How to Deal with Sycophants

Greetings readers, how has it been?

Perhaps you deal with this at work, but today I will be talking about the butt kisser, brown noser, bootlicker, yes-man, vampire, blood-sucker. No matter what you call them, they can be a problem when their behavior becomes more than a compliment.

In my work outside of work, I feel like I experience nothing but it. That is, I witness the unfettered flattery of people in power, not that I’m receiving it (ha ha). I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of where I live. There is a strong sense of the importance of money and so, just a dismissal of the inequalities, injustices, and outright immorality that that mentality can cause.

Obviously we all need it to live in this farkakte world, but incorporating greed and competitiveness into your values and worldview is a symptom of weak self-esteem. If you don’t or refuse to see reality, you are not putting in the effort of thinking critically, thereby making you vulnerable to relying on bias. You do not need to be greedy if you (1) really think you are living a modest life (2) have put in the reading or other time into learning that marginalized people aren’t a threat to your status or belongings. There’s no scarcity because of them; any resource shortage is due to hoarding by elites.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, it seems like my “community” is rife with these fake f*cks, as Jay-Z says. And honestly, I’m not sure how to deal with them. I’ve heard from people whose issues and impact reach more of the population that, “You don’t need everybody. You just need to find the people that are on your side.” But since our issues impact a much smaller population, I’m not sure this approach will work. But is it worth spending time on people who have no interest in your values? If they can actively harm you and your friends?

So I’m trying to look into how to deal with these people. Because it is incredibly depressing when, as I said, it seems like they’re all there is. This post will address the tips in this article which does take more workplace approach. Regardless of the tips, it has provided the interesting insight that such suck-uppery is toxic and leads to low productivity. In addition, the boss is put in the position of not receiving honest, valuable feedback.

Evoke Reactions

This tip just seems like it’s saying to test the sycophant. However, it again presents an idea for which I’m grateful: nip it in the bud! Buttkissers go beyond the compliment. Sid says they will appreciate the boss’s idea to no end, but I’d go further and say it’s about the boss. People in positions of power/status need to have the self-esteem to recognize it and not exploit it. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can count on them.

Stay Alert

This sounds like it’s saying that while sycophancy is broad, it’s also for specific reason– gain. They’re also gossips, so try to remain unemotional around them because they will use it.

Withhold Your Opinion

This is pretty straight-forward as a blood-sucker won’t know what to agree with if you or the boss don’t offer it first.

My Takeaway

This article offers two more tips, but they’re more applicable to the office. In my opinion, these tips would work for me better as simply (1) being aware and (2) stopping the behavior early. Under Being Aware, I’d say to consider any position/status you have and if people are simply leveraging their proximity to it. You honestly have no right to complain about people only wanting you for your statuses if you intentionally surround yourself with yes-men. Additionally, you can test for this kind of behavior, but if you suspect it, refrain from engaging too far or emotionally. Ideally, if you are in a leadership position, you can cut off the behavior.

It may seem rude or hypocritical of me to decide people are buttkissers. I’m not saying certain people are, but I’m sure we can all relate to thinking they are, no? As aforementioned, I am just trying to deal with it myself, and these are my notes and me trying to figure it out! I might read another article that makes more sense next month! Furthermore, I wonder if sycophancy may be related to the chameleon effect and/or trauma. This is another reason to try to remain unattached and objective to them, although, one’s past trauma does not excuse any they perpetuate onto others.

Thanks for reading,

Are You Friends with Co-workers?

Hello besties, how are you doing?

Here I am again talking about work. I know that when I felt unable to do something there might be a little resentment toward someone that keeps talking about it– but you know, please don’t ever call such people jealous because there might be factors they just can’t control.

On the other hand, this is my blog where I express myself. Work– unfortunately, lol– takes up a good chunk of my time which for an obsessive brain, means it takes up thoughts, emotions, and maybe even physicality? (and so, more time)

For example, I couldn’t stop grappling with the following ideas, so I’m trying to get them out and ask for your thoughts in a post with stock photos rather than something fun with original pics.

