Urthalun's card of the day said:
What you perceive to be your dark side holds a hidden treasure. ...What you perceive to be your dark side or shadow self holds a hidden treasure. As humans, we rarely see the full picture in any situation because we are forever stuck in the illusion of good and bad.
I had a job once where I was in charge of a remerch of the store. Every night I'd send a written summary of where we were up to, to my boss, the regional manager, and someone at head office. I mentioned that our one department was all in boxes--that is, the product would remain unshoppable til the next night. It was no one's fault, remerching is just a complex business.
My boss called me at home when he read the email and reamed me out for revealing this fact. I mean, he made me cry. He apologized later, but I did this sort of thing once or twice again. Mentioned we were backed up in shipping in an email where the regional manager was cc'd, that sort of thing. And my boss would hit the roof. Cause to him this was Internal Affairs. These were dirty little secrets you don't share with the higher ups. I didn't repeat the mistake consciously, as a challenge; I just honestly didn't see anything shameful about these things.
Somehow over the years a myth grew up among my friends (the ones I met in this company) that I'm really tactless or brazen, and that the fault was mine in these instances. People forgot the actual facts of the cases (they weren't even around when they happened) and just focused on the fact that I'd get in trouble--I was obviously doing something Managerially Wrong. It became a joke. But one I resented.
Yes, I was wrong, if Game Playing is more important than good business. Many managers are afraid to tell the higher ups the truth of what's going on in their stores cause they'll be blamed for it, even if it's not their fault (Eg. if head office is buying too much product for the given labor hours and linear footage of the store.) If you're the one honest manager who speaks up, you look like an anomaly. Everyone else is managing their stock just fine, why can't you handle it?
The truth of course is that 80% of stores might be in the same boat. If everyone were honest, willing to take the smackdown from their boss, then maybe Those in Power would notice a pattern. Realize there is a problem. And--gasp--fix it. Of course, if protecting egos (the CEO's or VPs' etc) is more important than running a good business, then this "lie about crap" mentality will permeate.
To go back to my first example, in later remerches head office did fix the remerch domino problem. They found new ways of moving product around so that it remained shoppable. I'm sure they did this because other stores remerches ran into the same problem, and were honest about it.
Over the years at that job I was supposed to feel ashamed about this tendency of mine to be transparent. It was this terrible, recalcitrant flaw. But the few times I tried to be More Like Them I failed miserably, cause it's not moi to be dishonest to people about important things. In the end we both saw, La Company and I, that it was time to part ways.
I think this is the kind of "dark side" the card was talking about. I was told, by bosses and friends, that this was something I needed to change. And the more I tried, the more I tried to manage like (for example) my regional manager did, the more I made a mess. Because it's not something I should change about myself. Transparency makes businesses better, not worse. The etiquette of one company doesn't equal How to Be in the World, or how to be in all companies. I've had to work on regaining my faith in my self, in my abilities, in that area or work.
In books and podcasts on writing most writers will advise you: Find that thing that's unique to you, your voice, because that's how you'll write your very best work. At Storywonk they call it your magic.
That sarcastic sense of humor that no one gets at your work place, might make your book stellar. That shyness that people treat like a disease, might go hand in hand with a sensitivity, or an artistic vision, that you don't want to lose. Your "dark side," the side that's not understood at your job, or among classmates, or among friends--it might be the key to your success.
Last year I watched the terrible new Fame movie, only because I loved this one bit in the preview, and wanted to see it in context. It's from a teacher trying to help a rap artist take his rapping to a new level:
"Everything you're ashamed of, all the parts of yourself that you keep secret, everything you want to change about yourself - it's who you are. That's your power."
I leave you with the trailer. It's better than the movie.