The other day my daughter mused as to what it might be like if we knew what people were actually thinking about. Now as an “old man” I was informed that I did not understand what she was talking about or alternatively did not understand her! as I explained to her a few of the reasons why that might not be such an advantageous thing. I remember a couple of occasions where people may have learnt what was being thought about them. The most infamous of these was the “cup of tea” where our Prime Minister had a conversation with the leader of another political party that was inadvertently recorded. The ensuing scramble by the Politicians to keep the contents secret was unseemly and worrisome. However enough on politics….
I am trying to find another full-time job at the moment. I have gained an occasional interview, shortlisted and invariably people ask me how I went at the interview. To be honest I cannot really tell. I mean probably if I turned up slightly inebriated with a pair of underpants on my head then I guess it would become fairly obvious as I was shown the door. Interviews do not phase me at all, it is just another form of public speaking and I am very comfortable in that narrative form. I do however feel uncomfortable when asked how I went (in fact sometimes my reply may be considered testy..)as apart from being shown the door early there is very little to gauge an interview on unless someone is very direct in their communications. I have on occasion said actually I don’t think I would fit this role, but not in applications for teaching positions.
Whilst I am comfortable in an interview situation it becomes a little tedious to apply for positions and to not even get short-listed. One wonders what it is that they are looking for and what it is that makes you unsuitable. On occasion feedback is given and I receive that willingly, negative or otherwise, and sometimes wish for better feedback, and their lies the nub of the problem.
If we knew what other people really thought about us what do we do with information that we get that we do not like. In a recent blog I wrote about a cyber troll, https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/typical-maori-will-the-real-rex-magnum-please-stand-up/ Rex Magnum, I successfully chose to ignore him as he again attempted to bait me this week with further anti-Semitic racist abuse. Now the “courageous “ Rex Magnum” posted his views on me without fear, only because he was anonymous, posted under a nom de plume. It takes some courage(or stupidity) to tell people that which you really think of them. I try to live by the maxim of not asking a question that I do not want to hear the answer to.
At one place of employment there were a number of people (including myself) talking about another staff member. This person was a bully, they walked into the room and it fell silent, they daid it is almost like you were talking about me. In fact the conversation was about someone needing to tell tis person not to be a bully. I cleared my throat and said actually you were right on the mark. We were discussing how many of the conversations you have with us here appear to be bullying and discussed that individually we had asked you to change the way you spoke and were wondering if a collective statement was the best way to deal with it rather than an official complaint. At this they ran from the room crying and had two weeks off on stress leave and ended up with an official cease and desist warning after they went to complain about our behaviour to management.
I suspect that we would need to have very thick skin if we were to be subject everyday to hearing what others truly thought about us. We cannot control what others do or which that they utter about us, sure if the utterances are in public and are patently untrue we may have remedy at law however we can control our response. As I shared in https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/the-truth-will-set-you-free-or-me-anyway/ . knowing the truth about ourselves will be freeing to us especially if that is gained by reflection upon ourselves rather than as received information from others. We can sometimes gauge what others are thinking about when we are talking to them by their attitudes, body language, and behaviour towards us as we share, however that too we can get wrong. If someone is sharing something with me and I go quiet it may just be I have nothing to say (or nothing helpful). It maybe I think sharing is a waste of time or it maybe that I need to think about my response, or I may have been challenged by that which was said and I need to process that!
So the moral of the story for me is that I will continue to apply for jobs, continue to reflect and also continue to try to be respectful but keep my integrity at the same time.