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

There’s this kid at work. I call him a kid (in my brain) because even though we’re adults, I’m pretty sure he’s 10 years younger than me. This is younger than my brother! I actually interact with young people (this is the weirdest phrasing… “I interact with the humans”) in my movement organization, but even that is kind of like work. It’s definitely less formal than a job– we have each other’s numbers and some of us follow each other on social media. But it can be kind of weird to share real personal stuff or even the mundane memes that you share with your friends with org members. You are there to work toward a goal.

And even then, I definitely try to be aware of what is appropriate or not. Besides anxiety saying that everyone hates you, has their own life, etc., I wonder if that’s why I didn’t say much to this kid? I definitely try to be friendly, but is such an age gap appropriate? Are work friends in general appropriate? I’ve heard it’s best not to be friends with co-workers just in case something goes foul. I definitely wouldn’t mind having friends, but I’mma be real with you: look, I live in Florida. I don’t really want to be spending my free time with people that have certain viewpoints that make me feel unsafe.

Photo by Jopwell on Pexels.com

I’m actually in a state because this co-worker leaving! I’m not bawling over someone to whom I barely spoke. But it’s like… change. You’re happy for someone for getting out of the stinkhole. I’m actually even a little proud of myself for just bringing up the subject because it was something I overheard rather than him telling me. And again, I’m uncomfortable asking people about themselves because I’m afraid I won’t know what’s too personal or what might be for them.

But here I am writing a whole post kind of about this co-worker. People don’t know what they mean unless you tell them, right? He was like the first person I met at my first job (is that a title I just made up? Lol), and it’s been nearly a year! So I felt I should say something. And I’m pleased I found of something that I thought was appropriate and wasn’t too much about me.

There’s also the change aspect. Who will replace him? What if they suck? And a kind of selfish aspect. As said, I spent a lot of time thinking about my end; they could totally think I’m an old wierdo. It also does kind of makes me feel like a loser (younger person getting out of the stinkhole that you’re still in). I can’t say that I my job is miserable, but it busts open the change aspect for yourself. If I get out of the stinkhole, what if the new place sucks too or is even worse?

So how do you navigate or cope with such feelings? Should I bother “missing” or just be happy for them and proud of me? Are you friend friends with your co-workers? Should I ask mine more about themselves?

Thanks for reading!
mars

Working with Anxiety

Pinterest pin: woman in pumps. Title: working with anxiety.

What’s up readers? TGIF much?

As I said in my last post, 2020 was a stressful time for me, personally. For actual years, I secluded myself and felt that I too anxious to work. I could create a reason why I couldn’t do any position– I wasn’t qualified, someone else needs work more than me, I don’t have any connections or references, I was scared of robberies. I had previously applied to jobs, and once, someone called me back, but my car was in the shop, so obviously they were like, “Sike!” and I was embarrassed. I didn’t understand how anyone who was introverted or anxious did it.

Change of Scenery

A lot of these feelings are still true. I would Google how to work or what work can you do with anxiety and never really found anything helpful. I would hate to tell you to have a home life that gets so bad that it’s worse than your fear of working, but that’s really what it was for me. It was and it isn’t fair to have been expected to care for someone that didn’t care for me– and I don’t mean to like: treat everyone like crap until they’re nice to you. But if starting work (because, yeah, it’s definitely starting as opposed to working in general) has you panicking, if it’s possible, perhaps you need something that propels you to have to work.

Start in a Pandemic/Workers Market

Again, this “tip” is kind of tongue in cheek. I’ve been working a few months now, and sometimes I think, “How did I trick them into hiring me?” I can only guess that they were desperate for workers during this time especially since some people may actually be making more on unemployment (although others may not be collecting anything at all and a testament to how low minimum wage is in particular for the “essential workers” that have to work in a pandemic). I also started during the holidays so even though my position was only part-time there were days I worked full-time, and one week I even had overtime.

Join a Club First

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt like a black sheep because of my political and cultural alignments– yes, even as a child! So I’ve always longed for people I could not only be friends with but feel safe with. Unfortunately, because of where I live, it was extremely difficult. There weren’t chapters of organizations in which I was interested in my state. If this happens to you, sign up or join the club/org anyway!!! I cannot stress this enough. Some groups may already know other individuals near you and may try to connect you. If not, you can still try to get involved and may still meet others with similar interests.

