Wednesday, July 2, 2014
New York Times: The Self-Promotion Backlash, by Anna North:
From “building your personal brand” to “stepping up your social media presence,” we’re constantly inundated with advice about how to promote ourselves. But some are saying that the pressure to self-promote could, ultimately, be hurting us.
In his recent book Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion, David Zweig profiles a group of people whose jobs are behind the scenes in some way (a guitar technician and a United Nations interpreter, for instance), and who derive satisfaction not from public recognition, but from the internal sense of a job well done. These “Invisibles,” as he calls them, are often extremely fulfilled in their careers, and they may have something to teach those of us who feel we have to constantly promote ourselves to succeed. He writes:
“We’ve been taught that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, that to not just get ahead, but to matter, to exist even, we must make ourselves seen and heard. But what if this is a vast myth?” ...
The Invisibles offer “an alternate path to success” — they got where they were not by courting attention, but by working quietly and extremely carefully toward something bigger than themselves. “The work they do is always in service of a larger endeavor,” he explained. And they show that at least for some people, “when you focus on excellence and good work, that actually does get recognized in the end.”