Monthly Archives: August 2013

Close To the End

Sometime last year, I believe it was, I intended to abandon my blog and even posted that I probably wouldn’t be adding posts. For some reason, I came back to it.

Now here we are again with the same thing–I’m thinking that I have a few more posts I want to put up, and then either I will continue blogging here privately, start anew somewhere else or stop altogether. I am leaning towards one of the latter two, as I am not feeling WordPress. I have started looking into other options a little bit.

There are probably two main reasons why I’m thinking of going private, somewhere else or stopping.

First of all…I’ve had at least two blogs before over the years, prior to this one…I have to say that blogging has changed quite a bit, not to mention the way people respond to blogs and what they expect from them has changed…and I liked it better the way it was before. I think WP, in particular, embodies some of my issues with it, and this is why I’d like to get away from WP. If there is something that fits me better and I find it, I might start up there. I find WP (or, more accurately, its culture) a little too–for lack of a better description–agenda-based and strategic. Blogs are becoming less about sharing or having a platform for expression, and more about making money, getting popular, starting/supporting a career or product/works…although some bloggers find their perfect combination of expression and money/popularity/career. It’s business-y. It’s increasingly impersonal. I understand using blogs as a marketing tool but just don’t like how it’s pushing other types of blogs to the bottom.

The other big thing in blogging is focusing on a particular topic, which I think often goes back more towards getting popular/hits. There’s not always anything wrong with this; one of the few blogs I read religiously is like this, even though the topic doesn’t quite apply to me (but the blogger personalizes it the majority of the time, and that’s what makes it interesting to me). But sometimes I feel like I’m in high school or a competition I didn’t intend to enter. It feels like the vast majority of “follows” I get are people trying to bring more attention to their blog. I might not have expected much interest when I started blogging and still really don’t, but I didn’t expect to be used, either…nor do I appreciate it. If I’m interested in what you’re selling (sometimes literally, selling), I will find you. My previous blogs were on Blogspot, albeit back in the day (over 5 years ago now since I abandoned the last one) when things were different, and/so I didn’t have the kind of issues there that I have with WP. But Blogspot has changed a ton–and not, in my opinion, for the better–as well.

For over a year now, I have often found myself wanting to read but not knowing what I want to read. Usually, I want a good book or something on my Kindle app. I used to love reading literature, reading about social issues…but I think those things have run their course with me. I think I’ve finally realized the problem is I am a little more interested in just reading about real people and real experiences. For a good book, I don’t know where to find that–there’s no genre called “People”…but there’s romance, business, finance, self-help, etc. I used to be able to find a good blog and find it in that, and it’s getting to the point where I can’t…at least not with the right combo of “good blog,” “good writing” and “not a teenager or might as well be a teenager” (i.e. often 25 or younger) with regular posts. There are online diaries and online journals, but those are usually very teenaged/might-as-well-be.

Second…since I am not one of those people who checks blog stats and visits, I am not sure who reads my blog. I feel confident that I have few regular visitors. That’s not the issue, but it does make it easy to feel okay with abandoning the blog or going private. The issue is that a long time ago I gave my link out to some people I know, back when I would have been perfectly fine with them reading it. I know almost for a fact some of them don’t read it–they are too into other things/people/self to ever stop by. It’s okay, because, at this point, I don’t want them to read it. But if it’s out there with the same url and public, they can read it any time they want to…so might as well not give them anything else to read. If I start a blog elsewhere, the link will not be posted here and I won’t be giving it to them. So, they can see stuff they theoretically already could have seen here, but nothing at the new spot or nothing privatized.

There are other people to whom I gave the link, and I don’t know if they read it and don’t want to know. I don’t want them to read it, either, at this point vs how I felt at the time, because I’ve put more thought into it and realized they have access to me in ways I don’t have access to them. I don’t mean in terms of how much I reveal so much as the fact that, possibly, I am even revealing anything to them vs what I get from them.

So, that’s that. I want to put up my last bit of advice on finding a job, so that will go up soon. There might be a couple more posts because there are things I’ve been thinking about posting. Then there will be the “Bye” post.

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Expressing Opinions

I want to touch on a topic spreading throughout WordPress. And first I want to make this clear–sometimes when people give their thoughts, the way they express them comes off as stating opinions or viewpoints as facts or 100% truth. Just about everything I write is my perspective, my observation, my viewpoint…even if stated as fact. The assumption might be that this goes without saying, but the tone still can be bothersome. It gets kind of know-it-all-ish or makes you seem close-minded even if you’re not trying to be, so I want to be sure to make it known the following is just how I see it.

A blogger here has started a project on opinions. The response to it seems to be good so far. I took a look at the template, and a couple of the questions stood out to me. The questions were about “the right to an opinion” and being “allowed an opinion”. I was at work, so I had to comment through my cell phone. Basically, I said those two questions don’t make sense to me, which they don’t. Unless you’re one of those power texters, you can’t really type much using a cell phone, and since I barely text I couldn’t really type much.

I haven’t read much else on or related to the project, though I read a few submissions posted on other blogs to see how other people addressed those questions about the right to an opinion. I did see where the blogger posted about a Saudi activist being punished for a blog or site he had to discuss religion, seemingly to voice some disagreement with Islam. The blogger says, “Opinion is still punished in much of the world! If you don’t believe that read the article.”

See, I don’t believe “opinion” is punished, although that may be the intent–maybe the Saudi court wanted to punish an actual opinion in an attempt to make it look wrong or make it disappear. But I believe what’s actually being punished is people, for expressing opinions or opening (or attempting to open) avenues to do so. And I think the article supports that. To me, the two things are different.

I think we all live in countries where the powers-that-be don’t want us to think certain ways, but our countries’ powers respond differently to that depending on the country. You might be in a country in Africa and start a blog advocating for gay rights when your people in power are fervently against it, and you might be arrested or face physical harm and have your blog taken down. But someone else in that same country might think the exact same things, just this person doesn’t have a blog or use any other means of expression. The person who hasn’t expressed an opinion is fine; the person who has is catching all the schitt. More than likely, both of these people are still going to have the same opinion, regardless of the government’s response to the blog. But the person without the blog gets to keep that opinion without consequence.

I believe “right” and allowance go with “expression.” “Opinion” is something that exists regardless of what anyone else wants, does or says, and no one can take it from you and it doesn’t have to be expressed. And it can only be changed if you want it to be or allow it to be. Punishment, consequences, censorship–those come when you open your mouth or put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. All of us, regardless of where we live, live that every day. I know I do. We lose jobs in America. We lose friends. Votes, media favor, record sales, fans, ratings. We get harassed and alienated. So we learn to say nothing or do it anonymously. A few of us say, “Fuck it, I’ll deal with the consequences” or “I’ll apologize later and pretend I didn’t mean it.” We see that last one play out every week in the media, especially when it comes to race and sexual orientation.

So, when I say the questions don’t make sense to me, I only mean they don’t make sense to me. Apparently, it made some sense to at least 30 people. A lot of schitt that makes sense to others doesn’t make sense to me, and vice versa. It’s a matter of perspective, interpretation, assumption, semantics…things like that.

Oh, and…one of the participants in the project responded that we are not born with rights; they are something people have fought to have. I don’t entirely agree. If I’m born after the fight and it was decided post-fight that everyone henceforth will have such fought-for right, then I am born with the right.

