Friday, January 12, 2007

People are People, So Stop Kissing Ass

It is the perpetual cry of the recently fired for misconduct. When asked why they were dismissed the answer is always “I just wasn’t good at kissing ass.” Now, admittedly, 90% of these people are actually unruly, surly sons of bitches who couldn’t get along a Mormon Missionary, much less appease a critical supervisor. These people rarely see the error in their own ways and see everyone who does not tell the boss to eat a dick every time they are asked to do something that is, strangely, part of their job as a kiss ass. It is not impossible that I am one of these people.

The problem is that while I think most organizations are not so political that one must add “sycophant” to their business card in order to get ahead, there are some places where you need to butter up the boss to succeed. Where you need to treat people who think they are important like they are important, and therefore debase yourself. This is a skill I have never possessed. There is a difference between respect for authority and outright brown-nosing, and I understand it clearly. When a supervisor asks me to do something, I do exactly what I am asked. I do not go out of my way to impress anyone unless I feel that it will improve the overall outcome. In other words, I never go out of my way just to look good to my supervisors. Unless, of course, my supervisors are hot.

Many people are also afraid of the big bosses. Like somehow the owner of a company or a general manager is a superior form of human life and must be shown complete and total deference every time they enter a room. Listen, I don’t think anyone in the world is better than me. Period. If they are in a higher postiion and I am paid to follow their orders I do, but I still talk to everyone pretty much the same. This got me in some trouble in the Marines, since you could only tell who I was talking to if I added “sir” to the end of a sentence. But the fact is people are people and you should never put anyone above yourself.

Treating people like they are better than you only feeds their already over-inflated egos. This is why I am also duly unimpressed by celebrities, and would never treat one any different than I’d treat anybody else I would meet. Similarly, I have no heroes. There is not a single person on Earth I would rather be than myself, so therefore there is no one I aspire to be. That is not to say there are not aspects of other people’s lives I would like to have, but I just don’t believe in looking up to anyone.

This is why I cannot kiss anyone’s ass. I don’t fear them and therefore feel no real reason to make them feel better about themselves. If my work itself impresses them, then fine. But I am not going to compliment anyone for no reason, or cower in fear when they come around just because they hold a higher position than I. They’re just people, like me. No better, often worse. Sometimes this warrants others who do not think like me faster promotion and better careers. And that is fine. But their advancement has come at the expense of everyone else, as now that boss has an even bigger ego and will expect such behavior from your co-workers. Be advised, kiss-asses, you are hurting everyone else by being so pathetic. Stop and think before you get your nose so brown.


At 5:13 PM, Blogger roosh said...

100% agreement. celebrity worship baffles me

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there's less of that bullshit in sciences (computer science being one of them, of course). Much less than in business, law, politics, any other arts field, or army. People who are at the top in science are there because they are better than you. They get respect because they deserve it. Not to say it's always like that - never, of course. People do ego trips everywhere - in science, in high-tech, in every field. But the ratio is different.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Johnson said...

I'm just disappointed that you have no heroes. I thought I was your hero or the wind beneath your wings as it were. I'll be quietly sobbing in the corner if you need me.

There's a fine line b/t doing what your boss wants and kissing ass. The whole key to surviving in cubicle land is to find that line. Also, you don't wanna kiss too much ass b/c if you're seen as too good of a worker, guess'll get more work to do. Do just enough to get by and get decent evaluations but don't go overboard or else you'll be stuck running those TPS reports on a Friday that your lazy co-workers do half-assedly (is that even a word? If not it should be). That's the Johnson Way. No, dare I say, it's the American Way. I love this country.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Lawyers must, if not kiss ass, be properly deferential when acting in their capacity before the Bar.

There have been many times I've wanted to tell a judge that the Judge is being retarded, or overindulging opposing counsel (usually in Broward). But you can't do that. Because they're the Judge. And I took an Oath to respect them. And I can get in a LOT of shit if I don't put up with theirs, a la 57.105, and new rules where they can fine us for "Unprofessional behavior." Or, you know, file a Bar Grievance.

Hell, even today, I wanted to talk over the Judge, but when I tried to interrupt her and she put up her hand and said, "I'm handing down my ruling," I had to say, "Yes, your Honor..."


At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hearing you talk in all that legal jargon turns me on.

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is why i quit investment banking

At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why I cannot kiss anyone’s ass. I don’t fear them and therefore feel no real reason to make them feel better about themselves.

I think this is why my bosses don't like me. I am not a pushover and I am no ass- kisser. : \

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh... you mean I need to kiss ass and not kick ass in the office? I've always got that wrong. No wonder I can't move up the corporate ladder.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Johnny said...

Totally agree. So many people are ass kissers who are willing to be taken advantage of at work, putting the pressure on everyone else to be the same way.

At 6:11 PM, Blogger Paul said...

pretty obvious I guess but how you're regarded usually reflects on how you come off to people. The difference between being respected as a "straight shooter who doesnt get involved in politics" and "a tactless asshole who everyone hates" is a very fine line.

there's also a fine line between "playing the game" and "kissing ass". i think the difference is the end state -- schmoozing to get ahead because you lack ability or to bring someone else down = ass kissing. schmoozing to get the job done or increase efficiency = "playing the game".

i had the same take on things when i was in the suck -- just cuz someone was a gunny didnt mean i was gonna bow down to them -- and i found they respected me more than someone who would. there's a lot of bully culture in the upper-enlisted world of the marines, and when you dont cower to a lot of those guys they dont try shit with you (as long as you're squared away in general). the same rules apply as a civilian too. if you let someone walk on you, they will, but that doesn't really mean you have to walk on other people to avoid it.

fuck, just treat people how you wanna be treated. izzat so hard?

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Tara said...

I don't usually kiss ass either, but I will take orders from my managers. Sometimes what makes that part easier is if they convey the same kind of respect. The director of our school asks me to scan certain documents because I'm the only one with a scanner. But he's always nice about it, and so that motivates me.

I went home for lunch and happened to catch the red carpet thing on the E channel for the Golden Globes. Talk about kissing ass.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

seems to me every misanthrope with an outsized ego, mediocre job skills, and 20k in credit card debt desperately clings to this ideal that every person who has any authority in corporate America is a tool who doesn't deserve what he/she has. Whatever gets you through the day, I guess.

At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know..

I get friends of my mom's telling me stuff about how when I'm older, I'll understand the whole "suck up" at work thing. One day I'll see what's needed and to keep my job, I'll fall in line like they did.


I'm 36 now so I wonder just how friggen old I'm supposed to be before I will understand that I have to do this.

I'm thinking I'll drop dead first.

I've never kissed ass. If I am super-friendly to my boss it's because they've been super-friendly to me. Or super-helpful. Or super-anything-positive.

I've always treated people how they treat me.. that bit only really works when they've treated me well. If they've been snotty or nasty, etc... they get professional me. No warmth, no friendliness. No contact at all if I can manage that... believe it or not, that's actually possible. I wouldn't have thought so, but it is.

Admittedly, I've moved around a lot for jobs, but I rarely have serious problems with co-workers/bosses and never feel the need to kiss ass.

Nor will I ever... regardless of what my older peers say/think.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Scott said...

I discovered your site recently, and while I mostly find amusement from it, sometimes what you say hits home.

I have three sons who, in the next few years, are going to be searching our society for role models. This scares me shitless. In my opinion, there are scant few people in this world who command the respect necessary for me to feel comfortable with them as my kids' "heroes".


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