Category Archives: sex

Women, Blacks and Computer Programming

I wasn’t planning on writing another post on this blog, with the exception of my “Bye” post–and the only reason that hasn’t gone up yet is because I don’t know what to write (other than “bye”). But I want to write at least a little bit more than that for the, what, two readers I have.

Perhaps it is not so bad that “it’s so hard to say goodbye,” or else I wouldn’t be posting the following, which may be enlightening to some who are interested in the following topic. And here it is:

So, I haven’t written a lot about this while keeping this blog, but I am attempting to transition into a career as a programmer or software (or web) developer. I’ve taken a couple of online classes, but I am sick of the online route and feel that I need something that is faster and more structured, as well as more in depth. This has led me to do some research on what is out there that might fit me.

I ran across some bootcamp classes, which…bootcamp sounds great to me. Nobody I’ve talked to about it seems to like the idea of my going to bootcamp. In fact, some of them don’t like it for some of the reasons why I love it, i.e. you learn a lot in a short amount of time. And, obviously, there’s the cost of bootcamp.

Anyway…not the point. The thing about the bootcamps is every bootcamp pic is full of whites and Asians, most of them male. These bootcamps are always like, “Oh, 95% of our graduates get jobs as developers within a few months of completing bootcamp”…but…all of their grads lack melanin, which leaves me wondering whether or not I’d be able to get a job after bootcamp (if I actually went). It’s not like I’m just black or just a woman and have at least sex or at least race in my corner–I’m both. This led me to do some more research–this time about women and blacks in this field.

Every time I search on this topic, I find articles and blog posts that wonder why blacks aren’t attracted to programming or why women aren’t majoring in Computer Science anymore. And there’s a lot of discussion, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen a–for lack of a better word–“correct” answer. So, I’m going to cut the bullschitt and tell you my truth.

Why didn’t I study Comp. Sci, and why do I think blacks don’t become programmers or developers?

1) Frankly? Every time I think of all of those whites and Asians in those bootcamp pics, especially the guys you could tell are super geeky, I seriously ask myself if I want to spend entire workdays–or even bootcamp–surrounded by a bunch of geeky whites and Asians with whom I have nothing in common but this one interest.

For one thing, I am not a geek. I’m a nerd. There’s a difference. I think people who are attracted to stuff like programming tend to be geeks. Geeks and nerds usually have different personalities and different interests. I think nerds have more of a mainstream quality to them, to the point where sometimes you have to get to know someone before you realize he/she is a nerd. I’m incredibly capable of fitting in with “average” people and having conversations that don’t go above everyone’s head about everyday things. When I tell jokes, they’re actually funny to “average” people. Stuff like that.

I’ve seen definitions that basically switch the meaning of “geek” and “nerd,” but this is based on my daily observations–I think nerds are basically just more intellectual (in a broad range of subjects) and more quiet than everyone else, but geeks flatout don’t make sense to other people, tend to specialize in their knowledge and look odd, to boot. Think Jessie Spano (nerd) vs Screech Powers (geek) from “Saved By the Bell.”

Now, some of the “reasoning” and guessing I’ve seen as to why women, for example, don’t head towards programming involves the perception that it’s “uncool” or “uncool” people work in programming. This is not what I’m saying, so don’t get it confused. I’m not cool, not interested in it. I don’t particularly believe women are looking for cool careers/co-workers, but I do think a lot of women want to feel comfortable at work…and there are many things I can see with programming that can lead to some discomfort. This is doubly true if you’re a black woman. I’m not a teenager anymore. I’ve socialized for a long time, have worked for a long time, around all kinds of people. It’s way too complicated for a blog post, so all I can tell you is that 1) I know enough to know that dropping a fairly normal black–or even white or Asian (but especially a black)–female into a geeky white-guy space is going to be kind of awkward for everyone involved, and 2) you’re going to have a hard time finding a black person or a woman who is truly an all-out geek or even truly a full-fledged nerd, which further exacerbates what would surely be an issue of cultural fit in the workplace. Let’s face it–if you went out geek profilin’, you’d be looking for white or Asian guys. You profile black men in a different way. There are reasons for this.

The thing about it is, as I’ve written time and time again, cultural fit makes or breaks you on the job. Nobody’s going to convince me otherwise–I believe hard/good work and skill level have ridiculously little to do with advancing on the job or being treated well/fairly–and I think this is something most people understand on some level. It can keep you from getting your foot in the door, which is what led to my questioning whether or not bootcamp post-employment would work for me quite the same way it allegedly works for white guys and Asian guys and a few token non-black women. And other times, you can get through the door but get treated differently than everyone else once you’re inside.

This is not to say that my concern is discrimination, per se. It really is more so thinking about the kind of people by which I’d be surrounded and the awkwardness of it due to my lack of geekiness, my race and my sex vs the geekiness, race and sex of others. Discrimination is mainly an issue, for me, in terms of even being able to get hired in the first place.

2) Um…I’m almost 33 years old. So…when I was in high school deciding what I might want to major in during college–and then when I went to college–I don’t really remember much in the way of computer programming being offered. Now, that’s not to say there wasn’t anything. But…you’ve got to admit, that kind of thing has gotten more popular, more mainstream, and it’s all thanks to the tech explosion. So, you had an exposure problem back then that doesn’t exist to the same degree anymore. Now with cell phones and cell phone apps everywhere, how can studying Comp. Sci or wanting to find out how to develop programs not cross anyone’s mind? Frankly, if it weren’t for Androids and the iPhone, I don’t think I’d be looking into programming or development. It still never really would have crossed my mind.

So why is it that the number of women majoring in Comp. Sci has actually dropped now? Beats me. I’m surprised women ever were majoring in it…or anyone else, for that matter. But more so women…which leads me to my next point…

3) It strikes me that, back in the day, if you ended up in programming, there had to be a way for you to learn about that field’s existence. It wasn’t like law or medicine or teaching, i.e. something that’s very visible, sexy and/or overly-discussed. Something had to make those people say, “Hey, how do I get into this?”

I think little boys get into things that make them ask that question more than little girls do. The best example I can think of is video games. And I’m not saying little girls don’t play video games. I played them, and I still do. Still, I’ve never been a “gamer” by any stretch of the imagination (I play sports games predominantly, which most gamers do not play). And “gamers” almost always are guys. Again, it’s like being a geek–there are female geeks, but they almost never completely capture the essence of being a geek the way so many guys do. Gaming is the same way.

My point is, if you play video games all the time and you love them, it’s your passion…eventually, you’re going to wonder about how to create a video game. Therefore, more little boys are going to wonder about it at some point and proceed to investigate how you can “create” games, programs, software.

Now, I think with the tech explosion and kids way too young to be having cell phones still having them…it’s going to be more of an equalizer for women and minorities, i.e. we’ll see more and more girls and young minorities grow up surrounded by and doing things that plant the programming seed. But when I was growing up? I don’t think that was the case.

The one thing I do still see is minority households–particularly black and Latino–seem to be less likely to have technology such as computers or cell phones in the home than everyone else. My sister, for example, has never had a computer with high-speed internet access in any of her homes (um, apartments). This means she has a 19-year old daughter who has never had a computer or laptop. She has kids who are even younger than that who have never had a computer or laptop. It’s unthinkable to me and probably to a lot of people. I actually grew up with computers, for the most part, and I don’t think most people my age can say that (I’m talking elementary school, we had a computer in the living room). It’s probably one of the reasons why I have been able to break into IT without a related degree or any certifications and perform as well as people who have Comp. Sci/IT-related degrees and certs. But kids like my sister’s kids? There’s no way in the hell they’re going to become programmers or for programming as a career to seriously cross their minds. Heck, I grew up with computers, and it never crossed my mind until the last few years.

4) One thing I will say [write]–and it has been flowing through this post without directly stating it–is that one thing people have to get over if they’re seriously going to discuss the lack of women/blacks in IT, including in programming…is that women are different from men and blacks are different from whites (and then, to go even further, black women different from white women and so on). The…end. I saw a blog post within the last week where the comments just kind of…[sighs]…got out of hand with this, “Well, women don’t have the brains for this…” and the “OMG, that’s ridiculous…” kind of stuff. I mean…I’m not even talking about brain chemistry. I’m talking about being raised a certain way, probably more than anything else, and then societal expectations/steering to some degree. I don’t have all the answers with that. I just think it’s a complicated, hard-to-explain thing, but if you’re going to talk about it or write about it you can’t ignore that there are just differences there. And the differences don’t just boil down to discrimination or mental capacity. I have articulated several of them.

5) Finally, one thing that keeps a lot of people from pursuing anything tech-related is the perception that it’s too hard to learn and some people just have some innate ability to “get” these things. But I think the best-kept secret is that technology is nowhere near as complicated as people act like it is. The geeks keep you well-fooled. They had me fooled for a while. Now I know that you don’t have to be a tech geek in order to understand some of this stuff and to do it for a living. The only thing that keeps jobs in the IT industry and IT people employed is people refusing to believe that and running to the nearest perceived tech geek for every little thing instead of figuring it out. I was one of the few people who would actually sit and figure stuff out, and google whatever I couldn’t (still do), and now I work in IT with a BA in psychology and a law degree. Now, some people aren’t smart enough to figure out anything tech-related, and that’s fine. But anybody who is pretty intelligent and who has the interest can get this stuff.

