In life, the most professional perplexity you will encounter will the most important tool you will master. There will be times you don’t think your boss’s jokes are funny, your work is worthwhile, or the day just isn’t going great for you. Sorry sis, but you have to make it work.
I used to work as a Program Manager, where I was responsible for 4-6 high school students. My interns always produced some great work, but whenever I tried to get them engaged it never worked. They gave minimal to no responses when my coworkers talked to them and you could tell they were only there to get paid. I never wanted to blame it on them being at that awkward age where nothing interests them because that’s just an excuse to me. And quite frankly, I could care less. I come to work weeks before they arrive just to plan everything out for them and I try my hardest to make sure the projects are engaging. I used to be an intern so I know what was fun and what was just busy work. My interns became so laid back and careless that they didn’t even try to pretend to be engaged. I would say direct it directly when I noticed, which was all the time, but they still weren’t understanding what I was saying to them. I tried countless times to explain to them that even if something doesn’t directly address or benefit them they still have to make it seem as if they care. In the workplace, in school and in life we all have to fake it at some point.
I really only like to speak on things that I know a lot about. I’ve been in many situations where this particular skill has come in handy. I went to a private high school and there were so many assemblies and masses that I wa forced to be at. Now, I am not Catholic and I was not used to sitting through a mass service. However, I learned very quickly that if I sat through it, be patient and be quiet, it would be over soon. I’ve also been at work and had to sit in on meetings about departments I didn’t even work under. My manager wanted me to go so I had to go. I could have said no and sat at my desk, but I went and I took notes and I was able to learn a few things.
“Faking it” is probably, no definitely the most important lesson I have ever learned. It translates in every aspect of your life and really determines how far you’ll be able to get. If you find yourself reading this and thinking I’m lying, I will gladly give you my top 3 reasons you should fake it.
- You never know who is watching-some people don’t care about being nice or likeable, but trust me it plays a major role. The more people see you are able to adjust and adapt, the more willing they are to work with you or give you a new opportunity you didn’t have before. Let me paint this picture for you: you’re in the midst of raising the funds to start your business but you just aren’t having any success. Your professor is giving extra credit for students who attend a special workshop on campus tonight. He doesn’t tell you that the company who is presenting is looking for business students to award a scholarship. In the first scenario, you go, sit for 15 minutes, sign the registration, and leave. In scenario 2, you go, stay for the entire program, ask questions, get the presenters business card afterwards, sign the registration, and leave. Of the two scenarios, which would give you the better chance of receiving the funding that you need?
In the first scenario, the person is only concerned with receiving extra credit for a class they’ll more than likely have to retake anyway because they need these extra points too bad. The second scenario shows a person who genuinely shows an interest in the topic of the program and is eager to learn more. Just because you don’t know every single detail of the event, you still want to go and be present because you could reap so many benefits if you do. And if you don’t, then I mean you’re just dumb.
2. There is a reward!- both tangible and intangible. If it’s a job, you get a paycheck. If it’s school, you get a degree or a passing grade. Just like all college students, I have been forced to take classes that I dreaded. When I say I had zero interest in the course, I literally mean none. But I went to class and I built a relationship with those professors and I showed effort. I made sure they knew me by name, even if I didn’t always submit work on time or come to class every session. Not only did I receive passing grades, but I am now able to go to them and request a letter of recommendation for an internship because they know my work ethic and my potential. You can build relationships that last a lifetime.
3. It’s polite, duh- You literally never know how many people are behind something. I’ll give another example, not school or work related. Let’s say you decide to have a party and you invite a bunch of people. You promote as much as you can. You tell everyone there will be free food and there is no cover charge to get in. You want everyone to come, have a good time and party with you. Well, the day of your party everyone comes out, eats your food, and leaves. You would be pissed if they didn’t dance, mingle, you know party. What’s a party when nobody is engaging and interacting? My point exactly. You don’t know who was behind the planning of the event and what it took to get everything in place. Acting like you care can make that much of a difference. As I contnue to build my brand, I realize that the business relationships I’m building are contingent on how well I can work with these people. Same thing goes with people who want to work with me. I don’t want to share my time and talents with people who couldn’t give a f..nvm. You get the point.
Our world is all about interpretation. We have to be mindful of the way others may feel about our words and actions. This not only affects them, but it ultimately affects us. People don’t want to be associated with a bum or someone who can’t pull it together for a few hours. And because they don’t want to be around you, they don’t want to hire you, or invest in your business, or support your campaign. By mastering the art of faking it, we are really taking control of our future. I mean, does it really hurt to suck it up for that small amount of time, seriously?