Too Much Information, Part 2

September 21, 2012

You’ve been there. You wake up in the middle of the night, haunted by them.  You’ve lost your appetite, drank that extra beer, and kicked the dog, all because of them.  You’ve come home to your loving wife, or husband, or cat, looked into their eyes, and felt inadequate, less than who you thought you were, surely less than they think you are, just from a single encounter with these invaders.

They come in many forms. The new employee, all enthusiastic, with shiny new skills and a polished resume.  The guest speaker, waltzing in as if they’d figured everything out, easy as pie.  The intern, oblivious to the real world and its constraints, putting in extra time and effort, all to make you look bad.

This is the too much information that comes when new people arrive in your territory, uninhibited by all the drivel, unrealistic demands, and pernicious politics that have stripped away your shiny polish.  Waltzing in, they’re like a neon sign reminding you of the dreams and strengths and possibilities that once were yours.  Their presence activates weird fun house mirrors that simultaneously show off all their best features while making you look like the victim of some weird internal explosion that is somehow miraculously still being held together by your skin.

We say enough!  You have suffered too long already, and do not deserve this mockery.  Much better to bar them at the door, let them know they’re not welcome here. Here are some tried and true tips to do just that:

  • Remind yourself that no one can do what you do like you do it – which means that there’s no sense in getting any help from anyone else! Much better to be run a little ragged than to welcome in the inadequate interlopers.
  • If you do have a necessary encounter with these aliens, you can recover quickly by focusing intensely on whatever is most familiar and entrenched in your job.  There’s nothing like the routine of routine to cancel out new thoughts.
  • If you just can’t shake lingering thoughts like “I really do wish I still knew how to smile” or “maybe we don’t need to use carbon copies anymore” or “gee, I could learn to samba,” then immediately find a colleague, friend, or drunken stranger at a bar who understands how much you’ve lost, how hard it’s been.  They’re sure to remind you that you’ve turned out like you have for very good reasons, and, really, there’s no use crying over spilled milk.
  • And, of course, the best recourse is to face the problem head on: become a mentor.  You don’t want them to suffer like you have!
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