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With great power comes great responsibility.

*Cue heavy orchestra music and swelling of emotion.* 

As a self-proclaimed Blerd (Black + Nerd) I have found myself (a time or two) in the predicament of needing to “play dumb” to cater to the egos of my work counterparts. You would think employers would want somebody working for them with promise and potential but you will find that this is not always the case. 

In fact, it seems, on the surface, that employers would rather hire people they need to spoon feed than a free thinker. 


Simply put, managers are gatekeepers who look for people who will not challenge their position. Freethinkers do not “go with the flow” or keep with the “status quo.” 


Freethinkers will challenge the system and look for ways to make it more efficient. In doing so, they bring to light the flaws and shortcomings of their fellow workmates without even trying. This can cause a rift if you don’t play your cards right. 

Albeit accidental, as an intellectual, you must understand the psychology behind using your intellect to bridge the gap…not burn the bridge. Something as simple as allowing someone else to take lead on a project or changing your response from “I know” to “How interesting” can truly change how people react to your obvious genius. 

“Knowing it all” tends to rub all people the wrong way, so be very aware of how many times you blow somebody off who’s offering a little advice. Yes-yes…I know…you know it already. But how hard is it to just smile and nod and sift through the information for something you might not know? You’d be surprised how open people will be towards someone they think is eager to learn. This puts them in a “mentor” position and allows them to feel proud when the time comes for you to advance instead of feeling slighted because you’ve blown past them and their experience. 

In short, understanding that intellect is only half the battle and that people who may not be as intellectual as you have traits of their own which are just as valuable as your intellect, will help you and your overzealous brain to stay grounded. For example, you may “know” how-to sail a boat but you’re useless if you’ve never actually done it. Being aware of your surroundings and the people (and egos) in it can really help you navigate the waters into promotion and help you make some great connections on the way.


Images credited to [Pexels]


Portia Crawford is a Customer Support Coordinator in South Carolina. She has been an avid writer has been published several times. She has worked in a corporate setting for the last 5 to 7 years.


Twitter: @xenafan4ever

Instagram: @xenafan4ever/


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