Tag Archives: football

Football Gametime Etiquette

Well, those of you who know already know this is the best time of the year–football is back. A lot of people prefer the NFL. I love college football myself and am a diehard Michigan Wolverine. Now, I spent an ojo de la cara to go to the Michigan-Notre Dame game this past weekend, and, though the experience was worth every penny and I’m glad I went to the game, I seriously contemplated after the game whether or not I ever wanted to do it again (before I went right back to making plans to attend the Rose Bowl in California).

Why?

Due to the lack of gametime etiquette in the stadium.

Now, it’s not like this was my first time going to a football game, but this was the first time the etiquette was this out of hand. And I wasn’t the only one who had a problem with it, as I heard an old bitty behind me outside the stadium after the game whining and giving her laundry list of etiquette issues.

This is not a Michigan thing, I’m sure. That’s why I’m posting this message which I’d like to reach football fans far and wide. This is my football gametime etiquette guide for those who attend football games.

Let’s begin:

1) Um…sit the fuck down. I mean, really. If you’re standing, people behind you are forced to stand…and standing for 4 hours at the Michigan-ND game wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. I bought a ticket for a seat, not for concrete to torture my feet muscles. I know the game was a special occasion–hell, that’s why I ponied up the dough for this game, and I would have quit my job if they had told me I had to work Friday instead of fly up to Michigan, just so I could see Michigan beat ND for the last time at our stadium. But not everything is worth jumping the fuck up and refusing to sit down. “Woo, the running back ran for 2 yards…let’s stand up and get in everybody’s way!” Come on, now.

2) Along the same lines, contrary to popular belief, plenty of women like football. Plenty. So, if you’re a big, tall-@ss man and your seat is in front of a chick, you need to get the fuck out of the way. I don’t care how you do it, but you need to do it. There is really no amount of neck contortion a woman behind a man can do to see the game. It’s probably easier for a guy to duck down a bit and still see what’s going on than anything else. Plus, men are often the first ones who want to stand up in everybody’s way when something happens, and it’s just thoughtless to stand whenever you feel like it vs out of necessity, regardless of sex…but especially so if a woman or kid is sitting behind you.

Stated another, perhaps more acceptable way–be courteous to those around you. You know how expensive seats are, and 9 times out of 10 the person behind you is a fellow fan of the same team, particularly if you’re at a home game. If we’re on the same side, let’s act like it. If we’re not on the same side, let’s show some class anyways. Same goes for noticing whether or not a kid is near you, because plenty of people take young people to these games.

3) Don’t act like you’re the offensive or defensive coordinator. Now, I’m a little guilty of this, admittedly. But there just always seems to be one or two white guys in your section who just have to be heard and just have to spend at least 30% of the game coaching loudly from, like, row 45. If you were the coach, you wouldn’t be in row 45; you’d be on the sideline. If you want to encourage the defense on a critical 3rd down, that’s fine–“come on, D, get an interception” is not coaching. Nobody cares. But if people actually turn back and look at you after something comes out of your mouth, that’s a sign you need to hush. You’re either “encouraging” too often, too loudly or you’re coaching without being on the payroll.

4) Sit in your seat. Don’t be partially in the next seat, and don’t have your @ss hanging all off the back of the bench. My knees really don’t belong in your @ss, especially if you have pink bumps all over it like this one dude at the Michigan game did…dude, I’m glad it turned out I was in the wrong seat, or else who knows what kind of ointment I would have ended up needing for my knees after the game…

5) Sit the fuck down. Yeah, I know I already listed this one, but I can’t stress it enough.

Other tips:

-Taking pictures…okay, this one goes with just the general idea I have tried to stress in several points above about being in the way, blocking people’s view and being courteous. You don’t have to hold both arms 100% in the air in order to get a good pic, especially if everyone would just do as I said and sit the fuck down until absolutely necessary. I take pics and record videos, too, but the phone/camera really should not be above your forehead, if it can be helped, because then you’re blocking other people’s view. And arms/elbows should come into your body, not be all out to the sides or up in the air.

-Drinking and eating, including getting drunk…now, I have never had these issues at a football game, but if you’re eating and drinking you’ve got to take care not to get schitt on other people. In fact, to me, as cramped as the space was at the Michigan-ND game, people shouldn’t even have been trying to eat or drink in the stands. I mean, I can’t even move my arms, but the fucker beside me is having a good ole time with, like, a hotdog and a beverage. You’re not at home. All that body movement–bending over to pick up stuff, bending your elbow out to bring a drink to your lips, etc–infringes on other people’s space. Plus, it’s common sense to me to just eat before the damn game, especially a night game.

-I don’t know what to say about alcohol…I don’t think we can drink at Michigan Stadium, so people get drunk before a night game. Luckily, I wasn’t near any drunk people during the game, and I’m sure they can be obnoxious during the game. But some drunk Notre Dame fan was harassing me and my cabbie earlier on gameday. Rivalry games are #1 to me, more important than winning championships. It’s fun to hate other teams, other schools, people with the wrong color on (okay, that makes me sound like I’m in a street gang…really, Michigan is a college gang). But getting drunk and then harassing other fans…[shakes her head]. If I seriously harass a fan of another team, I’m going to be a wimp about it and do it online anonymously while 100% in my right mind; I’m not going to do it out in the open (drunk or not) or without mainly joking. That’s why I hate Michigan State fans more than Ohio State fans–OSU fans actually tend to be more cool to Michigan fans in person vs the @ssholes that MSU fans are.

But what to do about this? You can’t make people not get drunk; it’d probably be easier to make people sit the fuck down. And you definitely can’t control drunk people; gametime etiquette would be the farthest thing from their mind.

-Listen, I went to ESPN’s College GameDay on campus earlier on Saturday, and I went to the game later on Saturday. It was hot and humid all day, and I spent well over 7 hours outdoors. So, to be perfectly frank…I am sure I was guilty of not smelling all that good during the game. I realized during the game, “Yeah, I should have cleaned up a bit before the game.” Anybody going to an outdoor football game needs to be mindful before they leave home that they might assault people around them with funk and take all preventative measures. Next time, I’ll remember. Sorry to those who sat near me…

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Talkin’ (Writin’) Bad About the Co-Workers

Well, I’ve been working at my new job for about three weeks now, which means it’s officially time to talk schitt about it.

