I spoke with Jen for a while on the phone last night. I'd gotten home from work late, she was upset and worried about her job, I was frustrated, so we just needed to talk. It provided a forum for us to sort of counsel one another. When I remarked on my plan to go talk to Rich today, she asked me why. I told her, Well, because I like my job. I love my work. I don't want to leave! Her belief was palpable even through the phone. "No, you write about how much you hate your job and how much you hate that company!" She had me there, for a moment. I didn't know how to explain it, then, suddenly, I did. "It's not the job. I love my job. I love working with technology, I love the exercise in problem solving that it gives me, the chance to meet new people and play with new geek toys. It's the environment I hate. Allen, he creates an environment for me... he attempts to railroad me, he ambushes me, he plays little mind games. Allen makes promises that I then have to attempt to fulfill even though his decisions are made on data that has absolutely no bearing upon reality. He makes it so I don't want to go into work each day. It's the WAY I have to work that bothers me, and that is a product of my environment. It isn't the work itself that bothers me. When I explained it that way to her, she seemed to have had the epiphany and understood my love of the job but the hate of the environment I was performing it in.
So, I'm feeling a little bit buoyed by Rich's responses to my concerns and disillusionment. But I'm also being lifted by something else, which is bringing me in a roundabout way to my real "topic" for tonight's entry... secrets.
Yes, secrets. When spoken of in this manner, they seem like such a small thing, don't they? But secrets really do command a great deal of power. Everybody has secrets. We each have some dark little secret we're hiding away from the rest of the world -- we hide things from our spouses, our parents, our insurance agents, our coworkers, our peers and sometimes even from ourselves. Secrets are the great equalizer, because while they can make us feel small and insignificant or uncertain, they also can make us feel very powerful. You surely remember what it is like to be a child with a secret. When your best friend told you a secret about how they had a crush on so-and-so, what's the first thing you did? You crowed it to your family and the other friends. "I've got a secret!" you cried. Of course you did, we all did it at one time or another in our lives. Heck, some of us continue to do it for the rest of our lives. Why? Because we get addicted to the power that secret gives us. That little nugget of knowledge, that we know and were trusted to know, and that nobody else knows. Our immediate reactions as humans? GO AND LORD IT OVER SOMEBODY ELSE. That's right, the immediate action that most people take when trusted with a secret is go use it to make themselves feel superior to other people.
Why do we do that? Perhaps to hide our own secrets, and to make us feel better about ourselves. We all have our "dark" secrets, our skeletons in our closets. Maybe it's that we secretly love watching the "Rosie" show. Maybe it's that we pick our noses. Maybe it's that we own a copy of Highlander 2. Whatever it is, we use this other knowledge to help push the darker things further into the shadows, and to make ourselves feel special. When we tell somebody else "I have a secret," we're in essence saying "I'm better than YOU are, nyahnyah!" Yep, we're holding it above them. What action do we, deep down, expect from such a taunt? Well, naturally, we're expecting them to demand proof that this secret is so great and so worth the trouble that's being taken to vaunt it. This is always the reaction. People don't like you lording that sort of stuff over them, so they challenge you. Do you really have a better secret than they do? How great can it be, if you're prancing around, singing about it?
Now you're faced with the next problem... do you tell, or not? If you don't, they'll demand you tell them, otherwise how can they know you really have a secret? It's a double-edged blade, isn't it? If you don't, you're lying, and you've painted yourself into a corner. If you do tell, then you've just helped make it less of a secret. People usually opt for the later choice because they feel compelled to save face and prove themselves to their peers. This tendency of human nature is precisely why I believe the best way to keep a secret is to simply not have any. The problem is, that simple truth just isn't realistic in this day and age. As I mentioned above, we all have secrets, for whatever reason.
I have a secret.
This one goes out to the one I love