It is extremely liberating to not pretend that you know things you don't. It also opens you up to a lot more chances to learn shit. It rules

Years ago I switched fields of study. So I'm gave myself permission to ask any question no matter how dumb I thought it was. It worked out so well I've never rescinded the permission.


I finally started getting past my ego defenses in my thirties, and life got fascinating. I think learning to learn and owning that I didn't know are the two skills I'd like to go back and teach younger me.*

*After I slapped the crap out of the younger ape in question for a variety of things better left unlisted.

@RussSharek @dirt my old self and yours might be hanging out together by the looks of it. Can you slap mine too? He surely deserves it.


Sadly, we must all learn to slap our own inner teenager about such things.




It's a thing I learned and disliked growing up in the tech scene. There is a lot of ego, needing to show that you can or know even when you can't or don't. Capitalism supports that by it's ever increasing demands on labour. Creating a spiral of needing to be able or seem to be able to do more and more while always being uncertain on whether you're fit for the job at hand.

Takes time to undo, but quite liberating.

@webmind @RussSharek @dirt related but tangental- I've been thinking a lot about the difference between should, ought, and could - especially where the 'should and ought' are dictated by someone else (parent/teacher/partner/boss) whereas the 'could' is like stepping onto fresh sand.

It takes time to undo.

A great joy has been seeing my children not have the shoulds and oughts that I did.

@RussSharek @dirt
Had lunch with a friend the other day. We both lied a LOT as kids to get work. We both only had about elementary school.
He became a marine mechanic for the feds and I an electronics technician doing field work and board repairs.
If we hadn't bullshitted our way into work, we would have starved (and did a bit at first; several days without food sometimes).
Sure, it was liberating 10 yrs l8r in my mid 20's to relax and ask and learn, but it's not something you can start with.

@dirt I'll bet the fact that you take this approach helps other people. Most times when I ask what I think is an overly basic question, someone else in the room asks a follow up question that reveals that they didn't know the answer either. Everyone around you probably learns more.

@dirt Also, one of the coolest things is that those who do know, want to share! So just ask, and ye shall receive awesome knowledge.

(At least, in the sciences/technical fields I am familiar with.)

@dirt computer illiterate people who are afraid of sounding computer illiterate: please do this. you will just continue to sound ignorant af if you don't ask questions.

i get anxious answering computer questions because of this and not knowing how the other person will react to me correcting their nonsensical idea of how anything works.

@dirt I'm a dumb bitch....who is constantly trying to better herself by listening!!

@dirt This is the best professional habit I have, and I try to instill it in others.

I try to make it safe to be seen not know things, by being seen not knowing things (which is easy, because my ignorance is infinite) and by responding kindly to questions asked (which is harder, because depending on how knowledgeable they already feel, too elementary an answer can feel condescending and too advanced an answer can feel intimidating, neither of which makes them feel good to have asked).

@dirt also, look for teams where people do this freely. Greatest indicator I've seen of a healthy team

Sign in to participate in the conversation

A general purpose instance for all kinds of cool LGBTQ people and allies.