First, a whole new co-worker breakdown:

Lazy Tech (LT, formerly known as the Lazy Afternoon Tech)

Really, I could also call him “Let You” Tech. I will say that he actually does do work on this job, unlike the job we had together before. But when he doesn’t want to handle an issue, he always tells me “I’m going to let you do that.” Yes, “let,” as if it’s a privilege to me. And sometimes he even explains it as a privilege to me while other, less frequent times he’ll admit he just doesn’t want to deal with something. But more often, he tells me it’s “because I need to learn how to do it.” Even as a teenager, I picked up on “let” phraseology. I used to make fun of my mother and my oldest sister for using “let” in ways that benefited them more than it benefited me.

Wannabe Cool Tech (WCT)

This is the the dude who is “training” me at work. He’s a nerdy white guy–looks the part and is short enough for one of my company’s employees to refer to him as “short” before any other identifying trait)–but I don’t think he wants to accept that. The guys at my last job were tech geeks, they more or less fit that profile in terms of behavior and interests, and they were cool with it. He knows his stuff tech-wise. But the dude struts around, talking about how he’s going to this basketball game or that football game because he somehow got the best seats through someone at our company for all the major sports teams in our home state.

Er, first of all–no one here likes baseball. Heck, no one anywhere really likes baseball anymore. It sucks, and there are way too many games. Second, no one on this side of our state likes our NFL football team–no one. Except him, apparently. Guess he hasn’t gotten the memo that everyone else here thinks it’s cool to be a Dallas Cowboys or Pittsburgh Steelers fan. So, talking about going to those baseball and NFL games does not make him cool. Now, there are people who act as if they like our NBA team, but I have a hard time believing it. I mean, doesn’t everyone just like the Lakers and the Heat, maybe the Celtics? I wonder what my city even is doing with an NBA team. So, again, how does telling everyone every time it’s game night that he’s heading to the NBA game after work make him cool?

The kid also runs around saying stuff that black guys invented but have neither used nor thought was cool in the last 10-20 years. And the dude is obviously born and raised here, a Southern area. So imagine this short, nerdy white guy taking stuff black guys made cool in, like, the late 80s, trying to use his little “hip” voice…but he has a Southern accent. Huh? For example, the kid calls every guy at work “my man,” like “What’s going on, my man?” But he says it in his little “cool” accent that is all messed up because he’s a nerdy, Southern white guy.

Now, you can get offended if you want to. I’m just sayin’…for one thing, he doesn’t sound natural trying to mimic black guys, as most white guys don’t (and isn’t it always white guys? I hardly ever hear white females using 80s and 90s black lingo in an effort to be cool). For another thing, I don’t know a black guy who addresses guy acquaintances as “my man” anymore. The closest you’d get to that is “my mans an dem,” as in “That’s my mans an dem.” And even that became popular around the late 90s. So, it’ll probably be another 10 or so years before WCT and other wannabe cool white guys move on to that one. White guys who try way too hard always use outdated “cool” terminology that was, by the way, never that cool anyway–at least if you value standard English.

Final way this dude gets on my nerves? He sits in his cubicle all day playing with his cell phone. Yeah, the dude who is supposed to be training me. He expects me to just come ask him stuff all day instead of actually being with me, doing some training. And when he does help me with tech phone calls, he always has to tell the person that he’s training me, which I can’t stand (think about it–if you go to someone for help and find out he/she is in training, how much confidence do you have 1) in the person to actually be able to help you and 2) to do it in a way that won’t take all damn day? My mother and I have both been in situations where the person behind the counter was in training, and we just kind of rolled our eyes at each other.) The kid does next to no work himself. His iPhone is always in his hands. I don’t understand it, especially with one so damn nerdy. Who the hell could he possibly be texting all day? What else can he find to do on his phone all day long?

I don’t get people who are like that, but I really scratch my head over how he can text all day. Could it be that other people don’t see how poser-ish this kid is and actually think he’s cool or likable? Yeah, probably. After all, it seems like his type is taking over the white male community. It’s a shame, not to mention goddamn annoying–white guys really used to be a lot better than this.

He just seems self-important. I think all the talk about going to see pro games is flossing, as are telling everyone that he’s the one who provides training and being all into his iPhone as if people need/want to communicate with him 24/7.

Stanky Breath Tech

He’s probably my favorite, particularly when he keeps a good distance from me. If I go to him with a question at work, he almost always just takes over the issue for me instead of forcing me to do it like the above two do. It’s not the best way to learn my job, even though usually he will explain it to me at some point. This is probably what I’d do if I were training or helping a tech with something, as well, because it just is more efficient for resolving issues. It doesn’t totally make sense to have me on the phone with someone at our company for 30 minutes, putting them on/off hold a bunch of times so I can find out how to resolve their issue, for something that could be resolved in 10 minutes.

I think he probably gets that the way I’m being “trained” is tough to take because he used to ask me every day when I first got there if I was going to show up for work the next day. I kind of told him to stop asking me that, haha, and he has. But he is the friendliest person I work with, and he’s as helpful as he can possibly be. Lazy Tech is cool, but I wouldn’t say LT is intrinsically friendly. He is more naturally an ass, but he knows that, admits it, accepts it. That’s what I like–know who and what you are and accept it. Why can’t WCT be more like that?

The only thing about this dude is his breath, really. Sometimes the guy is several feet away from me, and it’s like, “Whoa…is that really his breath?” It’s not like that every day, I don’t think, but it has been like that on more than one occasion.

The Supervisor

I like him. So far, he’s cool and supportive. I’ve heard stories about some of the people he fired before I got this position. One of the guys was fired after three days because he didn’t seem to be “getting” what he was being taught. So, apparently, I’m not doing that bad. He checks in with me to see how everything is going and seems pretty genuine.

