There’s no way out of here
When you come in
You’re in for good

She wanted to see me for career advice. We had met at an outreach function for our respective professions. Wanted to meet me later. Said she was at outreach function to get contacts to develop her presentation skills. Wanting to work hard to improve.

Told her she was who she was, at 40 or so. That, at 60, the essence of who I am was there at five years old, or earlier, for as long as I can remember. One can curve out the edges, but the essence remains. Same reticence about people. Same transparence, that comes across as social softover; he just doesn’t get it. Same crossing of social boundaries that had no idea were there. The longstanding autistic-like tendencies, when not so identified.

Never did get it. Also didn’t know it was important to get it. Carried a briefcase in high school. Backpacks didn’t exist at the time. Still carry bags that make no sense.

My mother would recount, with amazement, all these children playing with me in our backyard, and how I, at three years old, would drive them all away.

Then I would wonder where they went.

Studied the nature versus nurture theories and evidence in relation to the micro-Organizational Behaviour components of doctoral studies. The raging debates, that end up reconciled in some middle ground. Nature affected by social experiences.

Social experience can be failure, rejection or indifference.

True to his essence, or incapable of hiding it, my father was demoted twice (an unheard of feat in government, then and now), and ended up with a deeply satisfying career in taxation.

True to essence, or incapable of hiding it, have been fired, laid off, rejected as candidate and similar, yet ended up with no occupation disliked, for most of my life. Be yourself, and get pushed to the essence.

Why one is a solicitor, rather than a barrister.

Why one is an accountant, rather than a salesperson.

Why one moves boxes on the night shift, rather than being a cashier, during the day.

So I told her that she had all she needed.

Except perhaps a mentor, who valued who she was, and appreciated that running interference (“She is good. Leave her alone.”) was part of the package. Had such a mentor, to whom I owe my doctorate.

No reading of “How to become…” books. Dale Carnegie has his place, but not here. Nowhere to be, no one to become, other than who you have always been.

My father read, and reread, Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. Still have the tattered copies. Did no good. Went back to reading the Income Tax Act. Did lots of good.

About brucelarochelle
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