Category: Anger & Rage

“Societies With Little Coercion Have Little Mental Illness” is a case study in Consent as a Felt Sense

I am an insane person because I have self-respecting humane reactions to being forced to do, think, and feel things I do not want to do, do not believe, and do not want to experience.

Societies With Little Coercion Have Little Mental Illness“, by Bruce Levine, Ph.D., writing in Mad In America:

Throughout history, societies have existed with far less coercion than ours, and while these societies have had far less consumer goods and what modernity calls “efficiency,” they also have had far less mental illness. This reality has been buried, not surprisingly, by uncritical champions of modernity and mainstream psychiatry. Coercion—the use of physical, legal, chemical, psychological, financial, and other forces to gain compliance—is intrinsic to our society’s employment, schooling, and parenting. However, coercion results in fear and resentment, which are fuels for miserable marriages, unhappy families, and what we today call mental illness.

[…]

Once, when doctors actually listened at length to their patients about their lives, it was obvious to many of them that coercion played a significant role in their misery. But most physicians, including psychiatrists, have stopped delving into their patients’ lives. In 2011, the New York Times (“Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy”) reported, “A 2005 government survey found that just 11 percent of psychiatrists provided talk therapy to all patients.” As the article points out, psychiatrists can make far more money primarily providing “medication management,” in which they only check symptoms and adjust medication.

Since the 1980s, biochemical psychiatry in partnership with Big Pharma has come to dominate psychiatry, and they have successfully buried truths about coercion that were once obvious to professionals who actually listened at great length to their patients—obvious, for example, to Sigmund Freud (Civilization and Its Discontents (1929) and R.D. Laing (The Politics of Experience, 1967). This is not to say that Freud’s psychoanalysis and Laing’s existential approach always have been therapeutic. However, doctors who focus only on symptoms and prescribing medication will miss the obvious reality of how a variety of societal coercions can result in a cascade of family coercions, resentments, and emotional and behavioral problems.

Modernity is replete with institutional coercions not present in most indigenous cultures. This is especially true with respect to schooling and employment, which for most Americans, according to recent polls, are alienating, disengaging, and unfun. As I reported earlier this year (“Why Life in America Can Literally Drive You Insane, a Gallup poll, released in January 2013, reported that the longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become, and by high school, only 40% reported being engaged. Critics of schooling—from Henry David Thoreau, to Paul Goodman, to John Holt, to John Taylor Gatto—have understood that coercive and unengaging schooling is necessary to ensure that young people more readily accept coercive and unengaging employment. And as I also reported in that same article, a June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have checked out of them.

Unengaging employment and schooling require all kinds of coercions for participation, and human beings pay a psychological price for this. In nearly three decades of clinical practice, I have found that coercion is often the source of suffering.

[…]

In all societies, there are coercions to behave in culturally agreed-upon ways. For example, in many indigenous cultures, there is peer pressure to be courageous and honest. However, in modernity, we have institutional coercions that compel us to behave in ways that we do not respect or value. Parents, afraid their children will lack credentials necessary for employment, routinely coerce their children to comply with coercive schooling that was unpleasant for these parents as children. And though 70% of us hate or are disengaged from our jobs, we are coerced by the fear of poverty and homelessness to seek and maintain employment.

In our society, we are taught that accepting institutional coercion is required for survival. We discover a variety of ways—including drugs and alcohol—to deny resentment. We spend much energy denying the lethal effects of coercion on relationships. And, unlike many indigenous cultures, we spend little energy creating a society with a minimal amount of coercion.

Accepting coercion as “a fact of life,” we often have little restraint in coercing others when given the opportunity. This opportunity can present itself when we find ourselves above others in an employment hierarchy and feel the safety of power; or after we have seduced our mate by being as noncoercive as possible and feel the safety of marriage. Marriages and other relationships go south in a hurry when one person becomes a coercive control freak; resentment quickly occurs in the other person, who then uses counter-coercive measures.

Pair with:

Dear friends, please help. I am asking you for help.

Yesterday I posted Professor Kevin Westhues’ “Checklist of Mobbing Indicators,” and, as if by clockwork today I was mobbed on Twitter in a thread that matched 13 of the 16 indicators, point for point.