Just opinions, folks–all WP is full of is opinions anyways.

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Saying Good Morning Pt. 2

Hehe. So, something interesting happened at work after I posted a couple of days ago about saying “Good Morning” and how not everyone is receptive to it along with my six reasons for why I don’t like saying it. I don’t know if my co-worker found my blog or what, but here is the story:

The very next day, he came in and said “Good Morning” to me like usual and I responded to him. He comes in an hour after I do. But an hour after he came in, he walked by me and said “Good Morning” again. Now, one of the reasons why people saying “Good Morning” annoys me where I work now is because sometimes it does feel as if people forget that they say “Good Morning,” which just shows how disingenuous they’re being in the first place when they say it (still, they get angry if you don’t respond–makes no sense)…or they’re saying it to way too many people and can’t keep up (you don’t have to say it to every gotdamn person you see, particularly if you work around a whole bunch of people like we do). They say it just to say it and then say it again, but it makes extra “Good Mornings” to respond to on top of the 600 million other ones.

So, when he said it again, I didn’t say anything–just kind of looked at him because I was thinking to myself something like, “Okay…didn’t this dude already say this to me? Does he not remember?” Now, note that, as usual, I’ve got my earphones in…I’m listening to my favorite sports talk show, “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd. Colin Time is pretty sacred whenever I get it, unless it’s just boring at the moment–which it was not at this moment, because he had one of my favorite college football analysts Kirk Herbstreit on (yes, even though he’s an Ohio State Buckeye and I’m a Michigan Wolverine). As a matter of fact, I get crazy when it comes to sports, period.

Plus, as I’ve written before, to me, when people have earphones in or headphones on, that is a clear “don’t talk to me” sign–I still don’t know why other people haven’t realized this one yet, but it seems that if I want people to start talking to me the surest way is to put earphones in and turn on something I want to hear. I just think it’s rude to start trying to talk to people when they’re listening to something, unless it’s important. It’s barely different from interrupting a conversation, the way I see it.

Anyway, then my co-worker walked by some of my work friends and said “Good Morning”. Because I had my earphones in, I could only hear a bit…but I remember him saying “Good Morning” a whole bunch of times, just almost forcefully. I believe they responded, since they are the kind of people who would. Then my co-worker turned back to me and said “Good Morning” with emphasis and stared at me, waiting. This reminded me of that loathsome discussion thread to which I linked in my previous post, because some of those people seem to think that if someone doesn’t respond to them that means they should keep harping on it and try to force a response.

I just kind of looked at him again, because I was thinking, “Dude, what the hell…?” Then I pointed out this was the third time he has said that to me. And he was like, “But you didn’t respond.” And I was like, “Um, hello? You said it to me when you first came in and I said it back.” At this point, I’m missing half of what my man Kirk is saying on Colin’s show. And he says, “Does it matter how many times I say it?” And I’m like, “Um, yeah. You don’t see me listening with these earphones?” He was like, “Is that more important?” Well, you know what they say–“Well, you asked.” I don’t bullschitt people who aren’t close to me when they ask a question and I know they’re not going to like the answer, so I honestly said “yes.”

Given that I’d already actually said “Good Morning” to this co-worker, despite everything I wrote in my last post about hating the “Good Morning” thing, sorry–it might seem harsh, but yeah, on the 2nd and 3rd time, my sports show was more important. And yeah, given that I hate the “Good Morning” thing, on the 2nd and 3rd time–and with the “do not disturb” sign that is the iPhone earphones (earpods), too–I was going to lose my schitt. And frankly, the first time he said it I was listening to a sports show, and I responded. So, that’s not even why I looked at him like he was nuts without responding the last two times he said it. It was just weird to me.

My good work friend Clara mentioned it to me later on, and she thought he was acting weird, too. Now, Clara is not like me–she loves to socialize, she initiates “Good Morning”s with people and she knows everyone at this warehouse. And still, she basically said it was too early in the morning to be walking around yelling about “Good Morning” multiple times–which is what he did when he said “Good Morning” to her and my other work friends–and that people are barely awake as early as we get to work. She pointed out that he never does that, that usually he says it once in a normal voice and moves along, which is true and acceptable.

And then today, I noticed he never said “Good Morning” to me, which is cool–one less to deal with. Clara told me he said it to her and that it was normal like he usually does it, not all loud and repeated. She said she told him he was acting loud and weird with that stuff, which is “why life.overrated was mad at you” and I laughed. I wasn’t mad at him, but he was annoying the hell out of me and I still don’t know what all my man Kirk said on Colin’s show.

Now, even though we thought this co-worker was acting weird that one day, there are people who run around all loud first thing in the morning with this “Good Morning” business…like, almost literally, run. It’s 7am, and they’re power walking, wide awake, “Good Morning”-ing everyone to death. Even Clara, as sociable and, for lack of a better word, friendly as she is (and I put it like that because she’s like a very sociable version of me as far as saying whatever the hell she wants, even if it’s not nice or PC), needs time in the mornings. Half the time she looks like a b!tch for a good hour in her facial expressions and barely says anything, let alone “Good Morning.” She is not miserable, grumpy or unhappy as a person, but she is, quite understandably, that way for a while in the morning sometimes. We have fun the rest of the day, just not in the mornings.

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The Cheerful vs The Sleepyheads: Saying Good Morning

[To learn 6 reasons why someone might not like to say “Good Morning,” feel free to skip down to the bold print]

I am not always particularly grouchy when I’m sick, but this time around I am. I have been an @ss this week at work, which is what keeping this blog is supposed to prevent. I am quite a bit more “leave me the hell alone”-ish than usual, which means I’m not going to bother acting with co-workers the way I normally do. One of the things I can’t begin to fake this week is all this “Good Morning” bullschitt.

I remember sitting in my sister’s house in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, whining to her and my mother about how I can’t stand all that “Good Morning,” “Good Morning,” “Good Morning” nonsense I face when I get to work. This was never really anything that annoyed me until I began my current job. I mean…my previous job, for example, was in a corporate environment. People would come in and go to their cubicles and maybe screw around for a bit before they actually started to work. A couple of people might say “Good Morning” to me, but not many. Because it was so few people, I could muster enough energy to at least nod.

My current job is at a big warehouse, where we work on all kinds of electronics. We work in sections…you know, you sit by the people who have the same manager as you. There are maybe 11 or 12 people in my section, and it’s not even just these people who want to say “Good Morning” and receive a response–it’s, like, almost every-fucking-person in the warehouse. Man, I can’t hang, and now “Good Morning” makes me want to pull my hair out.

Being sick, today I was basically like, “Fuck this schitt,” and ignored some people. Then, being sick, it’s not as if I feel like doing any work or am particularly scared of getting fired (because at least I can go get in the bed)…so I did what I always do when I get intellectually curious about a topic and whipped out the ole SG3 and googled people’s opinions on this “Good Morning” schitt.

Once again, I find a huge gap in understanding between people who aren’t into “Good Morning” and people who like to say it. You know me–I like to try and bridge these lack of understandings.

So, let’s talk about this discussion thread where, like, 90% of the responders are overreacting about people not saying “Good Morning” back to them. I’ll provide a few quotes and then respond.

