Friday, April 07, 2006

8 Ways to Fake It

One way to be successful is to fake success then let it catch up with you. Here are some ways to fake your way through life without really hurting anyone.
  1. Count to five before answering any question.
    I learned this from my friend Matt. When someone asks you a question, especially in an interview/work type situation, look off into the distance and count to five then answer the question as usual. You will seem thoughtful and deep. This trick works way, way better than it should.

  2. Send email late at night.
    After you leave work at 4pm and drink until 2am you'll feel like going home and passing out. This is a fine idea, but right before you pass out open your email and find something from your boss (or whomever you want to impress) and write a very specific reply to one of the points she raises. Now she will think you were up working hard all night. It doesn't hurt to "accidentally" cc all you coworkers.

  3. Repeat what somebody else just said.
    When somebody says something smart in a meeting, nod your head and say "I agree, we should (instert exactly what they just said here)." Now you are essentially a co-sponsor of the idea, regardless of whether you know what you're talking about.

  4. Make up meanings for acronyms.
    My sister insisted that "DSL" stood for "Digital Super Laser" for about a year and everyone thought she understood something that they didn't. Note that this can backfire completely if someone actually knows what the acronym stands for.

  5. Talk about airline mileage programs.
    I don't remember who first turned me onto this one, but it totally works. Whenever someone talks about spending a lot of money or doing something that doesn't make sense (say, running up credit card debt) say "at least you can get airline miles for it." People trust you more if they think you fly on airplanes a lot.

  6. Nod in agreement.
    Nod your head when people say things you don't understand. When they ask you if you know about [neuroscience/plumbing/linux] say "I know a little, but I'm interested in learning more." You don't have to mention that the "little" you know is whatever they just said.

  7. "I thought about doing that."
    It's always great to establish common ground with someone by having done the same thing. "Really? I used to work in a fruit canning factory too." Failing this, you can always say that you thought about doing something that they have done. "Yeah, I've been working for software companies my whole life, but I thought about being a deep sea fisherman for a while after high school." "I thought about entering the seminary for a while, but I pretty much stuck to bartending." Note that you aren't lying as long as you ever, ever thought about it, even if it was only long enough to realize what a terrible idea it was.

  8. Read the plaque.
    Whenever you see a plaque read the key points and bring them up in conversation before you forget. You'll seem like a smart person who is well versed in a variety of topics. "Uhh, I think sea lions prefer to eat small fish and crustaceans. These ones have been getting sick lately because tourists feed them bread." "Well, I think it's interesting that this building was the only one on the block to survive the '06 earthquake. It didn't fare so well in the big zeppelin raid though."


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