I was at a pub night one evening about a year ago with a group of loud, crazy executives who were all about twice my age. (I was there to chit-chat with and sing for them.) We got to talking about career plans. One gentleman asked me what my plans were. I answered by making a joke, and skirting the issue. What he didn't know was that I was and am in the middle of a very comprehensive plan that I meticulously devised in my first year of university. It usually takes me nearly an hour to explain it verbally, so I don't. I also don't like to sell myself short. So, I generally avoid responding when asked by strangers about my plans and am expected to provide a one-sentence answer. One-sentence isn't sufficient to express what I'd need to say, and I don't feel the need to garner the respect of strangers, whether or not they are executives, so I don't bother.
Anyway, immediately following my response, he turned around and asked the waitress what hers were, and she happily responded in one line: I'm studying x so that I can be a y. So naturally, the gentleman came right back to me to tell me that I had a problem since I had "no direction"...
I then did what I rarely ever do: I explained myself and my plans thoroughly to a set of strangers trusting that they would understand my logic. Fortunately, they did, and it wasn't a frustrating experience. Nothing upsets me more than to waste my time explaining myself to people who can't understand what I'm trying to say. I would have loathed myself for the wasted effort had they not understood, or at least taken the time to discuss my plans thoroughly in an attempt to understand.
By the end of the evening, two had personally invited me to meet with them to discuss career prospects, while the others each ensured that we had exchanged business contact information.
Now, this pub night comes to mind because of recent events. When I spend time with a particular friend of mine who is noticeably insecure, I take every hit he/she gives. The reason is because between the two of us, I can take it. The hits he/she gives tend to be assumptions regarding my career plans, and success in life. I've noticed that he/she needs to feel as if I am an ambitionless person, making her way through life without plans or prospects. He/she can't handle the blunt truth so well, so I let it go.
But the truth is, he/she underestimates me, and I don't defend myself. Why? Well, it's simple: as insulting as that is, I know that to explain myself would be a waste of time. He/she isn't able to understand.
But let me make it clear: nothing in my life is unplanned or a mistake. There is a lot of effort, thought, planning and time that goes into every aspect of my life. It wasn't easy or a fluke that anything in my life is what it is. Ask me, and I'll take my time to explain it to you. Don't ask me, and I won't bother.