“When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.” Saul Bellow

Advice
Hey, here’s some advice from me – I don’t really want your advice. Thanks. I’m not sure what it is about me that invites confidences or makes people feel like they can give me their opinions about my personal life, but it would be great if I could somehow isolate that quality and then destroy it.

Maybe it’s part of being in HR, where I spend most of the day doing an awkward dance around solving employment issues without delving too deep into personal issues that seem to always surround them. It’s sometimes difficult to do. Because of that, probably, I almost never ask people, even friends, specific personal questions and I am always surprised when they do it to me. So surprised, that I usually wind up just answering the question and then the advice starts.
One time last year I was telling my boss that I needed some time off because of a health issue. He immediately asked (the Executive Vice President of Human Resources, keep in mind) “What’s wrong?” Well, that’s a hideously inappropriate thing to ask, especially in HR, but I was surprised and then told him what was going on. His response was priceless “Hmmm, are you sure it’s physical? Maybe you are having a nervous breakdown.” I laughed so hard, then told him to go to hell and I felt immediately better – and that quote stayed on my white board for a year.

I am opinionated and I do, on occasion, give advice, but usually only when I’m asked. Seriously. Now I’m getting more personal questions and more unsolicited advice and I’m a little bit done with it. I am becoming cynical (becoming?) and now only search for motive when this happens, which probably isn’t fair. For the record, I’m not a total moron (despite all evidence to the contrary) and I don’t really need to hear your brilliant advice on how to live my life. I pay someone a lot of money for that, everyone else needs to get out of my head.

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