I’ve been the target of what Westhues describes as mobbing, which is evidently a sociological term that sometimes also goes by various other terms in other contexts like “bullying,” “group think,” “epistemic violence,” “gaslighting” and so on, for going on 3 years, now. As others & I have stated time & again, these mobbers’ unwillingness to examine history, and to re-write history so it begins at whatever most recent retaliation or refutation I make, is a constant theme. I’ve been discussing this on-and-off for as long as it’s been happening, but mostly in a detached, academic way. Others, notably unquietpirate​, have written much more deeply personal accounts of the impact this has had on them, as well as on me.

Reading Westhues’ descriptions of the traumatic effects mobbing behaviors have on targets resounds very deeply and very painfully. But it is also an enormous relief. Finally, I can name this specific abuse I’m enduring with terms endowed with the magic cultural legitimacy of the academe, and even though I think academics are classist hogwash, I’m hopeful using the sociological term and framework may convince more people to step outside their “not my problem” bubble and pro-actively support me against this rather than remain uninvolved bystanders.

So, I am asking you for help.

  1. Please read about mobbing. I’ve just begun to do this, too. Maybe we can help educate each other. I’m currently going over the “Virtual Mobbing” article. It’s long and dense but obviously specifically relevant to my “workplace,” the Internet.
  2. Help me find answers to “What to do about it”, which is a topic I’ve found mentioned but only briefly at the end of, “At the Mercy of the Mob.” If there are no solutions provided by the texts, help me imagine possible countermeasures and think through potential solutions, mitigations, harm reduction tactics, and so on.
  3. Send me notes of encouragement, tell me what you like about my work, about me, speak kindly to me, and perhaps even more importantly, speak kindly about me and do so in public. Here’s a simple example of how to do this.

I want to highlight number 3, in the list above, because this is one the things that people still don’t seem to understand about the Internet. One of the unique characteristics about “Virtual Mobbing” is that the Internet enables a kind of plausibly deniable stage whisper. This kind of talking about someone but not necessarily to them is one of the most pernicious and common tactics of cyberbullies and virtual mobbers, because of the scale, speed, and confusion at which the Internet amplifies fearmongering.

The fact of the matter is, I can hear anything and I do in fact hear everything that is said about me (or my work) on the Internet, if it’s said in a public venue. A Twitter conversation from an unlocked account is not private. A public Tumblr post is not private. If people are talking about me, I know about it, usually within a few days.

Most of the time, when people speak ill of me to others, they are doing so under the false belief that these other people who don’t know or even care who I am are “lauding” me, and this makes the mobbers feel “uncomfortable” because they, personally, believe that I am only worth contempt and must be punished for my many mortal sins. A perfect example of this from just the other day is @cythesomething here on Tumblr.

I responded on Twitter:

As I’ve said numerous times before, turning discussions of survivor support tools and other such anti-abuse technology that I work on into a discussion about me, personally, is harmful to survivors—it is most harmful to one survivor in particular (guess which one), but it is also harmful to all other survivors. Taking actions motivated by the impulse to get helpful information to survivors is one thing. Taking actions motivated by your discomfort at seeing the work of someone you dislike welcomed by others who say that work is valuable to them is quite another.

It is no coincidence that this mobbing behavior intensifies at the very same time as the Predator Alert Tool is signal boosted. This has always been the pattern, from the very beginning. Had it happened only once, I might have called it a misunderstanding. Had it happened twice, maybe I could have dismissed it as a mistake. That it has happened more than three times makes clear, these are intentional mob assaults.

This got long, but I hope you’ve taken the time to read it anyway. For now, if you don’t have it in you to slog through academic material (it’s time consuming and exhausting, I know), then consider simply reblogging this. Maybe add a nice thing about me or, even better, the work I’ve been doing lately. Then, some time from now, please don’t forget that this is still happening, like a slow-motion bashing, and remember that this is the context of what’s happening when you see me bashing back.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this mob’s hatred for more than 3 years. I don’t expect it will stop anytime in the next 3 months just because I asked for help. In fact, it’s likely going to get worse. (See Westhues’ checklist, item number 15, “Outraged response to any appeals for outside help the target may make.”)

So, if all you can do is send me a nice ask once in a while, I will really appreciate you for that, too. Thanks.

