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Are You a Cheap Prostitute at Work?

It’s one thing to interact authentically. It’s another to feel that you have to prove your genuineness. (We have just started a new podcast series discussing “Faking Authenticity.”)

This awkward feeling often rears its head when someone makes an unprovoked accusation about your “true” intentions or hints at possibly “mixed” motives. “Are you trying to undermine my authority?” “Look who’s going home early.” “You’re not doing anything, are you?”

In response we rush to do something that will prove that the accusation has no merit.

I suggest that this unsolicited extra effort on our part is the act of a cheap prostitute.

A public confession of sorts that your value is open to negotiation and requires continual substantiation. “If I just show a little more flesh, they’ll choose me.”

Accusations about the inner workings of your heart and mind are forms of baiting the “prostitute” in you. The part of you that might believe that the accusations could have merit and need to be disproved. The result is your own voluntary offering of “flesh.” Like the prostitute, no one is forcing you to do anything. You actually take it upon yourself to give away what is yours. You give away your power on the cheap by legitimating their original suggestion with your unsolicited “proof.”

Are you sabotaging your own efforts by giving yourself away for cheap? Are you kept off balance by the felt need to make “flesh” offerings to those who don’t deserve them? When you work extra hard, do you end up feeling more valuable or less?

If you’ve been feeling cheap, we need to talk. There are alternatives to the desperate tactics of the cheap prostitute.



4 Responses to “Are You a Cheap Prostitute at Work?”

  1. Bradley J Moore Says:

    Let’s face it, the impressions we make on others are critical to our success at work. Perception actually is becomes the reality often times, and if our peers and superiors are hinting that we are somehow not on target, then we really DO have problems! I would rather get legitimate, honest feedback from a trusted mentor or coach who can point out where the “cheap” accuations are coming from and address them head on.

    Interesting post!

  2. Bill Heatley Says:

    Karl…dude…provocative title. Interesting perspective.

    The heart of why you’re doing that particular activity is crucial to understand. Are you doing the right thing? We should begin there because meeting the unrelenting demands of work or trying to please manipulative or hyper-critical people is a sure way of not doing what you should be doing.

    If you are working with all your heart as unto the Lord then you have nothing to fear. If you have room for improvement and their perspectives help you gain some objective and truthful insight then by all means.

  3. Karl Edwards Says:

    Bradley,

    I agree. We need to embrace greater responsibility for how we contribute (consciously and unconsciously) to how others perceive us.

    That others communicate indirectly and manipulatively is a problem deserving its own discussion. I like your insight that we are the ones taking it upon ourselves to read meaning into those insinuations. Meaning that may or may not really be there. Count me as another vote for getting direct, trustworthy, objective feedback!

  4. Karl Edwards Says:

    Bill,

    You make a great point. We are functioning out of insecurity when we give indirect, vague insinuations power over our choices. You give us firmer ground on which to stand when you suggest an inner confidence about knowing “what we should be doing.” You empower us to determine our own criteria for evaluating both our value and our effectiveness.

    Placating the hyper-critical or manipulative among us is the myth of Sisyphus embodied in our time. Pushing the stone up the hill only to have it roll back down after you’ve made (yet another) heroic effort. We, though, are not cursed to repeat this pattern. Thanks for offering an alternative.

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