Category Archives: Social Games

Employee wants = business gain

Employee wants = business gain

Mark sat slumped in the uncomfortable auditorium room chair trying to keep his eyes open while his manager, Ray, was intently taking notes. “Employee wants = business gain,” Ray whispered as he jotted it down.

“Anyone understand what this means?” the presenter asked. The audience stared back blankly. “Remember our list of employee wants? Who can give me a recap?” A young, balding college student raised his hand and spoke, “We’re supposed to document what our employees want,” the presenter nodded and continued, “this is where we use that information. As business do we really care what our employees want?” the presenter put his hand to his ear, “I can’t hear you,” he yelled after a soft “no” was heard in the audience. “Do we really care what employees want?” “No!” yelled the audience.

“Exactly! We don’t care! What we do care about is how we can use that information to increase productivity, profitability, and get ourselves that promotion. And how can we do that?” The balding college student stood up again, gleaming at the recognition, “by using it as leverage, to, to, to…” he shuddered, “get what the business needs.” “Yes!” Exclaimed the presenter.

“For example, Mary is a single mother, you know she’s stressed but she’s compliant. She has accumulated 1.5 weeks of vacation time and wants to take a long weekend to take her kids to see their grandparents. Do we let her go?” Silence from the audience, “No. No we don’t let her go, not without getting something in return to make you look like a gracious and productive manager, any ideas?”

The audience shouted ideas out:

“Ask for overtime?”

“Work through lunch”

“Take on extra projects”

“All good ideas, you just have to make sure you know the labour laws. You can’t specifically ask her to work through a legal break period, but you can force them into working through a break by giving them extra projects. Plus breaking a labour law gives the employee power, and we don’t want that. You see, employees are the female in the employment relationship. A good manager keeps them off balance and instils fear of being rejected. Giving them power is the opposite of productive and profitable.

“But isn’t it a good thing to empower employees and encourage them to make their own decisions?” a confused woman in the back row asked.

“Yes and no,” the presenter answered. “It is good when it makes you look good and increases profits, AKA your bonus.” He smiled. “Making the employee work extra hard for a vacation she’s already accrued is a double win for the company. Employees will become accustomed to working harder for their vacations. Can anyone think of a third level of productivity that can be achieved?”

A mix of blank faces and contemplative smiles emitted from the audience. “The third productivity gain from this psychological game is that once employees learn that they need to improve productivity to go on vacation, they’ll naturally work hard before requesting the time off. Once they request the time off (or whatever else it is they want) you can ask for even more productivity (or whatever it is that would benefit your numbers) before the delivery date of their request.”

Mark’s manager turned to him with a smile and whispered, “This is such a great idea, how much do you think we could improve our numbers with this strategy?”

Mark clicked his pen and wrote shortly on his steno pad, and crumpled the paper. After grabbing his brief case, he stood, turned around and said, “Catch,” and tossed the ball of paper onto his manager’s lap. Confused his manager un-crumpled the paper and read “I QUIT” written in the centre of the page. By the time he looked up, Mark was slowly walking out of the auditorium doors.


On Getting to Know Someone

On Getting to Know Someone

There is a certain point in the getting-to-know-people stage where they are becoming more and more predictable..and you are aware of this.  Suddenly that surprising phone call is no longer out of the blue, that invitation to hang out has a known end, and those mannerism speak for themselves.  Yep, you’ve just learned their personality.  You’ve got it down.  Now what?

In comes repetition and overlaying experiences.  You mix and mingle until, whoops!  You found out what you don’t like about them.  Oh dear, what a loss, you’re high has just fallen and suddenly all those fun memories have an hazy glow that keeps you from remembering that they were once considered cool.  Suddenly they aren’t cool at all.

Oh no! It isn’t that you realized what you don’t like about the person, you realized that you don’t like the person.  Oh a huge difference.  It is so big and potentially painful to the other party that you couldn’t bare to tell them.  So you keep going, keep answering the phone and hanging out.  After all you know you don’t like them, shouldn’t they too be figuring out that they don’t like you too?  Why is it taking so long?  How do I say no?  Why do they argue every time I say no?  How do I get out of this?  Oh god, I’m going to have to see the person soon and I have nothing to say, nothing I want to say and I don’t even feel like smiling.

Every time you are faced with the person, that first thing that you didn’t like about them becomes them.  It is there, walking by your desk, chatting in your ear, sending lines it text.  The person is no longer the person, they are everything that you do not like about them walking on two legs and they know it.  They must know that no one would ever like all of this.  How could they not know?  This is common sense to me, people don’t treat others so rudely and expect to be liked do they?  I learned this in preschool and they are still behaving this way?  Do people not know what a disgusted facial expression means?  Do they not know what it means to wear such an expression all the time?  They don’t. They don’t know.  Because they don’t know what you know.

