Faking it.Posted: June 14, 2010 Filed under: Life, Work 2 Comments
Sometimes in life, you’re asked to fake it. We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Today I got to thinking, how do you feel when you know you’re faking it?
Before you get all excited, I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about work. How many of you have done a job at some time in your life where you’ve had to fake it? I have. When I was at university I worked in a video games shop, and I had to fake enthusiasm for shoot ’em ups. That wasn’t so bad though. At the end of the day, the customers didn’t really care if I liked video games or not. What did matter was that what they bought was right for them. And that’s where I had a problem. My manager wanted me to sell them extra memory cards, extra control pads, extra everything, regardless of whether or not they needed it. “Just tell them they need it”, he said. I couldn’t do that.
Now, ten years later, I hear from a good friend in a similar situation. Only this time it’s a little more serious. A lot of my friends are teachers of various kinds, in various countries, and you wouldn’t believe some of the stories I hear. A teacher is someone you should be able to trust, but what is that teacher to do when they’re asked to fake it?
Some companies only know how to focus on money. Personally, I think value for money is more important. My friend has been asked to fake it – she’s been asked to teach something she knows nothing about, to students who believe she is an expert, or at least a trained professional. She is neither.
These students are hoping to go to university in another country. It’s their dream. They’ve paid a lot of money to take classes in order to pass the very important (and, I should add, expensive) test they have to pass in order to get into that university. She has to teach them how to pass. And in order to do that, she has to fake it.
She knows about as much about these tests as the students know. Perhaps less. She’s not even a qualified teacher, actually. She’s just a native English speaker with a degree which, shockingly, is enough to qualify her to… fake it.
So, how would you feel in that situation? Could you fake it? It’s only a job, after all. Personally, I would have some moral issues with it. I think I could only fake it so far…
This post was part inspired by the fabulous Sex & The City (Season 3, Episode 14), so here’s a clip. I love Charlotte’s line at the end. Perhaps my friend is thinking “my career is a fake Fendi“…
I think it’s what “selling out” means… selling our your morals for a paycheck. We all have to do it at some point, though… from faking smiles at horrible customers while serving them coffee, to… I guess… pretending to be an expert at something you know nothing about. There’s a line, though, between performance (which, arguably, is something everyone has to do in their jobs at some point) and immoral lies… only your conscience can decide!
I’d say that it’s the company that’s in the wrong here. Presumably your friend didn’t pass themselves off as an expert to get the job. Also I’d presume they are in a foriegn country and don’t really have the option not to do it. All she can do is try to keep a few steps ahead of the students and do her best. There must be books on how to pass the exam (Toeic?)
Another stalling tactic is to get the students to say what areas they think they are weak in. The yomiuri daily used to have a column about it. I don’t know if they have free archives though.
I hate faking myself. But I usually have the luxury and security to be able to admit my ignorance without consequence.