As you may have guessed, public speaking is definitely something I don’t do in my free time, but my club has put me in positions that I think have allowed me to grow and be proud of (the latter I can’t necessarily say about work). My point is that I had these beloved experiences working regularly with others that wasn’t “work.” My club partners are incredibly supportive and it’s not an environment like school or work where I’m anxious about failure. The organization gives me something to look forward to outside of work as well as experience that helped me get my job.

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Because this is my first “real” job (that is, something with a W2 or whatever, though not something that I can necessarily support myself on), I was incredibly nervous about my interview. I could not tell anyone why they should hire me (yes, I live to serve 🙄) and spent way too long trying to think of and memorize too many questions. My interview ended up being “What’s customer service?” and “What’s teamwork?” Neither were questions I practiced!! Lmao. Customer service I just kinda made up on the spot, but because of my club’s work with other similar groups, I was able to craft something I think was more meaningful.

Know Your Limits

I know that there was no way in heck I was going to apply somewhere I didn’t know where it was. It’s not that I hate driving, but driving in my city is atrocious. Another limitation if you’re anxious is working with people which is unfortunately, pretty impossible for those first jobs. But maybe you can find something like a stocker that’s more limited. Another thing is when you want to work or if you’re in school or have family obligations. I’ve ended up working more early in the morning which I kinda hate not being able to sleep in, but! it’s incredibly nice being done in the middle of the day. And when you work afternoons/evenings, you might spend the whole day dreading that you have to work, and it feels so much longer. 🤷‍♀️

Research the Company

I think that anxious people tend to be hyperfocused, no? Like: we have to prepared for every circumstance just in case. So, we’ve probably seen the articles saying to research the company and bring up how much we love this or that initiative blah blah blah. While that can’t hurt, if this is just a part-time job, I would try to see more of who management is if you can. Maybe you know someone who works/worked there. Not to be weird, I’m intimated by men in authority positions 🤷‍♀️ I think that there’s a great relief factor in that my bosses were women. However, that’s not to say all women will be so!

So I’m sure this didn’t actually help 😅 but even though I feel like I somehow tricked my employer into hiring me even though I’ve never really had any reprimand and always getting praised, I think that anxious people should acknowledge imposter syndrome and just kind of live in the now.

I know that it’s hard to not obsess over especially if it’s not just a part-time job or they’re otherwise busting your ass. But something the Internet said for when you’re depressed about work is to connect with your co-workers. If you have any tips about that, I would love to hear them because I still am intimidated and awkward. But an elderly co-worker had already told me to not worry too much. It’s incredible to me that these actual grannies and grampas are still working just to get out of the house. Don’t they have hobbies? 😅

ABAB

Support the PHRA!

Hi hi hello readers, have you got a second?

I’ve taken on another (unpaid) role (instead of getting a job but who wants to work rn anyway??) which has my anxious ass communicating with people? What a concept! And so, I’ve much less time to put together a cutesy story around this in order to seem acceptable and charitable rather than angry, scared and personally involved. But someone on the internet was hellbent on being wrong and rather than wasting time arguing with them, I much rather do something constructive.

The Philippines makes the Western news nowadays for crude President Duterte and his brutal drug war, the number of deaths in which are disputed, but even the government’s count is over 5,000. But besides talking a big game (including perpetuating rape culture), what has he done for the most oppressed Filipinos?

If you hadn’t heard of how the US Drug War has gone and thought it would be a solution– you might think the problem would be solved by now. But this is what happens when you go after not just small-time dealers but criminalize using drugs rather than addressing why people may feel the need to turn to using or selling. You end up slaughtering toddlers and poor people that can barely afford their family’s coffins (cw: within 2 scrolls there’s a large photo of a dead body).

Since the 1970s Ferdinand Marcos administration/dictatorship, the Philippine government has depended on commodifying and exporting its people to work outside of it to send money back to make up its economy. OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) are hailed as heroes, but it’s as about as much lip service as the praise for essential workers is here in the US. There are tons of fees, taxes, and other costs to do this, and again, you would think with that the billions of dollars accumulated, so many Filipinos wouldn’t be impoverished. But millions are hungry while those in government gain billions. This sends the message that the Filipino people are not worth investment.

They are fit solely for being killed in the streets, being packed into prisons like sardines, separated from their families and put in precarious situations just to survive. Nobody can stand up for the Philippines when they neglect cultivation and depend on overseas remittances. A leader hasn’t implemented autonomy by allowing the military of the same wealthy countries preferential treatment over their population.