Lately, it has apparently become OK to be really rude to coworkers, especially first thing in the mornings.
I have a few coworkers that won’t say a damn thing when I greet them in the morning. They’ll look right at me, and they definitely hear me, but they don’t say a word–not even a “go to hell” from them.
Am I getting worked up over nothing? I don’t have thin skin, and I’m not particularly a morning person myself. But I do think it’s common courtesy to be polite to folks.

Well, is it rude? Maybe. I’m sure I have greeted or acknowledged someone before and they didn’t respond or acted as if they didn’t see/know me, and I’m sure I felt the person was an @ss. But you know what? I just told myself not to greet/acknowledge that person again and shook it off. One of my mottos in life is to treat people the way they treat you. I take my cues from other people when it comes to social interaction, meaning I will do what they do to me only, which means I act different ways with different people and treat everyone differently. I read personalities. And I act and react accordingly.

So, basically, my thought is you don’t have to say “Good Morning” to everyone. If you like to say “Good Morning,” I think you should say it to the people who seem receptive to it and simply leave other people be without getting offended or too offended. It is simply a personality difference.

Along the same lines…

Just my opinion here, but i always feel a “Vibe” from people who are deliberately being rude. I would prefer to get along with everyone(Especially in a working envoirnment), but it’s just not realistic. There will always be people that are not happy no matter what. In this particular case, i wouldn’t say a word after they ignorned me. And i also wouldn’t say “Good morning” or much else to them unless it was required for a task at work. Shrug it off, and consider it one less “personality” to put up with.
It’s one of 2 things. Either they don’t hear you, which you stated you don’t think is the case. Or they don’t respect you enough to be polite. If i respect someone, i do my best to be polite even when i’m in a bad mood(Aka morning time).

There are a lot of comments in that thread where people talk about those who don’t respond or don’t respond “correctly” as being rude, miserable, grumpy, unhappy, disrespectful, hateful…or whatever. Not saying “Good Morning” doesn’t always have anything to do with these things. It doesn’t mean you can’t get along with this person. This person just doesn’t want to, for whatever reason, say “Good Morning.” I will provide several of my own reasons in a little bit. But a lot of these responses are people reading too much into someone’s lack of response, and reading incorrectly, might I add.

Look, I’m from the South, so I believe in good manners. But there’s a fine line between manners (or if you want to call it “polite”/”common courtesy”) and trying to force something on people, which is why I say to greet the people who are open to it and leave others alone. If you keep greeting people who never greet you with an expectation regarding behavior, then you are moving over from having good manners to trying to force someone to respond the way you want them to based on your thought processes…and you can’t force people to do anything. You might think everyone should say “Good Morning,” but not everyone believes that. I’m not going to go to New York and lecture people about how they need to do things us Southerners believe is right because it’s what we were taught growing up. Indeed, I adjusted to how people behaved in the Midwest when I lived there and didn’t get on the internet all offended because it wasn’t the case that 80% of all strangers were grinning in my face like they do in the South. My sister and I talked about it when we both lived in the Midwest, and she used to think people in the Midwest were rude. But after being there 10 years I think she has adjusted, as well.

In other words, what you might consider “common courtesy” is still an opinion and a belief system–it’s far from being American culture or the law. There will always be people who don’t subscribe to what you think is common. I wonder how these “Good Morning” people would feel if I said I think they are complete annoying morons for being so damn happy early in the morning, which is totally what I think. It wouldn’t be tolerated, even though they expect us to tolerate them and the opinions in that thread. Still, I’m not the one whose opinion when they say “Good Morning” makes me damn-near want to report them to my manager and never speak to them again. It’s crazy.

I dont like the grumpy morning people, but it seems like many people are grumpy in the morning. So i just let it slide.
Funny thing is, most of the grumpy people are NON-coffee drinkers.
Maybe they should try a 1/2 cup in the morning. hahaha

Yeah, no. It’s true, I don’t drink coffee…and I’m not about to. Coffee not only tastes bad, but it makes your breath stink. Yeah, I said (wrote) it. Your breath stinks, coffee guzzler. Plus, like I’m really about to start drinking nasty-@ss coffee to accommodate your need to hear “Good Morning” back from me. Get a life, because this is why I think you’re a moron–you want me to change to accommodate you. There are plenty of people willing to say “Good Morning” to you, so fuck off the ones who aren’t.

Boy, if that’s the biggest problem you have at work I’d say count your blessings and enjoy your good fortune…

I mean, seriously. And you people think I like to complain about nothing.

So, why don’t I want to say “Good Morning” to you?

1) First and foremost, there’s no such thing as a “good morning.” In other words, “I’m not a morning person.” But “there’s no such thing” is far more accurate, to me. There is absolutely nothing to be happy about at 7am, people. Fair point about being happy to see another day, but, then again, it’s not as if I’m life’s biggest fan, in case you couldn’t tell by the name of my blog.

Now, does not believing in good mornings make me a grumpy @sshole in general? Not really. You just need to wait to say “Good Morning” to me until, at the earliest, 10am. In fact, not only do I not want to say “Good Morning” to you as soon as I step foot in the door, I don’t want to say anything to you. I want to find a nice little four-wall enclosure and hide in it. Has nothing to do with not liking you, respect, or anything but not understanding why in the hell work starts so fucking early and lasts so fucking long. Baby, at 7, 8 and 9am, I am still mentally, vocally and emotionally asleep. Get over it.

2) I don’t have the energy. For one thing, it doesn’t matter what time I go to sleep, I am a night owl by nature…so I physically will not be “all there” in the mornings, no matter what. Add to that 50 million people wanting a greeting, and I really don’t have the energy.

This point about energy is especially important for the “just be polite and say it back” crowd. Anytime you’re being, doing, saying something you don’t mean, it takes more energy than being sincere. Being fake is a lot of work, and I should know because I don’t naturally fit any of the “supposed to”s when it comes to personality at work. I have to spend so much of my day pretending and talking when I don’t feel like it, and that’s already for the sake of what other people want from me since it matters so much in keeping your job nowadays. So, if you’re asking me to be a little more fake first thing in the morning, basically 30-45 minutes after I’ve woken up, put energy I don’t have into getting ready for and getting to work, and already not being a morning person…it’s not going to happen…especially not with the quantity of people expecting it.

3) I think there’s a difference here between people who like their job and people who don’t, or at least people who like the people at their job. If you wake up in the morning happy to go to work, you’re more likely to be a “Good Morning” person. If you wake up in the morning liking what you do, same thing. If you wake up knowing you’re about to interact with and have some laughs with this person or that person, same thing.

My personal philosophy is work is work; it’s nothing to like. I can’t deal with hating a job or a job that makes me physically ill, which is how my last two jobs were (migraines every day). But there’s never going to be anything that makes me want to get up in the morning and go to work, as far as a job. I would always rather get up and watch “Mike & Mike” and “The Herd” on ESPN–always. The closest I’ve gotten to hopping up out the bed happy in the morning to go to work is when I had a co-worker on whom I had a crush, and that was years ago. I have friends at work and everything, but I can so do without them. People who thrive on social interaction far more than I do will look forward to seeing their work friends more than I do. I wake up saying, “I can’t wait to come home”…and that’s before I even leave the house (or the bed). [Shrugs]

4) If you have a problem with people who don’t respond to “Good Morning,” think about how many people are at your job. I’ve mentioned quantity several times. If someone is like me, i.e. not outgoing or very sociable, or not into mornings, having several different people come by expecting you to talk to them gets so…annoying. As I mentioned, there’s only so much energy you can gather if you don’t have it. Speaking to 15 different people in the first hour or so of work is exhausting if it’s not naturally your thing. So remember, you’re not the only one coming at this person.