Why are you so angry on the Internet?

This post was originally published on July 28, 2012, on my other blog.

Transcript:

Why are you so angry on the Internet?

A lot of what I think confuses people about me is the fact that I interact with them in a way that’s unfamiliar to them. And that can be scary ‘cause it’s inherently scary to be interacted with in ways that you’re not familiar with. And that’s totally fair and valid.

The other night I was talking to somebody who was like, “It’s like you have split personality. You’re so different in person.” And the thing is, they were like, “Well, I hope the significant part of you that’s real is the part that’s in person because that person online is really mean, and really angry all the time, and I don’t like that person. But I really like to spend time with this person—you—IN PERSON.”

And the thing is, is like, yeah! I am really angry a lot. Heh. I mean, fuck! There’s a lot to be angry about, and anger’s a pretty valid emotion that I feel pretty often, and I feel like it’s a perfectly valid thing to express—often, when I feel angry.

The question is, do I express that in person or online? Where do I put this anger? How do I express this anger? How do I express this anger in a way that’s actually safer for everyone involved?

How do YOU express your anger?

I could express this anger in person, but if I did that in person the people around me would have much less control over whether or not they want to engage with that anger. Now, if I express that anger online, any one of you can literally press a button and get me out of your space. It’s called blocking—it’s why I use it so often. The Internet’s wonderful that way.

I use the Internet partially as a shield, and partially as a way to create a communications mechanism that gives the people who choose to interact with that communication control over their engagement of it. And that’s super important for being able to create safer spaces to express emotions that are uncomfortable. And expressing emotions that are uncomfortable is something that our society very rarely gives us a chance to do in person.

You’re supposed to be conciliatory, especially if you were socialized as someone who was always perceived to be female. It’s really…just a violent place to be.

Now, verbal violence is violence and can be awful. Physical violence is also awful. And verbal violence in physical spaces is way, way, WAY more threatening than verbal violence on the Internet.

I think it’s important to give people opportunities to express themselves in ways that are comfortable for them, and I also think it’s important to give those people that you’re expressing uncomfortable feelings towards—such as anger—an opportunity to say, “I’m done now. I check out. No more. I’m finished.”

And what easier way to give them that opportunity than to allow them to press a button and have your image and your words deleted off their screen, never to be seen again, if they don’t want to.

‘Cause y’see, most people use the Internet like a yes-machine, like a filter bubble, like a way to find agreement, like a way to create only the thing that they’re already familiar with. And I don’t think that’s a very interesting use of the Internet. (It’s called a filter bubble by Eli Pariser, who has a very good TEDTalk about that.) And it’s boring. It’s just a boring interaction.

I wanna use the Internet to find things that I disagree with, to find things that make me uncomfortable, to engage and actually interact with things that are really frustrating. Because if I can engage with things are really frustrating, when I get too frustrated or too angry then I can just…stop. I can just press a button and it all goes away. And that’s beautiful.

It’s something I can’t do in person. I can’t turn off the channel. I can’t change the web page, if I’m in person. But I can if I’m online.

And so can you.

So where are you putting your anger, and why? Who is at the brunt of that anger, and why? If you haven’t thought about that, and you’re upset or confused when I block you, or when I’m angry on the Internet, or when I engage with people in confrontational ways that force them to respond or act or think about something even if that response is just to block me, I don’t think that you really understand how I use the Internet. And I question whether or not the way that you express the feelings that are most uncomfortable for others for you to express is being expressed in a consensual way.

Give people the opportunity to back off, to say no, to check out and what better [easier] way to do that than by pressing a button?

Split personality? Maybe. I’m sure it can come off that way. But, it’s all real. I’m really angry. I have real reasons to be angry. I’m also really careful about where I put that anger. And I’d rather do that in a place where people can press a button and say “no” to the engagement of that feeling, than be forced to interact with me in person and not know how to press a button to tell me to stop.

Block people. It’s not a personal slight. Unless you want it to be. In which case, fuck you.

