J. C. Mogensen

Reality with a Healthy Dose of Humor


What are You Looking at?

Posted on October 19, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Everyone judges everyone. That's just human nature. If there's one thing we can all agree on it's that that guy over there looks ridiculous and we are way cooler. Whether you're picking a mate or picking the least sleazy looking salesman at the car lot, you make snap decisions that can have real repercussions later on. Usually it's something that's out of our hands but we do, occasionally, go out of our way to get other people's opinions. If you've ever gone to high school or done anything other than be an independently wealthy super-model hermit living on a deserted island then you, my friend, have been judged.

They seem honest

I used to be subject to yearly reviews at the job I had for over seven years. These reviews were attached to annual raises so it was necessary to play along and act like the big shots had made some 'really valid points that I would certainly take to heart.' That was until the annual pay bump became less of a "Honey let's go shopping for a new car" raise and was more along the lines of "one free can of Shasta a week" money. Shortly before I quit I made a proposal to the foreman – if he would let me skip the 45 minutes I would spend listening to him pretend like he knew enough about my job to critique my performance, they could go ahead and keep the extra 15¢ an hour they were going to pay me. Apparently I was being "insubordinate" and it would be reflected in my review. Yay me.

I learned my lesson and kept my head down at the next job. That was until, after a year of quietly doing my job and keeping my mouth shut, a supervisor that I am still friends with to this day told me that one of the muckity-mucks in charge had remarked to him that he thought I was a little on the simple side. It was especially grating since the guy that had originally made the comment had so many "Umms" and "Uhhs" in his vocabulary that you needed a dipshit-to-English translator anytime he spoke to a group larger than his own reflection. I'm simple? Tell us again how homosexual immigrants are stealing our jobs, Cleetus.

My point is that even though it sucks to hear what other people think of you or the work you do, sometimes it is absolutely vital.  Let me be the first to admit that approximately half of everything I create starts out as unfiltered sewage and it often takes someone else pointing the flaws out before I see them for myself. I'm no Hemingway but, as a writer, I can usually get my ideas across fairly effectively. Having said that, I have also had more revision requests than I care to admit and almost all of them were justified.  Like the parent at the supermarket who can't understand why everyone is looking at their screaming little angel like they want to stab it in the eye with a plastic fork, sometimes you need an outside perspective to help you recognize what's wrong. Unless your self-esteem has all the durability of tissue paper, you should be able to see the value in honest, constructive criticism. Besides, no matter what anyone says about you, Katy Perry still thinks you're a Firework. The sad fact is that whether you're a writer, painter, musician or that guy that draws bikinis on naked ladies, you have to learn to set your ego aside and take some advice from time to time.

On second thought, he does good work

So, to everyone who's ever critiqued my work or beta-read for me and given me their unvarnished opinion,  I want to sincerely say,  "Thank You."



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Categories: People and Culture

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