5) What I really don’t get and can’t stand is…I’m sure some of these people who are throwing a huge fit about people not responding to “Good Morning” are people who never speak to you otherwise throughout the day. In that case, I especially don’t feel I “owe” you any effort or speech in the morning. For me, people who work in my section are different from these other people who walk by throughout the day. My friends are different, and people who have been very nice or helpful to me since I’ve been at this place are different. I am far more likely to scrounge up the energy to say something to people in my section, my friends and people who have done something for me. I don’t fucking know all these other people, which is all the more reason for them to not throw a hissy fit. So, if you’re losing it over some very random person not acknowledging you, you really need to stop and smell the nasty-@ss coffee.

6) Almost forgot…this stuff about “common courtesy,” being rude or polite, etc…these same people whining, I’m sure, do plenty of things that others can consider rude and don’t do other things that people consider common courtesy–things that are probably more important than saying “Good Morning.” The most common thing I see people do, which I think is rude and inconsiderate, is linger in the way. Sometimes people look right in your face and then continue barely moving when you’re trying to get somewhere. When I was in school, students commonly hogged sidewalks and doorways and never thought anything of it all the while others are needing to get by. Today, one of those “Good Morning” b!tches did this, and in the mood I’m in this week I know I said out loud something like, “Gosh, get the fuck…out…of…the…way“…just don’t know if it was loud enough to be heard, as I had my earphones in my ears playing music.

Different strokes…she appreciates a “Good Morning” while I appreciate people moving their self-centered @sses when they see other people in need of the same space. That’s all.

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When Sharing Crosses the Line

You know, they say best friends share everything. Well, my work bff Clara took that saying just a little too far and shared her sickness with me. I ought to serve her right and stay home from work tomorrow so she will have to do my job and hers.

Except I can’t really stay home tomorrow. I left work early Friday because I felt sick, and the week before that I was off because I went to Chicago. And next week I’ll be going to Michigan. Plus, all this taking off and spending money on trips means I need all the money I can get–that Michigan trip has been expensive as hell to plan since it includes an expensive-@ss football ticket, an expensive-@ss hotel room, plane tickets, a shuttle from Detroit to Ann Arbor (and back) and will eventually include food costs. Seriously, if I told you how much I have spent so far, especially if you’re not a sports fan, you’d think I was nuts (if you don’t already). Alas, this is the price you pay for being a diehard fan and a loyal alum–especially one who lives in a totally different region from her team/alma mater.

So, I will be dragging it into work tomorrow morning, probably getting more people sick like Clara did with me. That Michigan trip is so going to be worth it–I really can’t wait, and I’m glad I got sick now and not then since I knew it was coming, despite trying to avoid it. I always get sick around this time every year, July-August-September. I’ll never forget being sick on the first day of class in law school my first year of law school, and you can’t miss the first day. And last year I was sick the first weekend of college football/labor day weekend, when people at work acted as if I extended a 3-day weekend into a 4-day weekend merely for the hell of it. No, I was being tortured by mucous. Oh, and of course there was the bar exam debacle…well, let’s not talk about that one.

Man, I tell ya–when you’re sick, you just want to be in bed, take meds (depending on whether you’re one of those people who does or one of those weirdos who refuses to take them), sleep, watch TV (or in my case, play music all day, as I’ve done all weekend–TV is taking too much focusing). And doesn’t it always feel as if you’re either being burned alive or frozen to death (unfortunately for me, I prefer “frozen to death” but am dealing with “burned alive” and the sweaty yuckiness that accompanies it)?

‘Tis the season for illness, so steer clear of that hacking, sniffling co-worker who felt the need to bring his/her @ss to work anyways.

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The Surprise

I’m trying to figure out what on earth goes through the mind of someone who thinks it’s a good idea to surprise someone. I’m talking about real surprises, big surprises–not little things like bringing someone his/her favorite food without that person expecting it. I mean stuff that draws a crowd/eyeballs or puts someone on the spot. I think there are people out there who believe everyone likes surprises. But rest assured, I most certainly do not.

So, I was at work today, trying hard to get schitt done. Since I started working this job, there have been more things I’ve realized that I don’t like about it…one being that it’s hard to tell from day to day how busy it’s going to be. You can walk in and there’s absolutely nothing to do; the next day you can get slammed. Today we were slammed. I’m a work-life balance kind of chick, so you can forget about me staying late regardless of the fact that I’d get paid overtime. Free time > money in my world. So I was rushing to make sure I’d finish my work on time.

I was in the middle of hard work, and my eyes quickly moved across the room in that way it does when I’m not actually seeing anything–it just means I’m in a hurry and very focused. In a blur, I saw a lady and did a double take. It really was the chick from my employment agency. Still distracted, I greeted her and went back to work. Then she said they came to see me. I looked back up, and this time I noticed she was with another chick from the agency, as well as my manager.

Naturally, I thought I was about to get fired or receive a talking-to about something. Come to think of it, getting fired probably would have been preferable to what actually happened.

My employment agency was having some kind of drawing, and it turns out I won. I won a bunch of bullschitt and a very little bit of money…very little bit. Wouldn’t pay for me and a date to have a proper dining experience, to be honest with you. Whatever, they could have just, like, dropped my schitt off at the front door or left it with my manager or something.

But noooooo…they had to turn it into a big thing, all game-show-y and crap…over some bullschitt and pocket change. They did two of the worst things you can do to me–made me take photos and drew a lot of attention to me. And as if that wasn’t enough, they’re actually going to send these photos out to people! Look, if I dodge cameras when family members pull them out, why would I want to take pics for my employer and then have them sent to more non-familial people? I mean, not one family member of mine has a recent pic of me. My sister in Chicago whipped out the ole cell phone as we were leaving on Sunday, and, naturally, I had to throw a quick hand up like always on these little family visits. I do not take pics–what do people not get about this?

I daydream a lot about being famous. I’ve done it all my life, literally–every single day of my life since I can remember. As I wrote in another post a while back, I used to want to be an actress when I was a kid. I wrote scripts and performed them. Then I moved on to music and spent several years working on a music career that never really materialized…thankfully. Ever since I left school, whenever I play basketball I pretend I am playing for real, like in the WNBA, and just kind of regret not caring enough about playing ball when I was in school and still could have had some kind of opportunity. For a while, I played bball every day and just pretended as if I was in a big game, making all the big plays.

And then there’s the one thing for which I’ve always actually been destined, even when I thought I wanted to be a psychologist, doctor, lawyer, sports writer and now an IT professional–to write a book. Just about everyone who knows me knows that someday I will be writing books for a living (key phrase is “for a living”–I have written plenty of books, most of which haven’t been seen or read by anyone). I don’t tell them–in fact, as far back as 3rd grade, people have been telling me that’s what I would do. I was recently told that I should write a book, as well, for the 50 millionth time from the 50 millionth person. I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not to publish under my name, and now I see that if I want to maintain my sanity, no, I shouldn’t.

