In the midst of all these “Humans will packbond with anything” posts, I’m going to pause and give you some actual, real-world career advice

lynati:

roachpatrol:

rainaramsay:

Ready? 

Humans are packbondy creatures.  I mean, there’s just no arguing it.  They packbond readily, and quickly, and unbelievably strongly.  Once a human has packbonded with a thing, they will do anything to help and protect that thing.  

There’s a downside to that, not often mentioned.  It uses up a lot of their time and energy to build those packbonds, maintain those packbonds, and most especially to do the work of helping and protecting those with whom they have packbonded.  It doesn’t leave them a lot of time and energy for helping other beings. 

If you want a human to help you – if you want to reliably get their best effort – you have to packbond with them first.

Yeah? So?
So you’re probably going to be working with humans for most, if not all, of your career.  No matter how good or bad you are at your job, there will come a time when you need someone else in your workspace to help you with something, whether that’s manning the fry station for 2 minutes while you pee, sending over those numbers from marketing, or dropping everything to teach you how to do a thing that your boss told you to do or else you’d be fired.  

Not to mention the big things.  They don’t give promotions to just their friends – at least not so much any more. Promotions go to the people who’ve completed big, visible, important projects.  It seems fair until you consider,,,, who gets the big, important, visible projects assigned to them in the first place?  

Humans give boosts to the people they’ve packbonded with.  They mention packbondee’s accomplishments to the boss (or the boss’ boss).  They cover for the mistakes of people they’ve packbonded with.  

That’s not right! It shouldn’t be a popularity contest! It should be about who does the best –” 
Listen to me. 
Listen.

You may be right.  You may be the most correct creature to have ever spoken since the beginning of galactic civilization. 

It
does
not
matter

Humans packbond. It’s what they do. I can’t stop it. You can’t stop it.  No power in the ‘verse can stop it. This is how the human do.

All you can do is work with it. 

If you want a human to help you – if you want to reliably get their best effort – you have to packbond with them first.

Look, I’m introverted and scared of people and I have social anxiety so I really don’t know how to –”
Hey, my pal, I feel you.  I, too, am introverted. And I have social anxiety. And I have PTSD that actually – and I recognize that this is bizarre – has ‘business networking’ as a trigger.  

For you, I have good news:
Humans will packbond with anything.  

Like, you don’t really actually have to do anything. You kinda just have to… exist. In their presence. They kinda do the rest.  

If you can talk with them, that speeds things up.  But it doesn’t have to be, like, good conversation. Like, it can totally go

You: boy, sure is hot out!
Human: Man oh man, can you believe it?
You: Wow, yeah
Human: Totally
You: ….
Human: ….

This conversation – as awkward and uncomfortable as it felt to you, has caused this human to packbond with you a little more. If you repeat it weekly, you will get good results. 

THE TAKEAWAYS

  • You need to packbond with the humans you come in contact with
  • Taking time to do that is not only justifiable, it is an important part of your job, and should be treated as such
  • That is to say that, as much as you hate it (and believe me, I understand), you have to take time away from actual work and dedicate it to packbonding with your fellow workers

Tips

  • Plan out your packbonding time. It’s easier if you can initiate than if a human springs packbonding-time on you all unexpected.  In an office job I like to use Friday afternoon, but adjust according to what makes sense to you and your situation.
  • Keep some packbonding-time questions handy.  My go-to list is:
    • (If it’s Monday or Tuesday) How was your weekend?
    • (If it’s Wednesday) How’s your week been so far?
    • (If it’s Thursday or Friday) Any big plans for the weekend?
    • How’s your day been?
  • You don’t have to care about the answers to these questions. All you have to do is remember that if the human is answering questions, they are not asking you any questions.  Therefore questions are your friend.  If you ask follow-up questions, you may be able to get through the entire packbonding time without having to do any of the talking
  • Learn to disengage from packbonding.  You can use basically the same sentence (or variants on it), but you’ll want to practice it so that you can make it sound natural.  I use “Awesome! Well, I gotta get going. Have a good one!”

