Working With A Wooden Spoon

A wooden spoon: The traditional award for the person in last place.

We focus a lot on the positive side of life, of the loud and the outspoken, but sometimes we need to remember that people are also quiet. And they deserve a mention, too.

I am not popular. It means I lose votes a lot. Since January 2020, the only votes I have won were uncontested. Pouring my heart and soul into something, even a position I loved and helped bring back to life meant nothing in the end, when numbers are the thing that matters. And the thing I am missing most of all.

But I like to think that there is a quiet respect for beneath everything I do, for my underlying dependable nature. That I will be courteous and avoid argument for argument’s sake.

I enjoy being quiet, and I love the time on my own, gaming or reading, writing or just losing myself on a walk in the park. People have said I’m “sad” for going on trips to the cinema alone (pre-lockdown, of course) but you can’t talk in there anyways. My most amusing afternoons have been spent wandering around, exploring to my own intentions.

Whether I have a schedule or not, I like the freedom. Even more so that I can get up and go – waiting for something can mean losing that energy until it’s too inconvenient to use. It’s why I find myself writing or doing university work at 2am.

“Be proud of yourself for trying” – I am. But the problem is, nobody sees that. And it means I am hidden. I lose. A lot, because of a system which is not designed for the quiet beings like myself who still have a lot of dreams. I am quite a lot of the time, when speaking out about achievements or showing my love for a career I hope to have, I am greeted with silence in return.

And it’s heart breaking, really.

With it happening so frequently, and growing more so, sometimes there is a little voice (growing louder) telling me to stop. Let them have the role uncontested. Find the easier path.

But when the easier path is the one I was the most qualified for and still lost

You could call this the “Darkest Hour” of my hero’s journey, but that would be discarding all the difficulties I’ve had before or since that are undoubtedly far worse.

Nobody should feel guilty for promoting what they’re proud of, especially in a sector where that matters. It’s not a competition, and cheering on people taking their first steps, or giving them advice when they’re disheartened is helping to pay back the guidance, the advice, the research others have done for you. Asking for help is difficult, knowing when to keep going is even harder, especially when you are losing and losing something you care about in a difficult employment market.

The world needs so much from us, why don’t we respond with a little bit of kindness?

Image courtesy of Louis Hansel.

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