So, that’s basically who I work with. All in all, I prefer my previous co-workers, with the obvious exception of the female tech I worked with at my last job. There are certainly other techs where I work, but they don’t really sit in our area. There is a female tech, but I don’t really work with her. She seems okay, but I must say that I’m glad I don’t work with any women on this job. I’m not sure I know how to explain why. I guess I am not surprised by what the guys are like. I’ve known LT most of the year, so I knew what to expect from him. And, as I mentioned above, white guys–generally white guys 35 and younger, but I know of some older ones, as well–just seem to be trending towards being a lot like WCT, so I am, unfortunately, pretty used to guys like him. I just feel like I know what to expect from guys and feel as if they won’t view me as competition. And LT really should view me as competition, in a way, because we have to bill our time and try to bill 8 hours of tech assistance a piece during the day, which is usually not easy to do. But neither of us is worried about it, in part because we’re both lazy but also in part because he feels confident that he’s still going to get paid for a full 40 hours a week.

The Customers

I guess they’re technically my co-workers, since most of them work for the same company I do. They are a lot better than the people I helped with technical issues on my last job. I don’t really hate dealing with them the way I hated dealing with people at my last job. Mainly, I just don’t like how I’m being trained, especially since this job is more difficult than my last one was.

Happiness?

I have noticed that, though I am frustrated at times every day at work, still dread going to work and hate to go to work in the mornings, it’s not like it was before. My job is similar in a lot of ways to my previous job, but I’m more accepting of some things than I was before. I am not sure if this is because I make more money now, because it’s still too early or because I just know this is how it is with these types of jobs now. Or a combination. I do think that if I could reach a point where I’m mainly comfortable with what I’m doing, I’d still hate the thought of going to work–because I’m lazy and would rather sit around focusing on sports–but I’d be a lot more content otherwise as far as working goes. I also have realized working 8:30am to 5:30pm is pretty good…and that I used to be tired for hours in the morning at work and then again just a couple of hours after getting home from work because I was having to get up unnaturally early for me (I am a night owl by nature, and it wouldn’t take me long at all to fall back into a pattern of staying up all night). So, I’m a lot happier with my shift than I thought I’d be.

I have been wondering lately, though, if making more money does make people happier with their jobs. I took this job, knowing it would be like the one I was leaving, because I figured that I could at least make more money while hating what I do. But so far I don’t feel anywhere near the same level of hatred. And another factor could be that I no longer have a co-worker who is as bad as FTG was. Anyway, the money = happiness part is interesting to me, and I will monitor my feelings in relation to that and write more about it in the near future.

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So I Resigned At Work

About a week ago, I received an email that I’d passed the background check and drug test for, let’s call them, Employer B–the job offer I had that pays really good money for what I’d be doing but would still require me to provide IT support to people (which I was–and am–unenthusiastic about). I started feeling nervous, because this meant I was going to have to go into work on Monday and put in my notice. I like a lot of things about Employer B–virtually everything except the hours (as mentioned in another post, I prefer really early hours such as 6am to 2pm) and that I’d still be dealing with people all day. The guy who will be my new supervisor was awesome when I told him I wanted to give at least some notice to my current employer. But I wanted to wait until I knew I passed everything, which I should have passed everything but better safe than sorry. Being notified last Sunday that everything checked out meant that I would be able to give one week’s notice, because I start work tomorrow.

So, I went to work Monday, and I was a wreck. I can’t remember if I mentioned this here, but the lazy tech who works where I’ll be working made it seem like my supervisor was mad when he told her he was leaving, and then eventually she told him not to use them as a reference. I couldn’t figure out if that was just because of the type of employee he was or because he quit at a bad time (which is kind of what I would have to do) or because of how he quit (he had promised to work part of his shift for a couple of weeks, and then two or three days into it he called in and told them he wasn’t coming back). So only having his story to go off of, it made me really dread resigning and, especially, staying there for a week after doing it.

I spent a couple of hours after my supervisor arrived at working thinking of what to say and trying to get the nerve to go to her office. Just as I was getting ready to go to her office, my cell phone rang. I could tell by the number that it was the other employment agency I was working with on getting something at Employer A, which is where I really wanted to go. But it had started looking as if that wasn’t going to work out soon enough, so I’d decided to go with B. The guy calling for Employer A left a message, and I picked up my phone to listen to it. He said they finally had a start date for a shift that would be something like 3pm to 11pm, and they’d want me to start Wednesday–like, he was calling Monday and they expected me to pick up and start a couple of days later after hearing every other week stuff like “I’m still waiting to hear from them” and “I should hear something next week.” I spent over two months waiting on this job, basically, and all of a sudden they were in a hurry.

This made me even more nervous because now I wasn’t sure about which job to take, and if I took the job I’d been wanting I would have had to tell my supervisor Tuesday would be my last day–on Monday. I really didn’t want to do anything like that. So I got my phone and went downstairs away from the suite where I worked so I could speak with the guy at this agency. I asked if it would be possible to see if a Monday start (tomorrow) would be possible, and I told him I had another job offer that said that start date would be fine, plus they pay more money. He wanted to know if I would take the job if he could get a Monday start date, and I said yes, even though I wasn’t happy about working that shift they had available.

After he checked for me on the start date, he called back and left a message basically saying he couldn’t get that date and they “should” have other positions there opening sometime next week. Now I had been getting should-ed to death over the past two and a half months, and nothing he said panned out. I just kind of shook my head and was like, “This is not worth it.” Employer B has been far more professional, plus they had a solid start date, didn’t expect me to wait forever and then jump when they said “go” and actually pay far more money anyways. Not to mention I wouldn’t have to miss as many football and basketball games working 8am to 5pm as I would working 3pm to 11pm or whatever vague shift I’d be working.

I went to my supervisor’s office and nervously–obvious in my voice–resigned. I was just like, “I wanted to let you know this will be my last week. I got a couple of job offers, and they want me to start next week…” And I’d worked out that I’d say I got more than one offer because I didn’t want to tell them where I’d be working (i.e. that I’d be with lazy tech whom they hate), even though I knew they’d ask. I ended up telling everyone I was leaning towards Employer A, even though I’d basically gotten fed up with A and dropped them.