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11 Things That Don’t Make Sense

1) Why Do Republicans and Democrats Hate Each Other? After All, They’re Basically the Same.

Yes, you read that correctly–they are pretty much the same. Now, I admit, I like to rib Republicans every now and then. But I’m no Democrat, and I really dislike President Obama and criticize him often. As someone who is neither Democrat nor Republican and who refuses to vote, I can step back and look at both political parties and its members and see what no one else can–they are essentially the same. Between the politicians in each party, there really is no difference–they’re all full of schitt, and that’s why I don’t vote. Between the members, the only real difference is one group is full of people who are prejudiced as hell but are in denial about their prejudices because they don’t want to feel like they’re bad people…while the other group is full of people who embrace their prejudices–some even proud of them–and many of them don’t really see anything wrong with having those prejudices. Frankly, I’m closer to belonging to the latter group, except a lot of the prejudices the latter group has hurts people like me (black, lesbian, female, close to poverty).

2) Why Do People Talk About Overweight People In Front of Other Overweight People?

It just amazes me how many times I find myself sitting with people who are talking about other fat people, as if I’m not one. The last time it happened, I almost said, “Hello?? I’m fat! Or do you need glasses?” And I probably will next time. Now, if it’s a fat person doing the talking, that might be one thing–depends on the conversation. It’s never okay to talk about overweight people degradingly in front of another overweight person (or, really, at all). But if you’re a twig sitting there running your mouth and you have a fat friend in the middle of it all, you’re an idiot, plain and simple. What are you thinking?

3) Why Do Teachers Think It’s A Good Idea To Tell Students To Pick A Partner Or Teammates? Don’t They Have Any Idea That They Are Scarring Some Students For Life?

This type of thing ought to be common knowledge by now. We’ve seen it enough on TV. There is always at least one kid who just doesn’t fit in or is disliked and made fun of by everyone else. Why can’t teachers and coaches just fucking do the pairing themselves instead of embarrassing the hell out of some poor young’un who has no friends or athletic ability? If you’re one of the cool kids, yes, you want to pick your partner. You don’t want to get stuck with your morbid enemy or the loser who has a crush on you that is unreturned. Or if you’re picking teams in gym class, naturally you want to win. But the cool kids will live, because they still have their crew at the end of class. And gym is just gym–doesn’t matter one bit, no money on the line, no national championships. It’s the kids whom you’re showing to the entire class as being the odd man/woman out who will remember it forever and have insecurities and self-esteem issues. So, damn what the cool kids want, teachers–if you’re going to have special projects or teams in gym classes, you do the pairings.

4) Why Do People Think Blacks Have A Community?

I have struggled to find the right wording for this question. But basically, people seem to think blacks stick together and support each other and always have each other in this cold, cruel world when nothing could be further from the truth. There’s this book, “The Myth of the Model Minority,” which I read some years ago that, as best as I can remember, had me shaking my head at the way it seemed to hold “the black community” on a pedestal relative to what Asians have. Back when I was at Michigan, I had a gay white male friend who said something to me that was very close to “a lot of gays are alone but black people have each other.” And I always have to wonder–what exactly do Asian people, gay white people or straight white people know about being black? Apparently, not much. To me, it’s as clear as day that black people are divided and work against each other more than they support each other–and when I say “as clear as day,” I mean that if I were white I’d look at black people and go, “Wow…I know why we hate black people, but why on earth do they hate each other so much?!?!”

Because black men hate black women. Black women hate black women. Black men seem to think black women hate black men because black women won’t just be quiet and submissive, or smile and say yes to any and every black guy who approaches them for a date. Black people, particularly black men, commit more black-on-black crime than any other group commits against blacks. And black men and black women hate black people who “aren’t black enough” or aren’t stereotypical, whatever that means in any individual black environment…because it doesn’t always mean the same thing. And, contrary to what non-black people think, it doesn’t always mean that black people hate educated, proper-speaking blacks. When I was at Michigan, I wasn’t stereotypical in the sense that I didn’t hang with mainly black students and didn’t go to all these “Black Law Students” events and meetings and didn’t stand around with other black chicks talking about other black female students who “don’t know they’re black.” For a black person in the projects, it means something entirely different. Bottom line–plenty of black people are alone and alienated by other black people.

5) Why Do Men Think Making Fun of Women They’re Interested In Is A Good Idea, and That the Woman Is A Bitch If She’s Not Amused?

Men seem to think that various forms of harassment in general are a good idea when it comes to approaching women, but “jokes at the lady’s expense” and just plain picking on a woman seem to be near the top of their come-on list. Who in the hell told you fellas this was a good way to get a woman? Or are you just trying to see if she’s rug material (i.e. a doormat)?

News flash–women aren’t like men. It seems to be the case that men take joking and teasing as a sign that they are in the clubhouse. Male friends do that to male friends. It’s not okay to make fun of your wife or girlfriend or female friend, let alone a chick you just met or barely know. If a woman you know and have established that kind of relationship with seems to think it’s cool, that’s one thing. But even then, there are lines to not cross or she’ll get pissed–even though this almost never happens with your male friends. Again, women and men are different. Women don’t like to feel like they’re being laughed at or belittled–we get quite enough of that on a regular basis. And 9 times out of 10, your love interest who is laughing at your garbage is just doing it to be polite, as socialized. She doesn’t find being the butt of your joke to be funny, trust me.

6) What the Hell Does “Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously” Actually Mean, and Why Is It A Good Thing?

This has always sounded to me like an empty, meaningless statement that excuses stuff such as my #5 and makes the person who is offended the one at fault. I don’t know if that’s true because stuff like “knowing how to laugh at yourself and not take yourself so seriously” is so damned far beyond me. I just know that hearing or reading stuff like that makes me want to punch someone. Similarly far beyond me is #7…

7) When Did Acting And Dressing Like a Ho Expressing Sexuality Become A Good Thing?

I tell you, I think young white female pop singers started this nonsense, particularly in the early 2000s, with their dumb songs and videos. There is just a lot of mistaking being 9/10ths naked, dancing provocatively, singing ridiculously explicit lyrics and sleeping around for “being sexy.” You don’t need all that to be sexy or to let other people know you’re sexy. Worst of all, some women now mistake these things for empowerment. And then they still want to know why people judge them or treat them a certain way for how they look and/or act, and “it’s not fair.” Clearly, they do not live in the real world. We’re all judged and treated a certain way due to how we look, so be ready to deal with the consequences of your choices. If you’re not ready for that and, instead, are going to whine, how is it empowering?

Long story short, it’s still not a good thing–but not everyone has all of their screws in tight, so they don’t get it.

8) Why Do, Like, Half of All People Who Work Out On A Regular Basis Smoke and/Or Like To Get Drunk and Still Think They’re Living “Healthy”?

I actually do like to work out; I just don’t particularly care for “eating right.” So, whenever I go all in and work out regularly and eat right, the most unhealthy thing that ever goes into my body is junk food. The last time I did this, I slotted in an unhealthy piece of food every day (like donuts) and a soda every day when keeping up with calories while making sure I still got the fiber, the protein, etc, that I needed…just so I could keep my sanity. Otherwise, the most unhealthy thing is, very rarely, a beer. I am just not into alcohol, and you’re not about to ever get me to smoke anything.

What I don’t understand is why is getting drunk every Saturday or Sunday (depending on your sport…or if you’re in a frat, every Sat and Sun), smoking MJ and smoking cigarettes so much more acceptable than eating crap or being a couch potato? Why is one type of person disgustingly unhealthy and the other isn’t? We’re both disgustingly unhealthy (and actually, my doctors tell me I’m pretty healthy, great blood pressure…I have bad knees, and I know I’m overweight for my size, but other than that…you’d be surprised). I would say that you can work out and eat all the bird food in the world, but if you’re putting bad substances in your body often you’re not that far ahead of me, if you’re ahead at all (and if you smoke, you’re not going to convince me you’re ahead of me health-wise).

9) Why Do People Project Their Own Bullschitt Onto Others?

Yeah, it’s psychology time. Let’s talk about projection–that’s basically when someone says that other people have a flaw that is actually a huge flaw in that person who is running off at the mouth. For example, the Lazy Fuck at my job is always calling my friend Clara and her friend Sharon lazy, and I am sure that he has called me lazy before or has insinuated that I am lazy…because we won’t do his job for him while he takes long lunches and texts/talks on his iPhone. Not surprisingly, Lazy Fuck is a Democrat. Gee, I wonder if there is actually a correlation between people who project and people who are political members of the denial party. I know full well that I’m lazy, but I also know I’m not lazy at work. I’ll call in fake-sick (and I do) and stay home and be lazy before I sit at work and fuck off.

