The version of me in your head

By , October 10, 2017 6:24 am

When I switched from a private sector job to government job nine years ago, quite a few people were opinionated about whether or not I’d like it. I’d be getting “too far away from design work” (in my field of architecture) in the new position. I wouldn’t get to be creative anymore. And so on.

Funny – I’m not very creative and that isn’t the type of design work I enjoy, but did people care? No. They just cared about warning me.

Thankfully, only a couple people had similar reactions to the detail* I’m on at work now. But, I still got those comments (one in person and one behind my back).

At first I thought this kind of reaction was related to my degree in architecture – that people really couldn’t wrap their heads around someone with an architecture degree NOT getting licensed and NOT designing space. Even people with other design degrees sometimes didn’t get it.

But I finally realized –  major DUH moment – this is just a people thing. Sure, people have preconceived notions of what someone with an architecture degree does with their career, but people have preconceived notions about EVERYONE, no matter their career/whatever, based on the version of them they’ve built in their mind. Especially now, with social media.

It’s human nature – we take what we know about someone, from spending time with them in person (or worse, from their social media presence), then evaluate their decisions based on those “facts” and our morals/beliefs/ideals. We wonder why they’d do something we’d never choose to do. We create a version of them in our minds that’s partially them, but mostly us, and man, do we question that version.

It’s natural! The problem is when you’re a dick about this natural thing and bring it up in rude ways. Or often, bring it up at all. Or spend waaaaaay too much time pondering other people’s choices.

I don’t expect people to stop doing this! It would just be nice if they mostly kept their version of me to themselves. Or instead of saying “you’re really not going to like that,” asked “what do you think you’ll like about the new position?” Big wish, I know.

Like I said, very DUH. Not sure why it took me this long to make the connection. (Thank heavens I was up from 12:30 to 3:00 this morning and had this thought pop in my head, and wrote this. Gah, I am not going to be able to stay awake at Blade Runner 2049 tonight!).

*A detail is when you’re “on loan” to another team for a set amount of time. Four months, in my case.

20 Responses to “The version of me in your head”

  1. Shelley B says:

    I don’t get why people get so invested in other people’s choices. I mean, I’m interested in hearing about your job just because I find you interesting, but I’m not going to be all WHY IS SHE DOING THAT?! because for one thing, not my business but for another thing, I’m not the one doing it. Not to say I don’t judge friends for their seemingly stupid choices, but I don’t tell them of my judgement -nope, I keep that to myself (OK and Paco). 😉

    • kilax says:

      I will never get it either. If you can’t inquire in to someone’s life from a polite perspective, what the hell is your problem? And people being so invested/nosy/controlling is what causes SO. MANY. ISSUES. I judge too (who doesn’t?!) but keep it to myself! (Unless it seems like someone is making a dangerous decision… then I say something).

      If Paco could talk!

  2. Kandi says:

    Not related to this exactly, but for women’s history month this year we had a woman architect (she helped design the African American museum here in DC!) come speak about women in the architecture field. As she described the process of how to go through the schooling and then internships and then finally getting your license I could understand why more women don’t do it. It’s a long process!! I was really fascinated by it though and it’s definitely a field that could benefit from more women.

    • kilax says:

      That’s cool that you got to listen to that woman speak!!! Why were you thinking the length of the process would deter a woman more than a man? For family planning? It wasn’t the length of it for me – I started the process, then quickly realized I would never want to be licensed, and quit the process after a few years in.

  3. Christina says:

    I think people just like to be sly-ly negative because they are assholes. Instead of celebrating good news, or being happy for you, they want to cut you down in a way that makes them still feel good about themselves, but makes you feel a little doubt/question your choices. People are just jerks that can’t just be happy for others. 🙂

    Can you tell I’m a people person? 🙂

    • kilax says:

      Preach! That is definitely the case with several people I’ve met, including the one who was saying stuff behind my back about this detail! I ONLY FEEL HAPPY IF OTHER PEOPLE ARE MISERABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!a

      • Melissa says:

        Didn’t you know happiness is a zero sum game? If you’re happy it means there is no happiness left for me! LOL…*saracasm*

  4. Kathy says:

    Yeah it’s human nature and I agree people should keep their negative opinions to themselves. The worst thing I think is that it can make people questions a good decision they already made.

  5. Melissa says:

    F*ckin’ A…people really suck more often than not. I’m going through something quasi-related and I love how people will lead with…”Well, not to diminish what you’re doing BUT…” (Ummm….LOL) Sorry I don’t have anything more helpful this morning but I just got finished texting a manifesto about this to some of my best friends and it was very timely to see your post come up in my feed!

