Sitting in an ivory tower.


I may frequently be quite arrogant, or whine that my life is kinda tricky, or that my job is one big frustration, but I (hope that I) never come across as someone who feels they are entitled to privilege or power. I’ve encountered several people like this, and for obvious reasons won’t discuss their details here, and I really don’t understand it. We’re all cogs in the machine that is humanity and we all have a role to play. I doubt the mechanisms are aided by whining and avoiding getting things done. (Unless by becoming lazy, we will be less of a drain on the earth’s resources? Perhaps the planet’s getting its own back?)

(Also, it’s ridiculous and hypocritical to talk about not being spoiled; I live in a house (a house!) that was my mother’s and drive her old car.)

I’ve never understood the mentality of waiting for other people to do stuff for you. I was raised by a single mother and the (rarely actually voiced) attitude was ‘There might not always be somebody around to do things for you’. But, lately, I’m finding that few people understand this notion and just wait for help instead of getting shit done.* They are often nervous, lazy, spoiled, miserable, or some combination of the above. Many of them whine about not getting respect, not having a place in the world, and not knowing what to do with their lives. And it isn’t just a young people problem (though, I notice it most about youngish folk.)

Basically, this (too short for the topic at hand, but I have to go to work early) entry is an excuse to share the wisdom of Paul the Projectionist’s dad: ‘Do your job better than anyone expects you to and respect will follow.’

It’s true. People don’t appreciate lazy people they have to cover for, or work around, or listen to the spoiled complaining of. That shouldn’t shock anyone. But it really fucking does sometimes. Be the best employee you can (and don’t forget, all humans make mistakes sometimes, so there’s no use dwelling on our own fallibility), regardless of how your current job relates to your long-term goals, and your boss and coworkers will be happier, and wherever you work will be a much better place for it.

(You will also be much happier because you are actually accomplishing something.)

I also interpret this advice as not just being about work. We all know folks who whine that they’ll never get a boyfriend, that they don’t understand why nobody likes them, etc. Y’know, people who think that friends will put up with that long term without complaint or getting fed up and not calling. You shouldn’t depend on any one other person to make you happy. Whining will not fix your self-esteem; it will only annoy people, especially if that is your only contribution to conversation, like, ever. Be a friend, not a dramatic teenaged alarm bell, and people will like you better, potential partners might notice that you aren’t just walking neuroses and actually are a good person, and your company will be more appreciated by everyone.

(And, again, you will also be much happier because you are actually accomplishing something.)

* I’m still kind of working on the ‘asking for’ and ‘accepting help’ thing myself. We’ve all got problems. <tm>Jovana Jankovic

3 thoughts on “Sitting in an ivory tower.

  1. Jackie

    I know we’ve chatted about this before, but I totally get you here, because my upbringing was similar. Not so much “there won’t always be someone around to do this for you” as “you are going to have to work really hard, because you aren’t going to get anywhere on your looks” and “good lord, why would you want to rely on someone else anyway?”. Which is so true. I *don’t* want to rely on people. (The first one sounds harsh, but I think it was my parents’ misguided attempt to keep me focused on developing my internal self and not becoming like one or two of my more vapid friends.)

    I sometimes wonder how these people who feel entitled to completely bypass starting salaries/positions and the like build their senses of themselves. External validation is nice, don’t get me wrong (because I bask in it too), but if that’s all you’ve got it’s like a thick coat of paint being all that’s holding up a rotting fence.

    • megan


      (Unfortunately, everything I said kinda conflicts with the ‘fake it ’til you make it’ attitude I have to adopt in professional situations where I feel out of my depth. But other people do that, right? Being human can be so confusing.)

      • Jackie

        I don’t think it conflicts. Faking it till you make it is the natural interim step in the process of doing something rather than waiting for it to be done. The first time(s) you do something yourself, you’re not going to know what you’re doing. The thing is, you’re still choosing to do them rather than whining and/or expecting it to be done for you.

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