10) Why Are There Over 300 TV Channels and There Still Is Never Anything Good On?

Now, the exception is if you like sports. But I still find myself twiddling my thumbs way too often to have so many gotdamn channels. No games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights = a waste of an expensive-@ss cable package. And I don’t think Jewish white boys necessarily have any business writing comedy sitcoms (on account of their not being funny), and I certainly don’t think catty Barbie wannabes should have 50 million different reality shows…so, typically, I don’t watch TV shows. So, again, no games on Tues and Weds mean I get roughly 10 hours of sleep those nights because I have nothing to do but hit the sack.

11) Why Do Southerners Think They Should Greet Everyone?

And not all do, but far too many do. I’m from the South and everything, but I’ve visited other places and have lived other places. In many ways, I have been de-Southernized. But having my toes in different parts of the US, I believe that it’s perfectly okay and acceptable to not acknowledge people you don’t know. And it’s not rude if you don’t acknowledge everyone you pass by. It’s okay to not act like you know and are friends with people you actually don’t know and aren’t friends with. What I don’t understand is why other Southerners don’t believe this. It’s a huge cultural issue I have with my co-workers, and my friend Clara, who is originally from Louisiana–which I don’t even consider part of the “real” South, culturally (and neither are Florida, Texas and, like, half of Virginia and half of Arkansas–Louisiana, Florida and Texas are too diverse to truly be part of real Southern culture, plus Texas is like its own universe)–are on opposite sides of this discussion all the time. It’s tough to explain, except maybe to say that I never feel like I’m alone, not being watched and actually have privacy/private space unless I am locked up in my bedroom. Ironically, in bigger cities outside of the South like Chicago and New York, you can be on a subway full of people and feel like you’re alone, not being watched and are in your own world.

Gosh, I miss being almost completely ignored in Chicago.

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Putting People In Their Place

I don’t care where you work or what you do for a living, it seems like there’s always something about your job. Right now, I’m realizing there are some crazy people where I work. And I had to verbally jack one of them up last week in front of several people. Or as my mother says, I cursed him out without using curse words.

Because I am sure I don’t have many regular readers, let me just explain these key things first:

1) My attitude at my blog is generally pretty different from my attitude in person. Here, I’m always saying I can’t stand people and am always cursing and being an @ss. In person, I am quiet and pretend to be friendly. Yes, pretend. I’m so-fucking-not. I just want most people to fuck off. But because being sociable and agreeable are damn-near job requirements nowadays (especially in most of my previous jobs, which had strong customer service elements), I know that I have to cool it at work, be fake to some degree and then just come to my blog and complain or complain to my work friend Clara.

2) In general, I don’t actually have trouble getting along with people. Ironically, the closer I am to someone to whom I’m not related, the more difficulty I have getting along with them. This especially and particularly applies to my girlfriends. But people with whom I work and other people I barely know? If I have an issue with them, I’m never the only one who does–which indicates that person is the real problem.

3) As a black female, there is a part of me that doesn’t like to get bitchy with people, especially in front of other people and especially if those people are not black and/or are male. When men go off, it’s okay. When women go off, they’re being emotional. When black women go off, they’ve got an attitude problem or are “difficult.” In other words, as a black person and a woman, I inevitably become a stereotype. And whatever I say in anger may be correct and valid, but it gets lost in the stereotype and nobody cares what I say or said.

4) Admittedly, at my current job and at my previous job I take/have taken off work a lot and leave early a lot. At my previous job, it was largely because I had a bit of a health scare and was going to the doctor…and then it was because I was looking for another job. At my current job…my last post mentions how I went to Michigan for a football game a few weeks ago, and I wrote that I would have quit my job if I’d been told I had to work instead of going on my trip. That’s simply because, recently, my mentality has become that I don’t want my life to be work-eat-sleep. I’m not married, don’t have kids, don’t have obligations other than student loans. I want to spend as much of my time as possible doing things that are worth it and things I like to do, and being at work is not one of those things. The Michigan trip was incredible, and I need to do things like that more often–I don’t need to sit around saying, “I can’t take off work” like I used to do. I cried off and on for a while when I left Michigan–at the airport, on the plane, at home–which means I am not there enough…I definitely miss it, so the trip would have been worth my job. I focus on doing my job well and completely when I’m there, and then I leave when I don’t have anymore work to do.

All that out of the way, allow me to connect the dots. There’s this @sshole at work. He’s Filipino. He’s a lazy fuck who spends 25% of the work day messing with his iPhone instead of working and another 30% of the work day completely away from his workstation instead of working–including longer-than-allowed lunch breaks. And he’s the type of guy–I think we all know him–who doesn’t run schitt but really is self-important and badly wants to run schitt…and, thus, acts as if he runs schitt when he doesn’t. I thought only white guys did this, but I was wrong. Oh, and he’s not just an @sshole–he acts like a little bitch. He whines. He goes on and on long after he should. And he will run and tell, even though he’s in his mid-40s.

I mentioned here when I first started that job that I don’t have a lot of work to do. That’s still true so many days. At some point, to get more work my work friend Clara–who is really now more like my best friend, work or no work–showed me how to do part of her job and I do that. She has shown me more and more, until now I know how to do most of what she does and do most of it. So, she had to find work to do and started helping Lazy Fuck and this other chick, Sharon, with their work–which I think she did mainly to help Sharon, who usually has a lot of work and is friends with Clara (Clara, Sharon and I hang out, but, really, I only consider Clara my friend). When I would run out of work, I started helping Lazy Fuck and Sharon, too. This was before I knew we could get away with going home early, to be honest with you. I am fine with helping others, to a degree, but I’d rather be at home, frankly.

Lately, Lazy Fuck has been acting as if Clara and I work for him and as if we’re obligated to help him and Sharon. He acts like this even if we have other work to do, especially with Clara. One day last week, I had almost finished my work, looked around and saw that there didn’t really seem to be much work left for others to do–including Lazy Fuck (LF). So, I decided I’d go home when I was done. LF comes over and asks me to help him. The amount of work he had was nothing he couldn’t handle with the amount of time left in the day, so, basically, this @ss was wanting me to do his work while he goes and socializes with other Filipinos or is nowhere to be found, like usual. So, I said I was leaving, and he started questioning me about what time I arrived at work like he was my boss and telling me he wants me to stay and help from now on.

That’s when I started getting pissed, but I didn’t say anything. Clara and I basically do him a favor–we don’t work for him, and our supervisors never told us we’re supposed to do the kind of work with which we help LF and Sharon. On top of it, like I wrote before, he spends more than 50% of the day not actually working. So, naturally, Clara (who is also Asian) and I start talking about all of this because LF was getting more and more persistent and harassing about “helping” him and Sharon, even when they don’t have a lot of work.

The next time he approached me about helping, he wouldn’t take no for an answer, even though I told him I had other work to do. I tried to ignore him, I really did–but he wouldn’t shut up or leave me alone. So I blasted his @ss, because I decided that I wasn’t about to put up with being harassed on a regular basis. And that didn’t even include telling him about how lazy he is and how he needs to do his own work, which I wish I had remembered to include. I basically told him 1) I don’t want to hear that “team work”/”help others” schitt because that’s bullschitt–plenty of people around there don’t help other people, and he doesn’t ask anyone else to “help” except for me and Clara, 2) he ain’t no-fucking-body, so he needs to quit giving me orders and get the fuck out my face, and 3) when I decide to help out at work I make the choice on where I help, unless my actual supervisors tell me otherwise. No means no. Now take the curse words out, and that’s pretty spot-on what I told him…but “get the fuck out of my face” was unmistakably in my voice.

So far, intended result achieved. So, it was worth it. And if I have to do it again, I will.

But Clara harped on it all day after I did it because she was shocked, including “joking” about me killing everyone at work, and Sharon was making indirect comments implying that I should have just ignored LF and needed to calm down or I overreacted. No, Sharon’s just a fucking wimp who, apparently, will put up with being harassed by people. And Clara was probably shocked, as was LF when I told him to go away (yes, I actually said that–twice), because people make assumptions about quiet people. “Quiet” doesn’t mean I won’t curse you out when you deserve it. It doesn’t mean I will let you run over me, either, especially given that I want most people to fuck off to begin with. Clara doesn’t believe me when I tell her I don’t like people, and I remember she told me about a month or so ago that I am just “shy” and have “trouble expressing” myself. Err…no. There was absolutely no trouble with expression when I lit into LF.

Listen, people–especially women–it’s okay to speak up and not take bullschitt. Most of the time, it works out for the best when you let people know bullschitt time is over. Every time I can recall going off on someone in the past few years, I’ve gotten my way as a result (except romantic relationships, and sometimes even then). So, so what if some people see me as an overly-emotional woman or a black bitch? It’s better than being, as I said, a wimp who tries to justify it by saying “just ignore it.” Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away. Sometimes you can talk things out with people rationally and get your way, but sometimes you can’t or you’re put in a position where you snap. And with some men, you have to be a complete @ss for them to get the message–and I think LF was one…especially since he still harasses Clara the same way he used to harass me.

