Insights Effects of Professional Gatekeeping

Effects of Professional Gatekeeping

Throughout this report, I want to discuss some common gatekeeping issues, and some negative effects caused by it. Although I have not been a personal subject to gatekeeping, I have witnessed it many times and have admittedly done it myself from time to time in fear of not being as valued. It is a hard subject to talk about and acknowledge, and I feel like we can all do better as a population to encourage growth amongst our peers and the younger generation coming after us. Some of these negative effects can include the growth of your field, to yourself, and to ones wanting to learn.

There’s no way my field could be affected by this.

Firstly, any given knowledge field has gone through and will continue to go through growth. Normally someone becomes interested in a particular field to help it grow. You want to see your field of choice succeed so you continue to have a job. What happens if the job knowledge ends at you? The field will not continue to grow and become stronger because it has an individual within keeping it from growing! Similar to plants, our professional growth has many factors. Growth of a plant takes nurturing, water, and fertilizer. There have been many studies done that even suggest that plants will grow even healthier when planted next to others. (This may help you from killing that beautiful desk plant you own.)

What if I’m the gatekeeper?

Next, how does this affect you, if you are the gatekeeper? Throughout my own gatekeeping experience, I have withheld information from those seeking it, because I was afraid that I wouldn’t get the recognition that I felt that I deserved. I set my peers up for failure and gave them a clear disadvantage moving forward because of my own lack of confidence. When the time came for them to perform, they were not ready. My own misguided leadership was heavily flawed. Instead of being the keeper of knowledge and helping those around me, I was seen in a light that tarnished my own reputation. I was trusted enough to be put in a position to display my knowledge and train the younger generation, and I failed.

What if I am the Balrog in the Lord of the Rings meme?

Lastly, for the affected. They were put in an exciting position to train and learn from someone they saw as a leader. They wanted to grasp the knowledge and let the momentum take them to places they had goals about. It’s already scary enough to take on a challenge you know nothing about, and ready yourself with an open mind. It hurts to be pushed away. Imagine training for a marathon, and once you arrive, the directors deny your admittance. Then imagine training for another marathon after that, always the fear of being turned away in the back of your mind. It’s not an easy task. It can ruin young careers. So many young people who have faced gatekeepers before have given up on their goals thereafter. Why would anyone want to be at that end of the stick? And who would want to be the cause of dreams dashed?

And finally…

Negative effects can include suffocating the growth of our field, ourselves, and those who want to be a part of the momentum. We all want to be the keeper of knowledge. After many years, we all have gained invaluable skills within our fields. Help those around you to be the best that you can be, and the gatekeeping will stop. You will guide others around you, and instead of being seen as a gatekeeper, you will be seen as a helpful guide touring a slew of beginners to the top of their mountain. Let us be those Agents of Change.