A small gesture

It’s hard to talk when I’m sad. I want to, but I just can’t make my mouth make any sounds that form words. My father realized this when I was younger. One time, and only one time, when I was upset and feeling like I couldn’t talk, he set me up in front of a computer with a text editing window and asked me to type my responses to his questions. He was clever; his questions were simple yes-or-no questions at first. I think he realized that it was even difficult for me to type anything more than that at first. Slowly, as he sensed my body language change, he would start asking more complex questions that required more complex answers. Yes or no responses soon turned into short sentences and soon after that I was pouring my heart out onto a digital notepad.

That is how well my father understood how to communicate with me, for I am all but incapable of communicating actively when I am in such a state as that.

Interestingly, it is only around another person that that state causes such a complete shutdown of my communicative faculties. Alone, I am still quite expressive, as this short piece illustrates, for it was written shortly after I was left alone in just such a state. Furthermore, an internal dialogue is constantly running through my head in these states. Indeed, I am very expressive in every meaning of the word, except in outward appearance. Small gestures such as the slight twitch of a finger are in fact huge, sweeping, screaming motions, so loud as to silence my own thoughts for a few moments and yet so invisible to an outside observer that I somehow feel that much more unheard when someone—through little fault of their own—fails to recognize it.

This is unendingly frustrating. I am at once both completely irrational and unreasonable, unforgiving of people’s blindness towards me and at the same time intolerably chastising myself for being so incommunicative. The internal war feels as though it is enough to tear me limb from limb, which in addition to making it hard to speak makes it hard to move. Muscles become at once weakened and strengthened, incapable of lifting the weight of my own extremities and yet ready to unfurl in so spectacular a display of speed and strength at a moment’s notice that one might believe them to be constructed as though they were made of some giant wound metal spring.

I do not understand why it is so insanely impossible for me to break from these states. Of course, in moments of obvious sanity I tell myself that it is precisely insanity that makes me so distraught. However, this very thought also makes me wonder how I can be so sanely aware of my insanity and yet be so unable to do anything about it.

Hysterical over work and life

I should preface this with yet another warning that what follows is the incredibly hysterical ranting of an emotionally stressed person and should probably not be taken as anything other than an expression of the emotions currently running through my head.


Oh my god! This can not be happening to me. I simply can not deal with this.

There has been an ongoing issue at my work about training. After the absolute disaster at the last engagement I was on, I was promised three weeks of training–something I’d been asking for since after I finished my “official” training that I felt didn’t really help me at all because of the unorganized, utterly abysmal experience that was. Then it was two weeks. Then it a little more than one. Then it was just cancelled, and I was next put on an assignment that allowed me to work from home.

This working from home thing was awesome, because it meant two things. First, that I would get the chance to actually use the product I’m supposed to be an expert in supporting as opposed to looking over someone’s shoulder while they use it because they don’t want me touching their computer network due to the company’s security restrictions, which is what was happening at the disaster client. Second, it gave me the chance to work from home (duh), which is honestly not something I really care that much about for any reason other than the fact that it meant I don’t have to dress in ways I don’t feel comfortable and maintain this mask of someone who I’m not for the sake of the business. Admittedly, that is a big deal, but it’s not a dealbreaker, y’know? (I don’t actually have any problems being professional, but there’s a huge difference between being myself professionally and being a certain kind of professional that has to fit into the molds of the B2B corporate American mold. I can be professional, but I will never fit into that mold, not by a long shot.)

The really annoying thing about getting the chance to work from home, however, is that all this opportunity to spend at home is happening while Sara is in freakin’ Australia on the other side of the fucking world! Sara has been gone since january 24th (and I missed her a ton immediately), the same day I fell awfully ill with the flu for half a week. It’s been an unbelievably long amount of time and the whole experience, for many reasons that I won’t go into here, has been harrowing in ways I wouldn’t have imagined to the point that I’m insanely anxious about simply getting to see her again because the thought fills me with a crazy sort of unimaginable fear. (I feel so stupid for being this scared about it.)

Now she is finally returning, though because of flight delays I don’t know exactly when, and I expected a call from her some time this morning but haven’t yet gotten one and it’s already 2:30 PM, so this whole airline delay thing may very well cut into our weekend plans. I have already booked flights for myself to Maine and for us to come back on Sunday night. I had to juggle my plans around because this next week at work was planned to be a formal Oracle database training intensive, which I have been looking forward to ever since my first day on the job when I learned about these training intensives because one of my bosses told me I had just missed (by a couple of weeks) the week of intensive Python training taught by Mark Lutz, the author of Learning Python, Second Edition. In brief, I cancelled my Monday day off that I would have spent as an additional “welcome back” period with Sara in Maine that I had asked for (and earned because of the fact that I worked the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday) in order to attend this Oracle training–because I wanted to.