But wait, sometimes things go the other way.  Sometimes you realize what you don’t like about someone and they never do it again.  Life just goes on and no one seems to notice.  You were waiting for them to do that annoying thing again and they didn’t.  You even held back to give them extra space to say that annoying word and nothing, there was silence.  or even better, they said something that you liked instead.  How wonderful this person is.

Then it continues for a long time and you realize that this person is stable.  They may do things that you don’t like but not every time and if it is a problem, they don’t hang their souls on the issue, they just do something else.  Ahhh, I see, this person is dynamic.  Those are my types of friends.  Shape shifters who don’t always operate on cue and enjoy having a deep pockets of happy social games to play.  You can still toss a nasty social pitch their way as a test, but you’ll notice that they deflect it with ease.  Instead of saying “you bitch!” they say, “I don’t play that game, but I like you so try another.”

Between the two extremes there ly the, well, inliers.  Those who stay in the gray.  You know enough about them that you know you don’t need to know any more about them.  They get a little annoying sometimes because you can never seem to get to know them enough to know whether you like them or not.  Which, in itself, is probably what you don’t like about them that they keep doing over and over so they really fall into the negative.  But give them a chance because sometimes it is just the situation that drives their behavior.

How you know a relationship is dying part IV

How you know a relationship is dying part IV

You feel confident when in certain situations, but when specific people are around you feel the need to compete for the friendship.  Your “friend” encourages this by naturally not making social concessions/offering agreed upon reassurance towards you.  When confronted your friend acts like they didn’t notice because they do it on purpose as their way of controlling you.  Confused you assume it is just in your mind, so you try to ignore it.  It happens again when the “better” friend is around.

Suddenly you realize that there is a hierarchy and the needs of the friends higher on the list are met before yours.  Often the needs of higher friends is that your “friend” be cold to their lower friends.  This modern day Machiavellianism is how friends exert dominance other each other for their own negative, controlling self indulgence.

On status anxiety

On status anxiety

The world is apparently flattening yet all over I still sense a need in people to cling to old forms of social class structures.  Top schools, top jobs, top companies, top designers, top top top top top.  Are we working for money or recognition?  If someone pays you a salary, you are working class.  If you live paycheck to pay check, regardless of income amount, you are broke.  If your net worth is negative, you are broke.

The standard of living gives people a false sense of social standing.  The ability to talk and act “up” also give a false sense of where they stand.  People aren’t competing against each other, people are competing against what others claim to have or be doing.  There is a big difference, especially if you encounter a habitual exaggerator who defines themselves by their dreams not by their actual accomplishments.  But anyway, why the need to compete after the contest is over?  After the good school, good work experience, good standard of living, etc.  At what point does the competitive drive just allow everyone to kick back and simply enjoy the fruits?

i guess I just want the competitive people to shut up.  It is the noise coming out of their mouth, infecting my ears that irritates me.  For some reason my brain finds meaning in it, fearful meaning.  Perhaps my sensitivity to words is just flaring up again.  The words hit at my insecurity about no being smart enough or good enough.  So whenever I hear the competitive chatter, it gets to me.  I don’t like being taunted, teased, or put down.  Words have meaning and I respect them.  Therefore I don’t use them aggressively unless I mean to, but that doesn’t mean I should expect everyone else to follow my same doctrine.

Harnessing my own insecurity would help.  If I accepted that I am perfectly fine and capable, then I could move on.  I could fill in the empty space were my old insecurity sat with something better that doesn’t listen for fearful confirmation.  I could replace it with confidence and the ability to not need to second guess myself.

Thinking outside the bar

Thinking outside the bar

There is a difference between understanding a concept and seeing it.  Understanding is the basic theory that people often misinterpret for actually experiencing life that makes you really see how it works.  Unfortunately it takes time to really see something for what it is and often you have to simply grow out of eras of your life to really be able to see the whole phase from a workable perspective.  Clubbing and bar hopping is a prime example.  It seems that most people age out of this phase either once they move back to the suburbs or take on serious full-time career responsibilities.  However, there are a few of us who continue to revisit this phase because we understand it more and so are better able to control the fun by messing with those who are not yet thinking outside the bar.

