Yesterday, I wrote about the Clay Shirkey essay on gender, ambition, and being a douchebag. Short version: Being an arrogant asshole will land you in jail more often, but it will also land you big money/influence/power more often.
My friend Josh gchatted me about the article, and I think you might find the whole convo an interesting follow up to yesterday’s post:
josh: i read you’re post, it’s good
me: what post?
josh: the being cocky post
i need to figure out how to do that
before i try asking for a raise
josh: “we both know that i’m the shit, give me more to do and more money to do it”
me: yes, that’s the atttitude
but i literally don’t know what words to say
josh: turn each of those clauses into like 4 sentences a peice
josh: don’t use “I think” or “I could/would”
use I am, I will
me: i need to practice
: maybe that would help
but that’s just an admission that you have something to be nervous about
me: well, that’s how i feel!
josh: and when you’re confident, you’re not nervous about shit
yeah, but you shouldn’t be
you’re not going to get fired for asking for more responsibility, so there are no stakes
and when there are no stakes, there’s nothing to worry about
me: that is the most male thing i’ve ever heard
because in girl land
there are stakes
and the stakes are
what if they don’t like me?
josh: yeah, but that doesn’t make sense in jobland
me: i realize this is EXACTLY the point of Shirkey’s essay
i don’t want to be seen as arrogant
josh: in jobland you’re straight makin’ cheddar
it’s just a hurdle that i have to get over
and i will
and if he thinks i’m being arrogant, well, it doesn’t actually matter
josh: yeah man
me: easier said than done
um… can i copy this convo into a blog post? at least the part of it at the end?
josh: oh, sure
it illustrates so clearly the exact difference i was talking about!
josh: yeah i see it
me: you see no stakes, i see public perception stakes
josh: what matters re: a boss is ultimately their perception of you as a hustler
and you will be displaying that
me: this is obvious to you, it’s not obvious to everyone
So what did we learn?
1. It’s dangerous being my friend… I’ll take your gchats public.
2. In Josh’ world, stakes are purely professional. In my world, stakes are both professional and social. I want to be successful, but I also want to be liked. I want my smiling face and positive attitude to be a conduit to promotion, but that’s not really how it works. Arrogance, ambition, and a little bravado are better bets, even if those qualities impact my popularity. I suspect that those traits aren’t as admired in women as they are in men. The question is, am I will to dock myself the team-player points which make me well-liked in favor of a few BAMF points that might leader to bigger and better things?