Faking it


Back in 1981, I was offered a job up on Federal Hill in Providence. My new boss took me to a shadowy back room and showed me a machine that looked like a cross between an electric organ and a typewriter.  “Have you ever used one of these?” he asked.



“You bet,” I lied, my mouth dry.



I managed to figure it out. Within a few months, I was the only person in the place who really knew how to use the thing.



For a long time I felt guilty about this. Then, again and again in my personal life, I found myself faking expertise in a particular field. I still didn’t feel good about it, but at least I was becoming a more proficient liar.



Now I read this article by Luke Johnson in the Financial Times. He tells a story about taking a job as a DJ, when he had a big record collection but no experience. He figured it out. Lesson: many successful people begin their careers by faking expertise.  (Evidently there was even a British TV show about this: people taking on jobs/roles that they had no background for.)



When I was young, I used to be more or less terrified of adulthood, because I believed that I didn’t know the rules. Adults always seemed to know what to do; they seemed so natural. I tried to figure out the rules; I tried to learn the right things to do.



Now I realize it’s all about faking it



And what’s wrong with that?   Life isn’t a quiz; there’s no answer key. We just do the best we can.



What else are we doing in this life, from dawn to dusk and after, but faking our way through?



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

3 Responses to Faking it

  1. starproms says:

    Yes I suppose you’re right although I hate to admit it. I think it’s about giving reassurance. Last night I watched a programme called the 999 Awards. In your country that would be 911. One of the stories concerned a doctor who went to the aid of a man who had got his arm trapped in some machinery. To make matters worse the man was up high and almost inaccessible. The doctor, who was a volunteer in his spare time!, went to his aid. He had to climb up awkward ladders to reach him and soon assessed that he would be unable to help free him. He therefore had no alternative but to remove part of the arm to save the man’s life. The doctor, although very experienced, had never amputated a man’s arm before for real. To be honest in that situation would have done the man no favours! The man’s life was saved and he will be eternally grateful to the doctor who relied on his learning to do the deed. The doctor was given an award, which was richly deserved.

    • I think about this kind of thing a lot. I’m good at a few things, and only fair at a lot of others. I’ve been at my current place of employment for 25 years, so naturally I know all of the people, phone numbers, who to call, who to flatter, etc. But I’m still faking it much of the time (or I feel that I am).

      By the way: downloaded your book from Amazon last night and have begun it, and am enjoying it very much.

      • starproms says:

        Dear Loren, thank you for downloading my book. I really enjoyed writing that so I’m glad you’re enjoying reading it. As I said before, it starts out very tame but gets darker as the story moves along. I’d love to know what you think when you get to the end of it.

        I am half way through the sequel now.

        Life in a school or a hospital or a college or any type of institution is so different from life in industry. I’ve worked in both and found the differences fascinating. Human nature is such that we all fall into categories, whether we like it or not and we are judged as such. I am a quiet person who finds it hard to ‘put myself out there’ . It seems that the ‘loud’ people get noticed much more in this life. I suppose it makes me a good ‘non-participating observer’.

        Interestingly to me, my son’s wife has just started a Pilates Pod where people can go and exercise. They buy the sessions up front, are given tokens and they can use the tokens when they like. That is better than having to pay every month to a gym and then not turning up, isn’t it. Much fairer on the buyer, I think. Anyway my d.in.law and son have spent an awful lot of time on the promotion and advertising of the Pod and it is doing very well. That is their forte, the promotion. I do their accounts. They have no clue about that, nor do they want to. Each to his own, but for the best end result, we all need to share our gifts (as the vicar would say) and then we will all benefit.
        As an only child, growing up with adults, I soon learnt to be self-sufficient but that doesn’t make for me to be a good mixer. I am hopeless at parties for example. I wish I could be better at it and enjoy it. I see so many other people having a good time and wonder why it can’t rub off on me.

        I doubt very much if you are faking it. I think you just think you are. You wouldn’t still be in that job after 25 years, if you were not up to it, NOT IN THIS DAY AND AGE.
        Have a great day 🙂

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