Character type described by Barbara Sher in her book "I Could Do Anything (If Only I Knew What it Was)". Ragers tend to be artistic types (but could also be nearly any other profession) with a great deal of natural talent, who simply can't deal with the usual progression of professional life. To them, it's not enough to write a column for the local neighborhood newsletter: of course they could do it. But they're sure that they're New Yorker material, so sure that writing for the Quad-Town Valley Advertiser (say), seems undignified and unprofessional, sort of like asking Warren Buffett to fill out a standard 1040 tax form for you. So, they don't do it.

Problem being, the New Yorker (along with The Atlantic, Harper's, and The Paris Review) aren't beating a path to their door, so they content themeselves with reading Writer's Digest and complaining that real talent isn't being recognized these days. Or, when asked to produce a few samples of their work, they claim to have had writer's block for the last few months...there's just too much on their minds to really concentrate on working right now. Or they really need an unconditionally supportive environment to do their best work...they have a 'voice', a story that begs to be told...but they need a little more time, a little more patience...What's completely maddening about these people is that they generally aren't phonies, they are talented, but they can't seem to do what they set out to do, unless they're 100% assured that they'll be covered in glory when they do.

What's usually going on is this: they've confused hating ordinary life with being extraordinary, the process with the reward. When broken down into its component parts, even the most successful, glamorous people lead fairly humdrum lives: paying bills, commuting, worrying about pets and children, standing on line at the DMV or the supermarket, calling for take-out...or else they don't stay successful for very long. (It's always the young, up-and-coming diva that has a rider on her contract six pages long, specifying what color of orchids she wants in her dressing room bouquet, while the old trouper, with the shelf-full of awards, is satisfied with a cooler of soft drinks and a couple of sandwiches.) To a person with a truly extraordinary life, the difference between the ordinary and extraordinary doesn't concern them: they're too busy taking one baby step at a time -- even after the Nobel (the Grammy, the Oscar...) the world-famous scientist's life is going to be concerned with the minutiae of writing papers, going to departmental meetings, and examining data, the musician or dancer with daily practise, actors with reading scripts, getting coached and working out, writers with writing. Life not being fair usually doesn't bother these people, either, even if their own lives are messy: that's life! To ragers, however, this is intolerable: why can't they have a life with all the perks? Especially since they work long and hard, and have to scramble to survive? Their lives should be perfect! They shouldn't have to call for a pizza, they should have a pizza chef, in-house and on-call, waiting for a nod from their personal assistant(s).

When examined, ragers aren't just demanding people, they're unhappy people. Unhappy people don't just want normal happiness, they want more than normal happiness. And if they're unhappy enough, they want it ALL.

The solution, according to Barbara Sher, is growing up. If they can. The first step is to realize that what most ragers really want is not recognition of their talents, but a champion: someone who'll sweep them up and hand them the rewards they seek rather than having to earn them. The expectation of the rescue means that real achievement and mastery have to stay on hold indefinitely: after all, if someone was fated to be rescued, it wouldn't be much of a rescue if they weren't in danger.

The second step is to realize, also, that they wouldn't need rescuing if they hadn't, somehow, felt so utterly screwed, angry and enraged by fate that they want to go back and demand that their parents, the teachers, their schoolmates, or whomever else has done them dirt pay them back with interest. At which point, it's important to realize that there is both good news and bad news here.

The bad news, so spake Shur, is that the childhood dream is just that -- a dream. There aren't any knights in shining armor waiting to save you, and even if you got what you wanted as a kid, now, you wouldn't want it. You can, however, get whatever your adult side wants. If you like to write, you CAN make a good living writing for the Q-T A, and in time, for a whole lot of other places, too. Maybe even, at one point, the New Yorker.

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