It was so not a big deal–my supervisor didn’t seem surprised at all. I had a feeling before I resigned that she already sensed I was looking for something else, and she probably did. She wasn’t upset. On Tuesday, though, she wanted to speak with me about why I was leaving so that they can know what they need to do better. I basically talked to her about how the lack of training made me uncomfortable and not confident in doing my job, and that I don’t like having to get help all the time even at this juncture…and I also spoke really candidly with her about the issues I’ve had with the female tech geek (FTG). I made it clear that she wasn’t why I was quitting, just that she made it more difficult for me on top of not feeling comfortable with the job because of her unwillingness to help when I needed it, her communication issues, how competitive she is and her quickness to point out when she thinks you’ve done something wrong or get upset about insignificant things.

Just as I’d figured, my supervisor already knows how FTG is and knows it’s a problem. She just doesn’t know what to do about it. She has spoken with FTG before, and she said she will speak with her again. She knows that FTG’s behavior will be a problem with new employees, but I don’t see what can be done, either, short of firing FTG–which I doubt they’ll do.

I’ve written about “cultural fit” at work before and how unfair the concept can be and usually is. But when you have someone like FTG at work, I think it goes a little bit beyond cultural fit. If you have a team work environment and one of the people there essentially sabotages that, undermines other employees or makes it hard for work to get done correctly, that is the kind of “fit” that doesn’t work. I don’t know if my supervisor knew to what extent FTG is a problem there until I told her and gave examples, and I understand why they might feel like they can’t or shouldn’t get rid of FTG. But in most workplaces, someone like that probably should be let go.

My supervisor was very understanding and basically told me she figured a lot of what I said already but wanted/needed to hear it. She told me I’d really done a good job there. And I really felt bad later in the week because I really like a lot of people there and they didn’t want me to leave. I particularly hated to be leaving some of the guys there. My supervisor told me she was sorry I was leaving a couple of times, and the accounting lady told me the same thing and said she really likes me. We also talked about FTG a little bit as I was leaving.

FTG apparently really doesn’t feel comfortable when the accounting lady and I are speaking to each other where she can’t hear. As I mentioned in another post, we’re the only ones there who really seem to just not like FTG at all, and I’m sure FTG knows that. The guy who trained me told me one time that FTG asked him what we were saying one time when I was in the accounting lady’s office discussing an issue that FTG had been involved in and I’d ended up stuck with. At the time, we hadn’t said anything about her. And on my last day, the accounting lady told me she was jealous that I was getting out of there, and FTG was like, “What did she say? Every time she said something to me–no one was speaking to FTG–she was like, “What?” I told FTG it was nothing, and apparently that wasn’t good enough because the accounting lady told me FTG actually emailed her to find out what we were talking about–even though no one had been speaking to her, i.e. it was none of her business.

FTG also did something I totally knew she would–she got all nosy and started asking me if I’d gotten another job and where I’d be working (remember, she hardly ever speaks to me, and it’s worse than pulling teeth to get her help with anything). I didn’t tell her much–definitely didn’t tell her where I’d be working–and I’m sure she has asked others there since she didn’t get what she wanted from me.

Thank goodness I am getting away from that kind of crap–hopefully.

By the way–a couple of days after I resigned, I spoke with the guy who was hiring on behalf of Employer A. He wanted to know if I was still going to take the job, even though he couldn’t give me an exact start date. I could kind of hear in his voice when I told him no that he was surprised, kind of upset and didn’t understand why I decided not to go to work for them–even though he was still telling me they “should” be ready X day “or” Y day. If I were unemployed and could wait on that job because I didn’t have a choice, then that’d be fine. But he seriously seemed to think I would be okay with resigning my job and then sitting around not totally sure if or when I’d go to work for Employer A.

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Women Who Don’t Have Female Friends

Earlier this week I found these blog posts about women who say they don’t have female friends. It reminded me of a discussion forum I found online some time ago with a similar discussion about women who say they don’t get along with women. In both cases, the discussion about these women was negative and full of assumptions about women who say these things.

I wanted to post earlier this week some thoughts about this, but exhaustion, laziness and difficulty organizing my thoughts in any sort of articulate manner have kept me from doing so. And I still don’t necessarily feel that I can quite articulate my thoughts, because my thoughts have not continued fully forming on this.

Disclaimer: I didn’t read all the comments at the link above, but I did read about half of them.

If I were going to make either of those two statements–“I don’t have female friends” or “I don’t get along with women”–it would be that I don’t get along with women. But I’m not sure that’s accurate. When I was in law school, there were a lot of women I got along with. And some women won’t appreciate my writing this, but my observation was that women who attend law school or who practice law tend to be more logical and less emotional than other women are, though that’s not always true. I think my communication style is in between that of the average woman’s and the average man’s, for lack of a better way to put it…but it’s still too different (harsh) from what most women appreciate, and it can cause issues.

That’s not an insult or a way of putting women down, either, but I think sometimes it has been interpreted that way. I understand it sometimes because I have to deal with men’s communication styles, too, and I can hear how being too straightforward sometimes, for example, and/or using a certain tone of voice can be bothersome. I guess that part of what I’m saying is that I met more women in law school than I have any other time of my life who could handle my communication style, which does tend to be very honest, direct, unemotional and not always thinking about your feelings.

I also met more women in law school than anywhere else who do not keep up drama. And I’m talking about women my age, because my  personal experience has been that women cause drama with other women within their age range. I have heard stories where this hasn’t been true, but, for me, I’ve never really had issues with older women. Law school just seemed to be full of women who felt good about themselves and secure and, thus, there were less problems with them. They were intelligent women who were on the track to good careers, and they usually had good personalities. What was to feel insecure about? I think it’s a little hard to find women like that.

Let me put this another way:

Women who feel good about themselves don’t…cause…problems. You can be friends with them as another woman, as long as you feel good about yourself, too. 

The problem, I think, is that the majority of women don’t feel good about themselves. I think the older women get, the more it changes for them. But for women 30 and younger–maybe even 35 and younger nowadays–definitely, the majority of them don’t feel good about themselves. Our society has seen to it that women grow up not feeling good about themselves. This is where I’d have to disagree with the implication that every single woman who says “I don’t have female friends” or “I don’t get along with women” is the problem, is self-hating, is “male-identified” or whatever else negative you want to say about that woman. I think it’s certainly fair to say that sometimes, yes, the woman making these statements is the problem or she just seeks male attention or whatever. But the thing I’ve noticed is women who are obviously confident and comfortable tend to draw negative attention from other women who are insecure because those women are jealous, threatened or just completely perplexed by this woman who feels good about herself. There are also certain communities that have certain issues that almost immediately bring up at least some tension between women. More on that later.