Now, I just got an email from another engagement manager (a boss, basically), that they want me to fly out to Washington State so that I can be there on Monday through (probably) Friday. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?! If I am made to go all the way across this fucking country on the first week of Sara’s return (this upcoming week) for a client who has offered me no real idea of what the fuck I’m supposed to do instead of the training everyone else is getting and that I was expecting from everything I was told at my interviews (I literally asked people “Why did you join this company,” and everyone told me because the learning opportunities were immense–which is true, the opportunties are immense and wonderful, but I want some of them too, damnit!), then I am seriously considering simply saying no and quitting my job on the spot. I simply don’t think I’ll be able to handle that, and with all of this turmoil and absolute torture this job is putting me through, I don’t think I’d feel as if it were such a loss (except financially).

I feel like every single fucking thing is going wrong right now. I don’t feel as though I have a damn shred of support (I know I do really, but it’s so far away), an ounce of understanding (again not really true, I have friends who can understand, but I don’t think Sara really can on anything but a cognitive level–not to say she doesn’t have struggles or that her battles are less important or easier than mine, but she does not have these struggles that I have and by that very fact simply may not be able to relate experiencially to what I’m going through), and the worst luck (and please don’t tell me to count my fucking blessings, that is not what I need right now; I know damn well what my blessings are, thank you). What makes it so unbelievably painful is that the whole of my experiences is so much less priviledged than Sara’s, who’s just been on a wonderful vacation for six weeks and is returning to the wonderful feeling of coming home for a weekend ski trip and to her boyfriend who is supposed to be ecstatic to see her. And I am ecstatic to see her again, but I am so stressed out and emotionally high strung right now that I feel as though I wish she isn’t going to have to put up with this from me.

I spoke for hours with my friend who’s staying with me (after her own horrendously painful breakup the week Sara left for Australia) and she told me that I have to start thinking about myself, not worrying about what kind of a burden I’m going to be on Sara. This is smart, and is probably what I should do, but it’s so hard for me to do that when I have this incredibly powerful urge to just focus all my energy on making everything good for Sara. (Why is that such a powerful urge? Oh my god, for many reasons, all of which are valid and many of which are perfectly healthy, but none of which I’m going to go into right now.)

My friend said that I should want to get pampered from Sara for a little while, have her take care of me, be treated to thoughtfulness and compassion and empathy, and that I should let go of all these stresses I keep taking upon myself like worrying about whether or not I’m going to be happy enough for her so she has a good time. Again, this is smart and makes sense; I can’t possibly have a good time or expect Sara to have a good time with me (which is what I want more than anything in the world right now) if I’m going to be obsessing about the question all the time. But I’m really scared.

I’m scared not only about this weekend but the future as well. What’s going to happen if Sara gets accepted to a school far away? Besides the point of fact that means she’ll be leaving New York, it makes me feel like another knife of how differently priveledged Sara and I are is once again thrust into my heart–not by Sara, just by the situation. I would feel much, much, much better about the whole situation where she feels like she wants to go to graduate school for creative writing if I could understand what the real driving force behind that motivation is. I have to know that if she leaves me for school (I evidently have major, major abandonment issues–not surprising considering my childhood with divorced parents and whatnot), she’s doing it for a reason that’s near and dear to her heart.

