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Self-aggrandissement 26 January 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Life.

Last week, I came across a (self proclaimed) rant about women and their lack of assertiveness. And all generalisations about women aside, it set me thinking about myself and the way I deal with situations, especially those relating to furthering my career.

During my more recent time in Vietnam, before I finally found the job that I am in now (which I am loving so far), I was told time and time again “don’t undersell yourself” or “stop being so polite, none of the other candidates are going to be”, mostly by my partner and friends. My parents were also trying to encourage me in putting my best foot forward, to get it in the proverbial door, and then take it from there. So when I read the above mentioned rant, which claimed that

not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks

something rang true. At least for me personally.

I have found (and I still do) that it is incredibly hard to

1) Write a letter of application without sounding like I am blowing my own horn (or just blowing)
2) Address selection criteria in an equitable and truthful manner
3) Sell myself in a CV

I used to write and rewrite my applications a million times, fleeting between moments of self-doubt and self-confidence (which were strongly reflected in the end product). Then, if I caught myself feeling particularly cocky, I would quickly send off the application before I would have the time to start doubting it again.

Clearly, based on this behavioural pattern, I know full well that you need to sound confident and able to even be considered for a job, yet I could not maintain the link between what I knew to be true and the feelings I had about me and my abilities. I do think I am a highly capable individual, but how was I to convince a potential employer?

And I do not know whether this is a female-male thing (like the author of the blog claims) or whether I am just such a nice person (am I sounding self-aggrandising yet?) but the thoughts that I am taking with me from this article is that I could do worse than to be more confident and self-asserting, even self-aggrandising. I do not intend to take it quite to the extreme of becoming a ‘jerk’ in the process (not sure if that is a goal worth having, or a manner of getting ahead in society that I approve of on a personal level and that I am willing to live with), but I will stop being so hung up about how doing things for purely selfish reasons come across to others.

And I have already started! I have approached a man who I believe is quite a brilliant mind whom I had periodical dealings with back in Australia, to re-establish my network there (in preparation for returning in a little over a year from now). And the response that I received from him was only positive. I would never have though that he would even remember me before I read the article, but afterwards, my mother’s saying rang true (yet again!)

A no you have, a yes you can get

(Trans: If you don’t ask, the answer will be no anyway, so if you ask, and get a no, you have lost nothing, but if you ask and get a yes, you have gained everything)

Here’s to a 2010 where I learn a bit of self-aggrandisement!



1. Self-aggrandissement, continued | Latest News India | Education News | Technology News | Entertainment News | Business News | Sports News - 3 February 2010

[…] my recent post on Clay Shirky’s rant about women and their lack of ability to be “self-aggrandizing […]

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