“My life happens on occasion to suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And it’s not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they’re too busy with their own. The beautiful ones. The popular ones. The guys that pick on you. Everyone. If you could hear what they were feeling. The loneliness. The confusion. It looks quiet down there. It’s not. It’s deafening.”
— Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
I am one of three girls. If you were ever to sit us down together and ask which of us had it the hardest, you would find that apparently, we all do! I, as the first-born, suffered from being the guinea-pig child, the kid with the strictest bedtime, harshest punishments, and now, most responsibilities. The youngest daughter will tell you how she tolerates being ignored. Now that her older sisters are ‘grown up’, the conversations are generally above her level, and of matters she has yet to experience and cannot relate to. The middle child will complain about how the eldest and youngest daughters receive special treatments; one with her maturity and reliability, and the other who is allowed to do ‘whatever she wants’. The middle child feels she is the only one who suffers the degree of scrutiny she does.
Who is to say who has it worse off? We are not comparable. We were raised under completely different circumstances, and even in different countries. As our parents have matured and learned through raising us, their parenting styles have changed and so it is almost as if we were raised by different people.
If three sisters cannot be compared, why do we have a tendency to relate the experiences of one colleague and another? This is a common social behaviour, practices since the dawn of Google. But now, in the world of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we are pushed to do it more than ever.
Hi, my name is Rachel Gordon. I am a 22 year old student at Brunel University London, reading Business and Management. I am married and have a pet hedgehog. I work part-time as a private tutor and my hobbies include reading, cooking, and photography (which I occasionally do as a paid work).
How was your first impression of me? Did I do well? No! You have already read about my family, deduced my love of fantasy TV shows (particularly ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’), and learned a lot more through my writing style, etc.
Case in point.
Aside from the unhealthy implications for our mental state, how are we ever to judge people fairly? When you hear the name of a new member of staff and immediately ‘Google them’, how are they ever to make a good first impression?
You may be sitting there thinking that if they put that information on social media, it’s their own fault that others can access it and therefore judge them. True; if their security settings aren’t up to the challenge, they leave themselves open to the trial of your mind, where you are judge, jury, and executioner. But… The average UK worker changes jobs more than every five years (Doyle, 2018). So consider this: how far are you from becoming the new employee in someone else’s office? What will people see if they ‘Google’ you?
All in All
We form our opinions of someone within the first 7 seconds of meeting them. That does not give us a whole lot of time to make good impressions, or to judge fairly, let alone favourably. So, let’s not make up our minds in advance of meeting others, or compare our circumstances to our colleagues (a terrible habit that bears no good fruit for anyone). Rather than judging first and reflecting later on the impact our preexisting thoughts have on our behaviour and treatment of others, let’s have some consideration. Most people change jobs because of relationships within the workplace – not the work itself – and so our employees, coworkers, and clients are a business’s internal customers. If we give people the benefit of the doubt and treat them better, perhaps they will stay in the same business for longer and we won’t have to go through endless introductions, indefinitely.
Whether reflecting on experience, or looking forward in anticipation, every day is an opportunity to do something positive. TV psychologist & author Dr Audrey Tang (43) and creative writer & millennial business blogger Rachel Gordon (23) have teamed up to inspire your 2019 – whatever your age!