Master Of None.

Posted by admin on November 19, 2018 in Working Daze |
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Like most professionals, I have a LinkedIn account. It’s Facebook for the working class, a chance to network, share insights, and perhaps even find new work if you’re in the market.

For some, it’s also a place to strut like a peacock. This seems to be the way of life for anyone under 35 on LinkedIn. Yes, there are those who are actually trying to post content that’s actually useful – links to trends, news articles and other content that others may be interested in. But there are a ton of these young peacocks who falsely believe they are so self-important that they drone on endlessly in a video, telling me something I figured out when I was, oh, I don’t know, 10 or 11.

A great example that popped up this morning:

Maybe people are just dumber than they used to be. Obviously, these self-proclaimed masters of the universe seem to be all too willing to share their tidbits with the masses as they walk along a lake, look like their still fighting the after-effects of an all-night bender, or worse, sit in their car like they’re waiting for their fast food order.

My own reaction is either a sign of my age or my IQ. I believe it to the be latter. If Al Gore had invented the Internet when I was in my 20s my eyes would still roll up into the back of my head if I saw this drivel back in the day.

I readily admit that I thought I knew it all when I was their age too. It’s that strange gift (curse?) we are blessed with in our teens when we think our parents are complete idiots whenever they impart a little wisdom upon us. We nod impatiently, falsely believing that their mistakes and roadblocks have nothing to do with us in this day and age.

Thanks to LinkedIn we’re now rewarded with endless videos of these pseudo-sages sharing their wisdom about the world. I’m not their target. I get that. They are talking to other know-nothings in their generation, hoping that they will all start bobbing their heads in unison like a row of Funko collectibles in an earthquake.

Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. What I do know is that eventually, these pseudo-sages will look back at their endless video collection and either think 1) I really didn’t know shit back then or… sorry, there is no number 2).

The reason for this is age-old. It comes with the passage of time. Somewhere along the way we earn degrees and certifications that make us think we are smarter than we really are. It’s all Wizard of Oz, behind the curtain humbug. You don’t gain smarts from attending class, writing term papers or getting a piece of paper at the end that was bought on ill-advised student loans.

What you do learn is that you don’t really know anything. You certainly come to realize that you don’t know it all. Eventually, you hit a point where you look in the mirror of life and wonder why you were ever so full of yourself to even think this way for a minute.

When I was 22, I got my B.A. degree in journalism. After spending a couple years in the mailroom, I got my big break and entered my career in communications and marketing in 1985. I have been at it since. I have worked in corporate and government realms. I ran my own shop for two decades. I have worked with huge clients all over the world. I have dabbled in every possible aspect, from social media (long before it was supposedly the be-all, do-all of branding) to websites, ones so cutting edge they hadn’t even invented a code for a background color yet.

And what have I learned after nearly 35 years in the profession? Well, I certainly wouldn’t waste any of your time with a LinkedIn video telling you how smart I am. Unlike these 20 and 30 somethings, I am hardly a master of my domain.

What, you say? How can that be? “Why Robb,” you could teach this stuff in your sleep and save everyone just starting out years of mistakes and errors.”

Maybe. But over these many years, I’ve learned something important about life. You can’t be a master of anything when you’re still a student. The truth is, I’m still learning. That’s what has kept me in this profession all these years. I still love what I do and have come far enough in life to know that I know very little about anything.

I guess that would be one hell of a LinkedIn video. “Hello everyone. Know that when you get to be my age, you’ll come to realize that you’re not as smart as you thought you were at yours and come to find out that you really don’t know shit. But the good news is that means that you can be a great student because you’re not pretending to be something you’re not.”

Sorry, folks. All those awards the industry gives you, the plaudits from your clients, the big raise and corner office won’t make you smarter and it won’t make you wiser.

What does make you smarter and wiser is having the humility and courage to drop the facade and live your life as a lifelong student. That means learning from others as much as sharing your own insights. It means opening your mind and your heart, it means checking your ego at the door and it means holding your tongue while others share their hard-earned lessons.

It also means that you won’t be making silly videos to post on LinkedIn, especially when you’re still wet behind the ears. Maybe you can when you’ve finally gotten to that point in your career when you become comfortable with the little you know and the lot you still need to learn, but that may not be until you’re on your death bed, and really, who wants to watch that.

I would say trust me, but you already know it all. Suffice it to say that if we run into one another somewhere, the big smile isn’t because I’m glad to see you. It’s because I’m doing my darndest not to laugh at your latest pseudo-sage rambling on LinkedIn because it was complete nonsense.

In the Emerald City, watching a 20-something tell me how to build brand value by becoming a Social Media Influencer. Hilarious!!!!!!

  • Robb

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