Skip to main content

A Jealousy of Respect

If you know me, I am not a performer. I don't particularly like to be the center of attention. I'm not the life of the party, but I'll get people involved in it. The spotlight doesn't have that draw for me, but there is an undeniable draw to the gleam of success and recognition.

I am good at my job. I am not the best. I make mistakes, and there are many shortcomings I could list without even needing an outside observer to inform me. These humbling reminders aside, I am good at what I do. My boss tells me this. Clients tell me this. Coworkers tell me this. But while I can know and be told I have some skill, something in me wants to be recognized and applauded for it.

Somehow, I am a friend or acquaintance of many people who have achieved what I would measure to be some form of success in their life or work, and while I don't want their life, I want their moment. To be the guy who did the thing for one shining moment.

Jealousy is a silly thing. I literally want the rewards without the effort, disregarding my own rewards from effort as too pedestrian or not grand enough to satisfy some ridiculous yearning inside. And yet...I see someone unveiling their work for a thrilled audience and accolades, and I want THAT. I just happen to be in the wrong field for big unveils. Nobody gets wowed by doing the everyday to expectations repeatedly.

I suppose in some measure, even a silly blog is an attempt to be recognized. This isn't exactly screaming "look at me!" from the rooftops, but there is an element of wanting to be read and appreciated.

Deep down, I think everybody has a little bit of desire to be the rock star for one night, or unveil the next big thing at a conference or something. A motivator to drive them, or just a desire to fester under the skin, it's still there.

So how do you fill that missing bit of recognition? Pick something to become awesome at? Settle on being humble and covering up the desire? Learn to accept what you get, and value it more properly? Receiving empty praise is worse than none at all.

While I work out whether wide acclaim is actually something I will seek, I am more than happy to settle for the amazement of my toddler that I can drive my own work truck.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Laptop Love Affair

Earlier today, my shiny nearly-still-new gaming laptop died unexpectedly. Only four months old, it croaked in the middle of a pretty vanilla web browsing session, waiting to play a game with my brother-in-law. After trying my small bag of tricks to fix common laptop crashes, I had to admit defeat and file an RMA with the company I bought it from. No fans, no boot, no post; something died on the motherboard.

Fortunately, I still have my battle-tested Alienware M11X stashed away in my dad-cave, so I trudged home and dropped off the dead laptop and picked up the old warrior. Underpowered since the day I bought it, my little M11X has logged some insane travel miles, and played games on the worst wifi in crappy hotels around the northwest. It's lived through multiple hard drives, a RAM upgrade (which was uncharacteristically tricky), two screen surgeries and then a replacement, and all manner of operating systems.

Not many people have the luxury of multiple gaming laptops from which to…

Better Living through Old Computers

I like rebuilding laptops.

The first one I actually rebuilt was a Dell XPS-M170. When I was in highschool, my youth group leader (a fellow nerd and local IT manager) had gotten one brand-spanking-new for playing WoW when he traveled to Canada to visit his girlfriend. I remember being blown away in 2005, and deciding then and there that someday I'd own one. In 2008 or so, I found a dead one for sale for parts on eBay, and found some parts for sale, and eventually a video card. I followed some video guides on YouTube at the office after-hours one summer, and stripped it down to the motherboard, then built it back up with the new parts.

It was a nerve-wracking experience, but also quite rewarding to learn the ins and outs of laptop repair. Over the years I ended up working on dozens of laptops (for friends, relatives, and myself), but something about rebuilding the gaming dinosaurs of recent history intrigued me.

In 2014 or so, I got to do my second big rebuild: an XPS M1710. I'd…

Being Other People

Around seven years ago, I was waiting for my friend to get off work so we could go camping for the weekend. With a smartphone and nothing better to do, I was browsing the internet, and encountered a blog post or news blurb about "Fake Michael Bay", a Twitter account dedicated to impersonating the director as if he were some explosives-obsessed madman in his day-to-day life. It was a pretty funny account at the time, and with the Transformers movies releasing, it was pretty popular.

The idea of pretending to be an overblown satirical impersonation of somebody famous appealed to me. Being a bit of an internet nerd, I'd heard of Twitter, but never really had a good reason to be on it. Impersonating someone as a joke proved to be exactly the catalyst I needed to kick off my Twitter experience, though, so that afternoon I made an account to parody my university's famously stoic football coach.

Judging by my limited reading of Fake Michael Bay, I quickly determined I neede…