The difference between a wannabe and a newbie

Wednesday, Marie-Christine dropped a great link to a site about bullying. Included there was a description of wannabes. Obviously not all wannabes are bullies but many are, especially now. Here’s one characteristic that really hit home:

…is likely to be vilifying the profession they want to belong to or which they’re claiming to be part of or which they are claiming to represent.

I can’t tell you how much this annoys me.

I love this business. I think it’s a great business to be in -which is not to say I’m a fan of everything about it. It has long annoyed me when people talk trash about the business and how awful it is. If you don’t like it, leave it. I have noticed that people I thought were marginal (from other things they wrote), talk a lot of trash about the business but I didn’t think it was anything more than a base reaction like envy. Most people don’t make millions but we like the work so we make it work. There’s no other reason to stay in it. I’m always tempted to tell complainers that they’re better off running a franchise (and then to complain about that) but then this from the same source said a wannabe is:

…one of life’s chronic underperformers and is best described as ineffectual in everything.

And then I realized I’d always known that, I just hadn’t put the two together before.

There’s a big difference between a wannabe and a newbie. People who have a skill or something going for them, have a confidence from outside the business. They are centered in their place in the world even if they’re only now coming into this one. They’re newbies, never wannabes. Their responses are not defensive. Maybe that’s the reason I avoid working with anyone who waves NDAs at me; it’s a power grab intended to wrest the upper hand before the relationship has even had a chance to develop.

So that’s how you can identify a wannabe. They’re losers who talk trash about an industry that they either don’t genuinely belong to or are so marginal within it, it’s a miracle that haven’t been let go considering the current economic climate.

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  1. Rocio says:

    -“So that’s how you can identify a wannabe. They’re losers who talk trash about an industry that they either don’t genuinely belong to or are so marginal within it, it’s a miracle that haven’t been let go considering the current economic climate.”-

    I couldn’t agree with you more… and often wish there was a repellent for wannabes on the market!

  2. Denise says:

    Sadly, that whole list of bullies you link to really put a monkey wrench in the works. All too often nothing is ever done, and if something is done it’s after so much damage (poor employee morale, driving good employees away, resisting workplace improvement, focusing on control over their fiefdom rather than business success and productivity) and driving the place into the ground. The thing is the bullies I’ve encountered are very savvy at working the system. They know who to schmooze with and suck up to (or have pity bestowed upon them), while being shamelessly horrible to others. Interestingly, both places I worked where a bully or two were able to run rampant were companies that were on their way out…both were acquired by other companies and the shakeout resulted in these people either being forced out or laid off.

  3. Sadly this reminds me of my first real working experience in LA. I had just moved here and got a job for a woman who designs costumes, wedding dresses, and fashion. She was good at setting up gigs and doling out work, but doesn’t have the technical skills-and can barely draw.This woman had been a designer for rock stars in the 80’s in Hollywood and has since lost the bigger gigs and is obliviously resentful.Throughout all of this time she has had the same woman working for her for the past 25 years doing pattern making sewing and troubleshooting the designs with dedication, skill, and speed that deserved a great award. Sadly this worker has yet to make a decent wage, has never seen benefits, and worries every day whether or not she will be yelled at and belittled by the designer. Also she probably will never leave. I came from a background of home sewing with some experience (3 1/2 years designing and manufacturing costumes)and a great interest in production techniques- and already a reader of the DE book for about 3 years. My position was to as an assistant in the design room. It started out ok, but as time went on and I witnessed how easily blame was placed on anyone except the designer, had been talked sown to a number of times in a way that seem helpful but was malicious underneath it all. I walked on eggshells and hoped that tomorrow would be better, that I was strong, intelligent and could be a good assistant. To make a long story short I did my best and eventually left when I realized that I was being abused by this woman. I was having nightmares, had lost all confidence in myself, and my fiance was really starting to worry.
    I have yet to work again in the industry out here as I am busy with other things, but I am certainly hesitant and a little terrified of being in that position again. I believe that I witnesses a bad apple in the basket, and having seen the signs I will avoid that kind of environment in the future.
    Thanks for reading.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Denise, I would agree that bullies are savvy at manipulating people and relationships within the system. Some descriptions on that site say bullies don’t care about other people’s feelings etc but it’s the opposite, they enjoy hurting people. You have to be able to project outcomes several steps ahead and read others emotions to know how to hurt and manipulate them most effectively. I admire the skill and ability to do that but obviously not the purpose/outcome. They do “care” about others but their desired outcomes are unkind (antisocial). That boils down to evil imo, shades of Peck’s People of the Lie. It’s tragic they use these skills and abilities for evil, they’d be polar opposites if they worked for good.

