This week I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some of the hardest working guys on the vCloud Air operations team. In the course of the conversations and getting to know them beyond the scope of VMware and what they do, something came out that I always find interesting. Something I have learned in recent years is that you need to take some time for personal reflection to digest various things about your life and the people you meet. This post is all about that and one very specific conversation with one of the operations guys.
Last night I found out something that is not actually a new bit of information. One of the guys I was chatting with was very open with me and came right out and said “The other night at dinner I was not happy to know I sat down next to you.” We proceeded to talk more and I of course asked why and said I would not be offended at all especially if his feedback helped me grow personally. He basically proceeded to tell me that he had formed an opinion of me through my blog posts and emails that I was an arrogant ass. He admitted he could not put his finger on “why” that was the case, it was just an impression he got based on reading. After that was on the table, he then said, “I’m extremely glad I got to meet you in person and you DID sit next to me at dinner. You are not at all the person I thought you were”. We then proceeded to swap stories and learn more about each other. So what’s the moral of this little story?
More often than not I have found that people judge a book by its cover much more these days than they should. Personally I never form an opinion about anyone until I actually get to talk to them and learn more about them. I’ve had many of these same conversations all with the same final outcome at the end. So as I reflect on this I think I can maybe see why and I wanted to see if it makes any sense to those out there who care to read on.
Like everyone there are some things that just drive me crazy. The thing is, I admit I do tend to show that on occasion by being sarcastic or snarky. Now that honestly comes from years of living in New England and it’s part of the culture. One thing I haven’t told many people is this is one of the reasons we decided to move to Tennessee. To become less like that and be around people who are not like that. That all being said I will ALWAYS have little patience with laziness and ignorance. What do I mean by that?
One example of something that is really like nails on a chalkboard to me is people who are too lazy to even type a search string, read a paper, educate themselves on a topic, before they decide to post a question where the answer is easily found though a little bit of effort. I was taught long ago to be self-sufficient and to adapt and overcome. Do some digging, before you through up the white flag. Maybe the question has been asked 100 times before and is easily found with all the search technology available. To be honest lack of doing so feels like laziness to me plain and simple and I can’t help it. The sarcasm and “shortness” in replies comes out.
We all know ignorant people. All I mean by this and why it bothers me is there are a lot of people in this world that are truly ignorant. They shoot their mouths off about things they know nothing about, OR did not educate themselves on first before doing so. There are also a lot people I respect for the opposite reasons because they are the expert on the topic and they do know what they are talking about.
The problem is in both these instances I shut down. I’ve gotten too old to deal with people that are like this and for that, I apologize if it makes me come off as “an arrogant ass”. What I will not apologize for is being confident with my own knowledge and skills. Many times I know there is someone smarter than me in the room and I love learning from that person. At the same time, there are times I do know a little something about what I am saying. It’s a fine line between confident and cocky, but I’ve never tried to pick a debate with someone who I know has more knowledge on a subject than me. The funny thing is many times I think people pick those fights with me because of their “perception” of who I am.
Okay so where does all this go? Simple really. I cannot change who I am and the things that bug me. I can try to be less short with people, BUT if you are one of those out there like my new friend last night and you have an “Impression” of me, why not try to get to know me for real before you form your opinion. You might still think I am an asshole, but you also might be surprised at the depth of my soul. For that matter apply this to ANYONE you may have an opinion on before you meet them.
To Michael, thank you for being open and honest and I look forward to not only having a better working relationship, but building a friendship along the way.