Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Big50 Day 38: On Being Underestimated

I'm underestimated in all sorts of ways.  While I have a lot of privilege in some respects, there are other things I'm at a disadvantage for, such as being a woman and being fat.  I'm very intelligent and have a lot of general knowledge, and have worked in a lot of different jobs and environments and have a wide range of interests.  I have one bachelor's degree, am currently doing another, and plan on going on to post-grad.

However, I work in a job that is considered "unskilled" - I'm in Customer Service.  Never mind that Customer Service is quite a small part of my role, and shrinking - I'm in the Customer Service team, and that's that.  I find that some people - colleagues, customers, acquaintances - assume that because I'm a fat woman in an "unskilled" job, I'm therefore not particularly intelligent.

This really annoys me, because I'm quite aware of my intelligence.  You could say (and it would be fair, and it's something that I know I should work on) that I'm quite arrogant about it.  So I find it personally insulting when people assume I'm clueless.  Which is silly - the person on the other end of the phone doesn't know me.  If they want to treat me like I'm an idiot, that's their problem, not mine.

Of course, there are some situations where I can use this to my advantage.  I can pleasantly surprise people when I understand what they are trying to explain with minimum explanation, for example.  But mostly it's just kind of annoying.

The moral of the story is this: if you don't know someone, then don't make assumptions.  This is, of course, something I need to practice more too.

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.


  1. Oh I know all about being underestimated. I'm a fat woman with pink hair and tattoos. I'm "rough", and "weird" and "juvenile". I have an outgoing personality, so I never "take things seriously" and "am all noise".

    Well... you get the picture.

    Thing is, I'm bloody smart. I can learn anything I choose to, adapt at the drop of a hat, am fantastic at seeing the big picture and solve problems like nobody's business. Not to mention that when the pressure is on, I'm the one who is cool headed and gets things done.

    But people only look at the surface. So I spend a lot of my life being underestimated.

    It sucks, donit?

  2. Oh, yes, it certainly does! It seems like we have a lot in common :)