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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.


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