There’s a quick distinction that must be made. Everyone has things he/she is insecure about, things where his/her self-esteem is not that high. That’s different from having an overall low self-esteem or overall issues with insecurity. I don’t think I’m physically attractive, and I never will. But I feel good about who I am because I know I’m intelligent, talented, a good person and so on. I see so many women who seem to think they’re attractive, but it kind of seems as if they don’t think there’s anything else to them. Or there are women for whom nothing is good enough about them, including their looks or bodies. But the biggest thing with women, I’d say, is more than half of heterosexual ones strike me as not thinking they’re complete or good enough if they don’t have a man or a husband. And then some of those get a man or a husband and it doesn’t resolve their issues with themselves because now they’re worried about keeping him or other women taking him and whatnot.

But when I really sit down and think about me and the desire to say “I don’t get along with women,” I realize it doesn’t exactly stem from anything in my modern life–it’s all based on my childhood and teenage years. I could easily say “I don’t have female friends,” but, as I wrote a long time ago here, I really don’t have any friends due to my definition of what friendship is. For me, friends are people who are there when you need them. Catching up with each other once or twice a year or every few months is not that, to me. I understand people grow up and have lives, get married, have kids, move away, etc. But you’re either there for each other or you’re not. People who are not there for me and I’m not there for them when things are going on–how do you call that friendship? It’s more so that kind of thing as to why I don’t have female friends, not necessarily that “I don’t get along with women” or don’t have anything in common with them.

But, for whatever reason, I didn’t get along with women when I was younger–except they were girls then, not women. And I think that was part of the problem. And let’s face it–black girls have issues with each other. When I was a kid in school, I was always the lightest black female, the one with the longest hair and the one with the most money. All three of those things are touchy issues in the “black community,” i.e. skin color, hair and social class. Some of those things more so than they are now were immediate dividing lines–I think social class among blacks still is. They cause immediate assumptions on both sides of the line. I was also nerdy and wimpy, and I think girls look for and spot the weakest chick among them to target–especially nowadays.

And then when I became a teenager, I had slightly different issues which are not that different from issues I have today. I wrote a popular post about introverts and extroverts at work, in which I wrote about how I only speak to people who speak to me. I’ve been that way for years, including–to a lesser degree–in high school. I mentioned briefly that it especially seems to bother black people. My observation today is that most black people aren’t introverts and don’t get the concept. It’s like it doesn’t exist to black people, just like being gay doesn’t exist to a lot of black people. You either interact with black people, or you’re stuck-up or want to be white, and that’s that. So that’s what I started getting as I got older from blacks, especially black women, i.e. stuck-up and/or want to be white. That was really the only issue I had with women in college or law school, and that was, of course, with some of the black women.

I usually didn’t and don’t have issues with non-black women, although my white co-worker has obviously been a huge exception. But I was never truly able to be friends with non-black girls when I was growing up because we essentially weren’t allowed to be friends. A lot of parents around here were just racist, so I almost never was invited to hang out with white or Asian girls outside of school. Nowadays, I would say it’s not a matter of getting along with non-black women so much as just feeling a big cultural divide. It’s hard to explain it, but black women and white women are [usually] different in so many ways, and the fact that most white women really seem to have no idea the depths of the differences makes it worse for me. I used to have several good white female and/or Asian female friends, but I’m at a point where I’m too exhausted of the differences and having to talk about them vs having friends who already know…things.

So, I think the past has something to do with my not having female friends and sometimes thinking I don’t get along with women. I haven’t necessarily judged all black women to be a certain way or all white women to be a certain way so much as I’m just tired of the same schitt (told ya in the introverts/extroverts post that I have low patience, low tolerance) and don’t feel it’s worth it to make an effort. I was tired in high school, and that’s how I became “anti-people” and “I don’t speak to people unless they speak to me.” And now that’s just who I am.

A few other interesting points related to objections to statements from women such as “I don’t have female friends,” “I don’t get along with women,” “I have more in common with men” and “I relate to men more”:

-I think saying men and women are not that different is PC bullschitt. Men and women are different, whether it’s because of society or biology or a mix. It’s fine to admit that. It’s not the same as saying masculinity is better.

-Just because a woman thinks she relates more to men or has more in common with guys doesn’t mean she’s just seeking male attention. I have said things like this before, and I’m a lesbian. I am not trying to be “one of the guys” just so I can be the female center of attention or get boyfriends. Any time an intelligent woman says she relates more to guys than women, it’s for lack of a better way to express that she tends to find more men who share her interests than women. Again, whether it’s because of society or biology, men and women are not often totally on the same page when it comes to interests. Again, that’s fine–it doesn’t make one better than the other. Personally, I’d love to find even just one woman who can talk football all day–I really would. Sure, there are women out there who like football. It’s not even unusual to find women who love football. I just simply have never known another woman who lives and breathes football, though, or who even just likes to sit around and have the equivalent of a lengthy “intellectual” discussion/analysis about sports. The closest I get to that is guys.

Friendship between men and women and between women and women is different, too, and I prefer the dynamic I’ve experienced with male friends more. The sports thing is a great example. Sitting around talking sports is so not an emotional connection you’re making with someone. In other words, unless the guy is interested or you’re interested in him (or you’re like brother/sister)–or at least this is how it’s been for me–a friendship between a guy and a girl is not emotional, and it’s not close. Especially when I was younger, female friendships always seemed to carry the expectation or the reality of closeness. Even now, I sit around upset because I wonder where my female friends are when I need them. I’d never think that about a guy friend–that’s just not how our friendships work. I don’t look to guys for emotional support, but they do tend to have your back, which I wouldn’t call “support” so much as “loyalty” and/or “trust.” There’s a lot less fuss and muss. For me, guys are for sitting around and just shooting the breeze–often about unimportant stuff–whereas women are for much deeper friendships.

