Author Topic: "And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"  (Read 1923 times)

actwithoutwords

  • Clowns to the left, Yoker's to the right
    • Like Hearts Swelling (podcast and videos)
"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« on: February 18, 2007, 03:24:03 PM »
"And you may tell yourself, this not my beautiful house.
And you may tell yourself, this not my beautiful wife."

Thought I would give thread-starting a tentative go. Basically, do you ever feel like a fraud? Do you think you have overstretched yourself and are in a position far beyond your actual capacities while the people surrounding you seem to have missed this? That you will be found out and exposed at any moment? Are you embarrassed rather than pleased by praise from others for work that you feel is substandard?

I remember hearing about a poll a couple of years ago about a high majority of successful people in a variety of fields felt that they didn't deserve their success and were seriously worried that they would be found out at some point. When any friends confess similar insecurities to me I can always be blasé about it, refer to that poll and tell them they are great (which they are). But when it comes to myself, no matter how much I tell myself to relax about it, the temptation is always to think, "no but I'm the exception, I really am a fraud".

It's quite destructive I think, but very difficult to avoid. So what do you all think? Have you found a way to deal with it? Is having unfeasibly high standards a necessary part of being good at something?

Edited for embarrassing Talking Heads misquote.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2007, 03:36:03 PM »
I googled "Chris Morris".

mook

  • what a bulb
"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2007, 03:45:44 PM »
...

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2007, 05:02:40 PM »
Quote from: "actwithoutwords"
Basically, do you ever feel like a fraud?


God yes.  Not in my work life (although I've had issues in the past) though.  My personal life is about to go nuclear very soon though.  I was going to start a topic about this, but I think I needed to be pissed in order to say what I was going to say to a load of internet strangers.  I'll probably get shitfaced and post it somewhere inappropriate on CaB soon.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2007, 05:08:19 PM »
I always think they'll find me out, but they never do. I think I get away with it beause everyone in the rest of department are pretty incompetent, whilst I'm confident and articulate, but lazy. I supopose it's like going out on the pull with ugly people.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2007, 05:46:20 PM »
You know what, I know it's a cliche, but I had a tough childhood and worked my cock off to get where I am now. The other bastards may be frauds, but not me ;-)

I know old school friends who didn't bother with degrees and all that stuff. I remember when I was a student eating cold fucking beans with a sausage roll, and living in a flea infested bedsit, how they bragged. Now I earn more than them and have 'stuff'. Well whoopee. Go figure.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2007, 05:49:35 PM »
Yes, I feel exactly like this, at work at least.

I am considered very good by one of my bosses, who is himself very good, and I am convinced he has missed something. But now, thanks to his help, I am on the verge of getting a very big job, where it may be hard to conceal the act that I have to take my shoes and socks off to count past five.

I am shitting myself. Plus, if I get the job, I will be in a position where I could seriously fuck with the UK economy, so you all better start buying dollars.

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Are we human? Or are we toilet
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"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2007, 05:53:49 PM »
Come on Ed, you've known Gordon for some time. He wouldn't give your the Chancellory unless he thought you'd be very good at it.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2007, 05:54:40 PM »
You're closer than you think.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2007, 05:55:11 PM »
hehe

quadraspazzed

  • Off to the left
"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2007, 07:08:42 PM »
Yep, I get this quite a lot in my political activities. I'm currently on the national executive committee of a certain nameless (non party political) organisation and rather unsure how I got there (apparently I was nominated and seconded while I was in the toilet!).

And a few years back this school rang me up as I was a local organiser for the Irish Anti War Movement and asked me would I come in and give a talk opposing the Iraq war - the next day! I was out in the pub when I got the call and was a tad drunk and thus full of Dutch courage and so agreed. So I scribbled down a few pages in the pub and continued drinking. Woke up the next day with a terrible hangover, got a lift out to the school and had a bit of a freakout crisis ("Oh my fucking god why did I agree to this? WHYYYYYY?"). After a bit of a puke in the staff toilet I was led out in front of a huge hall full with about 60 or 70 sixth years. And then I found out that I had 80 minutes to fill up, my hastly written notes would barely cover twenty. So I ended up talking bollocks for ages, went off on a tangent about the need for socialist revolution, the occupation of Palestine, 9/11, and did a bit of a comedy routine about Colin Powell's powerpoint presentation to the UN which had happened the night before (and which I didn't even see, just read about that morning). To my complete and utter surprise the whole thing was a rousing success. I also understand the personal joy of making a room full of people laugh - however I'd still be afraid to repeat the excercise. I have to admit that - while I've had stun grenades fired at me by the IDF, been surrouned by Belgian riot cops banging their batons on their shields, been involved in a fair few scuffles with the Irish cops, been strip searched by Welsh customs and various other not-nice stuff - the scariest experience of my life were the few minutes before I did that speech. Kinda fucked up isn't it?

