A friend and I were chatting the other day about a new job he was starting. He was anxious, unsure of their expectations. From the beginning of his interaction with this new company, both parties seemed like they had their own ideas of what the job was. My friend has done a lot of special effects in his career, this company is new and knows what effects they want, but perhaps they don't understand what goes into making those kinds of effects.
What's more is that my friend has been out of work over a year. His wife supports his decision, and wants him to find the right job. Not just any job, but one that will keep him challenged and interested. She does not want him to settle. Right now, in this economy, settling into a job might be easy to do, and I know that no one would hold such a decision against him. We all need to make ends meet.
The company hasn't understood why Stan has been out of work for over a year. They think he must be desparate at this point, that he's either lazy or spoiled. Their first offer reflected this, and Stan countered with a good explanation as to why their offer would not work for him. And, he's neither lazy nor spoiled. Stan wants the right job. He believes in his abilities.
In the end, I told my friend that all he could do was be true to what he knows, and be true to his own beliefs. If other people judge him or try to figure out why he's not been working for a year, truly their comments and judgments say so much more about their life than it does about Stan's. I think that the other people's insecurities scream loud and clear when they label him as desparate, lazy, spoiled. What they can't understand, they label as 'other.' It's easier.
In our conversation, I remembered a quote I've loved for quite some time:
"Glue for the broken toy, wings for the saint
A Buddha, a false god and some war paint.
Wasting your wisdom, yes
but who can you trust?
Love holds a mirror up to all of us."
The idea of mirrors fascinates me. Often it's not so much who we are that people react to, but who they are. We each see ourselves in other people, are drawn to traits we like in ourselves. We are repelled and judgmental about traits we see in others, and don't like about our own personality or past. How strange to think that some days we are actually up against the demons of others when someone is judging us. It adds a great new layer to daily interactions. It gives me a lot to think about.
What's also interesting is who wrote the quote ... George O'dowd is none other than Boy George of 1980s Culture Club fame. I will admit here that I have a deep seated respect for him, and admire his ability to just be himself. He certainly puts up an interesting mirror for each of us. What is love and who do we love? What is self image, and how is it defined? How do we judge each other based on our own internal dialogue?