Tag Archives: sociology

Keepin’ It Reality Yo

jack-top-done

I wanna know what you’re thinking.

As a person that constitutes a form of life (or so I assume) there are two realities that I’m reasonably sure exist:

  1. My own (that I’m fairly familiar with)
  2. All that other shits

Note: If you get lumped in with the latter group please don’t take it personally. I don’t make the rules.

Even with the stark duality of this view, however, I imagine certain explorations into that other realm where y’all live are still possible.

For example, using inference, deduction and other external stimuli, I can attempt to discern what’s going on in that gray matter you recklessly call a brain. Clues might include things like your primitive vocalizations, ritualistic dance and other movements, and how you are adorned.

That plumage on your head in the form of a fedora speaks volumes. I interpret that as a rather pronounced attempt to establish position within your group. Am I right? Judging actual intent of other life forms can be tricky. It’s always murky guesswork. But I’m pretty sure I nailed it.

I mentioned to my wife the other day that I would deliberately do the opposite of what I really wanted if I perceived that it might be perceived by other people as an attempt to be cool. Think about it. That’s a very deep thought. I’d literally do the exact opposite of what I want, which, by definition, is that which I hate.

I’m committed. And now, a brief case study.
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Time to T.P. the Blog #poop

Yes, there’s a crapp for that. Siri says, “Very good! Just one more push and you break the record.” #TMI

My blog may be an expert authority on poop but I do try to keep it classy, ya know?

Blogger Tip: A forgotten point in yesterday’s post becomes the launch point for a new post today. FTW!

So yeah, yesterday I left out a key point that probably changed the flavor of the whole thing. Well, maybe not flavor, but you know what I mean. I’m going to literally pick things up right where we left off.

And that’s the point of today’s article. I’m going to take you on a firsthand tour of the complicated world of small office politics, protocols, mores, values and norms. Just think of me as your very own amateur poop sociologist.

As you might imagine, in a small office little grotesqueries can become big problems if left untreated. That’s why they need to go to the treatment plant. It’s natural for humans to come up with way to cope in the face of unimaginable horrors.

Most of us have the sense to know not to do certain things. We instinctively feel with our gut, much like Captain Kirk, when something is bad form. But then again, some of us don’t. This post is directed at them.
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What if an indigenous peoples’ tribe behaved like our modern world?

God Bless our Brave Stockbrokers“Hey there. How do you do? My name is John.”

“Pleased to meet you. I’m Tom.”

“Hi ho, Tommy Boy.”

“Actually, if you don’t mind, I prefer Tom.”

“Whatever you say, Tommy Boy.”

Need we hear much more to identify the asshole here? Fuck political correctness, what the hell do you call a person who won’t bend in the slightest to respect the feelings of another person?

“It’s a free country, pal! This political correctness is killing us. I can call you whatever I want. Ever hear of a little thing called Freedom of Speech? What are you going to do about it?”

“Sure. Ever hear of a little thing called You’re Puss-Filled Leaking Douchebag?”

So yeah. If I can, and it’s no skin off my nose, I’ll make a little extra effort to respect the wishes and feelings of others. That, in and of itself, makes me an utter alien on this planet. By now we all know how much I like to be different.

Thus begins a new meme here in the Abyss. I hope you will like it. I’m calling it: “What if an indigenous peoples’ tribe was like our modern world?”

I know. That’s a l-o-n-g name. And also, why the over-the-top political correctness here?

We all know it’s rude to refer to Native Americans as “Indians.” Hell, thanks to Freshly Pressed, I recently learned that someone from the actual country of India didn’t like the term, either.

Doctor and patient.I also dismissed the term “Native American” because that had specificity to the United States. I wanted it a little more generic than that. So we’re going to go with “Indigenous Peoples.”

I’m just trying to be respectful and word the question in the right way.

So let’s now try to answer that question: What if an indigenous peoples’ tribe was like our modern world?

We came across the tribe and saw something extraordinary. It was rather ordinary except for one man. This man was singled out for opulent riches. He was surrounded by women who fawned over him, fanning him as he relaxed, and occasionally feeding him pieces of fruit. He was adorned with more gold than anyone else in the village. But he wasn’t the Chief. He wasn’t an Elder. As far as we could tell, he wasn’t a leader or special in any obvious way.

We asked one of the people, “What is special about that rich man, there?”

“That’s our forecaster. He is, by far, the best guesser of the future prices of pork bellies. He’s amazingly accurate.”

We happened to overhear a conversation between a sick man and the village healer. The healer spoke.

“I see you have no health insurance. However, I will save your life. In return, you must promise to to bring to me everything you kill, gather or make for the next year.”

Baseball at Dodgers StadiumAfter several weeks of observation, we noticed one young man. He did not hunt. He did not gather. He did not make things. He apparently did absolutely nothing of value to the tribe.

And yet this man was highly respected by the men. And women wanted to have sex with him.

He did not work and people brought him all the food he could eat. They made clothes and things for him. They maintained his home. Everyone sacrificed so the man could prosper.

Then a day came where all the people of the village assembled. Some of the men went to the field while others watched. The popular young man was among them.