Not that I think she’d ever do something so big as moving to Australia for graduate school for any other reason than one that’s near and dear to her heart, but it will be easier to take if I can at least understand–not necessarily agree with–her choice of action and why that specific action of going to a graduate school is the right one for her to make, versus something like getting a full-time job and actually getting into the mindset of writing professionally–not just learning about writing–as I know she can do brilliantly. It comes back to the feeling of resentment (and I feel more guilt for having this feeling of resentment in the first place than I ever thought I would ever feel guilty about anything ever (especially since I constantly tell Sara that guilt is not a useful thing to dwell on–we both have our guilt complexes, me from this, and her from being more priviledged in life than I have ever been)) over my being forced by the Fates to fight a hellish battle for every scrap of happiness and capability to follow my dreams that I can get, whereas Sara has the good fortune to prolong her schooling–something she enjoys–and put off the dreadful experience of having a so-called “real” job (it is viscerally disgusting to me that a “real” job is always seen as something you don’t want) and putting up with the rest of the crap of living in the so-called “real” world (again, I want to vomit thinking that the “real” world is so full of strife all the time) for yet another four years (or more, if she goes for a Ph.D. in Writing in Australia).

(As a sidenote, holy shit, that was an insanely convoluted parenthetical paragraph. Also, I don’t actually wish for her to get a job she hates, of course. I would hardly wish this hell on my worst enemy.)

Again, it’s not that I think Sara doesn’t have her own stuff to deal with. But there is simply no arguing the fact that on many scales of measurable priveledge, she got dealt the better hand. She is brilliant, a constant inspiration to me. And she is so amazingly healthy. No other person I have ever met or ever heard of in my entire life, without exaggeration, is so glowing with the unmistakable aura of a uniquely qualified intelligent mind such as hers is and has not gone through a great deal of very measurable pain and suffering as the source for their genius, the likes of which is obvious to everyone who hears about their suffering. That is the case with me. I am very, very smart. I match Sara’s awesome strengths in many ways, such as self-awareness and intelligence, kindness, and skills in our respective interests. But I have so many still-open scars that have gotten me to this point. Her body is enviously relatively unscathed by the harsh realities of life.

I don’t want this whole thing to sound like a self-pity party–because that’s not what this is supposed to be, but I can’t not feel this way right now. I’m working on it, god, I’m really working on it as hard as I can because I don’t want Sara to have to deal with this huge amount of utter shit that’s in me. I miss smiling. I miss being happy enough to just listen to music and hum to myself. I can’t remember the last time I did that.

And of course, I miss Sara. My god, I miss Sara most of all.

Sara just called! Right as I was publishing this entry, Sara called. She had heard my rambling, crying message I left for her and called me back saying that she was sorry for saying that she’d call me this morning because she was thinking in California time, and I’m on New York time, so when she meant morning she meant California’s morning. (D’oh!)

However, also bad news is that because of the airline delays it is looking like she may not be able to get to Maine until 10 AM Saturday morning, which absolutely changes our weekend plans…. I don’t know what else to do about this weekend, my job, or anything right now, except to go through the motions as normal and so I’m just going to wait things out until I can see her and talk to her face to face and actually hold her in my arms again.

Peter’s my boss, and Dilbert’s boss is his boss

I hate working on something without knowing why I’m working on it. I also hate working on something without actually understanding what the desired result is. That’s very, very annoying. It’s also very, very inefficient and ineffective.

These past two weeks at work were prime examples of just such an occurance. The fact that these two weeks were supposed to be the weeks that I was getting additional training just makes this fact even more frustrating. Instead of additional training, which I still feel like I desperately need to be effective at my job (because the particulars of this product are so damn, well, particular), I was tasked with a vague and unexplained assignment.

(The kicker, by the way, is that in addition to the vague assignment, I was also given the task of training a new hire. So let me get this straight. You’re going to cancel my training, and then ask me to train someone. While I apprecaite the vote of absolute confidence, that’s more than a little backwards.)

The problem with vague assignments is that they don’t give me a direction to work in. There is certainly a balance to be struck between micromanaging an employee and giving them no direction. Neither side of the scale is appropriate or helpful. It’s interesting to me, however, because never before in my life have I experienced the “no direction” side of things so often. This assigment takes the cake, even in this job.

I understand now what it means when employers and managers say that they want someone who can “work independently.” What they mean is “we just want to give you some vague idea about what we’re looking for, because honestly we have no idea what it needs to look like and only sort of know what it needs to do, and you should fill in all the details yourself. Oh, and you’d better get it right.” (How the hell should I know what right is if you don’t even know, and I’m doin this for you?) Naturally, this makes a lot of sense and sounds perfect (especially to managers). After all, why shouldn’t employees do this?

