Evolution of the Self

On the paradoxes of personality

What If You Hate What You’re Good At?

It may seem counter-intuitive that you could be highly skilled at something, yet actually loathe it. Most of the time if you really dislike some subject, process, or activity, it’s because you’re not particularly adept at it. But it’s hardly uncommon to detest (or come to detest) what you excel at… Read More

Thank you for this post

I am so sick of "experts" telling everyone to "follow your bliss." Sometimes you just have to do what you are good at, and what you will get compensated for, and put your bliss on hold until after you retire, or at least until after you do win the lottery. What is wrong with doing your job, then taking your pay and spending some of it on your hobby? If everyone quit their jobs and took up acting or film making or whatever, the world would have way too many movies and not enough other things.

On the other hand, it would help if people could join labor unions and ORGANIZE so that the did not have to spend 16 hours a day doing a job they hate just to afford the rent and food...

I prefer to say plan your

I prefer to say plan your escape route. A job is a job. I don't need an extra layer of existential angst about how it is not my calling. Besides how many artists need day jobs? Most of them.

Customer Service and Caregiving.

I have been a salesperson and a waitress before. I'd say I was reasonably good, but I really hated it. I think it has something to do with providing a service. That means that you are serving others and somehow this gives them the idea that you are there to just serve them, making your job status lowish on the totem pole of society. In a way, it makes the service worker have less power and satisfaction over their job. Who wants to be told what to do all the time by people who might not even have sympathy for you? They snap their fingers and you have to be at their beck and call, no matter who it is!

Another thing I grew to dislike was being a caregiver. I'd say I was pretty good at it too. At least I tried hard to be good and provide my client with the best possible care. And I found it rewarding sometimes. But its wearing to be a caregiver and to be so selfless even if its for someone who needs a lot of help. The days turned into months, then a year, then a year and months, and my patience was growing thin. So thin, that it was affecting my relationships outside of work. So I quit, moved on, and am beginning a job in a laboratory soon. Thank god.

I'm great at writing -- which means I'm terrible at making money.

All of my coursework in college has been writing-intensive. I love writing and apparently am very good at it. Unfortunately, the fact that zero of my courses involve math or science (I have dyscalculia and can't so much as do times tables) means that I'll be forever relegated to the welfare dime. Nobody hires humanities/social science majors besides fast food and retail. IT and STEM are (forgive me for ending a sentence with a preposition) "where it's at."

I can't do public speaking either. I can't even "network" because like many (if not most) writers (especially of the "creative" sort), I am incredibly shy. Sadly, this also means that even if I wrote the Great American Novel, it would bomb in terms of sales, because I am SO paranoid about people that I can't even interact on the Internet. Well, I can, but only behind a pseudonym, which would be a moot point since obviously I'd have to "sell" the work under my own name (or a "real-sounding" name). I dread social media because it means I have to be "me" -- I have to be authentic (well, as authentic as you can be) online, and can't just let the work sell itself. It means I have to believe in myself, as in not just my writing ability but myself as a person. I have to be forgiving of my flaws when others are not. I have to reveal my personality -- possibly even show my photograph (aaugh!) -- and accept that I am not "perfect" in the ScarJo or Charlize sense of the word. I have to be comfortable with those facts and even play them up for effect.

Someone should start a modeling service for struggling writers, or anyone seeking to promote "themselves" on social media without actually promoting their real selves. It'd obviously be based off the concept of Cyrano de Bergerac. The writer would write the tweets or PR releases -- even better: a PR firm would, ideally the same firm that hires these professional models -- but a far more attractive person would be the "face," allowing the real writer to continue being a self-loathing hermit like J.D. Salinger and never have to do any of that pop-psychology self-acceptance crap. Why bother embracing your authentic self when it'd be so much easier to have a fake you do all the work online and off? Even better than that: a human-looking CGI avatar over Skype!

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Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., who holds doctorates in English and Psychology, is a clinical psychologist and author of Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy.

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