Fake it ’till you make it!
December 1, 2009 § 11 Comments
I watched a movie last night that got me thinking. My eventual point will probably spark a few disagreements. That’s fine, not everyone has to agree with me. I won’t judge you for being wrong. Find out what the movie, and the point are, after the break.
AMC was running a movie last night called The Secret of My Success. It’s a fun little movie where Michael J. Fox plays a go-go 80s Reaganaut named Brantley Foster who moves to New York hoping for a taste of the sweet sweet corporate pie. There’s some mucking about at the beginning of the movie that isn’t really important. Basically, he needs to find a job, but can’t find one because he’s either overqualified, or under qualified and he has no experience. He lands a job in the mailroom of the Pemrose Corporation, which, in a classic-80s corporate movie plot twist, happens to be run by his uncle. The corporation is all pantyhose, shoulder pads, red suspenders and power suits. And as it happens, the corporation is a mess, run by mindless, ineffectual bureaucrats that seem to get fired at the rate of about one every three scenes. Luckily this massive turn-over provides our plucky hero with just the break he needs to get into the executive washroom. Because, after all, that’s all anyone ever wants out of the corporate life–a carpeted bathroom, with an array of soft soaps, plush hand towels, handed to you by a kindly old gentlemen who will brush the lint off your suit, and classical music pipped into marble stalls with heated toilet seats. If you don’t believe me, then you’ve never been in an executive washroom before.*
Anyhow, because Pemrose has been firing people left and right one of the offices on the executive floor is vacant. So, Brantley takes over the office and the persona of Cartlon Whitfield, the hot shot new corporate shark. And, since he works in the mailroom, he’s able to push through all sorts of paperwork to get Whitfield’s office set up with stationary and a name plaque on the door and a secretary and so forth. As Whitfield, he tries hard to convince everyone that in the face of the dreaded corporate takeover (remember this, it will be important later, but not really until the end of the film), what they need to do is expand rather than close down various plants and satellite offices.
Needless to say, hilarity ensues while he tries to juggle being Brantley, the lowly mailroom clerk and Whitfield, the mover and shaker with all the crazy new ideas. There’s lots of mistaken identity and people walking around like they are stuck in a high school rendition of Twelfth Night.
“Have you seen Whitfield?”
“Yes, he’s over there!” *points to Brantley/Whitfield*
“Brantley, what are you doing here? Have you seen Whitfield?”
“Oh…um…he just left…I think…”
There’s also some very strange love triangle between Brantley, his aunt (through marriage, not blood), his uncle, and his uncle’s mistress. The aunt wants Brantley, Brantley wants the mistress, the uncle also wants the misstress, and the mistress doesn’t know what she wants. She’s also a flimsy attempt at creating a strong female character, who ends up coming off as flighty, bitchy, and shallow. The misstress, as it happens, also works at Pemrose Corp and thinks Brantley is Whitfield. Confused yet? Well don’t worry, it doesn’t really matter.
Eventually it all blows up in his face and Brantley and the mistress (sorry I don’t remember her name) have a spat, but get back together in an elevator. The concoct some convoluted (I know, right? How could this movie get more complicated?) plan to take over Pemrose Corp, oust Brantley’s uncle, and instigate their own hostile takeover of the big, scary ‘other’ corporation from the beginning of the movie (remember them? I told you it would eventually be important). It all gets wrapped up in a nice little bow, and then they all live happily ever after. In the executive washroom.
Alright, I promised you I had a point. Besides giving you an amusing summary of a classic, albeit not very good, 80s movie, I do want to relate this to Warcraft a little. My point is sometimes, fake it ’till you make it.
Now don’t get me wrong, 95% of the time that won’t work at all. If you tout yourself as something you aren’t, eventually it will all blow up in your face, and the hot executive girl you’ve been sleeping with will find out your just a nobody from the mail room.
But sometimes, for a small period of time, you can fake it ’till you make it. Let’s say you get invited to your first raid. You have researched things a little bit, but really have no idea what you are doing. But, you know you are skilled and that just given the chance you can succeed, then just pretend like you know what you are doing and get to it. I’m not suggesting you lie outright, because you’ll be easily discovered. Instead, just don’t offer up information like the fact that you’ve never gone on a raid before and didn’t know that ten people could be in a group together. As long as you are doing your job well enough to get by, don’t worry about it. Pretend like you know what you are doing until you get your bearings.
Don’t let this become an excuse for slacking or being lazy or anything. If anything, faking it is more work. The idea here is not to lie your way to the top and get handed everything. The idea is to tell a fib or two so you can finally get into your first raid/guild/arena team/RP adventure in Goldshire/etc. Then after you get in, you do everything you can to exceed at what you are doing, so nobody has any idea that you don’t actually have a clue.
It’s also not ok to use it as an excuse to not educate yourself. You gotta know what your doing if you are going to fake it ’till you make it. Again, the idea isn’t to get carried, it’s to fake it a little so you can finally get the experience you need. Otherwise you are just faking it. And if you just fake it all the time then eventually people will get tired of your fakery.
Fake it, ’till you make it. Then stop faking it. I guess my point is it only really works if you have the skill set and the knowledge and all you really need is the experience. And if no one will bring you along unless you have experience…fake it. Then you’ll finally have some experience. Then, and this is important, stop faking it.
I imagine plenty of you will disagree with me. That’s fine. Lots of you will also miss the point entirely. Hopefully some of you will at least get what I’m saying, even if you don’t agree. But trust me. It is possible.
But only a little bit of the time. Please, understand this. If you try to fake it all the time you won’t ever make it. And then you really did miss the point.
“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”
*When I was 18 I went on a round of college interviews. One of them was in New York (where I eventually ended up). My dad came with me and he managed to get the law firm he was with to pay for the trip–they are based in NYC–and they even gave him a temporary office to work in on the 48th floor of their building in Midtown. Most of the time I was too enthralled by the new city and all it’s excitement, but I did spend a little time in his temporary office while I practiced my interview. Eventually, I had to go to the bathroom. The ‘regular’ bathroom on the floor was out of service, and I must have looked like a sad lost little puppy (who really had to pee) because a very nice secretary took pity on me and called me over. She coyly slipped me the executive washroom key, and told me if anyone said anything that I should tell them I was her son. It was a magical place, full of unicorns and leprechauns. I never wanted to leave. And were it not for the school interview, I might still be in that washroom to this day.