The more simplistic your relationship is with someone, the less problems the two of you have with each other–that’s what I like about my friendships with guys. And that’s not to say women can’t have simplistic, shallow friendships with each other–they can and do. I just don’t feel like we’re taught that, though (think about all the movies and TV shows featuring a group of good, close friends), and I don’t feel like that’s usually what women really want from each other as friends–at least not when they’re young and single. That usually leaves one woman in the friendship upset about what she’s not getting out of the friendship. I’m as guilty as any woman on this one because, as mentioned, I see female friends as being for deeper friendships. But those friendships are harder, as well.

-It’s always funny how many women talk about these women who don’t have female friends, then they try to excuse themselves and talk about why their situation is different. Why do you get to be different? What makes you think some of these women you’re putting down don’t have perfectly reasonable excuses, too? Assumptions, assumptions. And I understand that some of the women over at the blog link try to make a distinction between women who seem proud of not having female friends and other women who don’t have female friends, but it seems like a half-hearted attempt as evidenced by the number of times they equate saying “I don’t have female friends” with automatically not liking women or not liking to be women without any qualification. As far as I read, they also failed to state or point out that saying you don’t have female friends sometimes is…well…simply a statement of fact.

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The Media Is Changing, For Better and For Worse

I was at work today trying to find a way to amuse myself, as usual, when I found that daily thought-provoking link. This was incredibly timely, given that I just applied for some sports writing positions.

Now, I know that I have some readers who are either not from the US or who seem to be a little bit more Europeanized than Americanized. I also know that such people tend not to “get” Americans’ deal with sports, particularly American football. If they like anything, it’s often garbage sports like soccer. So, I’ll try my best to make this something you can recognize.

You don’t have to read the whole link above. The short of it is someone wrote to a very successful sports journalist for advice on how to get into sports media as a career, and the sports journalist allegedly responded. For the purposes of my post, really, the most essential thing the alleged author of the email says is this:

Most of my good friends who are columnists for major newspapers and 
websites or work as anchors or commentators on ESPN also are not fans and 
also don’t take sports very seriously. 

You CANNOT be a fan of a team, or even a sport, and do this job 
effectively. I care little what my alma mater, Tennessee, does in sports. 
If you are a fan, it tempers everything you write and say. Again, my 
friends who are award-winning sports columnists in Los Angeles, Dallas, New 
York, Chicago and other cities are much more interested in writing, reading, 
the theater, history, and they have a passion for doing the job, not a 
passion for the subject. 

If you do read the whole thing, I would say that most of what the author wrote is gold. And, certainly, it is beyond me why anyone would want to be a sports writer if he/she doesn’t love to write. Writing was probably my first love. Sports writing or not, I will always write. It doesn’t matter what it’s about or if it’s just a personal blog or what I officially do for a living.

But I think the excerpt above reflects yet another basic generational misunderstanding. In other words, this guy is “old” and increasingly out of touch, at least on a couple of points.

See, I think most of us recognize that “media” is rapidly becoming less professional, less airtight, more technology-based…and more biased. Almost every time I watch ESPN, I see a member of the sports media who clearly seems biased. And some of them have, more or less, confirmed they have some bias. I don’t think anyone who follows college football on ESPN doubts that Kirk Herbstreit loves the Ohio State Buckeyes, and he really doesn’t try to hide it. He played football for the school, so I don’t have a problem with this–especially since he is one of the college football analysts whose opinion I look forward to hearing most. I think he’s a very good analyst. But he’s biased. He’s a fan.

Not just to pick on rival Ohio State–let me whip out examples from my Michigan Wolverines.

About USA Today sports writer and fellow Wolverine Nicole Auerbach, taken right from her little bio on the site:

Nicole Auerbach joined USA TODAY in the fall of 2011 to oversee online college basketball coverage. She’s a New Jersey native and a big fan of Big Ten football and basketball. She firmly believes Madness need not be limited to just March.

For those of you who don’t know, our Michigan is in the Big Ten conference. That’s probably why she’s a Big Ten fan, and I know that’s why I’m a Big Ten fan.

And this is from Chantel Jennings, another Michigan Wolverine, from her days at The Michigan Daily. She is now a sports writer over at espn.com for WolverineNation:

…[I]n four years, I’ve gone from being a premed student to an English major, I’ve been an activist, a GDI, a sorority girl, back to a GDI, an almost-IM sports champion, a volunteer in prisons, a basketball coach, a Spaniard, a Daily writer, a Daily photographer, a student and a Michigan fanI’ve done my best to separate myself from being a fan at the events I covered. But as I sat on the baseline at the Duke/Michigan basketball game this year, I wanted to tell Coach Beilein that I think he’s a great coach. More importantly, I wanted to tell him I think he’s a good man.

Bleck. Beilein. A discussion for another day. Anyways. Moving on…one more example.

Dana Jacobson, a former ESPN anchor, took being a Michigan fan/alum a bit too far by taking a huge dig at another one of our rivals, Notre Dame:

Sources have confirmed that Jacobson, a co-host of “First Take” on ESPN2, currently is serving a one-week suspension because of her behavior at a Jan. 11 roast for ESPN Radio personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic at Atlantic City, N.J…Jacobson reportedly said “F*** Notre Dame,” “F*** Touchdown Jesus,” and “F*** Jesus” in an attempt to talk trash to Mike and Mike co-host Mike Golic, a former Notre Dame football player.

Yes, we take these rivalries seriously, people. I, myself, have trashed rival Michigan State in writing before just because they’re our rival (well…and because they beat us, which is unacceptable).

Here’s the thing:

Biases and a lack of professionalism in journalism are not just in sports journalism. And bad writing in journalism is growing in part because more and more people have access to some type of journalistic platform. And sorry, but blogs have somewhat become journalistic platforms. Why, several major sports companies in the US have bloggers. That’s because these companies are smart enough to see the way technology is changing the media and journalism, and they are rolling with it instead of fighting it and applying old standards, a la “you can’t be a fan” and “you can’t make it writing for some online blog.”