And don’t be like so many people who talk about what they’re going to do and then they never stand up to anyone, or who complain to everyone and never do anything about it. Clara does both of these things, in my opinion, though she tells people off to some degree–just not like I do it.

Clara has said before that she likes to be liked, and I’m sure that’s why a lot of people don’t “start” mess. Of course, I don’t really give a fuck about being liked–I’m the wrong race and wrong sexual orientation (and the wrong race/sex combination) to care about that kind of schitt anyways, so plenty of people–probably most–already don’t like me. Plus, it’s not as if I like them. But you–you win some, you lose some. Not everyone will like you, and they don’t have to. So, don’t keep making excuses and putting up with garbage.

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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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White Women and a Sense of Entitlement

Obligatory Disclaimer: I usually try to stay away from posts like these, but on this particular issue I just can no longer continue to hold back anymore. So. If you’re someone who gets offended by candid discussions concerning race and/or sex/gender, or you do not like to hear/read about race and that there’s a such thing as racial differences, please click away from this page. Thank you much.

When I was in school, I took [almost] all the fuddy duddy courses in all the departments most people don’t respect–psychology, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, etc. When I was in law school, I took many of the “Race and Law,” “Gender and Law,” “Law and the Elderly” types of courses. I’m one of those kind of people. And people think you’ll never actually “use” these things, but, in fact, I’m about to use them right now.

This is the kind of post people who don’t follow the blog regularly will find in a search engine, so let me recap a few things. I work in the IT industry. Most of the jobs I’ve had since leaving school have been customer service oriented, and right now I work in a tech support type of capacity. I’m trying to get away from tech support because I hate it. I hate dealing with the people we support, but particularly the phone calls. Most people who work tech support/help desk/service desk complain about the people. I took my current job, knowing from my last tech support job that I’d hate it, because it pays pretty well for where I live. I have loved the money, but I am just about at my wits end and ready to take a pay cut to get out. I cannot express how sick of people I am. [Now you’re up to speed.]

But I have especially had it with white women. They are the worst customers, do you hear me? They are the bane of my existence. They are the ones whom when the phone rings and I look over at the caller ID to see who is calling and I start cursing before I pick up the phone…it’s almost always a white woman. They are the ones whom when I see an email land in the inbox and I’m sitting there like, “I do not want to answer this email. No way…somebody else is going to answer this @sshole”…it’s usually from a white woman. They are the ones whom when the guys I work with and I are sitting around complaining about certain people who call or email us…the person about whom we’re complaining is almost always a white woman. They, in my experience, are the most difficult customers…and it’s not even close.

This was surprising to me, for a while. When I was in the beginning stages of starting my career, I expected white men to be the difficult people to serve. And I have certainly had to deal with some difficult white men. Indeed, if you’re a scholar of the fuddy duddy stuff–you know, the social sciences and the humanities–and/or you like to read those kinds of things in your spare time (as I used to like to do), you love those discussions (as I still do)…you’ve probably been led to believe that white men are predominantly the bad guys. They have done most of the bad things in history. They are the ones who feel entitled to everything today. And this “white guy as the bad guy” idea is largely perpetuated by, surprise, a lot of white men–as historians, as psychologists, as researchers, as scholars and so on.

But it’s also heavily perpetuated by white female feminists. In fact, let’s get real–the average visible feminist is a white woman. Hell, the average feminist, period, is a white woman. Nothing wrong with being a feminist, and I’m not saying I’m not one. I’m just saying that my observation has been that women of color, even though black women buck some of the key gender roles/stereotypes in society, still on the whole subscribe to more sexist ideals than white women do and are still more brainwashed in their thinking of what men “should” do, what men “should” have, etc, vs women.

Anyway, when these white female feminists are talking about sex and gender in our society, they are clearly speaking relative to white men…because other men do not have oppressive power, at least not in terms of the system. So, these white women are complaining about white men and their entitlement and the fact that they get things because they’re white men. This is not to say other men don’t feel a sense of entitlement. I know from dealing with black men as a black woman that black men certainly feel a sense of entitlement. All types of men feel a sense of entitlement. But my points are 1) we only ever hear about entitlement in white men and how that’s a problem, and 2) white women’s problems with men are with white men.

The funny thing I’ve come to see, though, is tons of white women act just the way they take issue with when it comes to white men. In fact, socially? White women are worse than white men. I suppose they’re making up for not having that power systemically.

If you ever run across discussions of entitlement in white women, they tend to only focus on relationships. No–white women just…feel…entitled. Period. Even though I’m a lesbian, I don’t date white women. Never say never, but I more than likely won’t date a white woman ever again, for so many reasons. So, I can’t speak with any real experience when it comes to what white women are like in romantic relationships. The reason why I say they’re entitled is customer-based.

It’s that, in my experience, the following comes from white women more than anybody else:

1) “Why do I have to do this? I shouldn’t have to do this…I don’t understand why…and it shouldn’t be this difficult…why this…why that…when is this going to be fixed…”

2) “I need this done right now!”

3) -[Emails to tech support] “I’m having XYZ problem. Call me at 200-400-5000.” (For those who don’t understand, erm…users are supposed to call tech support. We’re not f*cking supposed to call you. And why the f*ck would you email us that you have a problem and then ask us to call you? Why didn’t your prissy @ss pick up the phone and just call us?!)

4) [Attitude on the line, with a lot exaggerated scoffing] “Uck, I can’t get into Oracle, and I keep getting this error message, and, uck, I can’t work like this, and uck…”

Me: “What is happening when you try to get into Oracle? What does the error message say?”

“Uck, I don’t know…uck…I just need it fixed now!”

[Trying to figure out how to help this b!tch when she won’t give me any useful information]

5) “I need to know when I’m going to be able to log into XYZ, because I’ve really got work I need to get done. I’ve got to be able to do this now.

Me: “Well, the admin who normally works on this issue is out of the office today.”

“Uck…who else can get this done for me? Who can I talk to? Who is the admin’s supervisor?”

“Tell you what, I will check with my supervisor to see who else can work on this issue for you.”

“Okay. Will you let me know?”

“Um…” hesitating because we don’t have time to be calling people back about schitt. Like I said, you call tech support; we don’t call you. “Yes, I will.”

[Thirty minutes later, an email goes out from this b!tch and another [white] b!tch to me, my supervisor, my supervisor’s supervisor, the admin who is out and a whole bunch of other people about this exact…same…issue. Funny thing is, they basically tell her the same schitt I told her, and all of a sudden she’s cool to just wait.]

6) “I’m calling to find out why we still haven’t received [user’s] laptop. We were supposed to receive it today, but it still has not arrived. Can you tell me when it was shipped out?”

[Shipping out laptops, unfortunately, has absolutely nothing to do with me because I no longer work in the position I want to work in at this company. So, I tell the user I will check and put her on hold]

Me: [after checking] “Hello? The laptop still has not shipped out yet. It looks like the user’s ID was just created, so the tech is only just now able to start setting up the user’s profile on his PC.”

“Oh, my gosh…I can’t believe this!” [Start of an angry rant. Erm, by the way…it was this b!tch’s fault anyways. She is the one who took forever to submit his f*cking paperwork, and that’s why his user ID was created so late. We can’t complete PC setups without a user ID because a tech has to log in as the user to set up his user profile. I calmly explained this schitt to this moron without trying to make it sound like I was blaming her]

7) [Email] “Please process these Oracle account creation forms for [users].”

[My co-worker responded to the email letting this b!tch know that she has not followed the correct process and that a manager needs to submit the forms through our intranet site]

[Response] “Well, that’s not how we did it before. [Life.overrated] helped me with this before, and I was able to email the forms in.”

[Yep…and that time before, the b!tch was trying to not follow the rules then, too. I had to go to my supervisor and get approval for this b!tch to get her way that time, and now she seems to think she can just not follow the rules every f*cking time and proceeds to argue back and forth with my co-worker]

That’s enough examples for right now (even though I failed to give an example on how white women also love to tell you how to do your job), but let me be clear on two things–1) these b!tches are not b!tches because they’re white; they’re b!tches because they’re pushy, demanding, argumentative, don’t treat people the way they want to be treated, and think rules/processes don’t or shouldn’t apply to them. This is how people who feel a sense of entitlement act when they are not getting their way or when things are not going the way they “feel” they should. 2) All kinds of people behave in ways similar to the provided examples, but I’m simply saying my experience is more (and not all) white women consistently do these things. All of these examples are of white women–except one.

Example #6 is, according to one of my co-workers, a black female. Now, if you’re smart, you should have been questioning how is it that we answer emails and phones but somehow know the race of the people we serve. There are three main ways, and some of the more politically correct among us won’t like one of these ways:

1) Sometimes at least one of us who does anything with tech support at my company has met the person. This is why we know the person in example #6 is black…because she damn sure doesn’t sound black. The new tech and I were shocked as hell when Wannabe Cool Tech told us #6 is black, and he said he thought she was joking when he met her and she told him who she was (WCT is white). So, of course, we get difficult black customers/users at times. However, my observation has been that the more difficult blacks tend to be black women who seem…for lack of a better term, “white-washed”…hence the stunning revelation that #6 is not white.

