1517 Back Issues.

It’s the Mike & Edward show!

Many years ago I had a manager who was either my age, or maybe a bit younger, who bought into the corporate bullshit completely. He was very keen to do well and, in one of the biggest mistakes I’d ever made, thoughtlessly told him that there were empty apartments in my block of living spaces. He moved into the flat directly opposite mine. DIRECTLY OPPOSITE MINE. So, whenever something went wrong at the store he’d knock on the door so I could go with him to sort it out, since I was so much more capable than the average bear. He was a nice guy, but we never clicked as friends either, so it was always awkward when he wanted to just hang out. He studied bugs in school and that was the field he’d really wanted to be in before life kicked him in the balls and explained that the world needs a fairly limited number of entomologists. He kept bugs in little terrariums. The only ones that were alive were spiders and scorpions though. I very much believe that all creatures should be allowed to live as long as they aren’t harming me directly, but that doesn’t mean I was to watch Murder She wrote with them.
Anyway, he never made proper friends and the longer things went the weirder he got. Eventually some members of the female staff took it upon themselves to relieve us of him by way of falsely accusing him of sexual misconduct. At that time the concept of sexual misconduct was practically brand new and the home office was incredibly watchful for it. It had been a big subject in the news and views about it were finally shifting to a more reasonable standard. Unfortunately the zeal was taken advantage of sometimes. I was questioned about his conduct and had nothing to tell at the time. I only found out the allegations were a setup after he’d been removed. (In fact, the man who asked me about his conduct was out district manager, who I didn’t particularly like.) I was sorry for him on the one hand because he really believed in the home office’s bullshit, but relieved that I wouldn’t be essentially living with my supervisor anymore. They came to town and fired him on his birthday. I still remember how manic he looked as his plans crumbled around him and he used the last of his power to take a few parting shots at people he felt had wronged him. (They had, so fair enough.) It was one of the cruelest things I’d ever witnessed in all my years in retail. The workplace equivalent of kicking a loyal dog until it reluctantly runs away, still wishing it could sit by the fire with its master.
Later on he came back to attend the wedding of another coworker who he’d been able to bond with better. He was a trucker then, and strangely judgmental about my philosophy on how the law of the jungle applies to the workplace. I never spoke to him again after that. (The DM from that story was fired a few weeks later for the same reasons as the manager I described, as a wave of sexual misconduct firings went down across the company. I was more willing to believe the allegations about him were legit because he struck me as a bit of a douche, but who knows? He may have been a victim too for all I know.)

Mike is sort of a tolerable version of that guy. (Although he looked a lot like Ed…) The store I worked for had rules against managers hanging out with staff of lower pay grades. My understanding is that Target, of whom many managers lived in my apartment complex, has rules that managers of certain pay grades can hang out but only one above and one below. SO you have to keep to your lane. Anyway, I understand the logic of those rules and experienced why they exist first hand.


Was “strangely judgmental” supposed to be sarcastic?

Cause it sounds like you were espousing a workplace mentality of “eat or be eaten” to someone who had been “eaten” because of the philosophy of working together as a team.

I was like, “Aw, I’d watch a story about you and your wacky sitcom about your weird bug obsessed brighbor! That sounds like a recipe for awkward antics!”. Then it got sad.

Yikes. :-( I feel sorry for that guy in your story. I’ve always striven to be a by-the-book good guy, but – particularly in my teenage years – had difficulty being able to tell when people don’t feel like they click with me. While some of my mistakes in the past are more apparent in hindsight (which, I suspect, is how most people look back on high school), they were never malicious in intent. From the sounds of it, this guy was similarly clueless-but-not-malicious. I can understand that people want to be rid of this guy, but this is wrong on no less than three levels:

1. I’m pretty sure that’s technically fraud.

2. Such allegations could easily haunt him for years to come and make it difficult for him to get a job. Those co-workers could very well have ruined the rest of his life just because he annoyed them, and that’s pretty darn malicious.

3. If people abuse the system for reporting sexual misconduct, when word gets out, it’s going to have an impact, whether it’s changes in the system or society’s reactions to reports of sexual misconduct. Either way, it could be potentially harmful to people who really ARE victims of sexual misconduct or harassment, as their claims may not be processed justly or their accusations may not be trusted. And that’s really scary.

>If people abuse the system for reporting sexual misconduct, when word gets out, it’s going to have an impact

Lol, **If**. It was never a question of if. If there is power to be had from an accusation, and absolutely no punishment if you are caught lying, you are guaranteed to have people abuse that power. The real question is how visible it is when they inevitably do it.