I have to lament this on one hand and thank it on another, because I guarantee you I would have no hope of being a professional sports writer otherwise. Another one of those writers over at WolverineNation came from a blog, and the blog from which he came is run by a guy who has gotten opportunities outside of that blog–a guy who is a respected, widely-accepted source by pretty much everyone in sports when it comes to Michigan sports, particularly Michigan football. Oh, yeah…also pretty sure he’s a Michigan fan. Giving fans journalistic access is all the rage right now, and I don’t think that’s going to stop. And obviously, some of these fans are going to write well enough and report well enough to get bigger and better opportunities.

But there are times when I watch journalists–any kind–interviewing someone, and I’m just sitting there thinking, “This person is an ass.” And I’m thinking that because the journalist is showing too much of a bias. I am not too young to remember when journalists used to calmly ask questions and just sit there and listen to the responses. The response was for the public to render a verdict on–it wasn’t for the journalist to do that. The journalists are there to find the truth and bring the public access to knowledge. But nowadays, the journalists are sitting there judging, and they come into the interview with their minds made up about the people they interview. They don’t hide it well, either. And so the interviews sometimes come off more as attacks, not interviews.

Being a sports fan, I read a lot of sports sources. I used to read AOL FanHouse, which is now rolled into Sporting News. Apparently, Sporting News ditched a lot of the FanHouse writers. Since I like to write sports pieces and since I like to think of myself as mature, I rarely respond to sports pieces with any sort of personal attack on the writer–typical behavior for sports fans. But I probably complained at least half the time in FanHouse comments about the writers. Why? They sucked. One thing fans love to comment is “I can do your job.” FanHouse was the one place I ever wrote anything like that. Pieces always had grammar, spelling and/or factual errors. I’d bet you the writers Sporting News axed were the ones I complained about. Most sports fans whine about the content of sports pieces, but my gripe is almost always the quality of the writing if I’m complaining. Unfortunately, there are now plenty of writers out there–not just in sports–who can’t write and also aren’t being edited well. So, I will give that to the writer of the email all the way at the beginning of this post.

I will also give him that it’s challenging to be a fan, have biases and–if you want to be good at what you do and be fair–be a good sports writer. Hopefully, it’s not impossible. But his email is not the first time I’ve thought about that issue. I thought about it while writing on my college football blog, and I thought about it while watching guys like Kirk Herbstreit on TV who clearly had their team and conference allegiances.

So, I did something that I found myself wishing others in sports media would just come out and do:

I admitted my biases to my readers. In plain English.

I’m a Michigan fan and a Michigan alum, so it goes without saying that I have issues with Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame.

I also just do not like USC and Florida. I just don’t.

I’m a Big Ten fan, so I don’t like the SEC. The Big Ten/SEC thing is a sports version of the North vs the South. I’m from the South and everything, but my loyalty is to my school and the schools with which it is aligned. I also just happen to not like anything that is shoved down my throat, and the sports media does an excellent job of shoving the SEC down everyone’s throat. By the same token, I can’t stand LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning and if Tom Brady weren’t a Wolverine I probably wouldn’t be able to stand him.

So, there you have it. I would repeat this little list on any sports job I get if allowed, just for the purpose of full disclosure. Has this admission freed me in my writing? Not entirely. I have had all kinds of issues with admitting that the SEC is the best conference in college football. I am just now developing the ability to admit this, and the SEC has probably been the best conference over the past 5 or 6 years.

But I have written that college football needs Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC and Florida to be elite teams, and that I respect Ohio State and Notre Dame. My second favorite team behind Michigan is Wisconsin, and Wisconsin lost a game at the last second to the hated Michigan State last year. At the end of the season, I wrote that this game was the second best game of the season (after TCU-Baylor, two teams I couldn’t care less about, personally). And once, I received a message from someone who said they liked my writing because I am more down-to-earth than other Michigan fans…in other words, I don’t have all this blind loyalty when it comes to Michigan. Michigan’s a popular pick when it comes to winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl this coming football season. But I don’t hesitate to tell any and everybody that Michigan will probably lose more games this season than they did last season, won’t play in any BCS bowl and Michigan State will likely win the Big Ten (which probably will include yet another win over Michigan, at which point I will vomit…er, in private).

In other words, it’s like Jennings wrote in the Daily–some of us are fans, i.e. biased, but anyone in the media–or trying to be–needs to separate from bias and exercise the utmost professionalism.

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Follow Your Passion…But Which One?

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at work reading blogs, and there was this one post about giving up a passion and asking readers if they’d ever done that. I remember writing that I had–I’d given up a career in the music industry. But I also wrote that I believe that everyone has more than one passion.

Here we are a few weeks later, and I am faced with the truth of that very statement.

I love technology…always have. And I was starting to feel that I’m finally making progress in terms of really making a career in IT. But this was a tough week at work. One day was so bad that I didn’t speak to anyone for the rest of the day after work. I basically locked myself in my room, and that was the kind of thing I used to do maybe once a week on average at the last place I worked because I’d get off work so angry. I don’t want that to start happening with this job.

I used that evening to just think about what the real problem was, because it wasn’t really the bad day, per se. And then the next day I discussed it with my mother. Now, my mother is interesting–she is always giving advice when you don’t want it. But if you ask her, she is utterly unhelpful. She’s suddenly all “whatever you think is best,” and when I’m asking is the one time I don’t want to hear that. So, I told her this before I told her the issue, which is, more or less, what I’ve been telling you on this blog for a while now.

I basically told her that the job is not tech enough for me, and I don’t see myself being able to learn the kinds of things I wanted to or thought I would learn when I accepted the job. I mentioned that job at Michigan that I saw available a couple of weeks ago–the one I wanted to be able to maybe apply for a year from now–and I said that with the way my current job is if I did apply for that job at Michigan next year I wouldn’t even be able to do that job unless I came home from work every day and just learned stuff on my own (which I really should be doing anyway, but I’d get the Michigan job because they’d assume my current job taught me the things I’d need to learn to do their job…and I do think jobs should prepare you to move up/on, even if indirectly). So, basically, I’m not developing many new skills, and the ones I have are not being used and probably would waste away to some degree in this position.