Gawd, I would so hate being famous. Even just a little bit of attention for my work would be entirely too much, which is why I say “thankfully” in regards to my music career that wasn’t. I would be one of those celebs who is a total @ss to the media and would whine about my [lack of] privacy all the time and how horrible it is to have fame. I do not like attention at all, unless on an one-on-one basis. Dude, a crowd actually gathered at work to see this totally unnecessary presentation for winning a simple drawing, and I just wanted to figure out how to end everything without being a rude b!tch. And then I had people I didn’t know coming up to me about it, people whining because they didn’t win, people “joking” about wanting a piece of the money. I seriously thought about just giving the money to one of them and being done with it–it really isn’t enough money for people to have an attitude because they didn’t win or to be harassing me about paying for their lunch.

This is not at all how I wanted my day to go, nor was it how I wanted to spend my day–being embarrassed surprised in front of everyone and then talking about it with a bunch of people the rest of the day. Hopefully tomorrow I will be back in my anonymous hole where I belong.

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Operation Find A Job Pt. 5–What Employers Value

5) You Don’t Know What Employers Value. Probably the biggest misconception out there is about education. A lot of people who struggle with finding a job think they are not educated enough. Some of them have never attended college while others already have a degree and are thinking about going back to school. Throwing education at unemployment is not the answer, especially if you’d have to go into debt to do it. I know there are some cities in the US where you’ll see a lot of job ads that want someone with a college degree. But honestly, a lot of those jobs pay a salary you can make without a college degree at a job that doesn’t require one. And I’ve had a few jobs like that–many of them, if not all of them, had employees who either didn’t have a degree or who were currently in college.

Also, look carefully at various job ads some time. Many of the ones that ask for a degree also ask for some years of work experience. Unless it is one of those fields that requires a degree, i.e. nursing, teaching or law, the degree is optional and the work experience matters way more. Indeed, you can have that nursing or law degree or a degree related to teaching and still struggle to get hired because you lack a couple of years of work experience.

I’m not saying don’t go to college–at least not in this post, because I virtually grab people all the time and try to tell them not to go to college when they question it. Just understand that college is no longer the direct path to getting a good and well-paying job, because, unfortunately, so many people don’t know this before they take out huge student loans and proceed on towards a degree.

I was reading a blog a few weeks ago, and the blogger kind of made fun of people who complain about how expensive and worthless degrees are by saying, basically, “Well, then just don’t go to college. Duh.” Well, duh some more–people complain about degrees after they’ve already gone to college, not before. People don’t really go to college to party–I’d like to think most people aren’t going to take on 5-figure debt just for four years of having fun. They go because they think it will secure their future, or because their parents make them go because their parents think it will secure their future (happened to my oldest sister). If they knew before the fact that it does not necessarily do this, colleges would be a lot emptier. Unlike the blogger who was poking fun, I don’t view this as entitlement, either–or, perhaps I do but don’t see anything wrong with feeling entitled to what you were indirectly or directly promised (if not by your school or your parents, by society), which was not unemployment or working for $8/hr somewhere after graduation when you could have worked there for $8/hr before the fact.

So, I am simply saying don’t think college is the answer to your unemployment woes and, thus, start trading job applications for college applications. You need to understand that work experience matters more than college and graduate degrees in most cases. Go back to square one, and go through my first three pieces of advice on finding a job before you start applying to college or graduate programs. If you’re on point in regards to #1-4 and you’re still struggling, then it might be time to consider #6…

Next Time: Pt. 6–Time To Get Real[istic]

Pt. 1–You’re Not Focusing Your Job Search

Pt. 2–Your Resume Isn’t Cutting It

Pt. 3–You Don’t Know How To Apply

Pt. 4–You Need To Learn How To Interview

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Looks vs Personality vs Intelligence

Just got back from my trip to Chicago. The Good: The food! Ahem…oh, yeah, and family. The Bad: The absolute worst sleep I’ve had in months, resulting in migraines every day during my trip (I thought for sure I’d come home and fall asleep right away, but here I am instead). The Ugly: Having to go back to work tomorrow. And stupid Red Line reconstruction almost ruining my entire trip.

Because of my trip, I didn’t have time to blog about this topic I started thinking about shortly before I left. It came from a conversation my work friend Clara and I had recently. First of all, Clara doesn’t know I’m a lesbian, which is something I’m not at all interested in telling people in the workplace. Second, I’ve written here before a little bit about how guys are always chasing after her, which is something I admitted that I don’t understand because I don’t think she’s that physically attractive. She’s a good person, though, which I don’t think is immediately obvious. She’s funny, works hard and knows everyone because she speaks to everyone. And she’s smart and observant. She has a son, and you can tell she’s a good mother, which I think, to be honest with you, is a dying art (being a truly good parent–in the US, anyway).

Ever since I skipped the breakfast event at work, which I wrote about a couple of posts ago, I think she has taken an interest in including me socially, as well as making sure I eat. Every time she’s going on break or going to lunch, she basically tells me to go with her and she usually has something for me to eat. One day we were eating lunch, and we started talking about skin color. At one point during the conversation, she said something like…”With as light-skinned as you are, you should have men coming after you” or something very similar to that. Some of us tease her all the time about how she has all these men interested in her, so she was partially referring back to that. Now, there are a few ways to take what she said, including as racist/offensive, especially since it wasn’t coming from another black person. But I know Asians also have skin color issues within their own race, light/dark issues like black people have. She could simply think, as many black women do, that men prefer women with lighter skin color. Regardless, when people say things like this it’s kind of ridiculous to me, but not offensive–it is hard to offend me.

For the most part, it’s ridiculous out of disagreement (I do think there’s a standard of beauty in the US that hurts most women of color, not so much in a light vs dark same-race way but in a white vs non-white or non-black vs black way, but that’s a topic for another time). I’ve told Clara several times that she wouldn’t have issues with all these guys she’s not interested in following her around, contacting her, looking for her, etc, if she weren’t so friendly. Still, I never realized exactly what I was saying until this day we were having lunch, discussing skin color. I had told her before that I don’t have to fight off men because I am not friendly (which I love), and this same day I told her in response to her comment about skin color, “It’s a personality thing.”

Light-bulb moment–guys like average-looking Clara because of her personality, her approachability. This explains why I’m always seeing average-looking, or worse, women and men with someone or getting attention, sometimes more so than someone who is more physically attractive. I’ve written several blog posts about how employers seem to value personality more than being a good employee nowadays–or at least seem to be headed in that direction–and now this.

And I don’t think it’s a matter of having a good personality vs not having a good personality. You can have a good personality and get ignored. But someone like Clara is constantly talking to people, constantly laughing and joking, and she always talks to or responds to guys she’s not even interested in despite knowing they’re interested in her–she doesn’t ignore any of them, and she’s never seriously mean to them. She might get play-mean with them, but everyone knows how she is and doesn’t get offended or hurt. I’ve told her, “If you’re not interested in these guys, stop being nice to them. You’re encouraging them.” It’s like talking to the wall, which led me to conclude that she likes the attention. These are guys she dogs when they’re not around.

