A thing I’ve realized lately is that I am constantly in a state of translation and interpretation. My job deals mostly with integrating business and tech solutions so I need to speak both languages. Then I need to brief VPs on the matter, yet another language altogether. So while I am fluent in English and French, I think I actually know a dozen languages. For example.
“But Captain, the warp coils in the dilithium chamber need to be realigned with the phase inducers manually with a tricorder inside a Jeffrey’s tube.” That makes no sense outside of the context of Star Trek (and probably even less in that context).
“Ahhh, Jeez. He banged the blower.” You need to be a gearhead to decode it.
“But the API doesn’t allow routing to the kernel, we need another low level hook.” Real technobabble.
“Alignment of key strategies to the governance framework is required for sustainability”. Executive speak. I am, oddly and sadly, very proficient at this.
“Ok, so the DPS need to throw a pile DOTs and debuffs, while the tank keeps aggro and the healer just HOT.” It’s like herding cats that one.
“Oh, did you see that dipsy-dangle toe-drag, what a beaut!” Got to love hockey.
I think this is one of those life skills that people develop over time and through experience. I look back just 10 years and I’ve certainly more than doubled my vocabulary and context set. As an introvert, I always had issues finding the right words for the right time for the right people. Tons, and I means thousands of hours here, of listening to people talk, reading notes and watching videos (TED talks are awesome) have seriously expanded my abilities. Today, I actually feel comfortable talking to nearly anyone about any given topic. Young, old, a specialist or a generalist.
The downside to this however is that I use visual cues to help guide a talk. Face to face, no problem. I can read a person or a crowd and adjust as necessary. Over the phone is tough. I really need to pay attention and I can get flustered. Written messages are the worst and I’ve resigned myself to a simple rule. Don’t include the words “My, myself or I” in anything I write for work. Personal stuff, no problem – but at work, I use “Us, We and It” instead. It forces me to remove all emotion from the message and makes the issue a group issue rather than just me saying something. Try writing something like that, it’s far from intuitive.
I know this is more of a random thought than anything else but as I grow older (and hopefully wiser) and look back some, I’m honestly impressed by the progress and motivated to achieve more. Not obsessed mind you, just fascinated that when I was younger I thought I knew a lot. When in reality, I have a better appreciate today for what I don’t know. It’s actually quite liberating.