There is a black chick who works in the same building I do who is now friendlier and all “hey, girl!” when she needs assistance, but for months when I first started working at the company she was a hateful, pushy little b!tch whenever she needed anything. She is, you can tell, a “white” black female. And I don’t mean anything bad about being a “white” black person, as I am pretty “white” myself…I just don’t “ack a fool” with people who work customer service-type positions. If you’ve read about Belinda before in my blog…Belinda, though she hangs with only blacks at work, has got some whiteness to her, as well, especially vocally.

2) I’ve mentioned before, but a lot of people at my company throw a profile picture into their email accounts. So, when they email us, we either confirm they’re white or we see for the first time they’re white.

3) Look, I’m sorry if you don’t like this, but 90-95% of the time you should be able to tell when someone is white or black on the phone. It has nothing to do with intelligence, contrary to popular belief. Black people and white people–usually and typicallyjust…sound…different…okay? I am intelligent, but I also sound black. Barack Obama is intelligent, but he sounds black. It’s not a matter of speaking correct or “proper” English. We have different tones and depths of voice. Black people often have deeper voices. There are certain words a white person is more likely to use. Things like that. It’s lazy to chalk it up to intelligence, but it’s also lazy to deny that we don’t sound the same because you can sit and analyze the differences, even breaking it down regionally (black Southerners sound different from blacks other places, for example, but they also sound different from white Southerners). Now, you can sometimes tell when you’re dealing with a Latino(a) or Asian, too, but that’s a matter of accent. Otherwise, they tend to sound more like white people.

If you read my blog, you might know about my last “ex-girlfriend.” One of the first things I said to her when I first heard her voice is that she sounds white. She got pissed and started lecturing me on how there’s no such thing. We never really talked about it again, but sorry…there’s a such thing. She just doesn’t think so because she is from an African family and has had a lot of acquaintances who are from “foreign” families. Well, as I mentioned just a second ago, being more “foreign” is a little bit trickier, more diverse. But it’s not tricky for white Americans and black Americans.

I will say, though, that if I can even find a group that comes in 2nd behind white women as being a nightmare to deal with, it is those more “foreign” people–probably most especially “foreign” women and perhaps even including the American-born ones with immigrant parents. Can’t break it into groups as far as Indian, Latino(a), Chinese, except maybe to lean towards people from the continent of Asia who live in the US most of all (so, in other words, I’m saying Asian and Indian-Asian women)…just all of them. They are difficult customers who also act with some sense of entitlement, and they are, perhaps, only a distant 2nd to white women just because of the frequency with which an American is going to interact with white women vs “foreign” customers.

Over the past few months, I have done a few internet searches on this topic. That’s why I have found that a lot of discussions about white women and entitlement focus on relationships. But a couple of months ago, I found a discussion on lipstickalley.com that let me know I wasn’t the only one who found white female customers overwhelmingly give service workers the dickens…unfortunately, I can no longer find that thread, or else I would link to it. I was surprised at the near unanimity of opinion on white women’s difficulty in that thread, though.

I did, however, find one true read that somewhat explains why white men are perceived as feeling entitled and why my experience with people “acking a fool” is almost always with white women as opposed to, say, black people. Also, even though this is about a relationship, I want you to skip to the 5:20 mark of this video and watch for about 50 seconds. Note that the blog post is an acknowledgement of white entitlement by a white male and that the video features probably one of the most racist white characters ever on TV essentially describing white women much the same way as I have. Even though the female described in the clip turns out to be black, she is yet another one of those “white” black chicks (watch the rest of the video if you have time to see what I’m talking about and to get an example of the difficult b!tches I deal with at work).

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Playing Games With Women

Do any of you know of David DeAngelo or Doc Love?

I ran across these guys, like, a decade+ ago. I remember sharing my DeAngelo discovery with my best friend, and we just kind of laughed and talked about how stupid these “systems” for getting women are and how this crap only works on women with self-esteem issues. I definitely thought these guys with these systems were just jerks. Nowadays, there are a lot of systems out there, and I’m not sure how much variation exists among them. I suspect they say much of the same things.

Well, I’m about to say [write] something controversial:

It disappoints me greatly in women to realize and admit that there is a lot of truth in what these “jerks” think. I have now met decent, unique, intelligent women who seemed to be solid with themselves and who I thought would be above having to play games to keep them interested, and now I see they really are just like every other woman. I am starting to understand that, yes, if you like women romantically you have to play games with them.

Why did I, a woman, not understand this for well over a decade?

Well, because, frankly, I think and act more like men. I am the lesbian equivalent of the “nice guy.” I am realizing that’s why women don’t stay interested in me for very long. I am also looking back and seeing that when I attract women it’s pretty much always when I’m either being a jerk, being mysterious or just when I’m in a carefree place where I can take or leave the women around me and am just having fun. It’s never when I deeply give a fuck and she knows it, never when I want to spend all my time with her, never when I’m honest about everything, never when I’m giving her everything she needs and wants. You just have to hold back instead of laying it all out there, as if you’re playing cards or some such crap. You have to play it close to the vest, or the next thing you know you’re the damn doormat.

Admittedly, I often wish I were heterosexual, but not at all for the reasons most people would think. One of the biggest reasons why I have wished I were straight is because I know I would run the relationship with a guy as long as I were much the same way as I am now when it comes to interacting with men. He would care more than I would, and it wouldn’t involve my having to choreograph my moves and the things I say the way it’s apparently going to take with a woman. That might sound cruel. Why do I need to run things? That’s not how relationships are supposed to go. Maybe not, but when you’re always the one who is giving, doing, saying and then always ultimately getting dumped, you get sick of getting hurt. I can keep sitting here believing that I will eventually meet someone whom I can shower with all my feelings without being given the ole “maybe we can be friends” line before never hearing from them again and we can just be without fakeness or hiding anything from each other, or telling myself that there is a rare woman out there…or I can just spend the rest of my life alone. But I don’t think the latter is feasible, and I no longer find the former to be realistic. All of my relationships go, more or less, exactly the same way, which means something has to change.

I have been thinking about the last relationship I had a lot lately, and I don’t think it’s about wanting her back. I think I am starting to face some things and learn from them, which I think is moving me towards moving on and getting over that relationship. There are just so many things I’m learning from it, and I see so many mistakes. I was way too honest with her. And I could never see before how being honest is a bad thing, but it just is with women. I don’t mean you have to sit there and constantly lie to women, but you just don’t need to tell them everything about how you feel. I also need to exercise tons more self-control. Just because I feel like I want to be with someone all the time or speak to them all the time doesn’t mean I need to try to be with them all the time or speak to them all the time. I need to be busy and unavailable, even when I’m not. And there were times when I legitimately was busy, but I dropped things I’d normally be doing to be with her.

I need to read between the lines, too–or, more accurately, stop ignoring what I read between the lines just because I hear what I want to hear. I think there were a lot of things that I suspected, and she kind of denied them, only for them to either be admitted or implied in some way later on. And women tend not to be straight-shooters anyways, so reading between the lines is a must any way you slice it. You know what they say about actions speaking louder than words.

So, as much as I hate to do it, I’m now going to apply some of these things that I’m learning. I recently got this lady’s contact info and emailed her, and she responded after she got home from work. Normally, I’d sit at my laptop and email her back as soon as I get the email. But I’m going to wait at least a day and maybe longer to respond. I was honest upfront with her about one thing, i.e. the fact that I live at home right now because a lot of people have a huge problem with that in a prospective date/mate, and she said she doesn’t judge–which is crap because everyone judges–but we’ll see. Again, there will be further reading going on between the lines.

Tomorrow is my birthday and, thankfully, my supervisor was perfectly okay with my taking off work because work is the absolute last place on earth I’d want to be tomorrow. I tried to tell myself that I’ve missed enough work over the past month and I need to go in tomorrow, but I seriously couldn’t bring myself to tolerate it. So I’m just going to go shopping, enjoy my sports talk shows, rock out to some good music, sleep, maybe play a little basketball, eat some of my custom-made Michigan Wolverines birthday cake (my family has started having these made for me on my birthday and also had one made when I graduated from Michigan, as well) and just relax and try not to worry about women or work.

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Making Friends At Work

It’s no secret that I’m not at all in love with my job. One of the things I disliked about my job when I first started, which might have been the biggest cause of any semblance of regret I felt about leaving my previous job, is the stark difference between the people I worked with before and the people I work with now. I had really come to like most of the people I worked with at my previous job, and most of them liked me.

Although I typically ignore people around me, hang with myself, am quiet–and although I like to think that it doesn’t really matter to me–it’s nice to not only have friendly co-workers but to also be liked by them. I couldn’t really say why, as far as being liked. I’d still honestly prefer to have my own office with a door I can close and just stick earphones in my ears all day, switching between sports talk shows and one of my painstakingly-prepared music playlists. My father doesn’t understand why I don’t want to speak to him in the mornings; my mother doesn’t understand why I don’t want to speak to her for a while in the evenings. Aside from just not being a morning person, I spend all day speaking to people and listening to people speak. Unless it’s about sports, it’s unnatural and exhausting for me.

