Who People Think You Are

On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog

One of the interesting things about working at a company such as Boeing is how people treat you differently. Specifically how people you interface with on a non-recurring basis (i.e. not my coworkers) respond to me.

As soon as I call someone and say, “This is Andrew Ferguson from The Boeing Company,” I can hear their attitude change immediately. They are instantly interested.

On email, it’s very similar. I’ll be asking a vendor a simple question and they will respond with a resume of their involvement at Boeing1 in an effort to prove that, “Yes, we really do work with Boeing and we know how you guys work and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep your business.”

“You guys”…what does that mean any way?

This is a far cry from when I walk into a business, even today, and practically beg them to sell me something. I think a large part of this is because of my age. I’m a twenty-three years old and people don’t expect me to care serious about their product. It’s unfortunate, but true. The other part is to recognize that how you affiliate with something (a person or an corporate entity) can also affect how people treat you.

I haven’t gotten any comments back yet, but I wonder how shocked (if at all) people are when they finally meet me and I’m the youngest person in the room my two decades?

Perhaps the adage I should be keeping in mind is: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Image: Copyright © 1993 The New Yorker/Peter Steiner. The New Yorker, (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20) page 61 of July 5, 1993 issue.

  1. we supply X to this project and Y to that project and Z to those projects