Its taken me a long time, but over the years I have come to realise that pretty much everyone spends their working lives ‘blagging’. From the moment they put pen to paper to write their first CV to the moment they give their retirement speech. Politicians might call it ‘spinning’, others might call it ‘white lies’ or ’embroidering the truth’. Come on, admit it, you’ve done it.
Just a tweak here and there on exam grades perhaps. Or a ‘yes of course I’m very experienced with that programme’ said confidently at an interview, when inside your saying ‘what the..!’ And somehow asking for a raise can feel more morally acceptable if you add one or two additional skills that you’ve acquired since starting.
Yes, you know you have.
My own blagging comes into it’s own at conferences and meetings. I generally dread the things. Making small talk with strangers is not my forte. Nonetheless, I’ll stand and chat, nodding sagely at appropriate moments, filling in gaps with a ”oh yes, dreadful’ or ‘yes, that’s what I’ve been hearing’ without having the first clue about the subject, and hopefully, without the chattee catching on to my ignorance.
When I told him this, my ex-boss and friend, who is a high profile professional, confided in me that he only has a very vague idea about some of the subjects when he’s chairing conferences, and another, very high profile colleague has been known to nod off on stage when chairing, wake up, and then carry on as if nothing has happened. You just need the ‘front’ to do it.
A lady I know owns a successful antiques dealership. She knew nothing about dealing in antiques when she started, but she told me
‘I just said I was an antiques dealer and people believed me, so I was’
Of course, I’ve been blagging for a while about being a writer. Ok, I blog. I write short stories. I have self-published poems on a poetry website that lots of people say they enjoy. I’ve done a creative writing degree. I even wrote a radio play that the BBC only just rejected – they gave me a really good critique! (I’m very proud of that! Anyone that’s submitted anything to the BBC will know what I mean) but I haven’t been paid for anything yet. One day…
My latest blag is listing myself as a ‘Social Media Consultant’. Fair do’s, I am doing exactly that for the company I’m working for, but only because I can use Twitter, and Facebook, and Linked-in, and Pinterest, and WordPress, and all the other social sites. It’s not rocket science. Let’s face it, most nine year old’s could do it with their eyes shut. But still, I suddenly find myself spending an awful lot of time marketing the company through these sites, having never done any marketing in my life before.
But, do you know what? Having blagged my way in, I now find that is exactly what I am. I’m learning on the hoof. Gaining knowledge and experience rapidly. In a round about way, I’m even being paid for writing. Just the tweets and blogs and stuff, but it is still writing. After all, I do have to think creatively about what to write, and sometimes that’s no mean feat.
And that is why all the best people blag. It pushes you to do new things, to find ways of picking up skills fast. To achieve more than you thought you could.
Of course, I’m not condoning it – entirely. We should all be truthful. But if a little bit of embroidery on your CV can get you a job that you know you are capable of when otherwise you would be at the bottom of the pile (obviously, you have to have some confidence that you can pick things up quickly) then perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to do. Is it?