In general, it’s easier not to ask questions.
I’m willing to bet that most of us go through our day shrugging off uncertainties and continuing along our merry way, trusting that a slight misunderstanding of something probably won’t affect us very much in the long rung. And in reality, that’s probably true. I am quite confident that you can go through life performing the necessary tasks at your job, in your relationships, in society, without ever really asking any questions.
But here’s a crazy thought …. what if you did ask?
It would make things harder, of course. I have no doubt about that. Because asking questions means no longer scraping by with the bare minimum of what’s expected of you. It means trying harder instead of just being content with doing what you’re told to do. And even if we don’t like to admit it, the blameless world of “I was only doing what I was told” can be much more comfortable than a world in which we have to answer for the decisions we make.
But hey, why not take a risk? Why not be inquisitive? Step up your game. True, people will expect more of you if you ask more questions. They will expect you to think independently and even – God forbid – solve your own problems. Maybe even come up with some solutions to other people’s problems. Because you’re capable of that.
You’re capable of thinking outside the little box you’ve been given, whether you really want to or not.
“The system we grew up with is based on a simple formula: Do your job. Show up. Work hard. Listen to the boss. Be part of the system. You’ll be rewarded.
That’s a scam. Strong words, but true. You’ve been scammed. You traded years of your life to be part of a giant con in which you are most definitely not the winner.
If you’ve been playing that game, it’s not wonder you’re frustrated. The game is over. There are no longer any great jobs where someone tells you precisely what to do.”
- Seth Godin, Linchpin
People who say that appearance doesn’t matter are, quite frankly, lying. At least when it comes to business.
I’m not saying that what’s on the inside doesn’t matter more – ultimately, it does. But considering the fact that you’ve already been completely assessed and judged in the business world before you’ve even opened your mouth, how you present yourself matters whether you like it or not.
Last year, I had a phone interview with the agency I’m now working for. In this case, a phone interview equated pacing around my dorm room on a cell phone and hoping that none of my residents knocked on the door with an emergency. But my dad gave me a good piece of advice before that interview, and it was this: Dress as though you’re going to see your potential boss in person.
So there I was, 10am on a Friday when I had no classes, in pumps, a dress, and blazer. And honestly, it helped. Professional clothing has a way of pulling you up and demanding that you present the best of yourself. And we’re talking about real professional clothing here, not the skintight pencil skirts that women where on TV. Sexy doesn’t have much of a place in the office if you want to be respected, but classy and lovely always work. Think Audrey, not Marilyn.
My agency is pretty lax on dress code, especially when it comes to the creative department. We’re rarely seen by anyone outside the agency, so jeans and t shirts are totally acceptable. But most days that’s just not how I jive. I find that I work better when I’m dressed nicely, and I’m taken more seriously too.
So you know, dress to impress. Because earning respect starts the minute you walk through the door.
Oh, Valentine’s Day. How I … don’t have any particular feelings about you.
I’ve spent my V days in a number of different ways. Three years ago I was getting drunk at an Irish pub in Amsterdam. Two years ago I was in Cincy with a boyfriend, one year ago I was at a single ladies party at Miami. This year, it’s going to be mexican food and margaritas with my mom and my best friend – incidentally, my two favorite women on the planet.
I guess I just never understood the hatred that some single folks direct toward Valentine’s Day. Romantic love isn’t the only kind of love in the world, so why limit V Day to celebrating only that? Admittedly, wallowing in a pint of ice cream in front of the tv is decidedly “Bridget Jones” of you, but it’s hardly the most fun way to spend a night.
It’s tough for couples too, though. Because how exactly do you “live up” to Valentine’s Day? Something is obviously expected of you, but what exactly? Flowers? Candy? Stuffed animals? Great sex? All of the above? Even the V Days I’ve spent with a significant other have never quite lived up to whatever they were “supposed” to be. Because it’s just another day, really, jazzed up by Hallmark. It’s great to remind someone you love just how much you love them, but for some reason the pressure is on when it comes to V Day. I mean hell, they even made a mediocre movie about it.
But it’s still just a day, and it is what you make of it. So why not have some fun? Whether you’re single, attached, or casually dating, you’ve got people who love you. And I suppose that’s what life is about anyway.
Today is just an excuse to wear pastel pink and eat chocolate.
It seems to me that a lot of unfortunate situations we find ourselves in throughout our lives could be made better if we just said something.
I have very little patience with unhappiness in my life. If I’m unhappy, and I can do something to change that, I will do it as soon as possible. Most recently, I was given a different position at my advertising firm – moving from a writer to an account executive. The truth? It was not for me. Not at all. I could tell within a few days that I wouldn’t enjoy my work anymore, and I longed for the days I got to spend brainstorming and actually creating something new.
So, rather than suffer in silence, I said something to my boss. I spoke up and was honest about my feelings in a professional manner. And you know what? It worked. I spoke with him, I spoke with the president, and I get to go back to writing in just a few short days.
I think sometimes we underestimate the power our words can have. We don’t bother to speak up because we don’t think anyone will listen if we do. But how can anyone know that for sure if they don’t take the chance? It can seem so much more tempting to languish in whining and self pity instead of taking a risk and standing up for yourself.
The long and short of it is simply this: If you have a problem, say something. You never know how your words can affect a situation if you never open your mouth.