Friday, April 05, 2013

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1)    Better get ready for some whining this week. First, let me start with that hideous new book, Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. In an interview with Jon Stewart this week, she talked about how women executives are more unlikable when they behave like alpha male executives than men are. Lemme sum it up for you, Sher: What a load of horseshit.

That’s not to say that women don’t have it worse than men, or that they aren’t repressed and held back by an old boy’s network. They certainly are, and I’ve seen it first hand and close up. It’s also not to say that an aggressive women is not less popular for being aggressive or bitchy. They are. What I am saying, is nobody likes a douchebag, full stop, and to say that somehow, aggressive men are perceived better than aggressive women is to completely ignore labor history of the past 5,000 years.

If you are looking to make friends at work, go work with animals. The pure, unadulterated truth of corporate America is NO ONE likes ANYONE ELSE. Yes, there are some small exceptions to be found, anecdotes about life-long friendships growing out of a co-worker relationship and even long term marriages. But perform a simple experiment and you will see what I’m talking about.

Think back over your work career. It doesn’t matter if it’s been nearly 40 years like mine, or only 5 years. Think of how many hundreds, thousands, or as in my checkered work history, tens of thousands of people you’ve worked with, and ask yourself this question: How many of them could you pick up the phone and call right now, and pick up a conversation you had the last time you saw them? Me, I can’t count that low and while I’m not the easiest person to friend, I’m not hard to talk to or find.

That’s not to say you should go out of your way to be unlikable in order to further your ambitions. You do need to grease the wheels of the culture you are in. What it does say is that all those carefully cultivated contacts and your network are good for work only, and if you try to treat them as “friends,” if you even believe them to be friendly, you’re deeply in denial about who you are and who they are and why you are there. Corporate America is a zero sum game. There are no friends, there are only enemies and enemies-in-waiting who masquerade as allies as convenient for them.

2)    If, as I posited yesterday, the North Korean bellicosity is a staged dance for his domestic purposes, then this is performance art trolling of the finest kind.

3)    There’s a disturbing trend in America this week: white supremacists gunning down local officials in assassinations. But hey! We need more guns, right, because these folks were not armed or trained in the…I’m sorry, what’s that? The victim was armed. And trained. And adept? Oh.

4)    Listen, if your deadly and dangerous –  and proven unsafe, by the way – nuclear power plant can be brought down by rats? Maybe you should shut the damn thing down.

5)    One possible side effect of the North Korea dance could be the destruction of the global economy. Again. But hey! Let’s outsource jobs to tiny nations that we can bully which are located in really unstable sections of the planet! You know, for profit!

6)    I’ve played in a lot of sports leagues and on a lot of teams. I’ve run into this kind of coach, and have quit teams because of them. The most delicious vengeance is to sign up with a rival and beat the crap out of his team when I’ve faced them. College athletes are slaves, and while some are well-compensated and looked after – illegally, I should point out – the vast majority are struggling to stay on the team, stay in the school, and because they’re on scholarship and subject to NCAA rules with respect to transfers out (they have to sit out a season of eligibility), they’re stuck on the plantation, even if Massa whips them.

And we should keep in mind that this is the same school that just emerged from the Tyler Clementi tragedy. That the coaches bullied and harassed players, especially using homophobic slurs, at a school that was so sensitized to homophobia speaks volumes to a cover up.

7)    It took 1600 years to build. It took 25 to melt. But hey, let’s ignore renewable energy because Solnydra!

8)    I can see the erectile dysfunctions ads in Best Buy already.

9)    Dude. Ur doin’ it rong.

10) Chris Hayes had a great piece on this last night on All In with Chris Hayes. Fast food workers barely make $150 a week, and while you might think that’s not bad for a school kid, many of these folks are adults trying to support families.