Despite being like this, at my last job I had developed “work friends.” Work friends aren’t the same as real friends because I don’t spend time with/on these people outside of work. But I’d gotten a couple of outside invitations, and the two guys with whom I was closest participate in trivia every week and had gotten to the point of saying I should be there. The job before that, I had three good work friends. I found one of them recently on LinkedIn, and we messaged a little bit. But my current job is the one where I can say I distinctly felt early on that I wouldn’t ever have any work friends there.

I am not sure I can put my finger on why. A lot of it is age, but then, I do actually tend to get along with older people better anyways. The friend I messaged on LinkedIn is in his 60s. Frankly, it was probably a combination of age and race. But then, for some odd reason, I get along great with white guys a lot of the time (again, the LinkedIn friend is white). So, we have older white guys. Technically, that’s 2 for 2 in my favor, even though I didn’t realize it. Third, it’s the IT department, which means it’s filled with geeks, nerds, faux cool wannabes and crabby @sses. Now, I’m a nerd, but I’m not quite an IT nerd. My IT knowledge impresses people who barely know schitt, but I can’t say that I fit in with the average tech geek mentally or otherwise. I could probably spout off more knowledgeably about literature, grammar, psychology theories, philosophers and social issues–and why not? Those are actually the things I studied in college, not IT or Computer Science. So there’s that, too, but we’re still 2 out of 3.

It has been three months at my new job, and you know what I realized recently? I am liked at work, if nothing else. That will likely translate at some point to having work friends.

Several of my co-workers are a lot friendlier to me than they were a month ago, they speak more and for longer periods of time, they greet me when they see me, they sound happy to hear from me when I contact them and they are fairly eager to assist me (that last one is most important). It’s not just guys, either–I barely work with women, but this also applies to most of the women I work with.

When I spoke with the recruiter who placed me where I work about why I was missing so much work–and this was a couple of weeks ago–he told me he hears good things about me. And I was just thinking, “Okay, he’s talking about my supervisor and the guy who is supposed to be training me.” And I was also thinking he was saying that to kind of reel me back in a little, you know, because I don’t love it there. But then he told me he has heard from other people at my company. Apparently, someone told him I am a “breath of fresh air.” I damn-near asked him outright who it was, mainly just thinking he made it up, but if he wasn’t then just wanting to know who was crazy enough to think that. Then again, the first thing I ever wanted to be was an actress, and so maybe I actually do have the chops for that. I definitely do some acting at work.

The common thread through my last three jobs, though, is my work friends are always men. I definitely work almost exclusively with men at my current job, and, though I don’t have work friends yet, there are a couple of guys I see that starting to happen with. There’s also Lazy Tech, but I don’t think it’d be right to call him a friend since I rip on him so much and will continue to do so. My previous job was a small business, so, even though I worked directly with guys I was also in regular contact with women. My work friends there still were guys. The job I had before that one was a very big, very mixed environment, and, still, my work friends were guys.

I can’t figure it out, especially the white men part (for those who don’t know, I’m black). Even though I’m a lesbian, I tend to think I know more about men than most women do. I have just always felt that men are easier to figure out and are more transparent, more direct with their thoughts, than women are. Women are confusing as hell, to the point where I don’t know whether to laugh or just gawk in complete shock when women are frustrated with guys or a guy because they don’t understand XYZ about men or why men do ABC and such. It’s not usually even a “how can you not know this” moment so much as it is a “look who’s talking” moment. But there’s one thing I’m not sure of, and it’s related to the question of why I, a lesbian, “click” with men. And it’s not just the sports thing, because I don’t talk about sports with most guys at work.

See, my theory had been that men are nicer to women they find attractive. But I don’t consider myself attractive, and I am rarely told that I’m attractive. When I’m told that I’m attractive, it’s by black guys. Even though you can find examples to the contrary, my general belief is that white guys don’t find black women that attractive. You’ll find a lot of PC comments to the contrary and a lot of “Yeah, we like black women” types of things at times, but if you look around at society, dating and the kind of black women who are used to argue to the contrary–always the same, like, two or three black female celebrities–plus just throwing in the way I was told by white “friends” growing up that they don’t find blacks attractive–I cannot really shake the idea that, particularly, white men are usually not that into black women. It’s cool with me if they’re not because it’s one of the few things that makes me feel comfortable working with white men–that I know I won’t ever have to fend off unwelcome advances. I have never been wrong about that, either.

So maybe there’s another answer, at least in my case (because I still think men are nicer to women they find attractive). Maybe some men feel comfortable with me precisely because I’m not attractive and, being a breath of fresh air, because I’m not threatening. Men definitely like “nice” and “friendly” women, and, even though I am not these things by nature, I fake these qualities at work–apparently, pretty well.

Okay, but then why do I often have issues with women, or at least don’t get anywhere near the same level of openness and friendliness from women? Ah. Might as well not even get started on that one. Like I said–women are confusing as hell. I’m having to tell myself daily to stop with trying to figure out women, whether an individual one such as my “ex” or women in general.

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Women, Friendship and Being Self-Centered

So, I don’t know if anyone else in the blogosphere can relate to this, but…I think I made a mistake giving out my blog link to some of the people I know in my personal life. For one, it can keep you from writing about any and everything that comes to mind because you don’t want to hurt anyone or make anyone upset. Plus, I gave the link to my “ex” way back when, for what reason I no longer know, and now I regret that because I don’t think it’s right that she has access to what’s going on with me and I don’t have that same access to her life at all. I actually don’t think she reads my blog anymore, but that’s not the point. It’s very symbolic of the relationship we had. She always had all of me and I always had only part of her, regardless of how much she thinks she shared with and gave to me. All the things she never would tell me, the trust she never completely gave me, the chance that she never wanted to give or take with me to see how far things could go, the decisions she would make about me/us that seemed to include everyone and their thoughts/input but me/mine, etc. And now I have none of her while she still can know things about me if she so chooses. It was always either one-sided or lopsided, and somehow I’m still the one giving more and getting less.

Well, tonight I’m not going to worry, because I realized that I just don’t care much about anyone but me these days. At work, Lazy Tech is the typical extrovert, i.e. likes to fill the silence with talk about absolutely nothing, and I just cannot bring myself to pretend to care or listen out of politeness in case he gets offended. Much like at my other jobs, I zone out while other people speak, and people at my “new” job are starting to discover that as I finally got the “in her own world” comment last week that I have often gotten elsewhere. I just don’t care about my co-workers.

But that’s becoming true with my friends, too, and it’s time to admit it, however some of my friends might feel about the admission. My “friends.” I’ve been thinking a lot about friends lately, specifically my friendships with women. As I’ve written before here, friendships with guys are different. At least for me, there’s just not the same closeness and the same expectations don’t exist.

Look, I want good friends–I do. But I am just tired of selfishness. When I was growing up, the two biggest issues with female friends once you hit a certain age were being dumped for a guy and your female friends contacting you to go on and on about themselves and then suddenly have to go when it’s time for you to talk. Being in my 30s, the dumped-for-a-guy thing has completely run its course with the majority of my female friends to some degree. The other ones who are left seem to be of the “let’s talk about me” variety, and that’s precisely why I can no longer bring myself to care much about our friendships. Read my last post, and you will see some of the issues I have in my life. I don’t really need or want to sit and listen to someone else free-flow, especially when I’m not going to get reciprocity.

All of my female friendships have changed drastically at this point, and there’s no going back. We all have busier, complicated lives now, and it’s hard to not be self-absorbed, I know. But just as my friends are now self-absorbed, I need to be the same way. I have had issues with some of my friends becoming so self-centered and I guess I still do have issues with that simply because I can’t quite imagine being that way, but it makes me realize that I need to be that way, too, especially if none of them are going to be there for me. Still, it causes a rift that is just never going to be repaired, sorry to say.

I mentioned my “ex” before, and, this applies to her, too, because she was also my best friend there for a while. When she not only wanted to end the romantic side but also the friendship, I did tell her she was self-centered. She essentially said yes but that there’s nothing wrong with that. To me, a big part of the reason why she was/is self-centered is because, as mentioned above, she would often consult with everyone about what’s “best for” me, about our relationship, about the turn it should take and then inform me what she decided based on what everyone else said as well as what she felt would help her. But it was always also for my best interest, you understand. No, she didn’t talk to me about my best interest and when she did she’d basically ignore/discount what I said, so how could it have been for me at all? It was for her. It was all about her.

If breaking off the romantic relationship is best for her, even if it’s not what I wanted–which it wasn’t–then that’s one thing. But I never would have said I valued the friendship and will continue to think of someone as a friend in the same breath that I was breaking it off. If I’m breaking off a friendship, it’s because I no longer value it. It might not be the easiest or most comfortable thing in the world to be friends with an ex at first, but if I cared about the friendship I would try. Who’s to say she didn’t care about it?