Some months ago, I was reading online a discussion where the question was something like…”would you rather have looks or intelligence?” Of course, almost everyone went the PC route and said they’d rather have intelligence. Well, I have intelligence. I’m not saying you can’t have looks and intelligence, or even looks, personality and intelligence–though I think most people have, at most, 2 out of 3 and not all 3. I just so happen to have one–intelligence. Among the three, if I had to choose just one I’d choose looks, though I can’t articulate why…especially since I believe that I’ve figured out that, out of the 3, personality is what gets you farthest in love, life, career and everything in between. Most of us have spent a long time not believing that, but the older you get the more true I think this is. Personality is key, and intelligence is dead last–I speak from experience regarding intelligence and observation regarding personality. And how many famous hotties do you see with divorces on their records? Halle Berry can’t seem to pay a man to stick with her.

Still, somehow I’d rather be good-looking…maybe because I view faking personality as easier than faking physical attractiveness…maybe because I don’t think I totally lack a personality but merely appear to lack one to people who don’t know me or just don’t have the kind of personality most people appreciate. For the most part, I’m happy with my personality. And I used to be arrogant about my intelligence, I loved it so much. And then I realized others don’t value it the way I do, and now it is what it is–my guess as to “what it is” is icing on the cake if you’re either attractive or have a good personality or both…but it’s certainly not the cake. I’ve just never been happy with my looks, and, you know, the grass is always greener…

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Female Loners

I never stop learning. When I become intellectually interested in a topic, especially if I’m interested in opinions on it, I head to a search engine and start reading. Lately I’ve been thinking and reading more about being an introvert, being shy and being a loner. It seems a lot of people don’t know the difference among these terms. The definition of an “introvert” is pretty involved, but it seems the simplest way it’s usually defined is a person who becomes drained by social interaction/people and needs some time away to get him/herself together or think afterwards. A lot of people don’t know this word exists or don’t know what it means, which means they use “shy” or “loner” to describe people who are actually introverts. But you can be an introvert and be a loner, too, for example, as is the case with me. And you can be a loner and be shy. I am not shy, though.

I’m writing about this because a couple of interesting things happened this week–1) my work friend Clara called me shy, and 2) someone pointed out something I’d never really thought of before, which is that loners are usually men and women who are loners are often mistaken for being shy. Well, what’s the difference? Being “shy” means you want to interact with people but you don’t know how to or are too scared. Um, this is not me. I have my moments where there are certain people–certain women–I want to talk to but I “can’t.” But that’s normal if you’re romantically interested in women. Shy people have issues with just about everyone. Loners are damn-near the opposite of shy people–they usually prefer being alone or prefer minimal social interaction. People often use “loner” to mean someone who is basically socially rejected, i.e. a loner against his will, and I can grant them that, although I believe the real definition is the one I gave and the definitions I have found so far support that.

In the course of my research, I have discovered that people don’t actually know what “loner” means, nor that females can be loners or what makes a female a loner (or why more men are loners). So, what I want to do here is another one of my response posts. What I do with these is I take stuff people have written elsewhere on the web and I respond to it.

Here is the first site where you’ll find some of the excerpts that appear here, to which I respond. Here are excerpts and my responses below, starting with the question “do you know any female loners” from the original poster:

It seems that it’s rarer for a woman to be a true loner than it is a man. Even shy women often seem to have at least a few friends, whereas I know a lot of guys on the internet who have no friends WHATSOEVER in real life.
It seems if a young woman has no friends whatsoever, she either travels a lot and just talks to strangers and stuff, has a really involved job where she still socialises and stuff, or works in some remote area. Otherwise she has some severe mental or physical handicap that prevents that.
I think it’s because it’s easier for girls to make friends and they’re more inclusive than a lot of guys.
I don’t really know any loners, or many women who would be considered ‘losers’ – no job, sponging off parents.etc, also no social life. I know they exist, but they seem quite rare.

I see a lot wrong with this person’s assumptions. First of all, there’s that equating “shy” with “loner.” Second, being a loner–and I see this assumption/belief time and time again–is not about having no friends. Again, it means you prefer to be alone. This belief is probably one of the biggest reasons why people don’t recognize female loners or why female loners are mistaken for being shy. But if you insist on believing this about having friends, by my definition of “friends” I don’t actually have any. I have people who think we’re friends, but emailing, texting and/or IM-ing every once in a blue moon doesn’t cut it, to me. And having people I don’t hang out with outside of work and will probably almost never communicate with once one of us finds another job is not friendship to me. And breaking up and you wishing me well from afar, talking about me with other people, thinking about me sometimes but never communicating with me doesn’t make us friends.

I’ve got to quote this person again here:

It seems if a young woman has no friends whatsoever, she either travels a lot and just talks to strangers and stuff, has a really involved job where she still socialises and stuff, or works in some remote area. Otherwise she has some severe mental or physical handicap that prevents that.

This is just pure…moronic…bullschitt. The end. To be honest with you, the average married-with-kids woman probably doesn’t have friends. She has her husband or her partner, and I have found that that’s all most of those women want. And you grow up, graduate, move away from people, work, have families…and then your “friendships” become that crap I described above–especially if you’re still single and your “friends” aren’t–which I don’t consider friendship.

I think it’s because it’s easier for girls to make friends and they’re more inclusive than a lot of guys.

See, men always think everything’s easier for women and women always think everything’s easier for men. I just have never seen how it’s “easier for girls to make friends” and certainly have never seen where women are “more inclusive.” In fact, over the years I have envied how easy it seems for guys to bond and not have drama or emotions in the way half the time. This is especially true when I think about sports teams–I don’t think women have anything like what male athletes have with one another, not even in their sports. I just think friendship between women is different from friendship between men, and that could be why a lot of men think it’s easier for women. Women’s friendships are more involved, more emotional and just closer…but that’s once they actually form. Most women don’t like to be alone anywhere, and they’ll use other women so that they won’t be. That doesn’t mean they’re friends. Women also like to run their mouths, and they will use other women for that purpose, as well.

I think it’s hard for women to truly become friends. Men have a fairly small group of general, stereotypical interests, and that makes it easier for them to find other like-minded men to become friends with. For example, I’d say you can say most guys either like sports, video games, science fiction, technology, drinking or some combination. I’m not saying guys aren’t or can’t be interested in other things, but these seem like the biggies that bind guys together. Contrary to popular belief, women don’t have a small group of biggies that can bind them together–women are more diverse. And even if we did all like some combo of hair, makeup, shoes, shopping…you can have so many things in common with another woman and still have her flatout dislike you or reject you, usually for some shallow reason that should have nothing to do with forming a friendship. A big one is physical attractiveness. So many women hate gorgeous women, but a lot of women also are drawn to pretty women who are less intimidating in some way (i.e. very friendly) and ignore less attractive ones or women who don’t subscribe their idea of how they should do their hair, dress, etc…and this is just talking about friendship. This is hardly being “inclusive.”

I also think this is why you see more male loners, though, aside from the fact that people mis-label female loners as “shy” or some other term. It seems like male loners either aren’t into any of the biggies I listed and, thus, can’t really relate to or have discussions with or be accepted by most men…or they are into some of the geekier biggies, like sci fi, but aren’t usually around other guys who are into that stuff. Guys who like sports are a dime a dozen, so if you’re a guy who isn’t into it but you’re always around guys who are you get used to being alone. There’s also the issue of defensiveness. Sometimes it can seem like being around other guys is halfway a “prove my macho” party, and some guys don’t want to bother, especially if they know they don’t have the requisite interests or the experience with women to win at that kind of game with other guys. They’ll look stupid, and they know it.

