idealist/counselor

12 03 2009

a friend today mentioned that she really thought i should go back to school and become a therapist, counselor, psychologist, whatever.  my natural listening and understanding skills, she said, coupled with my non-judgment made my advice, in her estimation, excellent.  well, to that i say: terrific!  hey, what’s that over there?!!  and then you hear the scurry of my footsteps in the opposite direction.

i am, for some reason, an idealist.  i didn’t choose to be as such.  i don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing to be, even.  i often wish that i was better skilled in the art of dealing effectively in the imperfect world.  as i am, i see the imperfect world, don’t understand why it can’t be perfect, and cannot fathom how to play in it.  i don’t understand why people think it’s okay to deal with some things they despise in order to do some things they don’t.  i appreciate it, i really do, and i wish often that i could just drop my qualms and participate as others do, but i can’t.  i just don’t get it.  i can’t do something i don’t think is right, because the pangs are frequent and heavy that remind me that i’m faking it, that i’m willfully being insincere, and there is no situation in which i’ve found myself wherein the end justifies the means to the extent of shutting off the little voice in my head that won’t stop repeating what a phony i am.  does anyone else have this problem?

i can’t sit in a meeting with boss-types and tell them what they want to hear, even though it’s just that simple.  even when they know i disagree, don’t care that i disagree, know that i know they don’t care that i disagree, and are only hoping that i’ll say the “right thing” so that we can all get on with living our lies.  “it’s standard procedure,” i can hear them thinking.  “we tell you we think you do this great and hope that you can start doing that for us, and you say ‘sounds great’ and we all go back to work.”  except i know i could do “this” even better and will never be able to do “that” without more intelligent support, and i can’t just say yes when it’s just not true.

i can’t even stand it when people ask me how i am and it happens that i’m not “fine,” because if i don’t want to lie, i have to break one of our society’s time-honored traditions of polite, empty, mindless jabber.  if i do lie, thereby satisfying the pleasantry police, i have myself to contend with–a phony, caught red-handed.  how can one expect to have meaningful connections to others when one won’t even commit to a short, relatively uncomfortable exchange on one’s momentary well-being?

so what about going to school for counseling, a profession for which my friend thinks i’m a natural?  well, i don’t disagree with her.  i’ve thought about it often.  can i help that it bothers me that one requires certifications and degrees in order to be considered a salable professional?  i instantly think about how, in the days of smaller communities, everyone knew who those who could be trusted in their professions were, because people knew each other, and one couldn’t get away with being a phony, fraud, or shyster.  a good mechanic was a good mechanic, a good cook a good cook, and a rotten farmer a rotten farmer.  people were drawn to do what they were good at, and people were more or less accepting of that fact until it was shown otherwise.

dishonest people need certifications and false testimonies to ingratiate themselves with others when they come to town.  with such a large and mobile society, there are so many new people in places, and so many phonies who could be whomever they said they were regardless of ability or respectable intent, our system of stale qualifications pervades and annoys (me).  now you don’t have to be good at something in order to do it.  you just have to jump through the hoops established, many of them in good faith, to be certified to do it.  so now there are tons of people who are positively horrible at what they do, but they have the papers to say it’s okay to do it, so they are accepted.  what a stupid reason to accept someone.  i once had a girlfriend with emotional disturbances who saw a therapist twice a week and never seemed to get anywhere at all.  one day i met someone who happened to work in his clinic, and when i asked her about the therapist, she told me to never let anyone i knew go to him.  her stories were painful to hear.

i’m not saying there’s no credence to having qualifications in most fields.  i get it.  it’s just not a remotely perfect system.  and i can’t find myself in it.  not to mention how much i can’t stand the racket of today’s essentially corporate education or the indentured servitude graduates so eagerly enter immediately following.  i mean, at unc, my alma mater, they just built a global education center… the fedex global education center.  for all the good that people find in that building, it’s built on a foundation of our corporate commerce, and i have to say that that’s not the place i think education should be.

am i wrong?  i know you have to play the game to win the prizes.  i guess it’s lucky that i think most of the prizes are empty, evil, or at best, full of fecal matter, too.  i guess i’ll just continue being a good friend to those who find me useful.

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2 responses

27 03 2009
Mr. Allyson

wait, so the prize isn’t Pizza Party at all??
D:

29 03 2009
Mr. Doug

i don’t know–what if it is?!! how much more time can i afford to waste?

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