Everyday Life, Family Life

Episode 57 – Impression Management

This morning I had the inspiration to toss on a coat and a hat and head to West Van and go walking along the seawall. When I mentioned this to Denny I thought he would encourage me to go to the seawall. I even added, “walk along the seawall with my husband.” But he simply said, “There will be other mornings like this.”

“But the birds are singing.”

“They will be singing on other mornings.”

Denny, the one who always encourages me to go walking. To go outdoors. To find something relaxing to do on a Saturday. The mystery of marriage is that no matter how long you live with someone, they will still surprise you.

So, Denny went for a walk to the gym and I finished my bio.

Working on a bio is a bit like throwing all the ingredients in your kitchen, representing your life, into a crockpot. But of course, that’s not how you do it. You have to be selective.

You want to make an impression of sorts. Get it right.

I take a sip of water, first checking carefully to make sure the glass doesn’t have anything in it besides water. Last time there was a hair in it.

Achievements, interests, hobbies…the list of ingredients in a bio.

So boring. So dry.

Such a misrepresentation in one hundred words.

Lately I’ve discovered myself telling stories at work. Stories about my life.

Anyone my age has collected a few tales. I told about waiting at the pier for ten hours for Denny when the ship he was on was late, returning from a remote island in Indonesia. The following morning we went back to the pier and found the ship had sank after midnight, due to a hole in the hull.

But you don’t put those kinds of stories in a bio.

I look at some notes I’ve scratched on linen paper. We are out of regular white printing paper so I just grabbed what I found.

An hour later I give up trying to be creative with my one hundred word bio. It would only end up sounding cheesy, one of Denny’s expressions. I rattle off my achievements, interests and hobbies, and I’m done.

All the interesting ingredients go back on the shelf.

My boss has said more than once, that I am the “face” of the organization. I’m relatively new at this job, so a good bio would help me be more than a face.

I told myself right from the start that I wasn’t going to try to impress anybody at this job. No special “impression management” for me. I was just going to be me. That face would have to be good enough.

I met a woman once who ran a business called, “Impression Management Services.” She was signing a lease in my rental office, all coifed and manicured, wearing heels and the latest trend.

When I asked her about her work she said she helped companies like hotel chains and other businesses with their public image. She listed a few companies and I was duly impressed.

I thought I might like that sort of a job. Helping others with their image. My current boss is a bit into impression management, not that there is anything wrong with that.

The trouble with impression management is that you can’t alway manage the impression you make. There will be variables beyond your control. Like when I had to go to the suite of Ms. Impression Management and saw that her living room had no furniture and her kids were sleeping on a mattress in the corner. Or when her gruff-mannered husband followed her into my rental office wearing gum boots and a plaid lumberjack coat.

Well, who would know at the Hilton?

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