Below is why I think I will not go into a job helping other people with simple problems like fixing their computers.
I went to the apple store today to hand in my laptop because the battery needed replacing. A young man helped me behind the genius bar. Within moments of talking with him, you could tell that he was intelligent, but throughout the conversation I had the unignorable feeling that he was patronizing.
His words flowed fluently, he was calm and methodical, and everything he said made sense, but in his eyes and in his tone I felt a contempt that comes from helping people who don’t know the information that you do – whether it be computer stuff or cooking tips.
The contempt comes from you having to break things down to a level so simple that the lowest common denominator could understand it. Practice this enough, and you end up believing that everyone who doesn’t know what you do is stupid, because that’s who you have to pretend the person is in order to relay information methodically to them.
I know this because . . . I’ve done this a few times myself. You put on a mask, a persona and it speaks perfectly and clearly and it communicates exactly what the other person needs to hear. But it gets tiring after around 4 minutes.
Today my style has changed. Now I believe that if someone doesn’t understand what I’m talking about, whether it’s a concept or steps for a process, then that means that I don’t understand it well enough myself and therefore I need to try harder. And it’s fun because it’s a sort of puzzle, and you don’t have to pretend that because the other person is stupid that you need to “stoop down” to their level for them to understand you.
Don’t practice a persona unless you invite its shadow in too.