    • kilax says:

      Ha, anything that starts with “not to…” usually does the thing it’s “not” supposed to do. Face palm. I am happy you have your best friends to talk to during this time/situation, when other people are being such airheads!!!!

  6. My department went through a significant amount of change earlier this year, when two of the four people (four including me) quit within three weeks of each other. When the first person left, I took on a bunch of the work she had been doing and found I really enjoyed it, even though it’s not “creative” or whatever else an English major is supposed to be doing with his or her life. A week after she left, my boss announced that he was quitting in two weeks, and then sat me down to tell me what he was going to tell his boss what should be done with me (in terms of responsibilities), and he was really pushing for me to not do the work the first person who quit had been doing because he assumed I would hate it (because he hated that work), and he was always under the impression that we were the same person, so since he wouldn’t like it, surely I wouldn’t like it either. Fortunately, his boss didn’t listen to him, and I was able to take on the first coworker’s role and develop it into something much larger, and now I’m much happier at work. But it made me so annoyed that my boss just assumed that since the work I’d be doing wasn’t as creative, I’d hate it (because all he wanted to do was creative stuff.) I love it! Don’t project your opinions onto me, and definitely don’t try to keep me from doing something because you “know better”! Ugh, it was so frustrating! I’m pretty sure I have a better idea of what *I* like than you’d have, and even if I’m wrong, at least let me figure that out for myself!

    • kilax says:

      Wow! I am happy to hear you ended up getting to keep the lame-o not creative work that you enjoyed!!! 😉 All joking aside, how odd that he never thought to ask you what you thought of those tasks. Even from a management role, whether he was leaving or not, you’d think he’d ask! Hey, so how’s it going with this workload? What do you think of it. DUH DUH DUH. It would have been so frustrating if they just took it away without consulting you.

      The position I am in now is review and organization and investigation and problem solving… all very stimulating and enjoyable for me BUT HEAVEN FORBID I AM NOT DESIGNING SOMETHING!

  7. Anne says:

    I can’t relate career-wise since my job is so random and not tied to my degree at all, but I can definitely understand this feeling of people judging your choices based on THEIR lives/preferences/whatever. It’s like when we started telling people we were moving to Cleveland – I got a lot of “WHY CLEVELAND?! IT’S TERRIBLE” kind of responses (not word for word, but that was definitely the sentiment!). Um, I guess to get away from judgy a$$holes who can’t just be happy for other people?

    Like you and probably many others, I definitely do this too, I just keep it to myself (or share with Terry or a trusted friend or something). I definitely don’t get what motivates others sometimes, but I don’t have to!

    • kilax says:

      I am not surprised you got that with your move after what we dealt with moving to Zion. It’s like if people have heard one bad thing or had one bad thought about an area, they have to share it!!! (Although, I was totally that way when you were moving to RL and wanting you to know about what happens on the north side of 134, lol). It’s like how some people always focus on the amount of shootings in Chicago, and not other things about the city (not a political statement – I’ve heard people say they don’t want to visit Chicago because of that). But yeah, we don’t have to understand it. We just get to think we wish they’d keep it to themselves. ALTHOUGH – it really shows you who the people are who have your best interests in mind! So there’s that!!!

  8. Karen says:

    Social media has created a strange element. It took me awhile to realize that if I try to share what my reality is or how something impacts me on a deep level, people still run it through their own filter…that made a huge impact on me even wanting to blog.
    At work I am a peon so I mostly just watch it all happen, but folks are quick to questions others decisions if they think it makes them look smart which often just loooks kind of ugly to me.

    • kilax says:

      Oh definitely. And when people read blogs, they often think “how does this relate to me?” or “what experience have I had that’s similar?” so their response about your experience has gone through that filter as well. It’s natural, but some people take it too far!

      Ugh, climb over each other to get to the top, right?!

  9. Mica says:

    I wonder if people who say these things to you feel like they have your best interest at heart. Like “Oh, I know, Kim, and I bet she won’t be happy if she makes this decision, so I better warn her!”

    Not that intention excuses behavior, of course!

    What do you say when people make these comments to you? Do you just grin and say “Oh, hm, I hope not!”


    • kilax says:

      Yes, I think some people really do think that. “Gosh! I better warn her now!”

      For both situations I mentioned, I told them that the type of work I was moving toward was more in tune to my skills and interests. That I am not your traditional “architect” (major).

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I actually really liked it! Steven thought it was too long though and that the resistance people should have been cut out so it was shorter.

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