On Social Games

On Social Games

The most recent situation I’ve encountered is the “if you don’t agree with me, I’ll pick on you” game.  At certain pivotal points people when speaking need to be listened to AND agreed with.  If for some reason you don’t agree and you state your opinion, even in a passive “oh by the way” easy-going manner, you’ll see the split-second glare, probably followed by a few word stumbles while they take what you said into consideration and finish the conversation as if nothing really bothered them.  Then…wait for it….wait for it….wait for it…. once the topic changes suddenly the next most interesting topic is criticizing something personal about you.  This will definitely make me avoid someone for a while.

The next one is what I like to call the “set you up to put you down” game.  This one I walk into all the time.  It just works so well on me.  Pick a topic that you know we both disagree on, bring it up by inquiring about how I recently responded less emotionally supportive than you think I should have.  I will defend my reasoning on the matter to show that I meant no ill harm, “the situation has nothing to do with me so it is reasonable for me not to get involved”.  Then respond to me with something like, “well, I don’t think you’re always rational”.  And I didn’t think it was necessary to bring up the topic.

Social Experiments

Social Experiments

I realized that my keenness to practice patience often places me beyond my comfort zone (not necessarily negative). I enjoy being patient because I like so much to see what assumptions of mine are correct and which turn out to be incorrect, or just a liitle off, etc, etc. So I sit and wait and watch until I’ve gathered enough evidence to support a social theory, which could be negative or positive. At times I throw in a little extra fuel until either an external force throws me off the scent or I get bored with the test because the signals no longer confuse me. Once the mix becomes homogenized, I stamp that layer as “solved” and begin work on the next most confusing thing, which luckily, at this moment, is myself. Swan diving into my psyche is just far more interesting once someone gives me a good reason to put my walls up.

Mindfully Making Mistakes

Mindfully Making Mistakes

Some “mistakes” are continuously and consciously made because people know that they can clean up the mess it makes later. It is a method to maintain control over the outcome of a situation. If others are given more responsibility over the situation, it is more difficult to come in later and set things to one’s own desired outcome. Since society revers mistakes as undesirable and avoidable events, purposely making mistakes can put one at an advantage because the outside world will perceive the action as a traditional “mistake” and thus enact behaviors associated with dealing with someone who made a “mistake.” When in reality, the mistake-maker really was just knowledge that people would react that way and use the situation to get what he wants without being called a jerk.

Push/Pull or Pull/Push

Push/Pull or Pull/Push

There is one behavior that I do that is really starting to drive me nuts, perhaps because I can neither figure out exactly where it came from, how long I have been doing it, nor what triggers it.

I have bits and pieces of data I’ve analyzed but I just don’t think it is enough to put the behavior in any specific category where it can be modified it and turned into something fruitful. On top of that, I am not even sure if other people notice it, if they don’t then…. i shouldn’t mind continuing to do it…. but i think people do notice it, or at least feel it.

It depends on the other party’s sensitivity and willingness to actually call others on what they are sensitive to. Without direct feedback I am left to analyze merely possible reactions to my behavior, which, in turn, drives me into a deep confusion because for a moment I forecast the idea that the reaction I got was actually directly related to my action,

then pause,

there are more possibilities, after all, peoples lives are really complicated with scattered experience so who knows, who knows if my behavior has anything to do with their reaction. After all they would tell me wouldn’t they? They do know what they are doing, don’t they?

No, no, think of all those gossip girls who never told the outcast why they would agree to let her join the group and then fill out and submit the list of chosen ones, omitting her name before she could come by and take you up on your promise. If she was pushy or not, you agreed to it, right? Can I believe you this time like I used to be able to?

So in my experience and education, people don’t tell others why they are pushing them away, they simply act as if they aren’t and then they do…. leaving me to wonder what the hell I did. Was I annoying? did I put them off or cancel too often? did I not answer the phone or take too long to get back to them? Did I cancel on too many times? Did I? Did I? Did I?

This is when the details get fuzzy (you’re thinking, “i thought it was already fuzzy,” but oh no my friend there is more to my confusion over human relations). I think I learned this behavior a long time ago and although I do know and have seen what it does to other people, I have found myself doing it to others on various levels of severity without giving it much notice or forethought, sometimes playfully over a poker game (it can be funny an taken as sarcastic – assuming my sarcasm is understood) but I can’t find that fine, perfect line where I am free to be me without causing injury, or at least feeling as though I have.

The fuzzy continues… push/pull and pull/push have to link at least two behaviors. There are many times that I pull and I pull and I pull and I pull, then a push behavior is thrown in. Perhaps in defense, perhaps for some other reason, but I don’t know what to do when, after all that pulling, the push seems to have undone all of my work. Undoing my work is like punishment, have I done it to myself or has it been done to me?