During my commute to work today, I finally got around to listing to the Freakonomics Blog’s Podcast entitled “Faking It”. I highly recommend listing to it.
Without giving too much away, the podcast talked about how people need to fake things in order to fit in with the rest of society (especially at work). One example given was how a couple fakes attending church in order to fit in with their work colleagues & neighbors – their perception is that because they live in the south (Atlanta to be specific), one is judged socially based on how many kids a married couple has (or wants) and what their religious preferences are.
This got me thinking about my place/role in society but especially at work. Due to the highly political nature of Higher Education and Student Affairs, “Faking It” is something that is done all of the time. I do it (poorly I must admit) as well as everyone I work with and work for. In order to advance in this field, you need to fake it with your students, faculty, peers, and your supervisor(s). We volunteer our time to professional associations and pretend to like the people we’re working with although we barely know them (that doesn’t mean I dislike them. In reality, I don’t know what to think).
This “faking it” skill is something that I need to personally work a lot on. I’m a person who is very much a “straight shooter” and is very honest with what I think. That does not mean I am rude, but if you’re looking for someone to give you an honest opinion, I’m the person you want to chat with. However, I wonder if my inability to be a more effective “faker” will ultimately lead me not attaining my ultimate professional goal before I retire, which is to the a VP of Student Affairs. In order to get there, I’m going to need to make friends with a lot of folks that I wouldn’t (or don’t) enjoy spending time with. I think this is kind of sad in a way, but an absolute necessity.
I find it amazing when I go to a meeting with people who feel comfortable being honest with me & watch them pretend to love interacting with a particular person(s) yet the moment they leave, they let out their true feelings (verbally or non-verbally). Me, I have bad body language so, you can tell through my non-verbals what I really think regardless of what I say.
A question for you, reader: What percentage of your day do you spend “faking it”?