Comparing your inside to other people’s outside

I was just listening to Minnie Ingersol on Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders and all of a sudden two dots connected for me……Neither is revolutionary on their own, but recognizing the similarities of the two is at least new to me.

The first is facebook. I’m not much of a facebooker. Not merely because it feels to me more like personal marketing than genuine connection, but also because I much prefer the complex ideas and thoughts that my friends have.

Perhaps I am missing a sensitivity gene, but I don’t care about seeing my friends with their kids at the beach. I would love to hear about the wonder in their child’s eyes when she first played in the waves, but fbook is not so good with that type of subtlety.

So, what I get instead is a glossed up picture of their outside, with almost no insight into their messy interesting inside.

The second “dot” in this story is your current job vs. your possible next one. We are all aware of the messy inside at our current place of work including both its joys and its frustrations. Just as with any relationship, over time the challenging parts begin to grind on us more and more.

In contrast, when we go to interview, we read the new firm’s website, we read about them in the news, and we talk to their interviewers. Everything is very glossed up and exciting. We imagine a world without messiness where we can completely spread our wings.  Of course, we seek out the dirt too via our connections, glassdoor, twitter, wherever, but summarized dirt is not internalized in the same way as living it and feeling it.

In both cases we are comparing our own messy inside with someone else’s glossy outside. We should be careful about luring ourselves into thinking we are making an apples to apples comparison when we really are not.

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