The school I work for has a four man tech team. There are two gentleman who are responsible for training staff on how to use our technology. Myself and another person are responsible for ensuring our technology works. Unfortunately, I recently lost my partner. Unbeknownst to me, the company knew it was coming and had someone ready to fill our newly vacated position.
That someone was a young man who literally graduated high school the day before his first day.
Naturally, myself and the rest of the team had some reservations about this. Having someone the same age as our students could put this young man in some compromising situations. How would this young man deal with potentially stressful situations? How would he react under pressure? Or deadlines?
There were two reasons my supervisor felt comfortable putting this young man into this position. The first was that this young man had been a student tech for all four of his high school years and came highly recommended from the tech staff there. The second, quite simply, was me.
“The only reason I feel confident in doing this,” my supervisor said as he leveled his index finger directly at me, “is because of him.”
Well, great. No pressure, right?
I’m a pretty confident person. I know I have above average intelligence. I know that I have above average work ethic. I know that if there’s something I don’t know how to do I am capable of learning how. I consider myself reliable, though I do occasionally have a slippery mind.
Having said all that, for some reason hearing those thoughts articulated out loud, whether by myself or others, makes me extremely uncomfortable. I hate job-hunting because I hate tooting my own horn. Yes, I’m a good employee, but saying so aloud bothers me. I sometimes consider creating an online dating profile, but always discard the idea because I don’t feel comfortable putting things I feel are positive qualities about myself out there in an attempt to entice a woman to date me. It makes me feel…soiled.
On this fresh high school graduate’s first day of work, we made the rounds to all of our buildings so I could introduce him to our administrators. Several of them welcomed him to the corporation with smiles and/or jokes. Several of them also told him I was a great leader and a wonderful person to learn from, thoughts that made me internally squirm. I love that these folks think so highly of me, but still shrink a little when I hear them say so. There’s even one person there who’s actually said to me, “You’re our superstar and we don’t want to do anything to make you unhappy.” Now that made me cringe. I don’t want people afraid of me or walking on egg shells around me. I want people to feel comfortable in my presence. I’m just a regular guy living life the best I can.
I have no idea what makes me uncomfortable about others who think highly of me. Is it the fear of failing to meet the high expectations that go along with it? Is it my self-depreciating nature? Are the demons dancing with the skeletons in my closet casting shadows on my inner light? Do I even have an inner light? I don’t know, and doubt I ever will.
The most ironic thing about all of this is that I am confident, yet I’m uncomfortable that others have confidence in me. But as the great William Shatner once said…