A lot of people who are Too XYZ will hear these words when they express something with which they are having difficulty that other people find easy. God knows I have. I have heard it because of the things I write in this blog, or the things I Tweet, or write in Brazen Careerist. Hell, sometimes I hear it when I just live my daily life outside of the computer.
I will be having a problem doing something the conventional way, or otherwise explain that going forward in such a manner is impossible for me. And on message boards or blog comment sections I read it;
"That's just the way it is. Suck it up."
Oh yeah? Suck this up.
Pardon my foulness, but such is my level of exasperation, or even offense, when people approach my situations with such a response.
To say this to people is shallow because it displays a lack of true compassion for someone's situation. It's lazy because it allows one to make a snap judgment about a person's situation without having to invest the mental work that is required to understand circumstances outside of the norm. It displays a lack of imagination.
In short, to say, "That's just the way it is, suck it up", is to be of no help to anyone at all. And if you have no desire to help someone, even if they suffer from problems you are unable to imagine, why say anything at all to them? What is it that fries your circuitry so much about people like me who don't proceed in the way your favorite Gen-Y blogger says to proceed? Are you unable to stay on your highway just because a stray leaf blows by and wrecks your perfect sense of what the world is supposed to be?
Instead of telling those who ask for advice to, "suck it up", because you lack the intelligence to be more clever, just go about your merry perfect way down the road where everything comes easy and every step along your journey is perfectly mapped out, complete with instructions on how to proceed in every contingency.
For those of you that have a sincere desire to help everyone around you succeed by participating in a free and open exchange flow of information and perceptions, read on. You may learn how to be of service to those that are Too XYZ, even if you yourself are not.
So many assumptions are made about people like myself. The huge gaps in my official work history must mean I am lazy. My discomfort with standard networking events must mean I am afraid of people, and should seek psychiatric care. Using the privacy settings on Facebook must indicate I am a zealot with something terrible to hide from the world. The fact that I have, and may at some point again live with my mother must indicate I am afraid of the "real" world. While there is always room for improvement in most aspects in my life, none of the above reasons apply to me. There are legitimate, tangible, and documented reasons why each of these things is true. I don't know what to do about a lot of the actual reasons, but that is where you can come in.
Don't make assumptions. Resist the urge to offer pat advice that all the gurus offer to people in my situation. Care enough to dig deeper into the reasons a person may be where they are, and for the love of all things holy, listen to their situation. If someone is sharing their story with you, even out of frustration, there is a good chance they want to find ways to improve their lot. But they don't want to alter their entire DNA in order to do so. They want to work with both their strengths, and their weaknesses. They are willing to accept the latter, if others would be willing to accept the former.
Help those that are Too XYZ change what they do and not what they are. In fact, that may be the ultimate approach to helping anyone that is less fortunate or on the ball than yourself. Know what they are and who they are before advising them. Think of a way to work with them and their abilities, not make them feel as though they don't measure up as a person because they haven't blogged, tweeted, Facebooked, networked or job hunted the way the gurus say they should.
People that are Too XYZ by and large know that they are different in thought word and deed. We admit it, and embrace it. But that doesn't mean we don't need help sometimes. And we don't begrudge you your conventional success. We plan to drive ourselves, and pay for all of the gas out of our own pocket. (I'm doing a lot of that these days.) We just need to sometimes take the back roads instead of the highway.
Anyone got a GPS?