In Australia, Tall Poppy Syndrome is like skin; everyone has it. Jealousy abounds. And to save ourselves from the sour green eyeballing of others, we (but particularly women) are self-depricating beyond compare.
I was having a conversation earlier today about graduate positions.
A: What’s your starting salary?
Me: 49k. What about you guys?
A: But my job will suck. The salary is only 65k because nobody wants the job.
Me: Lol, no.
B: Yeah it’s true. You have the best job, everyone wants it, it’s so competitive, so they can afford to have a modest salary and still get lots of applications.
Me: LOL, no. Your guys’ jobs are obviously pretty bloody good if you’re getting paid that much straight off the bat.
A: No. My job sucks. I’m going to hate it.
B: Yeah, I wish I had your job instead. Our jobs are going to really suck. It will be so boring. The money won’t even be worth it.
These bitches have got damn good jobs. But they won’t be proud of it, even for a moment. Despite working their asses off for the last 5 years solid, and applying for 20 or 30 or more graduate positions, and securing the very best ones they could, they talk as though they are going to be cleaning toilets. Meanwhile I, who will be earning up to $16k less than them, am supposedly an astronaut going to the moon, by comparison. Lol. Please go.
But such is life in Australia. Every bastard has Tall Poppy Syndrome. Not me though.
Truth is, the job I have for next year is sweet and I’m so excited to start it. I tell people this though and they immediately agree and start putting themselves down. It’s like a race to the bottom. It’s frustrating. Then immediately I have to back pedal and build them back up. Why? Why can’t people just be proud of what they’ve done, and simultaneously support the happiness of others?
I went to the US a couple of years ago. People were very different. There was a lot more show ponying and shameless self promotion going on. That’s not necessarily a good thing either, although it really made me realise the extent to which self-deprication is rife in Australia.
I mentioned earlier that it’s particularly bad amongst women. I think women are probably more jealous creatures by nature, so they have an increased awareness of the perceived need to appear non-threatening; an under-performing, underwhelming, unimpressive fleck on the horizon. When quite often their career might be absolutely soaring and their personal relationships thriving and them enjoying immense happiness. But no no no - do not let this be known, for fear you become despised.
I have always been open about my achievements and proud of the successes I’ve worked hard for. I didn’t suffer through all the study and work and sweat and self discipline for nothing. It has paid off, and I’ll tell whoever wants to know. I don’t even care anymore if people think I’m threatening or not. Who gives a shit.
You’ve just got to do your own thing.
- The tallest poppy in the field