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Old 11-11-2004, 10:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Blagging my way through life...

I was talking to a friend of mine last night, we were swapping stories about where we grew up, things we'd done, places we'd been etc. and suddenly she says.

"You've blagged your whole way through life!"

At the time, I laughed it off, but have been wondering about it since. I dropped out of school, college and university (how did I get into college and university, I suddenly ask myself?) I've taken jobs I didn't have the credentials for. And lived an 'in at the deep-end' kind of existence for most of my career. It's been fun, I'm doing pretty well now and think I've done ok.

Now from my point of view, I think this is great, it makes me feel as though where I am now is based solely on my taking chances and having gotten away with them through a personal mix of resourcefulness, guile and a strong sense of humility I feel lucky, happy and confident.

Now she seemed to think that this was a bad thing, and when I asked her why this was, she asked me if I ever felt proud of anything since most of what I've done has been the result of riding on the back of good fortune.

i.e. I've not worked towards any qualifications, I've never risen up the ranks of a company (it's always seemed easier to shift to a different job somewhere else rather than join in with office politics) and I've never stuck anywhere for long that I didn't enjoy.

I had to think quite hard before I answered...

How would you have answered?
 
Old 11-11-2004, 03:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sometimes blagging is what you need to do to survive.
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Old 11-11-2004, 05:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had to look up blagging to see what it meant! But I think I got the general idea. You lie your way into jobs, and you're good at it because you're actually intelligent, confident, and adaptable. And because of this, you generally do well enough on the job that the employer doesn't suspect.

Is there anything wrong with this? I'm sure there are many people who'll tell you yes, but if you give your employer satisfaction, I will tell you that no harm is done. In a small way, everybody blags. I used to take contracts for technical writing/authoring in which a long list of prerequisites were stated. Many of them were frankly stupid -- I knew enough about the industry to know what I _really_ needed to know -- so I fudged on those to get the job. And I always did the job right and was almost always offered contract extensions.

But you're lying about basic education and experience, and in the long run, it's going to hurt you. As you grow older jumping from job to job at the entry level, you'll find yourself over and over the oldest junior sales rep, the oldest junior claims adjuster, the oldest back-up system operator. Life will leave you behind. Because if you try to blag your way into the upper echelons, you're going to find that companies actually do background checks for those jobs these days. At least they do in my neck of the woods. And giving your flatmates as references will no longer work.

Worse, if you even try to take a higher-level job based on the experience you legitimately have accumulated, they may still check back on your credentials and university experience.

So, this approach to life may be working for you now, but you're stuck on the lower levels of whatever field you get into, and you won't rise. That may be okay now, but what about in 20 years? You'll probably feel differently then.

I would actually say, however, that you seem very entrepreneurial; and if you do want to keep your approach to life and have a future, you might consider starting your own business. If you can produce results, your customers won't care if your resume is right or not.
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