Well of course they should. The problem isn’t in the paradigm, it’s in the execution. This paradigm assumes that the employee already knows what the desired result is and how to accomplish it. If this were the case, then the request wouldn’t have seemed vague to begin with. It’s the fact that I don’t know enough about the situation (see infuriating lack of context), the product (see infuriating lack of training), and the requirements (see infuriating lack of clear communication) that make it vague.

Thanks to so many reasons such as the Peter Principle and the nature of managerial work to forego employee’s interests in favor of shareholder’s interests, companies consistently sabotage their own best efforts to be successful. While I am sure that the size of a company is one contributing factor to this sabotage, I think that it misses the point. More to the point is the fact that managers are to blame.

A company that does not strive to “be large and successful” is not going anywhere. But it’s the manager’s fault that such horrendous acts of self-mutilation happen over and over again. Workers need proper training, managers need proper communication skills, and both parties need the wherewithall to understand the basics of teamwork. Frankly, these things are all sorely lacking pretty much everywhere.

Just another of the countless reasons why I know I’ll never be happy in corporate America. The more of this shit that happens, the more convinced I am that I’m here for the experience only. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, right? It’s just a question of when the next better opportunity comes along. There’s no point in suffering to gain experience when experience can be gained without suffering.

Rant on Certification Tests

This is stupid. This is utterly utterly stupid. Answer the following question:

Which of the following operating systems use Kerberos for authentication? (Select all that apply.)

  • Mac OS X Server
  • Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows 2003 Server
  • NetWare

If you selected all of them, you got the question wrong, even though you’re technically correct. All of these operating systems can use Kerberos for authentication, but according to my prep tests for the Network+ exam, Mac OS X can not implement Kerberos.

It’s these kinds of questions which are totally pissing me off about these certifications. The last thing I wanted was this whole thing to turn into something I just wanted to get over with, but now it feels exactly like that because these goddamn test questions are quite simply wrong.

::writing slightly huffy email to these people::

Update: earlier today I have obtained my fourth computer certification in as many months, the Network+ CompTIA certification. :) Now to choose my next goal….

Arrogant Bastard

I hope it is because I have not written lately that I feel so “ugh.” My trip to California was interesting; it was both exciting and disappointing in different and similar ways. As was my first day on the job today. I left work feeling awful for no easily explainable reason, even though I felt just great for the first half of the day.

I feel a little bit like I’ve just joined the CIA.

On a brighter note, for the first time in my life I am now in possession of a piece of paper that says I know something. (Two more similar pieces of paper are en route as I write this.) Having never graduated middle school and having had very little save disdain for such pieces of paper, this new acquisition is an odd one. It says that I am officially ACHDS certified, which basically means I know things about the Mac OS. But let’s get real: who didn’t know that I knew that anyway? I certainly did, and I didn’t need a piece of paper to tell me that.

As things stand, I am convinced that beaurocratic red tape will be the downfall of human kind (if greed doesn’t get us first). That said, I do understand far more clearly why I have been told, time and time again, to get my GED, especially since “it would be no problem” for me. Perhaps not surprisingly, this makes me even more resistant to the idea of actually getting my GED. If it would be so easy for me to do then it is not worth my time. It would be more beneficial and more pleasureable to spend my time doing things that challenge me, things for which I must exercise at least some modicum of mental effort, in order to accomplish.

And that makes me an arrogant bastard, because it means that whenever I am in a situation that I find ridiculous or stupid or wasteful I think of the people who are creating that ineffeciency or slowness or waste as stupid and worth less than I am. (Note I did not say worthless.) I sometimes think I should feel bad about that. Ultimately, however, my conclusion is always the same: feeling bad about such things is stupid and wasteful and my impatience and arrogance is ultimately justified because I am both faster and more knowledgeable than these other people. (Even if these other people get paid more than me for doing equivalent jobs, but that’s a whole ‘nother story that has more to do with a genuine lack of experience and negotiation skills on my part than anything else.)

So fuck it. To prove to myself that I am correct, to prove just how capable I am, I force myself to be extra patient and extra nice with these people and in these situations. Doing anything else would negate all my greatness. The aforementioned routine is what I expect to encounter for at least the next two weeks, and I am not looking forward to it.

And now I am done masturbating my ego.