The irony is she’s probably the only “friend” I’d want to hear anything about…and that is, again, likely because I never do. My other “friends” still text me, email me, IM me or include me on Facebook, so I know what’s going on with them, whether I particularly want to know or not. At the same time, with my “ex” I also know we could have a conversation and it’s not going to be predominantly about her like it is with my other friends. She’d ask about my job, she’d ask about my health, etc, and would have actual thoughts and comments about them, and it wouldn’t be out of a sense of politeness or obligation (hey–I never said she didn’t care about me, but one of us cares more than the other one does). That’s why, while whatever is left of a possible friendship between us is still very much damaged, I can still bring myself to care more than I can with my other “friends.”

Man, when I really sit and think about it, it’s funny how when we’re younger we look at adults in adulthood and think that’s the life. We think they have it all and can do whatever they want. Now I just feel like everything is so much harder and there’s always something that I’m losing (friends, girlfriends, free time) or in danger of losing (i.e. parents, jobs, health). We actually have more than just youth and looks when we’re younger, you know?

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The Reality of Online Relationships

Some of you might know that I’m a big sports junkie, but particularly college football and college basketball. I cover college football some and have been doing so for over five years. Well, there’s this big story in college football that I want to tie to the real world, because, ultimately, the story has nothing to do with college football…and the commentary by the football guys shows how out of touch they are while demonstrating a flawed way of thinking among many people, including many outside of sports.

You see, there is this football player at Notre Dame, Manti Te’o. I’ve watched the guy all season. My team/alma mater, Michigan, played Notre Dame and lost last year. Te’o had a nice game against Michigan, and his sob story was out there at the time. The story went something like his grandmother and girlfriend died on the same day. Te’o, as good a player as he is, largely rode the sob story to fame and very nearly to a Heisman Trophy (which goes to the best college football player each year…or that’s what they say; it’s not actually true…more like whichever player the media likes the best). Neither the fame level nor the Heisman campaign would have been what they were had that sob story not been out there.

Now it’s being reported that this girlfriend who allegedly died never actually existed. The question is whether or not Te’o made the chick up in order to get attention or if he was just tricked into believing she existed. Te’o had led everyone to believe that he had the kind of relationship everyone thinks of when they think of a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship, i.e. he’d spoken as if he’d actually met this girl before. He’d used the word “met” in interviews and made it seem as if they’d interacted heavily. He said he loved her. I read an article where his father said she could have been his daughter-in-law. Now that it’s out that she never existed, Te’o is trying to say it was an online/phone relationship and he never met her. In other words, he didn’t know she wasn’t real but believed she was. This went on for months. This is his story.

Now…sports media people, by and large, aren’t buying it. And if he didn’t know, then he’s “naive.” Translation: he’s stupid. So, to some, he’s either stupid or crazy for making up a story about a girlfriend dying of leukemia, but they don’t want to come out and say they think he’s lying. Then there are those sports guys who want to know how you can have a relationship with someone you can’t see, touch or be intimate with. That alone means he’s lying. There’s no such thing as having a boyfriend or girlfriend you met online and only know online, in their minds. Nobody does that.

That last paragraph is what my post tonight is about.

I want you to know this–all of these people talking about the Te’o story in the sports media are over the age of 40 and, I think, are all married. If you’re over the age of 40, you probably agree with these sports guys who think there’s no way someone has that kind of relationship. Perhaps some of you under the age of 40 agree, as well.

…there are those sports guys who want to know how you can have a relationship with someone you can’t see, touch or be intimate with. That alone means he’s lying. There’s no such thing as having a boyfriend or girlfriend you met online and only know online, in their minds. Nobody does that.

Except…there are people who do that.

Young people do that.

People who get cell phones as Christmas gifts at age 8, iPads as birthday gifts at age 10 and who have had a computer or a laptop for as long as they can remember do that.

People who work so much that they don’t have time to date the old-fashioned way or who have friends who met their boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance or spouse through match.com do that.

And I have done that.

I have “met” not only girlfriends and boyfriends online, but friends online. Some I met in person, but, honestly, most I haven’t. I’m in my early 30s, and I started making friends and girlfriends online back in my teens when technology still wasn’t what it is today. So imagine for a guy in his early 20s nowadays, when all young people do is stay glued to cell phones, tablets, laptops and social media. There is probably not a young person alive now who hasn’t spent quite a bit of time chatting with someone online he or she doesn’t know in person, and half have probably “dated” someone he/she doesn’t know in person. It doesn’t matter that he’s a football player and there are young ladies at Notre Dame–that’s not the point. This is a cultural issue. And today’s culture is that we interact with people in cyberspace in ways that some married 48-year with 5 kids probably can’t even begin to fathom, regardless of how hot or popular someone is.

My best friend right today is a female I met online in 2001. It’s 2013. We’ve been friends for over 10 years. We’ve never met. There’s no telling if we’re ever going to meet. We have discussed it, and there have been two or three times when it could have happened. It just hasn’t yet. There are things called life (especially when you’re older) and money (especially when you’re younger) that get in the way. Still, I trust her, she trusts me and I know she exists.

The last woman I had romantic feelings for was someone I met online. We never met in person, and not because I didn’t want to. I wanted to meet her, but we never got that far.

The funny thing is how people nowadays like to blame technology for everything. That’s why young people today are stupid. That’s why people today want everything now. That’s why people today are more violent and more sexual. You can’t trust people you meet online. You can’t have a real relationship with them unless you know them away from the computer.

In a way, yes–to all of it. That woman I met online romantically? I wrote to her once that I don’t particularly want to do a long-distance relationship. At some point, I need to be able to be with someone. At some point, we have to be in the same place. That’s true for every online/long-distance relationship. That was not initially why I wanted to meet her. Initially, it was because I believed pretty strongly that we’d get along great in person even as just friends and that it wouldn’t be awkward, which has been my worry before about meeting people from the internet–that it’d be too awkward.

Assume for a bit that Te’o really did believe there was this girlfriend who existed and he wasn’t just trying to get attention. Remember, he said he loved her. According to him, she said she loved him. But they hadn’t met. I went through the same thing. And then some months later, after a breakup of sorts, I was told by my romantic interest that she looks back and doesn’t think it was romantic love she felt. I thought it was painful and ridiculous at first. But now I’m to the point where it’s hard to blame her for thinking that. Why? Because…how do you know if you love someone romantically when you haven’t met her? You can feel one way online, and then when you meet in person it can feel different. Ultimately, that’s why we needed to meet each other, if either of us had been in the place to pursue a romantic relationship…which we weren’t.

That makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is thinking that you have to know people in person to actually know them. When online relationships or friendships don’t work out, people make the internet out to be the bad guy. It’s not.

“I’m not going to talk to people online anymore. Only in person.”

You don’t necessarily know people around you are more real than people online are. I know people who have realized they don’t actually know their spouse the way they thought they did. The spouse broke a trust through lying or cheating. It’s not just people online who do these things.

So, assume Te’o was fooled. Like we don’t meet fake-ass people in person? Like the chick at the bar who smiled at you and gave you her phone number didn’t give you a fake number just to get you off her back? Like a guy you wasted three years with has never told you, “I’m just not ready to get married” for two of those years, only to turn up married to the next chick six months after your breakup? Or like he wasn’t actually already married the whole time you thought he was single?

The internet isn’t the bad guy. Indeed, you can meet wonderful people online. I have. I met one of my friends online, spent a year chatting and emailing with her before we actually enrolled at the same law school and met in person there. We’re still friends. There’s nothing wrong with her. Have “known” her since about 2004, met in 2005.

I’ve had people lie to me online, but I’ve probably had way more lie to me in person. My romantic interest wasn’t always forthcoming with me, but I think I understand at least some of it. She didn’t tell me her real name. But she knew mine, so I dug around and found out. The first thing she did was beg me not to tell her parents. What??? Ohhhh….yeah, the lesbian thing. Never crossed my mind, since I’m not that kind of an ass. But yeah…now it makes more sense why she was secretive about some things. Still,  having met me online doesn’t automatically make me less trustworthy than the kid in the next cubicle at work. After all, she knows my full name and orientation; the kid in the next cubicle at work doesn’t. I have more faith in her not to blab it around than I do in him not to.

As always, it’s about judgment and alertness. Not seeing only what you want to see. People now question Te’o’s judgment, among other things. Assuming he’s telling the truth, meeting someone he liked online and sustaining a relationship with her for months shouldn’t be the reason why, though–at least not in and of itself. That happens. It’s a part of life today. If you’re 50 and don’t get it, then you’re 50 and don’t get it. But I’m 31 and I do. I’ve been there.

Oh, yeah…and I don’t believe Te’o. I think he was trying to see how much he could get out of the sob story. But that’s because, one way or another, he has lied to everyone. He definitely lied about how he and the chick met. When I realized he lied about certain aspects of his relationship with this mystery girl, I was done. Still, I thought the online dating spin on the story makes for a good discussion.