( * US irony dance break * )

It’s possible to point all of this out and not want the US to play world police. I acknowledge that I don’t have first-hand knowledge and that news outlets can have agendas. However, even though he may have cursed and a few trolls may have benefited by Duterte, the Philippines cannot be free if it isn’t free from the valuing of wealth and status over Filipino lives (if going out and conquering is the highest form of that, afterall).

US Imperialist cartoon
School Begins

The US has an atrocious history and present itself including that involving the Philippines. If you could care less about another country, consider that the US gives millions of dollars to the Philippine army— which harasses and bombs indigenous people. But the main thing is that a country particularly a small country that’s been subjugated by powerful others deserves the right to control itself.

This is why groups are urging US citizens to tell their representatives to support the Philippine Human Rights Act. This aims to repeal that US funding and a piece of its compliance rather than “intervention.” I believe that you can simply sign the petition, but it’s always great to call, follow or get in contact with organizations like those on the page and meet with lawmakers especially if you aren’t in the US.

Thanks for reading!

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Rock My Soul 5-9

Hello readers, how are you?

I really mean to ask you all about yourselves at the beginning of my posts because as a socially awkward person, I simultaneously feel like I don’t talk but talk too much about myself. But it’s especially important to connect in stressful and uncertain times. So I hope that you’re all doing well!

Have I really not blogged in a month? Well, I had been kind of busy trying what I can in this presidential election that is bizarrely still happening. I did one thing and had a bunch to think about and consider… and now a pandemic! No time like a quarantine to change around my neglected blog, eh? I’ve relegated “Fashion” to a tag and upgraded “Mental Health” to a category. I feel like mental health can get lumped in with self-care meaning spa day, but after reading Rock My Soul, my focus will more holistic.

Ch. 5- Refusing to Be a Victim

No black person in the United States can have any measure of self-esteem if he or she has not cultivated the capacity to be a critical thinker, to live consciously.

To the chagrin of conservatives, this chapter isn’t about shirking racism, claiming that it’s over or doesn’t exist. While there is discourse about people embracing a victim mentality, personally, I’ve not really found that to be a big issue, but I am not black, it’s not my place, and maybe that’s an internal discussion.

There is emphasis on living “consciously,” which Nathaniel Branden calls “a tool of survival– the ability to be aware of the environment in some form, and to guide action accordingly.” hooks says that it’s needed as part of positive self-esteem and to eschew seeing oneself as powerless, “[black] people must willingly engage in a politics of self-reliance that upholds taking responsibility.”

Current read pin

(I put “black” in brackets because the author who is black is speaking to a black audience, and I do not want to make it seem like I’m speaking at/scolding them and that this can apply to anyone! Additionally, I’m not sure if she means that having a community eschew victimhood mentality would be more meaningful than a singular person)

Victimhood and responsibility seem like big words which can sound like the “bootstrap” ideology. However, I think that hooks means to not fall prey to notions that you can’t do anything to improve yourself or life even if that is living consciously and refusing white supremacist messaging on tv.

Ch. 6- Thinking Critically

This chapter does not provide a process to clarify hooks’s idea of thinking critically so much as discussing how damaging education systems can be on black students’ self-esteem. When is it especially racist, hooks calls it psychological terrorism. It is perhaps ironic because education with anti-biased settings is what is needed to create an environment that will foster self-love.

Ch. 7- Teaching Values

This chapter is about the importance of reading and an encouraging culture to develop critical consciousness. It may be the fault of those in power when institutions fail, but individuals or even communities can do what’s in their power for collective racial uplift and not just individual material gain. Even if one cannot read, hooks champions atmospheres in which even more social exchanges involved discussion regarding decolonization of our minds.

Ch. 8- Spiritual Redemption

African-American slaves interpreted Christian scripture to their needs of human validation. God especially choosing the oppressed allowed them to accept reality but also devise spiritual practices expressing their humanity. hooks believes that modern established churches have abandoned spiritual needs for conservative conformism that creates hierarchies and therefore the valuation of some over others. Such stress has led to young (black) people abandoning the Church and unfortunately the communal nature of  spirituality and therefore liberation altogether.

