Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Saturday I didn't post because I worked all day at the high ropes course.  One of the possible jobs that entails, that I ended up doing on Saturday, is hooking people in to our hydrolic-breaking zipline and sending 'em off into free space (coaching the scared ones through the usual repertoie of 'it's fun, it's safe, it's not that bad all you have to do is take one leap, there's no other way down so you'd better get going cause others are waiting, think how you'll feel if you don't do it, etc.), then catching the zip pulley when the guy on the ground attaches a rope to it and slings the rope back up to you.

As particpants will ask, one asked "haven't you ever  been hit in the face by that thing?" since the zip pulley, steel carabiner and rope that you're trying to grab do go flying across the metal wire back toward the zipline staff member at about face-level.

"No," I replied, "and I don't know of anyone else who has either, although I suppose it is a legitimate occupational hazard."

His reaction to that was rather unexpected and over the top, in my opinion.  That whole morning I could hear him loudly telling all the other participants and staff that "that zip line lady sure does use a lot of big words!  Did you hear her?"

That just goes to show you that no matter how often and how intensely or critically we perceive others, others' perceptions of us are just not something we can easily predict, influence, or even know.  A little depressing in the context of the job interview scene, because I have no idea how my attempt at controlling for figiting, not saying "like", making varied eye contact, not trailing off or staring down when finished answering each question, not sweating my frikkin armpits off in a noticeable way, and answering questions with honesty, specific examples and enthusiasm really succeeds in affecting how I'm going to come off, especially when I didn't even realize that the type of words that come out of my mouth would also be taken as utterly alien by a random stranger.  Probably a job interviewer has more tolerace for phrases like " legitimate occupational hazard" than your average Joe, but I never even considered that those three words strung together would be hard for somebody to decipher or might make someone think I was pretentous and condescending for using them.

So if you can't control it or even be aware of it unless someone freaks out, then why bother trying to put off a perception that pleases others?

Cause you can get social advantage if you can control it, and we're human and care so fundamentally about our social mores that we've just got to try.

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