Frustration Friday: False Sophisticates

It's not sophisticated; it's being a pain in the butt

I've spoken and coached on careers for awhile.  I've read books and articles on the job search.  I've tweaked resumes and studied industries.  I've gone to networking events and seminars.

I'm tired of the False Sophisticates.

Every now and then I encounter someone who feels they're very sophisticated about the job search and economy, and is more than glad to display it.  They question every job-search exercise.  Any suggestion to them on an industry to explore will be met with endless questions and criticisms.  Any effort is doubtlessly going to fail, they're quite sure of it.

Oh and they've read all the books and reports.  They're all useless,of course.  They know this as they're very sophisticated.

What I notice is this false sophistication is based on two things; questioning any advice given to them, and finding the negative in everything.  These are the two signs that someone is acting sophisticated about their career – but in reality is just being a pain in the butt.

Endless questioning and endless negativity seems to be useful to the false sophisticate in several ways:

  1. Endless questioning lets you exhaust anyone, so you can declare victory in whatever job discussion you're having when someone gets tired of endless meandering.  If you're questioning, say a book, that's a bonus as the author isn't there to expound on your critique.
  2. Negativity allows one to always find the bad side of things.  It lets someone disregard important information by focusing on the bad – real or imagined.  It's easy to just pick something and say "sorry, that's bad" and promptly disregard anything inconvenient.

Asking constant questions and always seeing the negative is really just an avoidance strategy.  In careers it keeps one from trying new things or facing challenges or just taking a chance.  It manages a veneer of sophistication so people doing it can cover up what a pain they're being.

Until people figure it out, and go and find someone less annoying to deal with.

– Steven Savage