • I’m a stubborn person. I don’t think this will change. Oops.

I think that will do for now. There are plenty more, but it would likely turn into a book. I guess the point of this post is that all the above pieces of advice, if I’d chosen to follow them throughout life more consistently, would have improved so many rubbish situations I’ve managed to land myself in. Make no mistake – the common denominator in all of my problems past and present is me.

I should probably listen to my Dad more. Even if he is leaving all the money to the cat.