Confidence is rare like painite or red diamonds. It seems to me we start with an amount and lose it at times. A little goes a long way, and maybe it gets stronger if you feed it. I don’t know.
All I know is that getting laid off can take away a lot of confidence. Getting laid off when you’re a professional in a hot field like digital can cut away confidence like tearing strips of skin off you. I don’t need to say it’s painful.
I’ve struggled with many questions about why I got laid off. I spent a lot of time succumbing to lack of confidence and beating myself up over the mysteries. I kept asking who, what, when, where, why, as if I could craft an inverted pyramid that would reveal, quickly, what happened.
Turns out I had a bit of a narcissistic view of my situation, which, ironically, is the plague currently infecting media and that which likely led to my layoff.
You see, yesterday I found out all about posers and professionals and the abundance of the former and lack of the latter in the ranks of our esteemed Fourth Estate.
A poser, by this definition, is someone skilled at posturing, which is like putting yourself into a position where you are able to claim adoration and accolades for the work of others. Anyone know of people like this in the media? Reporters? Editors? Publishers? How about ad directors? Middle managers? Art directors?
What about online people?
Posers know how to worry about themselves. They know where the bottom line is. Priority number one is not often the business they are there to enhance, it is the business of self interest. Posers will infect the workplace with enough venom to nearly immobilize the work environment.
Sound familiar? According to a behaviorist I spent some time with recently, the media, among other industries, is rife with posing and posturing.
In the online world, a world that is about as whole and mapped as the world in “The Never Ending Story,” as it breaks up into particles in space, there are those who proceed into the abyss and those who stand at the edge and theorize. The latter often takes credit for small advancements made into the abyss. Little stepping stones and bridges to nowhere become victories claimed for initials higher up the food chain.
This is not new.
Posers have been claiming the successes of others since the others started succeeding.
But there is irony in the mix too. I once had an editor tell others that I was vainglorious for posting my stories to Facebook. This was a year before a mandate came down from corporate for more push strategy. Was I an innovator? By no means. I’d seen other reporters doing it with great success, and that made a lot of sense to me.
Working in the abyss, one can see the shiny metal parts that constitute posing. Through the old diver’s helmet of online work, the drop offs loom like dark despair, while the lifeline to the boat above and laying claim to the little gems found by others below must surely be a better place. Right?
What bothers me most is that posers don’t inherently care about the future of journalism. They’re so caught up in their own reflection they wouldn’t care if our Fourth Estate looks like whatever is beyond thunder dome.
I don’t think you get confidence back. I think the remaining painite in your system is bolstered by knowledge, revelation, the 5,000-foot-view, shaking off the detritus, one victory after a thousand failures.
The truly beautiful thing is that journalism won’t be destroyed by posers. If even a few professionals remain, and I have worked with more than a few professionals, our future is safe. Posers won’t save journalism either. Oh, they’ll try to claim it, but at the point where journalism plunges into the abyss and comes out the other side, there are going to be an awful lot of people in old divers’ helmets walking it out on their backs.
Pose and posture all you want. You’ll be high and dry.