This response basically addresses things several others mentioned on that site, but I did see a couple of people who seemed to “get” what “loner” means.

Here is another site, where the discussion goes in a different direction. They are discussing whether or not to date loners:

…there is huge potential for this to be a red flag…
Someone who has no friends may have a hard time building and sustaining healthy relationships. Theymayalso be really selfish. Both my loner exes were selfish, and didn’t really like people. They were also clingy, as I was their only form of entertainment and only confidant. 
It’s best to bring up the subject with her to find out why she has no friends. If it is because she is super shy, then I think that is a more acceptable reason, especially if she really wants to make friends but has trouble. However, if she just doesn’t want to make friends, then that sounds like trouble.

I get some of this and not other parts. I don’t know why not wanting to make friends is “trouble” or a “red flag.” Not wanting to make friends doesn’t mean you won’t; you just might not be actively interested, but if someone who could be a good friend comes along you will be receptive. As I’ve written before, relationships are just tough. I think the majority of people are spoiled and/or selfish nowadays where they’re concerned and don’t want to put the work in. I don’t think that has ever been my problem, with respect to not wanting to build or sustain a relationship–if anything, I think other people I’ve been with have not wanted to build/sustain. Recently, I have looked back over my last relationship and have definitely seen where I was selfish at times, but I don’t think that’s the norm for me in relationships.

I am actually “clingy” in relationships, and I think that’s the problem. I don’t see the problem with wanting to be with someone whom you love and who says they love you all the time, but most people do and it kills the “love.” This is something I learned from my last relationship, and it is going to change how I act with the next woman, assuming there is one. I think one of the problems with my friendships is that most of my friends have tons of friends, whereas I don’t. I don’t know that you can be the kind of person who has 400 Facebook friends, 100 of them whom you actually do communicate with, and seriously be a good friend to any of them or have a “built” friendship with these people. Quality and [large] quantity often don’t go together. So, I always want to put in the work with a few select people and I have the time to do it, but they have 50 million other people they’re floating around and usually a serious romantic relationship/marriage, as well. And I don’t like people, either, but I have many exceptions. These friends with the 400 Facebook friends, unfortunately, are my exceptions. I like extroverts, because they approach me and they have all the right social skills, etc. But everyone else likes them, too. And extroverts like to be liked.

I probably need friends and romantic partners who are more like me in the social department, but how would two introverts/loners actually get to talking? 😉

Here is another discussion from a different site:

I think that part of it though is that women are less likely to be excluded due to problems with socialization, and shyness or anxiety may actually be seen as “cute”. Whereas the same traits in a man will often be perceived as weakness, and lead to stereotyping regardless of whether or not it’s deserved. Not to mention socially awkward men often end up taking on the dreaded “creepy” label, whereas you’ll almost never hear of a woman, regardless of what she does, referred to as creepy.

I don’t really think other women view women’s “shyness” as “cute.” Men might, but women assume the worst about other women who are to themselves. This is why I was surprised and kind of glad that Clara called me “shy.” I have never been called “shy” (not as an adult, anyway), but I have been called “anti-social” and “stuck-up.” And though no one has ever told me this to my face, I have been able to tell that black people don’t view me as a “loner” or “shy” or an “introvert”–they think I don’t want to be black because all they see is I don’t interact with black people as opposed to the fact that I hardly interact with anyone.

I basically agree about how loner men are viewed, although I did have a female co-worker who was creepy.

And this site has the dumbest discussion on female loners:

Yes there’s plenty, but most are ugly. Good looking girls loners? Nah

Funny, since one of the other sites above has people discussing how pretty women are loners. So, which is it?

I consider myself ugly, to be honest with you. I have been told by many people that I am attractive, but I definitely know there are others who don’t think so. And I have not really noticed any pretty loners–quite to the contrary, pretty women often seem to have lots of people for socializing. I have seen a couple of women who look okay who seem to be loners, but they could also be shy. Bottom line–I just don’t really think looks have much to do with it.

Females are naturally more social than males. It’s rare to find a female who is content with being alone.

They’re not the same thing. I already mentioned that I don’t think women like to be alone, but I wouldn’t say women are more social. If anything, you run into more quiet women than quiet men.

They exist and they usually smoke a lot of weed.

Haha. This.
I was just going to say.. probably a few drug addicts.

I’ve never smoked weed and never will. I don’t even know what the schitt smells like. The only “drug” I do is caffeine.

See? Dumb discussion.

Finally, a Psychology Today article discusses loners and introverts, and it profiles a female loner who grew up shy:

Matsuoka, for example, says she was “pathologically shy” as a child, which likely laid the groundwork for her current lifestyle, even though she grew much more confident in her 20s. 

What is that lifestyle?

She just strongly prefers not to socialize, opting instead for long baths, DVDs, and immersion in her art projects. She does have good, close friends, and goes dancing about once a month, but afterward feels a strong need to “hide and recoup.”

Ding, ding, ding.

I must admit that I was ridiculously shy for years and years, particularly when I was in elementary school. I also had an overprotective mother who wouldn’t let me do anything or go anywhere, which she still fervently denies was the case. Between those two things, I gave up on being able to socialize outside of school. Once I got home, it was up to me to figure out how to entertain myself at home. Somewhere along the way, I just got used to it and now that’s what I prefer–entertaining myself at home. Especially now that I’m an adult. My new job is incredibly physical at times, especially for someone like me who is out of shape. It’s Friday night/early Saturday morning as I type, but the last thing I want to do is go out. After my day at work, I can barely even walk, and I know I will probably have sore muscles all weekend.

One of the dumb comments I quote above profiles a “normal” loner female as one who just travels all the time. Well, I do like to travel. It’s just about the only thing I like to do away from home–I even shop via the internet most of the time. I’m going to Chicago next week, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to my trip to Michigan in September even more. If I had the money, all I’d do is go to different cities and countries–even my mother said that about me when we were talking about what I’d do with my money if I won the lottery.

Notice that Psychology Today points out Matsuoka’s “good, close friends.” Again, being a loner does not mean you don’t have friends, and it doesn’t have to mean you can’t sustain/build relationships. Personally, I do see myself growing old alone. As someone who doesn’t make an effort to meet people or to socialize with the people I do meet, and then makes too much of an effort with the people who get close to me, it makes sense that I’d be alone whereas it doesn’t make sense for most people. That doesn’t mean I can’t build something that lasts if there were someone out there for me.

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Forced Socializing At Work

Last year, I wrote about how I did a little online research to find out exactly how introverts are perceived at work, and I responded to some of the opinions I found online in this post. One of the points I made is about how employers seem to be incorporating personalities and being sociable into work environments, which is quite disadvantageous to introverts.

One thing employers like to do nowadays is force socializing. For example, sometimes you have after-work parties and everyone is expected to be there. The thought that someone wouldn’t want to be there never crosses the organizer’s mind. The job I had prior to my last job–the one I had while I wrote the post to which I link above–forced socializing at times. I remember on my last day working there, the other techs had been called into one of the owners’ office to talk about some after-work holiday party–either Thanksgiving or Christmas, can’t remember. As if you don’t spend enough time with people at work…yeah, you really want to show up after work to hang with them some more.