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2007, 08:35:10 PM »
I walked past Bono's house in Killiney yesterday. If I'd had a permanent marker on me, I might have added my own comment to the scrawled tributes which adorn his houses giant walls and gates. I'm not sure what I would have written though. Maybe something like "Sunglasses are for wearing outdoors when it is sunny you stupid fucking twat!".

Killiney is where all of the super, super rich people live in Ireland. The part of Killiney between the village and the sea is beautiful, it has a park on a hill which overlooks all of Dublin city, a good part of the Wicklow Mountains, Dublin Bay (and Dalkey Bay), and on a very clear day you might be able to make out Wales. The houses and gardens are jaw-dropping. They're proper Hollywood type mansions. They are populated by the likes of Bono and Enya. Middle aged rock stars and I'm-not-sure-who-else lives there really. It would be a good plan maybe to chuck a football over the perimeter fence of one of these houses and then jump in after to retrieve it. You might stand a chance of catching the owner of the house unawares. It'd be fun to organise a kickaround while you're there. After all, if you're gonna get arrested for intruding on private property you might as well do it in style, eh?

Anyway, as I walked around Killiney admiring the views and the houses, I thought to myself - what do these people who live here actually do to deserve their luxury? When you've seen Bono's house and then you consider his trips to Africa it makes you wonder how the chap can sleep easy at night. I say this because bono isn't - as far as I know - a socialist at all. He is a Christian though and that fuells and informs his altruistic "work". What was that quote about the difficulty of rich men getting into heaven? I'm sure bono would be familiar with it. But it has to be difficult for him to justify his enormous wealth or at least to reconcile it with the world poverty and starvation he harps on about. It also occurred to me that all of these beautiful houses and gardens are going unappreciated because their occupants are off on world tours or collecting Grammys or meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu or someone.

Eeeeeh, I don't know...

Rev

  • A Manufacturing Concern
"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2007, 08:43:13 PM »
Quote from: "Pinball"
I remember when I was a student eating cold fucking beans with a sausage roll, and living in a flea infested bedsit


Oh, when I were a student, we used to dream of living in a flea-infested bedsit and eating cold beans and sausage rolls.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2007, 08:48:03 PM »
Great story quadraspazzed!

23 Daves

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"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2007, 09:30:46 PM »
The problem is that most wealthy folk who happen to be entertainers tell themselves - and the world - that they bring "enormous pleasure into people's lives", don't they? And that makes up for everything and explains their wealth.  I genuinely do think that's a psychological prop, though, I'm sure they get odd moments at 2am when they can't sleep when they genuinely wonder "What the fuck have I got all this stuff for?  There were bands who supported us on tour ten years ago who blew us off stage, and we haven't got that much better since" (in U2's case, this is almost certainly true - throughout their early tours apparently many lower-rung acts on Island Records blew them away).

Shirley Manson out of Garbage is about the only person I can think of who has been honest enough to say "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing here".  And even then she was forced to go to a therapist...

As for myself, in my high-faluting role as a glorified PA to somebody, er... well, barely even glorified, actually... oh, i'm definitely a fraud.  I've worked with numerous PAs who have astonished me with their speed and efficiency, and their ability to memorise where sixty people are at any different moment. I still have twenty hastily scribbled post-it notes scattered around my desk, usually, otherwise I wouldn't remember anything.  In fact, sometimes my brain goes blank with names of people I've been co-ordinating things with for a couple of months.

Still, I've just had my three month progress talk, and apparently I'm fine.  The rent will continue to be paid for now.

Are many people really geniuses at what they do for a living, though?  Most of us scrape by on a daily basis, don't we?  Only about two per cent of the working population could possibly be amazing at what they do, and if we penalised against mediocrity hardly anybody would be earning a living at all.

quadraspazzed

  • Off to the left
"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2007, 09:32:32 PM »
Thanks Ciaran. I also liked your ramblings, though I wish you had taken the oppurtunity to deface His Sirship's home. I've never been in Killiney, though now I'm tempted to make the trip just so I can write some abuse.

----

I have another similar story as the one above which I might as well share as I'm fucking bored and hungover (and I evidently love talking about myself).

Again, it revolves around the IAWM. We organised a march in our town and I was pleasantly surprised that about 90 people turned up.

