Sunday, April 29, 2007

I am a snob

I sort of wrote this in my head as I was going but have added and amended since I've been back so the tenses may not all agree.

I enjoyed the conference. I really did. (DS (a boss) and I discussed on my return how we both find value if we learn or reinforce something even if the whole thing is not life changing.) What I discovered though, was that based on first impressions I would have been friends with maybe two of the other assistants there, could have worked with about half of the people there and really, really would have trouble being in the same office with the rest of the them (18 total). In the reception and the dinner the most literary of the discussions led to Idol, House and Blades of Glory. Whipping out Moby Dick at lunch led to some strange stares and one person exclaiming that she had never been able to get into reading books (as opposed to cereal boxes perhaps?). [Side note: I remember years ago riding back from California after visiting my father and reading Balzac on the plane, a middle-aged gentleman was moved forward for some reason and on seeing my preferred reading jokingly said, "Is this the literary part of the plane? Everyone at the back is reading Danielle Steele."] {Side, side note: I should set up a sidebar column just for my tangents and would if I could figure out the coding.}

What really got me about the rest of the assistants though was the fact that they seemed to gain all of their identity from the status of the agent they represented. I like my agents and I'm proud when they do well, am happy for them (happy for me too because it means my job continues) and hope that I have helped to contribute in someway. In no way do I think their status reflects on who I am or what I do when I'm not in the office. I can't understand that mentality. And here's where I'm a snob. At least three of them who support supposedly "Elite" agents who make scads of money could not speak with even reasonable grammar when asking questions ! They used double negatives. I realize writing here I wander all over the place, but I certainly don't never use double negatives and it's a free form blog--not corporate training at the home office. It's not that I expected them to be brilliant academics, but I expected them to at least have a level of education. I mean, do they compose letters? Do they write marketing copy? I really got the feeling that the agents hired the cheapest secretaries that they could. Several admitted to having been pulled up from reception. It really made me feel that I have to get out of this position. I have to find something worthwhile to do with my life and my talents and this isn't it. (Don't worry JT, I'm not talking about tomorrow, and you would know before anyone else.)

Later in the week when talking with my friend I lamented the fact that when I was a secretary at my college's library and decided to move to Boston, my boss said that while she was sorry to see me go she was happy for me because I had the potential to do so much more and here I am ten years later working as a secretary. Being a good and wise friend he told me to put down the whip--it's neither here nor there, there is only moving forward (I think he actually put it better).

Also difficult were the two women from my own office. I like them. They are very nice. They too would never be friends of mine were we not working side by side. I'm a snob--when they looked down on assistants at the conference and said that they hadn't gotten much out of it, I thought two very uncharitable things, a) in their stilettos with their tattoos and frosted hair they have little room to talk and b) it was perhaps a bit too much like school for them. Am I a bad person? I had a therapist who really tried to make me feel bad for judgements like that, and I quit going to her. I don't go to therapists to feel worse, thank you.

I do stand by this. I do not look down on people who are intelligent but uneducated. My education has massive gaps (I've never read all of Shakespeare and probably never will) of which I'm not proud. I write like I talk--my participles dangle and my modifiers are not always near their object and I can't spell. But I will look down on the willfully and proudly ignorant and I will equally look down on the well educated but stupid.

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