It was incredible to read hooks’s critique of books marketed to black children because I often feel that I’m maarte with my Filipino Kids Books reviews. But if a supportive education leads to self-esteem and freedom, shouldn’t it be necessary especially for more children who are more vulnerable? hooks goes on to cite the lack of a space for critical review, and I was just like… !!! I couldn’t believe I was kind of on the same path as this legendary thinker. 😅😎

Be sure to check out the first part of these notes.
Stay safe!

Current read pin

Rock My Soul 1-4

I can’t speak for all Filipinos as anyone of an identity shouldn’t be expected (in general it’s a good idea, but we really should start using the noggins more than eyes about what is good for people). I’ve European heritage, have lived only in the US. I hash together vlogs about Filipino kids books I wish I knew existed as kid. I wrestle with my experience of the only Filipinos I know seeming incredibly reactionary and in what/who their interests are tied.

It’s difficult to come from a background whose poverty is fetisized not only by external paternal forces but those in our own culture, our individual selves. Pageants over policy. It describes not only what garners the retweets but what’s considered “pride.” Stick a flag emoji in your handle and share a video of sob story answering trivia.

I’d heard of bell hook’s Rock My Soul: Black People & Self-Esteem, and my mind would come back to it when I’d see such kind of contradictions. How can there be so much of this excitement for a people yet unwillingness for the betterment for the lesser statused of them? I don’t mean to take a black woman’s work and just insert myself into it, but 1) I’d have no idea where to turn for any kind of Filipino work like this 2) While specifics may be for black people, others can probably relate to more general themes and probably should connect how they’re related 3) That’s kind of what I intend to do.

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1: Healing Wounded Hearts

In the opening chapter, bell hooks introduces why it’s no wonder black people may have “wounded” self-worth. Slavery and segregation have imposed observable white supremacist violence, but because self-esteem or the wellbeing of peoples’ souls aren’t very valued, the psychological impact of things like beauty standards and more namely, integration have not been studied and discussed.

2: Lasting Trauma

Although science has been a tool of racism that can be suspicious, mental health must be a part of liberation. Everyday violence reenacts trauma and without proper strategies that include decolonized thinking, healing can’t take place. hooks also critiques conservative blame and denial of black pain by noting their failure to connect ongoing trauma (like PTSD) to certain behavior and a perpetuation of racism by judging black people more harshly for this.

bell hooks quote

3: Ending the Shame That Binds

The shame of this chapter is that being (physically) ugly in white supremacist patriarchy. Shame conditions to intimidate especially vulnerable lower-statused people. The author wonders if black employment gains have come at the cost of psychological ones. Colonized minds value the imitation of acting and looking white.

I hate to bring this up but seeing as how white people have no problem, I’m reminded of mail-order brides. I can’t say the degree to which it’s encouraged culturally, but just from existing in the US, when you look at who is famous, who is rewarded, who has resources, who receives justice (who is denied), who is fawned over for doing the which actions, whose actions are met which such unmatched animosity, it’s easy to imagine the need to keep women impoverished financially and psychologically to pimp out for cheap labor. And how is this working out? Are we still getting beaten, raped, and stuffed into the backs of freezers? It’s no wonder that men that buy women stand with macho politicians.

4: Living With Integrity

Integrity is defined by Stephen Carter and Nathaniel Branden as being able to tell right and wrong and acting on it. Unfortunately, we live in a world where it seems like greed and other unethical behavior is rewarded. So to exist or even succeed, people must assimilate to bad behavior. However, if one comes from decolonized background, the imbalance of behavior and values create crisis and hypocrisy which Branden says is self-invalidating. There’s no integrity without honesty; lying spreads to other areas of one’s life.

I know it’d be nice and clean to end at chapter five, but this is already 600 words, and I’d like to include thoughts from the preface where hooks wonders why she and her siblings, who were more economically and academically privileged than their parents, were more psychologically fragile. I totally relate seeing my mother and others uproot their lives across the world, yet I have severe anxiety. I can only attribute it to Mom and at least one other woman I’m thinking of grew up in environments where everyone is literally family. Obviously, family is not synonymous with support, so I wonder about how toxic behavior is dealt.

I probably could’ve written a lot more but I read and didn’t write and already started 3 other books on here and don’t want so many posts on one book, so perhaps in the future when I re-read!