Redmarketer

September 20, 2008

Managing Hubris

Filed under: Emo (EQ), Personal Branding, School — Robert John Ed @ 2:44 pm

One of my largest concerns moving forward is remaining humble and keeping in mind how little I actually know.  Going to school is already a great experience; my fellow students are incredibly intelligent and show great enthusiasm as well.  The companies that come in to present are filled with bright leaders and poised recruiters who are all to happy to help you understand how everything works.  Teachers genuinely seem to care and the second year students have all been a huge help at every turn.  The crowd is pretty amazing.

Yet, your head is kind of in the weeds still.  It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the program and the immense possibilities the future holds.  The problem comes in pretty quickly when you lose sight of who you are and intrinsic meaning.  The reason we are going to school is to be able to hit the ground running in our next position and have a positive impact, not alienate others and act like big shots.  There’s a dichotomy to this situation though, I’ve already felt it from some people I know.  People often expect you to become some sort of snobbish jerk because of the MBA.  That really sucks.  As most of my friends already know, I grew up in a family with worn, blue collars.  My work ethic is reflective of having parents who showed me what hard work was every day of my life.  It wasn’t a choice.  It was survival.  All of my friends and family are from all statures of life and I like it that way.  The ability to relate to all kinds of people is a great tool to make new friends, and certainly can help you out in the business world as well.

The latter issue with the aforementioned dichotomy is that us humans are a fickle lot.  It’s easy to be influenced, one way or another (that’s why I have a career!).  So all this work we are putting in, the continual expectations in career path and salaries, the leadership programs, the networking, the community building…it all adds up to a big head.  Or it can.  That’s the last thing I want.  In fact, I’d rather not get the degree than turn into some pompous, hypocritical ass.  I’m quite proud of who I am, where I came from and who my friends are.  Those things should not change because of a degree.  So it’s up to me to watch the hubris, the ongoing arrogance that is easily amassed and difficult to dilute, but a little help from you doesn’t hurt either.  Our self projection isn’t always congruent with external perceptions, so feel free to keep me informed on your take.

It plays on the social side of things, but in the job field too.  I spoke with a marketer on Thursday night who stated in no uncertain terms that too many of the incoming interviewees have a false sense of entitlement.  Personally, my goal isn’t to come into a company and run everything.  I’m simply not equipped for that kind of responsibility.  I do want accountability and increasing expectations wherever I go.  My objective is to get in at a company and add value as quickly as possible, while learning from the people there that have built it to current proportions.  As I said before, you aren’t the first, you won’t be the last.  Focus on learning and building, and not being a pompous professional stereotype.  :-)

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