I know it feels overwhelming, but a few minutes of packbonding, once a week, is all you need.  Once you build it into your habits it can be no more annoying than doing dishes or showering.  

additional crucial packhack: humans will like you more IF you ask them to do you a small favor AND THEN express gratitude and indebtedness. it seems counter intuitive to ASK for favors instead of DOING favors but that’s the key! they will keep tabs on your welfare if they think you owe them; they will want to keep you around if you establish yourself as someone who appreciates their efforts. humans thrive on mutual caretaking. invite them to caretake you and then show you are eager to caretake back and you will have a solid workplace alliance started.

small favor examples: can you pass me that tool item? may i try some of your snack? could you remind me of a fact? can you give me some advice?

most humans feel safe when they feel valued. it is this crucial emotional drive that underlies many human interactions. it is especially important in the workplace, where those that are not valued are ruthlessly cut out and discarded from the pack. so assure your humans that you appreciate them and they will come to you for the comfort of it.

Dammit, why did nobody lay it out for me this simply *years* ago??

thesweetpianowritingdownmylife:

sindri42:

deliciousstomach:

gwinny3k:

The worst trick a childhood anxiety disorder pulls is, you spend your early years being applauded for being so much more mature than your peers, because you aren’t disruptive, you don’t want any kind of attention, you don’t express yourself, you keep yourself to yourself – this makes you a pleasure to have in class, etc etc – and you start to believe it’s virtue. But you’re actually way behind your peers in normal social development, and who knows if you can ever catch up.

Never heard a truer thing in my life.

The worst thing is to combine this with just enough natural academic talent that you can skate through elementary school, middle school, high school, maybe even the first couple years of college without asking a single question because everything is so obvious.

You grow up knowing that you’re mature, that you’re intelligent, that someday you’re going to do great things and make the world a better place and get rich all at the same time. And then you hit maybe, Junior year of college, when you’re getting out of the broad fundamentals of knowledge and into the serious specific stuff for the work you know you’re going to be doing. And there’s something you don’t understand. It’s an important thing, and the resources are right there in front of you, but no matter how much you read and reread and google shit on the subject it’s just not clicking. What you need is an explanation from a living person who knows how this works, and you’re just… incapable of asking for help.

But that’s okay, you’re brilliant, you got this. And you keep studying on your own and you keep working your hardest and you keep trying everything except for like, raising your hand in class or asking a friend or going to office hours or anything like that because something like that is just straight up impossible. And then exams hit and you still don’t get it and there’s nothing you can do but accept the failing grade.

And then the questions start. Did you use every resource available to you? Well of course you did(n’t). You’ve never had this kind of problem before, have you been slacking off? Or is it just too hard? And there are only two possible explanations; either you’re lazy, and you could have done the work but you chose not to, or you’re an idiot and even with all the resources available to help you were just incapable of doing this so what’s the point of trying? And it’s just one class, you could have recovered from that one big mistake if you’d like, started going to therapy a year ago and learned how to deal with failure as a kid and already knew how to ask for the help you need, but you don;t have any of those things so you just keep failing and failing and suddenly three years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars of tuition is just one big sunk cost that’ll never pay out.

So your dreams are all shot because you don’t have the knowledge or the degree you need to accomplish them, and if you bothered to make a backup plan for your life that was probably also founded on the notion that you’re a hard-working genius so it’s basically worthless, and you’re sitting there with no technical skills, no social skills, no real-world experience, no aspirations in life, a dead end job if you’re lucky, and a debt you’ll probably never manage to pay back. And you gotta build a new life for yourself from there. You gotta learn to be a regular dumb asshole like everybody else, because all you ever knew was how to be a genius. And this time, you really do have to figure it all out on your own, because all the resources laid out by society to teach people to be regular normal people are aimed at pre-teens, and you’re sitting there in your 20s trying to figure out shit everybody else knew before they hit puberty while you’re being bombarded by expectations to buy a house and save for retirement and all kinds of other impossible bullshit.

i ghost-wrote this last addition. It’s EXACTLY what happened to me, minus the debt, bc in my country college is relatively cheap and my parents could afford to pay for it.

