Not only in regards to work ethic, college has groomed us to become professional bullshitters in everyday life. Whether it’s pretending to know what you’re talking about at work or lying to your parents about your ‘good’ financial standing in order to justify your degenerate weekend habits, we’ve all become really, scarily good at pretending, lying and fabricating.
Driving home from work one night last week, I heard the latest way college students are sliding by and continuing to do the bare minimum. Coming up short for a lengthy essay? Write in a bunch of random words at the end, make them the smallest font size possible and change the font color to white. Apparently you can cut out a significant amount of those required words.
Half the battle in college, particularly dealing with presentations, is acting like you know what you’re talking about, being confident, sounding educated and not seeming nervous or flustered. Not much has changed from college to work. Whenever I’m asked a question I’m unsure of, or just not completely positive, I just nod my head with reassurance that I comprehend it and am in the loop. However, 80% of the time, as soon as someone walks away I’m breaking into a panic in my head, fingers are going 100 mph on the keyboard, searching for something relevant to the topic, attempting to figure it out. It’s all about playing it cool. I came across this meme on Twitter and found it so fitting for this post.
And even when you know you’re doing something wrong, or outside your scope of work at the office, you always have a back-up plan, or response, in case you get caught. For example, printing personal stuff, browsing through social media or online shopping, there is always a part of you that is playing devil’s advocate, brainstorming ways to BS your way out of the potential situation of being caught.
Furthermore, when it comes to discussion board posts or papers, sometimes all you have to do is ramble on and on until you convince someone else, or even yourself, that you’re making sense and telling the truth. Similarly to small talk at the office, when someone asks how your weekend was, you’re obviously not going to respond with, “Omg so much fun, I blacked out in the city with my friends, spent most of my time recovering in my bed and virtually achieved nothing productive.” So, you simply say, “It was really good, super relaxing, how about yours?”
This also occurs when my parents question my spending habits on the weekends. “I thought you were trying to be more conservative with your money and spend less?” Casually, I respond with something similar to, “Yeah I am, I picked up a babysitting shift so I haven’t really touched my paycheck yet.” Half truth, half lie, but I have to keep the bullshit coming especially when it comes to money to avoid a row with my parents, and also myself. Sadly, I think I internally lie to myself about my ridiculous spending habits on unnecessary clothes, food & alcohol. But I forgive myself.
We bullshit through everyday interfaces as well; whether you run into someone randomly and say you’re doing good, even though you might be having a shitty day, you justify buying that $20 pair of shoes because you didn’t spend as much as you anticipated over the weekend, or tell your parents you only had 1 – 2 drinks at happy hour after work, we are bullshitters.
Will we ever get to do something with substance, or are we doomed to a life of bullshit?