I used to think being humble was one of the greatest qualities my parent's instilled in me, my sister and my brother. We were raised never to brag about what we had and always know that we could improve next time. Success was never defined by material things. We each had our own definition of success. Mine is living in New York City and working at a job that I love. People spend a majority of their lifetime at work, so I could not understand why someone would want to be miserable at a job (yes I understand it's a luxury). I pursued fashion because everyone I met in the industry loved their job. I wanted to love my job.
However, I found that a humble person usually ends up not getting the success they deserve. Perhaps it's the New York City culture of being very cut throat and taking advantage of others to get ahead. That's just not me. Unfortunately, I think that may have held me back from great things. I am not the loudest one in the room (unless sports is on) and I tend to get overshadowed. My friends nudge me that I should speak up but I never wanted to achieve something in life because I aggressively touted around. I wanted to earn it and someone didn't allow me an opportunity then perhaps they felt I didn't deserve it.
I write this out of frustration and exhaustion from what I've experienced. I don't mean to whine or complain and apologize if this is what this sounds like. I wanted to explore this idea and see if I could find some answers. I'm not sure it's one particular community. It could be New York, social media people, bloggers or a combo of all of that. I just know I'm exhausted from it all.
Generation Y has been called the "Me" generation. YouTube has allowed anyone their 15 seconds of fame and "celebrities" like Kim Kardashian or the cast of Jersey Shore have shown that you don't need any special skill or talent to make millions of dollars in this country. That created such an explosion of celebrity culture that this generation suddenly felt entitled to more without having to work hard at it. My goal is not to be famous. My goal is to be happy (by my standards) and fulfilled with my career. None of my goals say I have to be a millionaire, drive a Ferrari or be on MTV. Not everyone from Generation Y is like that, but it has become a bigger trend than in any other generation before us.
And in the social media realm where I have been applying for jobs, it is just as noisy. Anyone can call themselves a "social media specialist" these days. Companies are putting their trust in people who are not exactly qualified, then companies don't want to work with "social media specialists" anymore. Their expectations for a social media role then become outlandish demands and they don't know what kind of person is the best for the job. I try to let my experience dictate to the potential employer what kind of worker I am. However, I am finding that is becoming less and less appealing to companies. They want you to "sell" yourself where I feel like there are too many sales people in this world. It reminds me a lot of used car sales man. A lot of people selling a lot of junk.
No situation makes this more present then networking. I hate networking. I understand the idea of meeting people and making connections. That part I like. The part where people are just there to meet others to help themselves get ahead, I don't like. I cringe when the first words out of someone's mouths are "so what do you do?" Is it all about the status and labels? Most business titles sound a lot fancier than they are and you can most likely elaborate yours to sound more authoritative. I don't typically answer "I am ___ and work at ___ company." I like to tell them "Well I like to help companies or brands build their social media presence..." I typically think whether or not I want to get to know them and perhaps be friends. But not everyone wants to be my friend.
In the blogging community, there are so many egos. It's surprising they can all fit into a room sometimes. I have no idea why. I don't think this issue resides only in New York City so I can't blame the NYC culture. My personal view: there's enough room for all of us. No one is necessarily "better" than anyone else. We are all bloggers. I'm always happy to help another blogger anyway I can. I don't understand this cut throat attitude most of us have. It honestly boggles my mind. What are you so afraid of? We are each unique and can each bring a different voice to the table. Seeing someone do well just makes me want to work that much harder.
I love blogging and I love social media. I just feel there's a better way to approach both of these industries then I have been seeing. I'm sure this issue exists outside both of those worlds but these are the two that I'm engrossed in on a daily basis. I do have a passion, a drive and competitive edge. Put me in front of a Scrabble board and I will show you competitive! However, I don't think I need to be the "hey look at me" type to be successful in the world (or so I hope).
Recently, Conan O'Brien talked to some UCSD students who had named their school after him for a day. He took questions from the crowd for a little over an hour and answered almost all of them (except one personal one). He gave some great little nuggets of advice to the kids of our future and tried to instill in them what my family has: be humble, work hard and be nice to people. That's how he got to where he is today. It was so great to hear someone who is successful in his field and who clearly loves his job give that advice. I wish there were more like Conan.
I hope to carve out a career path where I can say that I did it with my convictions and followed those core values. I didn't do it by being a sleazy used car sales man but by proving my value to them. I'm hoping this big bubble of egos is just a fad and that more hard working and humble folks will gain the recognition they deserve and be commended for it.
That concludes the end of my rambling. What are your thoughts about egos? Do you think I need to join in?
P.S. If you ever see me around, please come say hi! I'm actually really shy so I am typically a wall flower in the room. Or you can tweet me and I'll come say hi. Don't want you to think my lack of saying hi was because of my ego (lol!) that simply is not the case!