What really gets me sometimes are the older white males who tell me I need to develop communication and teamwork skills and act differently around them. These fuckheads have written me up at my current workplace. They cite some rule from their enormous books of rules and then decide to apply it to me. The one in particular likes to tell me that I don't know everything that goes on. He uses that as a rationale sometimes for why discipline works as it does in our department. It's total crap. I see what happens. I understand how people treat each other and how the management backs up and promotes its cronies. As he spouts his fountain of shit to me from time to time, I focus on keeping my face relaxed, my breaths deep and silent. These days, I also keep a work log.
When one or another of the folks says something inconsiderate, offensive, or particularly ignorant, I jot it down. As I talk about in this micromanager blog post, a site named softpanorama.org offers helpful (and unhelpful) advice for how to defend the self against toxic managers and coworkers. One of the suggestions is to keep a work log with date, time, duration of event, people involved, how you felt, what happened. In this way, the softpanorama author says, you can develop an understanding of other peoples' behavior patterns and prepare yourself for them. You're able to develop an awareness of your own triggers, too, as you read through what sets you off, when, and in what kinds of social context. In my case, I've discovered that my privileged white male leaders tend to unleash criticism and punishment both spontaneously and when faced with an open display of frustration. They use this expression of frustration as a weapon, a way to flip responsibility for an entire chain of events onto the person who emotes frustration.
It's as if frustration is this male subgroup's trigger from female behavior. Like they want to stop it with all they've got, shame it, write it up, tell it to be quiet, shouldn't say that, shouldn't speak. Need to do and be and say whatever the hell they think is appropriate in their closed minds. So to armor the self against such shitheads, it can be helpful to keep an essential oil at work. Also helpful: beautiful landscape photos in lines of sight. For those moments when reading or considering a particularly complex idea, may I suggest a yarn-covered stick. Rub thumbs or another digit along its rough yet soft round edge. It might be tempting to feel foolish sometimes with drawings and yarn-covered sticks in the workplace. It's unconventional, neurodiverse. That said, I've tried these things for a while, and they help me feel like I belong, like my space is mine even when I'm at work with biased fuckheads looming over and around me with punishments. Also, I feel inspired by the messages of bravery and strength that people like Natascha Kampusch share in spite of the spite they could spout. I watched Natascha Kampusch: The Whole Story, a 2010 documentary in which she talks about her experiences with kidnapping, eight years in captivity, and moment-to-moment forgiveness as she was humiliated and punished. She got through her injustice, and hearing about that inspires me to get through mine. May you also find inspiration and courage in the fabric of your existence, Dear Reader.
Well hello there.