Too Much Information, Part 1

September 20, 2012

Welcome to the first in our multi-part Too Much Information series.  We hope, through this collection, to show you the benefits of  controlling information about yourself, and to give you some guidelines for doing that.  In that way, perhaps we can help to stem the rampaging tsunami of  information that is available to the world.  Really – enough already.

In this first entry, we’re going to look at a workplace situation that seems innocuous enough, or even helpful: the employee development program.  But don’t be fooled: it is actually a dangerous venue for losing control of critical information about yourself.

One of the first things on the agenda will be an assessment of some sort. This is usually presented as an opportunity to learn more about yourself – maybe your personal characteristics, or even your strengths – and to grow.   Sounds ok, right?  Why wouldn’t you want to know more about  yourself, your strengths?

Consider: what if  you – unbeknownst even to yourself – have some glaring weakness or  quirk? Maybe, despite your success so far in your career, you are completely lacking in discipline, or flexibility, or ingenuity? What if your most defining characteristic turns out to be “prone to infidelity”? What if an assessment designed to showcase your top 5 strengths instead shows only 3 strengths plus a couple of not-quite-weaknesses? Do you really want your bosses to know this, much less your co-workers?  Goodness, no.

But your boss insists.  What can you do?  Glad you asked.  Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Repeat, to yourself and others, over and over: “It’s just a silly test.  It doesn’t mean anything.”
  2. If you get to report your own results, try this: go ahead and do the assessment, then make up whatever results you want.
  3. If the results go straight to your boss, you may have to resort to this: Lie on the assessment. Then you have the happy choice of either telling your boss that you made it all up (sending the subtle, you’re-not-the-boss-of-me message), or NOT telling your boss that you made it up, and completely putting one over on him or her.

In this way, you keep all the power by either denying the validity of the results or concealing and obfuscating them. Thus, you neatly eliminate the need to actually  learn or grow, and keep control over the appearance of learning and growing!

Remember:
Information is power – especially information about YOU.
Keep it well.

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The Benefits of Stubbornness: The Sweet Spot of “No”

July 11, 2011

Many of you have no doubt been taking advantage of the benefits of “No” for many years, though perhaps without being fully conscious of what you were doing.  We congratulate you!   Saying “No” to things is one of life’s sweetest actions, even when you are only partially aware of the benefits.  We are about to show you a few that you may not have been aware of – but will now be able to savor fully.

The most obvious one, and the one that you are all probably already enjoying, is the sense of control, coupled with the sense of showing the other person (or party) just where they get off.  Oh, you want to do this?  Well, tough cookies: No.  Implicit in that: you can’t make me, I won’t be placated though you may try ’til you turn blue, there’s nothing you can do that will change my mind, you loser.

It feels good, doesn’t it?

Here are two of the more subtle benefits.

  1. It puts the next move squarely in the other person’s (or party’s) court.  They suggested something, which you flatly rejected.  Now they have to think of something else to suggest.  Don’t fall into the trap of making an alternate suggestion yourself!  Oh, no, no, no!  Keep them reacting, trying to guess what might be acceptable to you!  Hold onto the power!
  2. It puts you in the place of pure faultlessness.  All you did was to reject a clearly unacceptable suggestion.  Not your fault if the other person (or party) couldn’t come up with something that was even marginally acceptable!  No matter what happens from here – whether it’s just a little rough spot in the road while they come up with a better idea, or complete moral and physical disaster – it’s not your fault.  NOT YOUR FAULT!  Savor those words.

A recently Harvey Mackay piece suggests you let your inner child influence your negotiating style.  Well, we second that – sort of.  He’s referring to the happy, curious, open inner child.  We feel this will work much better with the needy, petulant, whiny inner child – the one that says “No” even to things he or she wants, just to be ornery and get back at whoever is suggesting it.

It may not get you what you want, but it will sure as shootin’ pull those around you down to your level of (un)happiness and (dis)satisfaction – and after all, that’s the ultimate goal, right?


The Board of MisDirectors thanks its member, The Rationalizer, for this entry (advised, of course, by all the other Members). If you find this advice helpful and would like more, please visit the Board of MisDirectors web site, where you can get advice on topics from employment to relationships, as well as hints on how to maximize the benefits of your unresolved traumas!


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