Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Maybe you should have a beer beforehand."

Here's a two-part confession: I am terrible at doing a whole lot of stuff. This probably doesn't surprise anyone. Everybody's terrible at something. I know people who are terrible at being musical, people who are terrible at performing household repairs, people who are terrible at being even slightly normal around other humans.

I'm really terrible at lots of things, but one thing I'm especially bad at is self-promotion. It might seem counterintuitive, being that I have this blog and all. A friend told me the other day that blogs are largely narcissistic, which sort of made the compliments on my talents as a blogger from others sting in retrospect. And while I see my friend's point, I am choosing to disagree, for my own sake. I don't think he was talking about this blog specifically, but more the ugly view of blogger culture, the idea that simple people sitting at home can decide that people are expectantly for the next morsel of brilliance that will fall from their table.

One of the things that I'm discovering in new ways consistently is that (confession part two) I'm really very good at a lot of things. It doesn't even have to do with talent--there are just some things I can do very well. This is hard for me to admit, because I am used to downplaying things so much. It's hardly as if I am positioning myself as a wallflower, seldom seen and never heard. But I don't talk about my skills or abilities as anything unique.

This came into sharp focus last night, when a friend offered to go over my resume (two friends, actually). Having read my resume, my friend then asked me to talk about each position listed. And in each case, what I spoke was more detailed and more impactful than what I had listed and sent out to who even knows how many employers.

Obviously, you can't ramble on aimlessly on a resume, and so I am in the process of trying to rework our discussion last night into some kind of appropriate and proactive language. But here's the ridiculous part: sitting in this coffeeshop, when I retype lines on the resume with this new, stronger language, I can actually feel myself blushing as I type. That's pretty bad, right? I mean, wow.

I don't really know how to break out of this. I'm a pretty bold and confident woman in person, and even in my writing. But this whole idea of trying to tell someone, "Your organization needs me, and here's why," makes me feel like I have been dropped into a foreign country without so much as a name.

On the other hand, writing rarely makes me blush. It has at times, but not often. That might mean, as some have said, that I'm not being honest enough. But I don't feel that this blog is narcissistic, and I hope it never becomes anything close. I hope that it's clear that I'm just trying to figure things out the best I know how, and the best way I know how is by writing. I hope it's clear that writing make me feel more awake and somehow lighter, even when the topic is heavy. And I know that I'm no good in isolation. Too much time on my own just makes me smaller and more confused.

But I know people manage this every day. They present themselves as the talented, useful, amazing people that they are, they stay honest, and no one looks at them and thinks that they live on some kind of pedestal. So how do you all do it? What works for you? Psyching yourself out in the mirror? Pretending that you're Rocky going into a fight? Managing somehow, without blushing or cracking a smile, to tell someone their house is on fire and you're the only one with water? Please share, really. I'm interested.

1 comment:

  1. Heather - I know that you love helping others, so go at it from that angle. Tell the companies how your presence would be beneficial to them, not to brag or place yourself on a pedestal, but so that they can find the best person for the position. Help them to see what you can bring to the table, because they don't know YOU... and YOU are an amazing woman! Help them help you.