I recall I’ve felt jealous over the personal attention and consideration some people get (classmates, coworkers, rivals, others kinds of peers who one could consider as competition). Now, I wonder: it might never have been consideration (not in all the cases anyway – some might have been, just so you can’t quit reading saying I’m pulling a sour grapes). I woke up to the idea this morning that all these pleasantries were to keep the receiving end under control. Manipulation. Control and regard can look the same on the surface.
I once sat in a person’s kitchen who was wondering out loud, with a hint of jealousy, how come a certain woman always got guys to buy her dresses and expensive shit. I don’t remember how her story ended, if she made it to the point – but I suspect the guy she was complaining it back to, then, explained something in the lines, don’t worry about it, you’re not that kind of a woman. The lesson in there would be that these women can push the buttons of these guys well enough to get them to buy all that shit for them.
Well, I’d say that’s naive and just what it looks like on the surface. What’s the guy doing? You think that guy is the naive one of the two?
While it might be that the guys who please the women by buying to them all the stuff they claim to want and need end up spending more money on such ventures than seems comfortable to the next guy – consider that they might not care about that monetary loss at all. They are just placing their bets – and while they might easily seem like dumb and gullible guys, think again. Call them betas and pushovers. Think again.
Some while ago we traded books with a coworker – he gave me a Daniel H. Pink’s “Drive”. I did not like his premise. He writes this book to claim that people are driven by an innate desire to direct their own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by themselves and their world. I happen to think that’s what it just looks like on the surface – he wrote a whole book on a phenomenon that’s merely a seeming side-effect of something else.
Hey, I might be wrong about this, you’re welcome to point out to me how, in the comment section.
What that something else is – in my arrogant opinion – we want to connect.
Now, from relationships in which dresses are bought and pleasantries are exchanged, let’s move to the domain of companies and employment. I must confess this whole domain of thoughts has been awakened partly thanks to FourFourth’s recent blog post (which I might link below, later) – in which he argues that our supervisors are payed to care about us. Well, another example would be therapists, hairdressers, waitresses, personal trainers, teachers – most of the don’t give you the time of the day either unless you pay them – and you are actually lucky if they do exhibit behaviors which, in any way, resemble the phenomenon we call care.
The company I work for has “care” as one of their three compulsory corporate slogan things. And what that “care” really is about, in relation to what else it could be, regarding employers – has only recently dawned on me.
Previously to this I came from a company which was lead by a person who is slightly psychopathic. In short – to motivate people to work, the stick was used. Coming from his business to one where the carrot was used for motivation worked out very well for me – for at least two years. Let’s say it resulted in reduced unnecessary stress levels, a higher self-regard, more vivid colors in my sight, a motivation to live, a motivation for personal curiosity about life and things – in short: everything got better when the stick got changed to a carrot.
Here’s the punchline, today’s biggest insight: regardless of whether it is the stick or the carrot – I’m still an ass.
Well, not really, I’m pretty cool and awesome, but what I mean to say – both the carrot and the stick are just methods to try to motivate you to work harder for a minimal pay. While the stick is using fear and exploits your vulnerability to squeeze out everything from you, the carrot is actually no less guilt-free: in a sense, it’s even darker, although the darkness runs deeper and it doesn’t cause acute pain – at least not for the first 2 years when you’re recovering from the terror of the stick.
People in corporations, managers, leaders, seniors – well, they are certain types of people who end up in those roles, of course – but their function is a strange one. It appears that what we call a “good manager” would be one that makes you feel welcome, useful, needed, one who can give you politically correct feedback and make you feel important and valued in the company. If a manager fails making you feel important – well, you’ll start looking at other options pretty quickly (unless you’re as lazy as me).
While real friendships and bonds are possible even in corporations, much of what is going on, on the surface – it’s all fake. You’ll see it when the honeymoon phase ends.
So, there is something about wanting to feel important, relevant, noticed – it’s the good signal that tells us that we’re not alone – and when we are not alone, we can go greater things. And when we are not alone, as in we are surrounded by people who do not wish to harm us, who do not wish to gain something on our account – we can let our guard down and relax. I happen to think this is where the drive really ends up, at.
But because of this drive we are also very vulnerable – we might mistake feeling important generally with being important to certain individuals like family, children, real friends… I think it might look the same on the surface, and it carries the same name – importance – because in one case you experience sincerity between yourself and the other. And in the other case your hunger for real connections is being exploited – clever tricks are being used to make your brain signal to you that you’re safe and valued and you may let your guard down – and sadly in many cases that situation will not be exploited to YOUR benefit.
When I get little ideas like these, the first thing I think – can I add this into the story? Now, into the third book it would fit. There you have the three female characters, two of them concerned about the attention they do not get from their father and love-interest, and one of them who has some perspective, able to point out in a situation where a political pair of people enters the stage, they are welcomed and celebrated as someone very important by Vinu and Arkion (respectively), while the two ladies pout about not getting the time of their day even though they have been unfortunate enough to carry a very big responsibility with them (let’s say it’s a dangerous two-part weapon, at this point); so, the third lady points it out to them that the attention the political pair gets is not out of consideration, but Vinu and Arkion are doing their best to get them to drop their guard.
Moral of the bit – when someone starts treating you a little too well, something, likely, is up. Interestingly, in most cases we’ll get so bedazzled by the feeling of importance that we fail to pay attention to the fact that someone is trying to get something out of us that we wouldn’t otherwise offer up.
That’s what the guys are doing when they are buying expensive gifts for the allegedly manipulative women. You may not find it surprising that the people who are most aggressively manipulative are also very easily exploitative. Just some manipulate you with aggression – they see you as weak and puny, so they make you fearful, threats, ultimatums – that kind of stuff. And others manipulate you by making themselves look small and harmless – you are too big to take you on in any other manner, so they find a way to tear down your walls. And once you do that – they’ll take from you what they wanted, and off they go.
Now, don’t look so grim, that’s not all people. Decent people do exist you know – just gotta figure out how to dodge the dodgy ones.
And what are we to do when all employers – otherwise strangers, either play helpful and harmless or do their best to intimidate you into working harder for less?
Maybe it’s okay when we know it for what it is and do not mistake those attitudes for real connections. Someone saying they “care” in their corporate slogan is not real care, it’s not real connection. It’s not really of any value to you – UNLESS… You somehow manage to hit the jackpot and meet people with whom you have good synergy with. On such rare occasions it might actually be possible to do some great work with the soul in it. Startups with friends, family – isn’t that something else?
The skin is hardening. There still appear to be lessons to be learned in the corporate lifestyle (and do I say this with the hopes that the Universe will want to contradict me now and pull me away from it? Yes, absofuckinglutely).
Take care o/ (but what does it really mean when I shout it in the air?)
PS: Oh yeah, recommended reading that was partly inspirational to all this: https://four-fourths.com/2020/07/15/the-goal-is-home/