And not long before I left that place, there was some other little thing forced on us…I can’t remember why, but we were all expected to bring a dish–not even just bring one, but actually cook it. Oh, yeah, it was a Potluck. Fuck that schitt, man–I don’t cook. But the b!tch who organized it would have been pissed if I declined to bring something, because she was precisely that type of woman. In fact, I think she sent me and a few other people an email after a while because we hadn’t signed up yet, and, if I remember correctly, in the email she claimed we didn’t have to bring anything. But you could tell–we were indirectly being pressured. You better believe I headed to Kroger, purchased a little thingy of potato salad, put it in a plastic tupperware container as if I had prepared it and was done with those b!tches.

This was that place where everyone I worked with was white, and I noticed cultural differences all the time. This Potluck was one of those times. For some reason, the old[er] non-tech bitties and I ended up talking about how my father is a better cook than my mother and how my mother almost never cooks. They started with all this crap like, “Oh, my gosh, a woman who doesn’t cook…how do you keep a man” or whatever they said, but that was basically the gist. They couldn’t fathom a woman not cooking. And this is cultural both racially and generationally. I’m not saying black women don’t cook, but black women are more often the sole breadwinners, make more money than their husbands or just have some sort of job that keeps her out of the home. This is not how white households are. A lot of older white women are housewives or have somewhat of a housewife mentality because they grew up with mothers who were housewives or during a time when a lot of mothers were housewives (where they lived). Ask a black woman, and if she’s being real with you she’ll let you know that most of us think being a housewife is one of the dumbest things we’ve ever heard.

Black women have too much going on to cook all the time, and their roles often overlap that which has been traditionally thought of as “male roles”–especially more often than white women’s roles do (as I said, black women tend to make more money than their male counterparts and are also more likely to even be employed than their male counterparts are. Both of my sisters make more money than their husbands do–one of my sisters is her household’s sole breadwinner). And you also now have a generation of all kinds of women who want to be working professionals and will not even be home at dinner time, let alone cook it. Nevertheless, their comments kind of pissed me off. This is the kind of crap in which I’m forced to participate with these damn Potlucks and holiday parties and other nonsense I don’t want to attend.

So, this morning I just decided “thanks, but no thanks” and skipped the stupid little breakfast party that my co-worker Linda told me about. I contemplated my childhood and how, whether I was around or not at certain things at school, no one really seemed to know or care. Why would anyone notice or care if I don’t go to this breakfast thing? I figured no one would give a schitt. And even if they did, I hadn’t been told this thing was mandatory, and you almost always get a pass when you can say “no one told me” or “I didn’t know.”

Oh…my…world…turns out almost everybody noticed and cared…including my manager. I could barely even listen to my music for all the people harassing me about why I wasn’t at the breakfast. That’s really all I wanted to do today–listen to music, get my work done and go home. I didn’t want to sit around fake-laughing at co-workers making fun of each other…um, co-workers who are pretty much all at least in their 30s, but they make fun of each other all day. Even the manager gets in on it. Gimme a break…The most peace I had all day at work was the hour they were all gone to breakfast. Plus, only certain people are allowed to make fun of me, and that doesn’t include anyone I barely know, like co-workers.

I was really wrong about how little people would care, too. For starters, turns out that while I was relieving a craving for Dr. Pepper, Linda told another co-worker to make sure he brings me to the breakfast. I didn’t know this at the time, so when he was insisting that I come with him and another co-worker, I was thinking, “Dude, what the hell…?” He just kept telling me to come with him and wanted to know why I didn’t want to go. The co-worker who was with him happens to be related to my manager, and I’m sure she heard me when I told this guy, “I’m not going to that.” I’m sure she heard the way I said it, too, and I would bet she told our manager.

Anyway, when the co-worker responsible for bringing me to the breakfast came back, he told me Linda had food at her station. My friend/co-worker Clara kept telling me about food that was left over. It was like these people were trying to make me eat. My co-worker Corey, with whom I worked on a project last week, said something to me about not going to the breakfast. He tries to make me eat, as well, because I told him that I never eat breakfast and almost never eat lunch. He probably thinks I’m anorexic, but I definitely don’t look it. Linda acted almost horrified that I didn’t go and wanted to know if my co-worker had told me about it, where it was located, etc–that’s how I found out she told him to bring me.

And, of course, my manager said something about it. He basically let me know indirectly that garbage like that is mandatory for social reasons and that I should be at the next one. Why is stuff that people at work think up as ways to have “fun” mandatory? “Fun” and “mandatory” don’t go together, and that’s why my job is just my job to me. It has nothing to do with socializing, and, to me, it shouldn’t. Jobs are about making a living, paying for stuff that is actually fun (like my upcoming trip to Michigan to see my alma mater beat our rival Notre Dame) and paying bills; otherwise, I wouldn’t be working. See? Mandatory, not fun. That’s why all I think about at work is getting my work done, listening to music (to help me get through un-fun work) and going home. I’m not thinking about food or hanging with co-workers. (And yes, I do know work is not 100% mandatory…see the “housewife” stuff above.)

Clara and Linda didn’t let it go, either. Clara asked me again later why I didn’t go to the breakfast, and I just told her I didn’t think anyone would notice. She said that not that many people work in our area at work, so people would notice. But, I pointed out to her, I only really communicate with her at work (so why would others notice if I’m not there?). She took that as my saying that I didn’t go because I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to, which is part of it but not the point, and she said I could have sat by her.

I know that, to many people, socializing is the way they deal with un-fun, mandatory work. And they can’t even begin to understand people like me who just want to work, just want to listen to music and don’t want to go to social events or stand around half the day talking. And, for me, it’s not even about not liking my co-workers–I like most of them, and I’m fine with them one-on-one. But a room full of them, where we’re expected to socialize for an hour, is not my idea of a good time. I don’t really think it’s any introvert’s idea of a good time. It’s actually more anxiety-producing than anything else. That’s what I don’t think people understand when they come up with these work social events.

Whatever people might think about this communication style, I speak to people who speak to me…meaning if someone doesn’t initiate a conversation with me, we’re not going to have a conversation. There are very few exceptions. Some of it is just not being interested in talking to most people. Some of it is a lack of social skills. But some of it is, again, thinking back on my childhood. For example, when I was growing up, if some people were having a conversation and you inserted yourself into it–let’s say these are black people–oftentimes one of them would say something like, “Ain’t nobody talking to you!” Or “This is an A and B conversation–C your way out.” White people might just look at you like you’re crazy.

So, I’ve realized over the last few months that I believe people shouldn’t enter conversations unless they’re invited to do so. Something has changed over the years, because now if you don’t go up to people and just start talking, people want to know why you never speak to anybody.

Now I’m just wondering how I’m going to be able to tolerate the next social event at work. After I spoke with my manager, I thought about how I hope my job doesn’t have another one of these things before I move on to another job. Unfortunately, because of this trend where work and social life are expected to intertwine, the problem is not going to go away, nearly regardless of where I work. It’ll probably just get worse…until someone comes up with “Sensitivity Training In the Workplace” geared towards understanding and working with introverts.

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