Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Let's talk, Garry

Sometimes people really disappoint you. Above: one of those times.

Fortunately for Garry Trudeau, he hasn't had to hunt for a job in decades. This is also true of most people giving out employment advice these days. Consequently, their job advice should accompany the warning label, "Best if used by 23 Mar 1986." More power to them for being indispensable career-wise, but they should at least acknowledge the disconnect.

College professors often do the same thing. They've been studying and teaching their material for so long that they make terrible instructors for first-timers. While most make an effort to bridge the divide, a handful don't succeed or even try. I can't say I blame them--I, for one, would probably not be the best at explaining editorial writing to teenagers--but knowledge should never be a brick wall to communication.

This kind of disconnect plagues couples as well, specifically those whose every movement, from bowel on up, is guided by the fact that they are but half of a whole. These are the people who never go anywhere without their significant other (itself a ridiculous term), use "we-mail" and whose every social moment revolves exclusively around other couples. They are the former good friends who fade out of your life forever, if you continue to do anything other than attend dinners with other couples to talk exclusively about couple shit. Ironically, this hyper-attached behavior often causes the couples to resent one another because of their ferocious mutual clinging. Hey, relationships are a wonderful thing; I've had 30 or 40 myself. But they should enhance the individual as well as the whole. Until that day happily rolls around, couples would at least do well to remember that not all single people hate themselves.

The above three examples are part of what seems to be a rise in smug behavior in the past few years. Whether intentional or not, more and more people are retreating into their own view of things, the result of which is that people sometimes come off as backhanded and/or condescending.

A few examples:

A 7th-grade classmate, referring to a comment I made about thrift: "When people get rich, they buy new stuff, man."

A 12th-grade classmate, referring to college scholarships: "That's why you get rich parents to pay for you."

Spoken by an upper-crust student from New Orleans, freshman year: "How can you eat college food? I'm used to always eating gourmet meals. This confuses me."

The standard reason for not understanding/getting/achieving something: "You must not want it enough."

A common reply when you're broke, hungry and looking for work: "Then why don't you just get a job?"

A "reassurance" given by every career counselor: "It's not what you know, it's who you know."

And, probably my favorite of all time, the answer to why decent people deal with so many setbacks: "Well, the good must suffer for the bad."

If any of these phrases or their representative attitude describe you, then be grateful of your success in life and cut the rest of us a break. We're trying, too. Life is not a balanced game.


Alisha said...

Some people are just lucky and some are just NOT! Those people who have it made will never understand the struggle that those of us who actually have to struggle to get anywhere in life have…unless of course one day their little bubbles burst, which would be a sweet day!

The Goblin Slayer said...

Ouch, Ian.

Mikel said...

Ian, for those with that guys attitude sometimes I like to borrow from Willi Shake and say to them - [Your] brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage.

Taken from: As You Like It

The site below is where I found the line. I keep an icon for the site on my desktop. You have all the words you need to handle those situations of that I am confident but I thought you might like the sight.

rhonda said...

these mindsets and behaviors are just asinine, ian. easier said than done, but try not to let it get you down.

Anonymous said...

As an 18 year old, I could always find work within 2 weeks. As a 52 year old, I've had a mere two interviews in 18 months.

Age discrimination? Certainly. Talent, experience and wisdom are not always valued. It seems many employers want androids programmed to genuflect for da boss, no matter if one can outperform who they actually hire.

Or so it seems. Who knows? I just know that at times, life seems to conspire to hold you down and all the unhelpful advice doesn't do anything but chafe.

But this is a pearl: patience. Things will change, and I hope the job that emerges for you makes all the waiting worthwhile.

-Kevin @ American Street

Anonymous said...

Kevin again: Btw, when Trudeau did that comic, it also noted that bloggers were unwilling to do the hard work necessary to become a real journalist. Is he biased? After all, his wife is a so-called 'real' journalist, but I sure haven't seen much of her in recent years. It makes me think Garry is just displaying sour grapes because his real-journalist-spouse is getting less airtime than your average blogger.

Maybe if she had learned how to report like Sy Hersh or Molly Ivins does, she could actually be productive still...

Ian McGibboney said...

Kevin, thanks for that. The comic reflects a reaction to the worst of the blogging breed, which I agree taints professional journalism. I don't really blame him for going after them, because while good blogging enhances journalism, bad blogging hampers it. I, for one, dislike the trend of the superbloggers, whose sole talent seems to be that they can compile stories to manipulate whatever point they want to make, right or wrong. I prefer original, thoughtful analysis to mere aggregates (which is why I like American Street and similar blogs).

Thanks for reading, Kevin, and may things look up for you.