A big bubbling pot of anxiety

In the last couple weeks I started thinking about getting my portfolio together online, because while I still have a job you never know when that may change and it might be helpful to be at least halfway prepared. Or maybe something better will present itself.

But this task is not a pleasant one, for a variety of reasons. The portfolio has always been problematic for me, because self-confidence is not one of my strong points. Yet I’m supposed to walk into a job interview with a body of work and say, “Your search is over. I’m here.” In the world of Special Snowflakes, I’m not supposed to compare myself with anyone else. I’m supposed to be The Best Damn Me I can be, and the world will be my pearl-filled oyster. The Best Damn Me I can be is just not very good at bullshitting my way into things. There’s the whole “fake it til you make it” school of thought, and occasionally I can prop myself up for awhile and think, “Yeah, I’m pretty good,” and then I go looking around the internet for other online portfolio examples to get ideas on how to set this thing up and my rickety scaffolding of confidence collapses and I realize how lacking in any talents I am, because there is some AMAZING BRILLIANT work out there. (This is where comparing yourself to other people gets very problematic.)

Right now you’re saying, “Why are you broadcasting this to the world? No one will hire you with that attitude.” Probably. But if some emotional vulnerability is a deal-breaker then I probably don’t want to work for you anyway.

Part of the problem is that I was raised with the idea that tooting your own horn was one of the worst character traits you could have. Good people were modest and humble, and thinking very highly of yourself was most unattractive. Imagine my surprise as an adult when I realized that seemed to be an essential trait for any kind of success. Yes, there are people who think their shit doesn’t stink who don’t get anywhere, but there also aren’t very many quietly humble people who shy away from any discussion of their talents who DO get anywhere. (However you define “getting anywhere.” I’m not just specifically talking about corner-office corporate success, which is of little interest to me.) I need to cut the wire that connects “honest appraisal of one’s talent” to “giant ego monster” and figure out how to live in the space between it. And even if I am not an Elite Design Goddess there might still be a job out there for me that would make me happy, and make someone happy to have hired me.

P.S. During most of the time I was writing this my eyelid was twitching. No, I’m not stressed out at all.

A big bubbling pot of anxiety

2014 Reading List Update

Currently reading:
Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith
Fodor’s Italy 2013
Italy 2013 by Rick Steves
Unimaginable Zero Summer by Leslie Stella
The Night of the Gun by David Carr
England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond by Jon Savage

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
Autobiography by Morrissey
Against the Odds by Jamie Meadows
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
The Feud: The Hatfields & McCoys The True Story by Dean King

2014 Reading List Update

Here one day, and gone the next. OR: Shooting oneself in the foot.

it’s amazing how much knowledge someone can carry around in their head that only THEY know. They quietly go about their business, taking care of all kinds of things that no one else knows anything about. Then one day, that person is gone, and they take all that knowledge with them right out the door.

That’s one of the things the powers that be don’t think about when they start laying people off. (“Reduction in Force” is what we’re calling it these days.) When the staffing level is pretty lean to begin with, a lot of people are doing something only THEY know. They never had a backup who knew all the little ins and outs of their responsibilities — all the little tasks that somehow got done are no longer getting done, and no one realizes they aren’t getting done until something misses a deadline: “Where are the printouts for X job!? They were supposed to be ready for X meeting!” Well, the person who did that doesn’t work here anymore and he wasn’t given the luxury of time to pass on his knowledge to anyone else before he was escorted out the door. So now we all have to scramble and figure out all the things he was doing and how those things will be divided up among those of us who are still here, and add those things to our existing piles of work and hope nothing falls through the cracks again.

You can only carve so much meat off a carcass.

Here one day, and gone the next. OR: Shooting oneself in the foot.