They began to play a game while the reminder of the tribe watched.

It turns out that the young man was the very best at hitting a little ball with a stick.

Can you think of any others?

Shout out from the Omega Dog

The reason why the subordinate shows their neck, is the more dominate wolf can chose whether or not to attack, or accept the submission. (Source.) Or, to put it in terms I can understand, the Omega Dog meets his inevitable fate…

I’m always amazed when I encounter extreme naiveté in my travels. One recent example was my therapist when we were discussing my need for his sliding scale. He said, “I thought you said you worked full-time.” Yep, I sure do. “Then why don’t you have insurance for this?” Gosh, he seemed so genuinely confused. So innocent. So untainted by the realities of life.

Ha ha ha! Good one. Um, wait just a hot damn minute here. I’m going to be paying you money to help me?!?!? I’d better seriously reconsider that. 🙂

He had the unmitigated gall to actually be surprised that someone could work full-time and not have insurance. Please oh please tell me you’ve been outside these four walls. Tell me you’ve visited a little place I like to call the “real world.”

One thing I can seemingly never get enough of is complaining about my job. It’s like another form of currency, the only benefit (besides raw dollars) to working in the shithole. Without this form of self-entertainment all would truly be lost.

Before continuing to my next point, a quick diversion:

Between 1924 and 1932 some experiments were conducted on workers at a factory. Being tested was the use of higher and lower levels of light on worker productivity. They tried one level of light and productivity went up. (Try to picture researchers saying, “mmm,” and scribbling on clipboards.) They then tried different levels of illumination and productivity increased again. What the?!? (Now picture researchers with surprised looks on their faces.) Eventually they concluded the study and productivity levels decreased.

What to make of results like these?

It turned out that employees were not responding to variations in lighting. They were actually responding to what they interpreted as improvements to their working conditions. The study came to be known as the Hawthorne effect because the name of the site was Hawthorne Works, a factory owned by Hawthorne Electric outside of Chicago.

Fast-forward back to today and me in my shithole job where I’m treated like shit. I hate my working conditions, my rate of pay, the tasks I am expected to perform and the way I’m treated. Do you think my productivity might suffer? You bet your ass it does! I think I could use a little Hawthorne effect myself! 🙂

For newer readers of this blog I will recap and attempt to be brief:

  • I was working at a job I hated. Customer service, retail counter, heavy phones, etc. I then connected with my current company and interviewed for a technical and professional position that was right up my alley. They hired me and it was a very exciting time. Then I was brought in for orientation before my official start date. This was during the two week window between jobs. I had already accepted the new position and had put in my two-weeks notice at the company I was departing. To make a long story short, the new company proceeded to train me on the phone system, voice mails, the retail counter, the cash register, the retail floor and the entire freaking product line. That was the ONLY training I received. The writing on the wall was plain to see. I had just jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. At the end of that day I walked out to the parking lot and vomited by my car.
  • The company puts unreasonable demands on employees. (See my previous post: How to destroy your employees.) One such demand is that you are forced to attend off-duty functions, unpaid and on your own time. Here is an example to illustrate: One year invites went out for the yearly fucking known as the office Christmas Party. I declined. My manager applied pressure. I declined. I explained I already had plans with family on Dec. 24th. (Which was the absolute truth.) Then the CEO hit on me. I declined and declined and declined again. He kept ramping up the pressure, telling me, “If you don’t go, it’s like you’re not a team player.” I tried to be gracious and explain that I already had plans. It’s not my fault he calls a Christmas party at the last second. (What a wonderful way, by the way, to celebrate the birth of Jesus. My boss is, after all, a rabid Christian.) Eventually he tells me it will be “worth my while” to attend. I say, “still can’t go.” Finally, he lays all his cards on the table. “Employee bonuses will be distributed there. If you don’t go, no bonus for you.” Guess what? I told him, “Guess I’m not getting a bonus then.” This example illustrates the way my company chooses to operate. I eventually did capitulate after the CEO continued putting the screws on me way beyond the limits of good taste, forcing a completely awkward situation.

So, I came across a new book recently. It’s called “Drive” and it is written by Daniel Pink. The book makes the case for productivity gains that can be achieved via “intrinsic motivations.” You know, things other than fear and money.

From the Amazon.com page for this book:

According to Pink, everything we think we know about what motivates us is wrong. He pits the latest scientific discoveries about the mind against the outmoded wisdom that claims people can only be motivated by the hope of gain and the fear of loss. Pink cites a dizzying number of studies revealing that carrot and stick can actually significantly reduce the ability of workers to produce creative solutions to problems. What motivates us once our basic survival needs are met is the ability to grow and develop, to realize our fullest potential.

I haven’t read this book yet, but it sounds like something my boss should read. The way the Christmas party went down is the human version of a wolf making a submissive subordinate “show his neck.” That leaves it up to the Alpha if the submissive lives or dies. “Perhaps I will rip out your throat and watch you die. Or perhaps I feel more benign today and will deign to let you live until tomorrow, when we will meet to roll these dice one more time. Either way, the decision is all mine, baby!”

I am the Omega Dawg, yo. Woof!