    Jennifer: ten bucks says she was a prima donna, I wonder if it comes with the territory. I’ve run into a few of these but I can usually weed them out at the intake interview (they tend to be aggressive rather than assertive). Before, I could never articulate why but this site provides some clarity. Of course, this applies to any industry, not just this one. A useful comparison chart explaining the difference between managers and bullies is here.

    DH has an employee who is a horrible bully and considers supervisors or managers who hold him accountable to be bullies. And that’s the other thing as a manager or owner, if there are bullies working for you, they can make your job a nightmare. Unfortunately this bully is an expert at working the system (sneaky and devious) and it would take the same level of deviousness to get rid of him only no one there has it, assuming they would stoop to that level. If feels dirty. The best they can do is marginalize him and limit his influences over others.

  5. Sue T. says:

    I am on the mailing list for the site listed below and have received some interesting pieces from this gentleman on game-playing, especially in the workplace:

    He has books and a course for sale, but there are a couple of free downloads and of course the mailing list. His article (free) called “Social Ju Jitsu” is a good one.

    Kathleen: we have a term here for marginalizing someone who is considered a loose cannon; we “put them on the shelf.” They get to sit in an office all day with no work at all, or are assigned stupid duties. Unfortunately some people have to be treated that way. I would rather have too much to do (but not all of the time) than to just sit around, feeling my hips spread.

  6. Sandra says:

    Thank you for the bullying website. I think most people encountered some form of bullying in school. What happened to those bullies? They grew up and moved into the workplace and god help you if they’re in a position of power! Unfortunately, sometimes the only way out is to leave.

  7. Irma says:

    About NDA’s… I don’t understand the stigma associated with having an NDA. I’m currently working on branding one of my products, and have been advised to have NDA’s signed by manufacturing contractors and patternmakers. It sounds sensible to me. What about that would make anyone a wannabe?

  8. Kathleen says:

    Irma, they’re useless in protecting you and the best service providers won’t sign them (indicates someone likely to be difficult to work with). It’s a long story but no one who has been around uses them. Try reading a few entries in the intellectual property category. More is in my book.

  9. Irma says:

    I have your book and have been reading it diligently. I will go over the section on intelllectual property again. Thank you for the response.

  10. Irma and anyone else who’s reading, this is the “intellectual property” category:

    You can get it by going to the “Categories” pull-down menu right on top of the picture of Kathleen’s book.

  11. Kathleen says:

    Shocking. A new study says 67% of textile/apparel firms misrepresent themselves. Enterprises that correctly label themselves are more successful, hire more employees, have higher sales, more production square footage etc (emphasis is mine).

    “It’s not necessarily that these businesses are purposefully misrepresenting themselves,” Ha-Brookshire said. “Often, these businesses simply use different terminology than the U.S. Census Bureau has designated, or they are genuinely confused about how to classify themselves.”

    Ha-Brookshire’s study also revealed an important economic byproduct of this identity distortion. Her studied concluded that the companies whose identities are congruent with the U.S. Census Bureau are more financially successful than those companies whose identities are incongruent. Ha-Brookshire found that, on average, companies with congruent identities hired more employees, had higher sales, more square footage of production space, and a higher credit score.

    “If a textile or apparel manufacturer reports itself to the U.S. Census Bureau as a wholesaler, or a wholesaler reports itself as an apparel manufacturer, all the economic data the government has compiled are wrong,” Ha-Brookshire said. “Also, it makes it much harder for these small businesses to get bank loans specifically designed for certain small businesses if they don’t have a good grasp on their own identities.”

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