Yeah – I’ve seen a lot of that where someone will throw out an accusation of something against someone they don’t like just to silence them or otherwise take them out of power. They attach labels to associate a person with something negative without proving that they are actually guilty of anything. Some of the more common ones include: sexist (used when someone disagrees with someone who is female), racist (used a lot when someone disagrees with someone of a different race), oreo (someone who is black/brown on the outside but “white” on the inside – i.e. doesn’t conform to what the accuser thinks an African-American should be like), homophobe (used a lot against anyone who has religious or moral objections to homosexuality), queer/faggot/pansy (used to attempt to impugn the virility of a guy or suggest they aren’t ‘man enough’ for something), dyke/butch/bitch (used against powerful women), liberal.(used as a pejorative against anyone who challenges the status-quo to imply that they are against good and wholesome values). The accusations are typically nothing more than ad hominem arguments.

Accusations – even false ones – can be very damaging. To quote a few people on how bad these can be:
“William James (1842-1910) sometimes referred to as ‘the father of modern Psychology’ said “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.”
A cynical restatement of the idea – which I see a lot of people buying into is “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”(Often attributed to Vladimir Lenin although I’ve seen no proof he actually said it).
Joseph Goebbels (Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany) is supposed to have said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

I forgot to point out that I agree with heroesofcrash’s comment that false accusations have a very negative impact on situations where the accusations are true.

Ostensibly I can understand why such rules are in place, but in practice I think they’re more a hindrance than a help. Trying to force the issue on either party’s part is of course a dumb idea, but letting your management staff mingle with the lowly serfs is usually a reasonable thing as it helps build that mysterious buzzword of “synergy”- people know each other better, understand each other more, are thus able to work together in a more efficient and effective way. Granted it can lead to increasingly sloppy behavior depending on how personalities mesh together but that’s true whether they hang out on a post-work level or if they all get together for company picnics where every activity is some kind of “team building exercise.”

That said people who make false allegations of sexual misconduct should be put into a pillory and mocked :|

Off-comic note:


I think I had imagined You looking slightly less like Michael Shanks’ Daniel Jackson…

I got so excited when I found a real game shop in the town I went to school in xD tons of fun playing Netrunner with real people

I was an entomologist. Other than a summer job immediately after I graduated from college, I never used it. However, it, or at least the agricultural entomology I studied, was a great preparation for other things I did, like software engineering.

Engineers like to think they are so cool and on top of things, and that the world works exactly like they think it does. What I learned in my entomology and related studies was that no, the world doesn’t always work like you think it does. In the natural world, Mother Nature is like “Oh by the way, did I forget to tell you this”, just when what you thought you knew is failing. In software, I was ready for that, when complex systems would show unexpected interactions between the various components- just like the natural world. Normal engineers had a harder time coping in those situations.

Software engineering was the first thing I did. I found it was great preparation for almost everything else I’ve tried. A software engineer is wrong dozens of times per day – maybe per hour. There is no appeal – you wrote the program wrong and it has a bug and you need to accept that gracefully and fix it. There’s very little use for ego. Not to say no one has egos, but I don’t think they help you program.

Also, you have to learn so much weird stuff for every project. It’s great training in mental flexibility. And, though it may not be true for all kinds of software, embedded programming is great training for thinking in multiple system levels at once.

Computers are incredibly dumb. They always do exactly what you told them to do – whether it makes sense or not…

… in contrast with people – who sometimes do what you told them to do, if they understood what you told them and feel motivated to do it, and it’s a high enough priority, and it’s actually possible, and Murphy’s law doesn’t intervene, but also sometimes do what you meant for them to do but didn’t actually say or do more than you asked, or cover for you when you were wrong, or can ask questions to clarify what you meant, or can suggest a better way to do it, or can get help, or can solve a problem with only the goal in mind without being told every step (at least SOME people can do that) …

By the way – the best engineers I know have long since figured out that they don’t know everything. They start from and understanding of how things are supposed to work, consider several alternatives that SHOULD work, choose one they THINK will work best within the competing priorities of cost, schedule, and performance, and then build in some “slip” to account for what will go wrong. They believe fervently in “Murphy’s Law” and assume that things WILL go wrong and plan with the idea of minimizing rework by getting things as right as possible in the planning stage so that the eventual bugs and problems are caught early.
With that said – yup – engineers tend to be a bit arrogant. They generally carry the most difficult course load of any major in college. Pre-med students tend to avoid engineering because it will drag down their GPA. On average, students who major in engineering have the highest GPA’s coming out of high school of any discipline – and the lowest exiting GPA’s due to both the quantity and difficulty of courses they have to complete to graduate. It’s typical for an engineering major to take 15 credit hours of required courses every semester and then have to fit in their General Education and elective courses on top of that. After 4-5 years of busting their humps just to survive, they tend to develop a superiority complex because, by golly, they actually ARE the smartest students in the college/university and they STILL had to work harder than any other major. A couple of years on the job in the real world hopefully humbles them a bit before they blow things up. One bit of wit I once heard from a engineering grad student is: “When you finish your BS degree, you think you know everything; by the time you finish your MS, you realize you don’t know ANYTHING, but by the time you finish a PhD, you realize NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE.”

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