Mimicking versus grappling
by Randy Gingeleski
3 minutes to read
With any topic or learning goal, typically you start off "mimicking" and grow towards "grappling." Let's discuss.
You start working someplace that’s heavy on Slack, the popular chat client, for communications.
This blog has covered before — at least once — that 99% of the time it is not good to be a psycho at work.
So as a new remote worker whose primary communications platform is Slack, you might want to know how not to be a psycho via Slack.
You read a gingeleski.com article called How to climb the social ladder remotely with Slack or something like that. The title might not be as obvious as “don’t be a crazy lunatic!”
FYI that is not a real article here. We are just spitballing.
The article gives you great tips. At this new job, you go on to actually apply them and put in effort. Your co-workers love you, then one year later you get a promotion.
The job market heats up for your field soon after that. You get kinda burned-out in this promoted position. After 5 more months, a job offer lands in your lap that is too good to pass up.
This new-new job is remote like your old one. Except, they don’t use Slack or even email (!!).
They use a shiny augmented reality (AR) communications software called Eyeblastwoo. You get an expensive headset to participate with. There are 3D filters of dancing food and overall this software is pretty crazy.
That’s not a real thing either, it was made up just now.
In fact, you have a tough time figuring out how to be as smooth with Eyeblastwoo as you were with Slack.
You return to gingeleski.con in a panic to see if Randy has anything to say about this topic. There’s no article for How to climb the social ladder remotely with Eyeblastwoo. 😿
After the typical 3 months of training and trying someone out to see how they do, your superiors decide you are a psycho based on your behavior. There is too much ambiguity when they interact with you.
Over an additional 2 months of observation, they slowly take away all your power and interesting stuff to do. You get boring work that has you off by yourself.
Less than a month later, since you were doing stuff that was ripe to be automated away, you get laid off. Hyperscience does your job now.
With tears streaming down, you shake your fists at the heavens. “CURSE YOU EYEBLASTWOOOOOO!!”
Okay — end story. What happened?
In between reading my fictional article and going to your new-new job, there was never any learning about how not to be a psychopath.
You just mimicked my super-sauve behavior in the way I told you via blog post.
Thus, when it came time to grapple with being socially proficient in unknown territory, you couldn’t come up with your own playbook.
You couldn’t write your own blog post on How to climb the social ladder remotely with Eyeblastwoo because you were lost.
This was one entertaining scenario, but also think back to grade school or even college where people would cheat on assignments. Like people who did their programming homework based solely off StackOverflow answers.
Are any of those people from my class successful in tech now? Or even working in tech now? No.
Anybody can mimic. Tons and tons of people do mimic.
But you have to learn in such a way that you can grapple with concepts yourself.
MIMIC <-> LEARN <-> GRAPPLE
Other peoples’ writing and advice can certainly speed this along. That’s no substitute for hard work though.
Be better than average. Don’t rest at the mimic stage. Nothing great was ever accomplished like that.