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:
- Repeat, to yourself and others, over and over: “It’s just a silly test. It doesn’t mean anything.”
- If you get to report your own results, try this: go ahead and do the assessment, then make up whatever results you want.
- 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!
Information is power – especially information about YOU.
Keep it well.