My mother agreed with this. She said that when I first told her what I was doing, it sounded like receptionist work. Well, exactly. That’s my issue. She asked about opportunities for advancement (basically, what is a way for me to do more technical work there), and I told her the only thing I’d be able to do is study and learn about servers on my own and then I’d be able to get one of those positions there. However, I have never been interested in working on servers, although I already know a little bit–it was one of the things I was asked about in my job interview, and the guy who asked me about it responded that what I know is “90% of what they do.” (“They” are the guys who work on the servers, not people who do my job.) I’ve only ever been interested in repair/building computers, networking and programming, and I’m already trying to learn about networking and programming. I don’t want/need to add servers to the list.

The funny thing is when the guy said what I know is 90% of what they do…I haven’t seen that that’s totally accurate, but I have definitely seen that a lot of calls we get are server-related issues, which means I hand a lot of calls off to the server guys, i.e. I’m not doing a lot of tech work. Again, I feel like I take calls for other people all day (as well as all the crap from angry clients who think I am responsible for causing/fixing problems when, in actuality, it’s either nothing to do with my company or it’s the techs who actually do handle the problems). Other people at my job are fine with this, and maybe that’s why some of them have had the same job for almost a decade. I can’t imagine having a position that is more entry level for almost 10 years, and a lot of the tech geeks on tech geek forums tend to agree with me…they think, really, you shouldn’t have those jobs for more than a year or two if you truly have what it takes in IT.

Anyway, I must have been due a miracle, because I actually managed to get some advice from my mother–find another job.

And then bam. Same day and everything. I was surfing the internet, and I saw an ad for a sports writer position.

See, for the past few years, sports have been my other passion outside of technology. Back in 2007, I started a fan blog on espn.com, and I also wrote a bit at Bleacher Report. It was just for fun, and I didn’t get paid. I didn’t write at Bleacher Report for that long, but I kept blogging at espn.com–maybe because I am on that site every single day. I didn’t think anyone read that blog; I thought it was just for me. But, apparently, ESPN hired some community editors or something to pay attention to the blogs and kind of showcase some of the better stuff from the fan community.

Suddenly, I’m getting comments and notices from the community editors. “We featured your post [name of the post] in [blah blah blah]” and “On [blah blah blah date at blah blah blah time] your post will be featured on the front page of espn.com” (the latter I completely missed, by the way, because I was too busy watching bowl games and writing blog posts to put on another site). Then ESPN started the whole SportsNation thing with a TV show by that name, and now their blogging section is called SportsNation. So, I started getting messages saying they featured whatever post in their SportsNation section. And then another fan blogger there started a group for the best bloggers at espn.com and he sent me an invite. So, I used the attention and audience I was getting over there to link to pieces I was writing for other sites, and for a few years I basically had two jobs. Sports blogging wasn’t really paying that much, so I always had to keep another job. I remember telling someone that it’d be awesome if I had a position that allowed me to travel and go to a bunch of games during the college football season. I’d cover football, and that would be my actual job.

The last time I submitted a football post, it was January, the end of bowl season. I still had some more pieces I’d written that I wanted to submit, but I never did. In the last piece I posted, I wrote about the bowl games. But I also wrote that I was done. With espn.com in particular, I was sick of their horrible web infrastructure, which sometimes made it difficult to format posts or even just to post. But in terms of sports writing in particular, I was kind of tired of juggling it with another job and also tired of not just being a fan. I couldn’t watch games without thinking about what I’d write and deadlines, and it’d totally take my weekends, which meant I never had a day off work during the fall and some of the winter.

So, when I said I was done, I was. I hadn’t thought about writing anything since then. When I wrote a post here about my dream job, I didn’t think about sports writing, although I did say that one of my dream jobs would be to work in Michigan’s athletic department. Truthfully, I could have expanded that to just saying working in sports, although I’d love to work at Michigan. But I have never really actively pursued sports as my career, and I’ve thought about that a lot more in recent years. I used to play basketball when I was younger, and when it really would have mattered in terms of opening career opportunities for me I wasn’t interested, i.e. high school and college. A few years ago, I started thinking about what if I had taken basketball more seriously and played college basketball. I’m short and not that tough, so I probably never would have played in the WNBA. But it still could have opened a lot of doors, and I probably wouldn’t find things such as working in Michigan’s athletic department or being Michigan’s women’s basketball coach to be unrealistic.

In short, I guess I found working in technology to be more realistic than working in sports. Until a few days ago.

I was looking at the job ad, and it was almost everything I wanted. I’d become an actual member of the media. I’d get press credentials. I’d get to go to games. I’d get paid. I’d get to write pretty much every day.

The problems?

I’d get paid regardless, but I’d get paid more the more traffic I generated. That means that, at least initially, I probably would still have to work another job. Come the end of August, this would be a problem…because the end of August is when college football starts back up. Because my current job doesn’t require much from me, it’d be easy to sit at work, keep up with football and write as much as I need to during the summer. But in the fall, how could I do all of that and go to games? I know my local airport. Even if I wanted to attempt this crazy schedule, I know I would not always be able to get flights out on Friday evening and make it to a game on Saturday, then get back home on Sunday and write. At some point, I would not be able to keep both of these jobs, and it’s unlikely I’d find another job that would allow me the flexibility I’d need.

The other big issue is I’d probably have to just cover Michigan. I’d rather not just cover Michigan. What I’ve really wanted is my own column to just wax on and on about whatever in college football. Now, I don’t mean that I should just be able to not pay dues and walk into a company and be the featured columnist. I just mean I’d ideally be one of many columnists rather than being confined to one team. I’d love to be at a Michigan game every weekend, but it’d be incredible to go to different places and not be limited in what I write given that I love the entire sport and not just one team.

Given these two things, I debated whether or not I should even apply. But I finally did because I’m curious. There’s no guarantee that anything will come of it, but if it does I’m still not sure what to do. I hesitated to even write this post because I don’t want to jinx anything. I guess it’s no big deal and might even be a good thing if I don’t get the position. But honestly, usually when I apply for a sports writing job, I get the job. There has only been one time so far when I haven’t gotten a position, and, ironically, that was the one time a woman was doing the hiring. I used to worry when I submitted applications and writing samples to men that being a woman would hurt me, but it never did.

So, now that I’ve told you I almost always get the position, I probably won’t. 😉

We’ll see.

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