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Archive for April 20th, 2010

The Construction of Multiple Identities

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The advent of the internet and the rise of social networking has provided an opportunity we did not have before – the opportunity to construct multiple identities.  For some, the real world is good enough; for others, it is not.

A few years ago I listened to a program on NPR (National Public Radio) about the rise of local churches.  This was not so much about religion as it was about people who obtained papermill degrees in Theology, Ministry, or similar and then started a church placing themselves at the head of that church with their name prefixed with Doctor, Pastor, or similar title of authority.  In an institutional church, for example, Lutherans or Catholic, it takes many years to earn a degree with these titles.  But heck, if someone can send in $10 and get a degree – to get that identify – then why not?

People need self-validation.  For some, self-validation, a sense of worth, comes from inside – intrinsic.  For others, validation has to come from outside – extrinsic.  The challenge of extrinsic validation is that one needs to find an external environment, community, or organization where this can be accomplished.  If the door is closed in one environment, community, or organization you can always try to find another.  For example, a local condo or home-owners association can provide titles of President, Board of Directors, or similar titles and these can be filled by people who, in the real life of their jobs, have never  earned – or have been granted or entrusted with – any real management responsibility.  One night you’re on the Board of Directors at the home owners association – the next day you’re sitting in a fabric cubicle at work like Milton in the movie Office Space.

The real world is hard.  It does not comport itself to the easy wishes of those who desire extrinsic validation by titles or positions of responsibility in a real environment, community or organization where these titles and positions require a demonstrated competency and history of creating measurable results in order to get this positions or titles.

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Written by frrl

April 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm

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