February 9, 2010

The Warface

Alright, let's be totally frank here: I really don't know jack about much of anything.

I've managed to compile a working knowledge of the universe based on the knowledge of a sixth grader, mixed with a lot of bad movies. Don't let the degrees and certificates on my wall fool you people, I am sub-functional. A wanderer through the dusty roads of fact and reason, painting my own personal graffiti over both of them. Nobody in their right mind should take anything I say with anything more than a chuckle and a truckload of salt.

So why, why, why, please tell me why, people are actually coming up to me and asking questions like I actually know shit?

This scenario happens in the kitchen in what seems to be a once a day occurrence. I will be standing at my station, pouring through my daily sheets for what needs to be done, flipping through my textbook confirming processes on how to do what's on those daily sheets, and trying to throw a bunch of things together in the vain hope that the end result will taste good. I'll be moving along basing my every step on my working knowledge of the universe (see above) and the little bits of information I am able to gather out of the aforementioned sources. While I'm doing all of this, one of my colleagues in studentia will come up to me, sometimes making the journey all the way across the kitchen, and ask me how to do stuff. "Am I doing this right?" "Should I do this or that?" "It's not looking right, what should I do?" I hear these questions all the time.

Despite the fact that I am in the same program as these poor diluted souls, and am taking the class at the same time with them, and am essentially and idiot, they continue to believe that I actually know something! Me! Something! It's ridiculous!

I have lived a long and reasonably content existence where my word isn't really anything to take seriously. Oh sure, I've been a teacher, and a fairly effective one, but that doesn't count. These people watch me walk into their classroom and don't have to deal with me for more than a few hours. They don't know any better. Besides, I have to put on that face when I step into a classroom. I mean, can you truly listen to someone who doesn't give off that sense of confidence? I need people to believe in me when I teach, otherwise I haven't done my job. And the ol' warface comes with the job. The difference of course, is that in this circumstance, I'm a student. I'm walking into a situation where it's expected that I don't know crap. The point is to sit there, and actually learn something from a smarter, more experienced group of educators. So there is absolutely no reason for anyone to expect me to know anything about anything.

And yet, here we are. I'm getting questions from all sorts of people. Taste tests, problem solving, suggestions, the whole shebang.

What's weirder is that the responses I give to these people usually turn out to be correct ones. I don't know how this happened, but in the processes of reading up and studying things before starting this program, out of the constant fear of being too dumb to keep up, I actually managed to learn a thing or two. I can conceptualize what they're asking, and respond to these queries with confidence. I can actually stand in a group of people, and give out orders........and those orders are actually followed! It's insanity!

I'm not throwing this out there like I'm claiming to have some form of aptitude in this subject, I very clearly don't. It's just strange to have so many people, especially those who really don't know anything about my background (I'm not exactly forthcoming,) believe that I do.

In the end, I guess I'm worried that I haven't removed the warface for this. That despite being in a situation where I can relax with my guard down, I'm not doing it. This is one of the few times in my life, where I'm not required to know everything and have all the answers, and yet I'm still locked up and ready for battle. And by battle, I don't mean combat, but that dreaded, sickly sense in my gut that tells me my word has to mean something. That bad things will happen if my calls are off, even by a bit.

It scares me I guess, because being a leader of people has always scared me. I'm not a fan of telling people what to do, even when what I'm telling them is the right thing, because....you know.......why should they listen to me? Why is my word so damn important? I get through this with the job, because it's.....well......a job. I'm paid to tell them what to do. But such a mentality doesn't work for me in this situation. When I decided to walk into those kitchens, I did so figuring that my time leading anything was done. I walked in expecting to be the quiet outcast. The guy who kept to himself, did everything as he was told, and just sit back learning what needs to be learned. I guess, my hope was to be the throwback to the guy I was in college the first time around. Before I was put into positions where my word was required to carry weight. That isn't happening, and I worry that it may never happen again.

I wish I had a way to conclude this on a more appropriate note, but tell you the truth, I'm just confounded as hell by all of this.

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