Thursday, August 17
I was reminded today of something my sister said to me last year, when I was having trouble getting my work done and suffering humiliations galore from my professors.
I was telling my sister about how one professor was mad at me for doing a crappy job on a paper, and how the professor had told me she thought I wasn't taking her class seriously enough and was insulted. I was worried I had permanently damaged my relationship with this professor. I was also worried that this seemed to keep happening a lot with professors, and I was alienating all of the potential committee members in the department. I told my sister that I thought I was running out of social capital because of my flakyness.
My genious sister said, "But you don't need social have a fortune in intellectual capital." My sister reminded me that because I have strong quantitative research skills in a subfield that is short on people with solid training of that variety, people were going to need me, even if they thought I was annoying or flaky or whatever.
I thought of that today when I was in a meeting with the supervisor of a project that is a year overdue (it was last summer's "summer" project). My supervisor listened to my short lack-of-progress report, and then changed topics entirely saying, "I'm really glad we had a meeting today...I wanted to pick your brain on something..." that was totally unrelated to our project. Awesome! The supervisor barely noticed that my project moves slower than a glacier, and all I had to do was just sit there and expound on a topic I am very familiar with.

By writing this post, I'm hoping to remind myself not to worry so much about what people think of me as a social person - whether they think I am arrogant, a slob, flaky, whatever. Those things matter, but they matter a whole lot less than the mental space I give them. Because if people think you're smart, and that you're uniquely capable, it doesn't matter so much if you have B.O.

I hope.


Clear said...

Yes, scarce skills are power.

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