Part 3. Drowning Out in Kansas CityJuly 2008 - Kansas City
“I don’t think I belong here” is all that kept going through my head as I sat through my training in Kansas City. I was there to prove I could teach Photoshop. The other four initiates were over the age of 45, teaching classes along the lines of ‘Dealing with Difficult Employees,’ and all women. They were self proclaimed motivational speakers. I was a self proclaimed guy who knew Photoshop.
“I don’t think I belong here,” I thought to myself as they went through embarrassingly simple paperwork for three straight hours as the four women took copious notes and I wrote a program in php that would automate calculating the cost of the books we were supposed to sell and doodled.Who I am is defined by the people I surround myself with, and if this became my crowd, what would that make me? I didn’t like the thought. I preferred thinking, “I don’t think I belong here.”
The three day training period was buried in a level of business-speak double-talk that I’d done everything I could up until that point in my life to avoid. Double speak gives me a strong urge to punch the speaker in the teeth.
Going in, I was confident I’d pass the main test, an oral exam where we were told to present a randomly chosen section from our five hour class. The other four went before me, spending fifteen minutes each confidently saying nothing in a manner that lined up with their power points.
When it was my turn, I was asked to talk about an advanced topic - masks. I stood in front of them, with no power point to guide me along, and a pair of khakis three levels down from their power suits. I watched everyone’s faces read, ‘That’s cute. He’s a computer guy. This isn’t something I’d ever be able to understand so I’m just going to smile.’
Despite no one having a clue what I was talking about, they were desperate and it sounded like I knew my stuff. When I got the job I told myself I’d do it until I paid off my student loans. I had a sour taste. This was a system built to perpetuate mediocrity. This wasn’t who I wanted to be. Also, I hadn’t told my day job that I was taking this on, and unless I played my cards just right, there was a good chance I’d lose it. Next Week: Part 4. Risking the Day Job