Tangent: I've been on protests where there was literally two or three people, including one memorable one in Portlaoise where there was supposed to be a school walkout against the war. The walkout never materialised for whatever reason, so I'm standing outside this school with one guy from Dublin, a megaphone, a big bag of placards and leaflets. Two journalists turned up expecting a good local story and then I had to explain why I thought the walkout didn't happen (of course, I didn't have a clue so I made up some bullshit about fear of teachers or something), and I pontificated on why the war would be wrong etc. I have no idea if anything was printed as I don't even live in Laois. But one of the guys was a fellow socialist so he was quite sympathetic really. And the other guy was one of those stereotypical 'crazy local journalists' - big beard, anorak, maniacal murderous look in his eye and his little notebook full of shorthand. Anyway, then the cops arrive and sneer at us in the Irish cop accent: "So is dis de beeg protest den? Very successful isn't it?". Mocked by a bogger copper, the absolute shame!

So anyway, back to my proper story - as I said I was thrilled that 90 or so people had bothered their hole to turn up. So we march down the mainstreet, and hold a rally at the arts centre in the middle of town. There's a few speakers - a Green who is a doctor of enviornmentalology (or something), a headmaster from a local school, a local preist - all respected pillars of the community. Then I get shoved up by the organising committee - now I couldn't by any stretch of truth call myself respected or respectable, plus I was wearing homemade combat shorts (ie a pair of old combats cut off at the knee), a pre-1990 West Germany tracksuit top, a 'support the FBU' t-shirt and I have long hair. I looked a right state. And I've not even got any notes and I've got to speak for about six minutes. I was bricking it needless to say. Especially as this had the added bonus of being in my hometown, over a PA system which you could hear all the way up the street. I honestly don't remember what I said, though one of the local papers reported it as a speech about "the growing arrogance of American imperialism". I'm sure I was fantastic! Here's a pic of me in action - I look like I'm scracthing my arsehole!

But that was totally one of those "how the fuck did I get myself into this" moments. I guess a severe lack of self confidence is a pretty shitty thing to have if you're politically active. Though I'm alright if I'm talking one on one while giving out leaflets or something, its just something about being the centre of attention of that scares the fuck out of me. I'll rarely even ask a question at a public meeting in case I fuck up my wording or something and everyone starts to laugh at me... I'm an idiot really, it would seem.

actwithoutwords

  • Clowns to the left, Yoker's to the right
    • Like Hearts Swelling (podcast and videos)
"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2007, 10:07:08 PM »
Coming from the back and beyonds myself, I will attempt to ignore your reference to bogger gardaí. But at the risk of derailing my own thread, have you seen this? Tis quite funny, particularly the bit where one of the guards goes "Jesus Chrisht" in bafflement.

quadraspazzed

  • Off to the left
"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2007, 05:49:53 PM »
Quote from: "actwithoutwords"
Coming from the back and beyonds myself, I will attempt to ignore your reference to bogger gardaí.


Well it wasn't meant as an insult really. I'm a bogman myself, in fact I live about five miles from the Bog of Allen, so I'm a 'genuine' bogger.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2007, 09:27:40 PM »
Sometimes I feel I'm the only genuine one about.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2007, 11:09:23 PM »
Quote from: "actwithoutwords"
Coming from the back and beyonds myself, I will attempt to ignore your reference to bogger gardaí. But at the risk of derailing my own thread, have you seen this? Tis quite funny, particularly the bit where one of the guards goes "Jesus Chrisht" in bafflement.


Hah, that was lovely stuff.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2007, 11:17:11 PM »
I feel like this all the time. But I agree with whoever it was up the page who said that most of us should feel like this because most of us, by definition, are average.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2007, 12:24:20 AM »
I'm not.

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2007, 01:27:36 AM »
Shh!

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2007, 01:42:05 AM »
Quote from: "afrayn"
I'm not.


[spoiler]You are[/spoiler]

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2007, 10:03:25 PM »
I was in a roomful of directors yesterday, getting grilled over our strategic policy. Scary. But quite fun too. I cracked a joke about the table revolving any minute now to show a map of London. How we laughed...

"And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?"
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2007, 02:42:33 PM »
Yeah, I agree that most of us feel like that at least some of the time, and that's not a bad thing.  It makes me want to be better at my job.

In my line of work  (research development) I have to quickly get a handle on a particular issue, even though I don't have a background or general knowledge of the wider policy area.  That's why I find myself talking to bigwigs at the EU or the Foreign Office, even though I am in no way a bigwig myself, and if they steered the conversation off the specific area of my research I would be fucked.

  I think my best "what the fuck am I doing here" moment was my trip to number 10 to meet Tony's principle health policy adviser a little while back.  Now that was scary.  But only because I realsied that I knew more about what we were talking about than he did, and I knew very little.  Hmmmmmmm.