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Does Money Motivate You?

Lazy Tech (LT) still talks to people who work at our previous employer, so he is always mentioning things he hears from them or Facebook statuses that are related to how crazy things are there. Well, today he told me that everyone there got cash bonuses–which that employer never used to give out–and that the guy who now fills his old shift got a raise, as well.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this here, but I told LT about how they gave me a raise after three months and he got pissed. I told him this right when our current employer was trying to interview me for the job I have now. LT worked at our old employer for two years, never got a raise, and at best made what I started out making and at worst made less the whole time he worked there. I have a feeling, though, that they started me out higher than they normally do with new people because LT told me what his replacement used to make and what his raise was. So LT probably made less than I did, and so did his replacement. LT never deserved a raise because he was, after all, lazy. And he was not a good worker at our old employer at all. But I was told that I’d receive raises as long as I worked there.

We figure that our old employer is doing these things as a way to stop the bleeding, because they seem to have a lot of turnover. Two people left while I worked there, and I worked there for about 7 months. And then I left.

LT seems to be someone who is motivated by money, and his decision to leave our old employer seemed to be motivated in large part by feeling he should be making more money. He had issues with the job otherwise, but he probably would have dealt with them if he made more money there. As far as I can tell, he didn’t make anywhere near enough money to deal with the crap that we dealt with there. But we make a lot more at this new place, and he seems pretty happy. He talks about money almost daily, and he says things that suggest the money should trump any crap at this new place. For example, there was a day last week, and I don’t know if we were just talking about our old job or if something happened at this new place. LT asks me at least once or twice a week if I miss our old employer, and that always prompts me to say something I am not fond of about our new employer. So that might have been what happened on this particular day. And then our paychecks came, and he picked them up. He handed me mine and said, “This ought to make things better” or something along those lines.

It had zero effect on me.

I’m not going to say I don’t care about money. One of the things I came to dislike about living in Chicago when I was there last year was I didn’t have the money to buy things when I felt the urge to buy them. I have always been able to just buy things when the impulse strikes, and I’m not happy when I can’t do that. This, ironically, means I feel that I have more freedom when I live with my parents. For example, because I pocket the money I make except for what I pay in student loans, if I want to spend $1000 to go to another city and watch a football game, stay in a hotel, buy some stuff…the only thing that will get in the way is my work schedule. It’s not going to be money.

Still, money does not make me want to work, it doesn’t make me like my job and it doesn’t make things I dislike about my job better (as mentioned in my last post, I think it might make me tolerate–at least temporarily–some things I dislike a little better, but I’m not sure). Money is also not going to make me run out and get a second job just because I can make more money by working two jobs, and it’s not going to make me be okay with or want to work overtime or crazy hours. There are people in this world who are like this, though, and I don’t understand them. I’m not saying they’re wrong–I wish I were like them. I would probably like my life better if I were, because most people do have to spend the majority of their time at work and it appears that I’m one of them.

At the same time, people who are motivated by money seem to think everyone else is, as well. LT clearly operates with that assumption. And when I did a little research to try to get a better understanding of why some people are so into money, I saw comments from those people who basically call B.S. when people say they’re not motivated by money or money doesn’t bring happiness. So they don’t understand people who aren’t motivated by money.

So, I’m still trying to figure this out.

I told my parents that I’m not motivated by money, and they kind of…reacted negatively, for lack of a better way to describe it. But I don’t think they were motivated by money when they worked. I think my mother was motivated by having kids to take care of, which is at least slightly different than being motivated by money. In that case, money is a means to an end–it’s not the actual motivation. By the way, she’s a huge hypocrite in tons of ways, but the job thing is the most annoying one right now. She gets pissed and/or lectures me if I talk about not liking my job, but she talked about not liking her job for at least 20 years and seemingly took off work every other day. I promise, she was always at home in my teenage years and my 20s.

I think my father is one of those people who needs to be busy all the time, and he uses work for that. My mother also says he likes his job, which I can’t fathom just in general but also can’t fathom for him since he “teaches.” And I say “teaches” because…well, I “joke” with him, and the joke is that he gets paid to talk for two hours a day to a bunch of people who aren’t listening.

But there might be something else with my father. I don’t know about LT’s background growing up. But I listen to a lot of sports radio, and there’s this one guy who is my favorite. He is another one whom you can tell is really into money. I read something about him online a couple of months ago, though, that discussed how he grew up poor and, essentially, vowed that he would work as hard as he had to or do whatever to keep from being poor as an adult. The article discussed how he had a lot of irons in the fire at a young age and, basically, was just really ambitious and worked his way up. Now he’s an elitist snob. My father also grew up poor and did stuff like play football, basketball and still work a job while he was in high school. That led to a basketball scholarship to college, and he was the first person in his family to graduate from college.

I didn’t grow up poor. I also didn’t grow up being taught that working hard was some sort of value and that something is wrong with people who don’t work hard, or that people don’t have anything or don’t get anywhere in life because they don’t work hard. To me, working hard has very little to do with being successful or gaining wealth. Frankly, I think you’re best off if you know the right people, have the right personality (i.e. the right people like you and end up wanting to help you), have the right body parts (if you know what I mean), have the right look (on several levels)…at least have one of these things going for you. But I think talking about “hard work” is almost like code. In other words, what are people really teaching their kids when they teach them the value of hard work? Are they really teaching them to work hard for hard-work’s sake or to build character? I think teaching “hard work” or valuing hard work is another way of valuing having or getting money. Nobody is going to work hard for a lengthy period of time if money is not at the end of the rainbow.

I was not taught this, was not taught about valuing “hard work.” I just grew up with a lot of security and still have a lot of it. I don’t fear being poor because I can’t imagine that I’ll ever be poor. I’ve never really had motivation to make sure I’m not poor. The closest I’ve been is living in Chicago, not being able to buy what I want when I want it, and that was very short-lived. Even then, it was like, “Hey, I can go home to my parents who have money, get a job there, pay student loans and pocket the rest of the cash.” And that’s what I did and do. So, why would money motivate someone like me?

I’m also female, and I think that matters. Everyone I know of for whom money cures all–in the job sense, not necessarily the gold-digger sense–is male. They’re the ones who will work outrageous amounts of hours and not complain, will work two jobs to make more money despite not necessarily needing the money (if you’re working two jobs to support a family, that’s something totally different), who look at a paycheck in their hands and say, “Oh, this makes all the crap all better.” I think this is for a number of reasons. For one thing, guys have that “breadwinner” mentality, even when they’re single. They think they need to make a lot of money to attract women, but I believe guys also think they’re expected to make as much money as they can. Women don’t really have these issues. We tend to have more security in the world one way or the other, although a lot of women are now head of household and have to bring in the money. My oldest sister works all the time and only makes more money than I do because she works overtime all the time–I actually make a higher salary, and you wouldn’t catch me dead in the office past my regular shift. She works OT because she has three kids, bills, rent, car notes and a husband who refuses to work.

So, my last employer assumed that they could keep me by paying me more and giving me raises, and they still seem to operate with the mindset that giving employees more money should keep them. Obviously, that’s not true for everyone. So how could they have kept me? They couldn’t have.

In my opinion, the answer for employers who want to retain employees is to find out what motivates them before even hiring them. That should be a job interview question–“What motivates you? If it’s money, that’s perfectly fine for you to say. I just want to get a better sense of what keeps you happy in a position.” My previous employer could have not even wasted their time hiring me if they had asked this question if they received an honest answer from me, and they could have kept LT and probably even gotten better productivity from him. See, all LT wanted was money. What I hated about that job was “trial by fire” training as opposed to a step-by-step “this is how you do absolutely everything”-type deal and dealing with jackass clients.

My situation would be tricky for an employer because it’d require honesty and self-knowledge, and a lot of people will take a position just because they need a job even if not everything about the position sounds good to them. But employers still need to paint as complete a picture of the job as they can to prospective employees and then try to find out if the employee fits that, as well as what matters most to the employee in terms of job satisfaction instead of assuming it’s money or just having any job in a rough economy. Not getting a complete picture of the job is a biggie, as well as the fact that employers never consider motivation when hiring–both lead to unhappy employees and turnover. If the prospective’s motivation is something the employer can’t handle, then the employer knows not to hire that person. If I had said, “I don’t want to deal with difficult people”–and I did basically say that to my new employer during the interview and currently hardly deal with difficult people–then I could have been mercifully spared. I probably now under most circumstances would not take a job that, training-wise, doesn’t provide enough hand holding vs putting me in stressful situations right off the bat and making me look stupid, and that would be something that an employer would need to see if they could satisfy me on before hiring me.

My former co-worker who I hated, FTG…you can tell, for example, that money isn’t her motivation so much as having a secure job with flexibility. She knows she’s not going to lose her job, and she can take off work pretty much any time she wants. She leaves early whenever she needs to, and she has no problem making whatever arrangements she makes for her kid. Making a lot of money is not much good to her if she can’t get off work early enough to pick up her child or take off with no problem when her kid is sick.

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