Thursday, February 23, 2012

No One is Perfect: Thoughts from Yesterday's Post

Alright, I got to thinking about yesterday's blog post:  Just Go @$$@!& Yourself  and it brought up another point from my recent career presentation:  We all think everyone is thinking about us all the time, but really, everyone is just thinking about themselves.

Decades ago my husband was living in Greece.  He had the time of his life, but also got serious and went back to school.  Sitting in his history or political science classes, he would get into discussions with Greek students about American politics.  Now my husband is the first to love a heated debate, especially about politics, so he often went head-to-head with these students.  But one thing that always caught him off guard was this; the Greeks always thought the US must be wondering what Greece was up to, since the Greeks were always wondering what the US was up to.  Being a proud citizen of the USA, it is nice to think everyone is always thinking about us, and in world politics, many countries are wondering what the US is up to.  Years ago, I don't know if most Americans were wondering what the Greeks were up to.  Ironically, right now we are paying attention, especially with what is happening with their economy.   And that is just it, unless something is making news or you are an international power player or a celebrity, most often people aren't thinking about you.  They are thinking about themselves.

My post yesterday discussed building and managing your online persona.  Yes, do it.  And do it well.  But also be happy that you are not a celebrity.  A celebrity is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great deal of public fascination and media influence.  I may wish I had as many Twitter followers as Ashton Kutcher, but believe me, I am often happy my life isn't being lived under a microscope.  On that website, the photos that get prominent placement are of rock stars, professional sports stars and media darlings.  Most likely the boring, run of the mill police photo is at the bottom of the pile and often won't see the light of anyone's computer screen.  Only someone trying to find you may uncover it, and if they are compassionate, won't spread it around.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I was so embarrassed when I uncovered my terrible Yelp review.  Oh no, everyone must have seen it and now won't do business with WineTalent.  Felt just like I'd pulled up WineTalent's beat-up mugshot (above, not really on   Really, I don't know if anyone saw the review, and if they did, I hope they contacted me anyways.  With a myopic vision of our world, we may feel like all eyes are on us, but most of the time that isn't true.  While I like to think it is all about me, that's what everyone thinks.  (Ok, Big points for whoever gets that joke!)

When I was discussing my upcoming Women for Wine Sense discussion with a good friend of mine, she asked how to handle a "career reinvention".  Using WineTalent as an example, it would be like me switching my business model from technical winery recruitment to executive recruitment in the wine industry.  How would I make that leap?  How I did it was getting to know the industry and expanding on my talent pool.  Once I was ready, all winery talent recruitment was what I did.  Some of my past clients knew me as a technical winery recruiter, but once we worked together on a new role, that past identity disappeared.  Occasionally people ask if I am still only focusing on technical positions.  Boy does that bring me back to the old WineTalent days.  Makes me smile and think of how much things have changed.  While I'll always be a science nerd at heart, I enjoy working with all the different facets of the wine industry, and work hard every day to do it well.   As I told my friend, we often have short attention spans.  People may just forget what we did in the past, and see our current selves as who we are.  Sounds right to me.

So, if you've had an experience that you'd like to put behind you.  Do it.  Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again.   Manage that online persona.  And get out and get active.  People like dealing with their friends, their colleagues and those who share a common interest.  Think about how you can interact with people in a new way.  With the ease of finding stuff online, put some relevant info out there about what you are doing, what you've done successfully in the past, and maybe what you like doing in your off time.  If you manage your public persona well online, the positive information will be what people find.