I’m naturally curious and interested, and I think this translates well into the various career adventures I’ve had. In one of my jobs, I was an admin during the day and bartender at night. So I had access to my employee record. The “ethics” may be blurry (now that I fully understand what that means) but I was curious and wanted to see what was in my file, so I looked. The notes from my interview were in there and in big letters across the front of the interview questions was the word “COCKY”. Wow. I had no idea how to take that. But it kind of knocked me down a step. Cocky? Well I asked the interviewer. He said it was because I let him know about my skills and abilities without him having to ask. Okay. I agree with this. But cocky?
I’m actually a pretty humble, down to earth person. I’m shy when I first meet you in a social situation. I like asking questions about others and connecting with them on that level because I don’t like talking about myself. But when I know my stuff, I know my stuff. I strive to always listen and learn in every situation and encounter. I read books, I attend classes. If I don’t understand, I ask questions. It’s called building competency and efficacy. Martin Seligman even includes this in his theory of well-being. He calls it Accomplishment.
Unfortunately, we tend to harshly judge people who come across as confident and competent. Why? Is it competition and jealousy? The way we are raised? The roles we assign to people based on how they look? I think it’s probably different for different people. Not sure if that piece really plays a big role. What I am sure about is that words have power and meaning, so it is important to be aware of the words we use. And also to know that it’s up to us to either embrace these words or reject them. Pretty sure that interviewer wrote down “COCKY” and forgot about it. I’m the one who keeps harping on it. I’m the one who continues harming myself with this memory. And I’m the only one who can now decide to change how I’m thinking about it, defining it, and reacting to it. So, yes, you can call it what you want, but I am confident, cocky, self-aware, competent. And I’m okay with this.