Don’t be good, kids. There’s no percentage in it.

pyrrhiccomedy:

animate-mush:

amatara:

I’m pretending all the time to be, kinder, stronger, funnier, more sociable than I am. I guess we’re all like that but it just feels so inadequate.

What’s the difference?

I know it sounds flippant but… certain things are fundamentally performative.  And other things are so close as makes no difference.

Kindness is performative.  Actions are kind, and people are kind by performing those actions.  You can’t “pretend” to be kinder than you are, you can only perform kindness or not perform kindness, and choosing to perform kindness is always worthwhile, no matter how much you may second-guess your motivations.

Strength is so many things.  It takes strength to pretend a strength you don’t feel.  And the way to achieve strength is to exercise it, so long as you do it in enough moderation to not strain or break anything.  Being able to affect strength when necessary while being able to put it down again when that in turn is necessary is healthy.  Everyone starts weight training with the littlest weights.  It’s not fake or pretending to do what you gotta do in any given situation.

Funniness lives in the interlocutor, not in the speaker.  It doesn’t matter how funny you think you are (or think you are pretending to be) – that’s not how it’s measured.  At what point are you “pretending” to be a musician if the music still gets made?  And often what it’s tempting to describe in first person as “pretending” is more accurately described in the third person as “practicing” – which is of course the way you cause things to Be.

Sociability is also performative.  Pretending to be sociable is just…being sociable, despite a disinclination towards it.  It’s making an effort towards something you value.  So long as the effort is not so great that it backfires into resentment, there’s no practical difference.  

Qualities or activities or whatever are no less worthy because you have to actively choose to perform them.  If anything, the worthiness lies in the act of choosing.  It’s not “pretending” – it’s agency.

tl;dr: ain’t nothing wrong with “fake it till you make it.”  A plastic spoon* holds just as much soup as a “real” one

* I keep wanting to talk about semantic domains!  Artifacts are defined by their utility, whereas living things are defined by their identity.  So plastic forks are still forks, but plastic flowers aren’t flowers.  So there’s two pep-talk messages to take away from this: (1) for certain things, the distinction between “fake” and “real” isn’t a relevant one so long as they still get the job done, and (2) the purpose of a living thing is to be the thing that it is.  The idea of a “useless person” is as semantically nonsensical as the idea of “pretend kindness” (or fake cutlery).

I love this post. It illustrates what I think is maybe the key difference between a developing self-identity and a formed self-identity, which is, like…confidence? If you are BEING kind, consistently, if you are prioritizing that over your own comfort or fatigue or even, occasionally, your emotional inclination (because OH MY GOD FUCK THIS GUY, I HAVE HAD IT UP TO HERE–uuughhh, but no, I’m not gonna lash out at him, that won’t accomplish anything, and besides, he’s probably had a bad day, he’s under a lot of stress, I don’t have to be an asshole about this…), guess what? That makes you kind. That is literally what kindness is. Same for patience, same for strength, same for all of this stuff. You got it. You’re doing it. You’re not faking anything. Stop second-guessing yourself and cutting yourself down. Give yourself enough credit to look at your actions and confidently assert to yourself that you are no longer just making things up as you go. 

I’m remembering that years ago, after a road trip, I told an acquaintance that in Alabama, when I just went into a Taco Bell or something the employees acted like they couldn’t be happier that I had come into *their* Taco Bell. She interrupted me, saying, “It’s an act.”

I was stumped, because of *course* it was an act. The point was, they put on an act to make me feel good, and I liked it and tried to return the favor. Rather than us all trying to make our days more difficult.

pyrrhiccomedy:

animate-mush:

amatara:

I’m pretending all the time to be, kinder, stronger, funnier, more sociable than I am. I guess we’re all like that but it just feels so inadequate.

What’s the difference?

I know it sounds flippant but… certain things are fundamentally performative.  And other things are so close as makes no difference.

Kindness is performative.  Actions are kind, and people are kind by performing those actions.  You can’t “pretend” to be kinder than you are, you can only perform kindness or not perform kindness, and choosing to perform kindness is always worthwhile, no matter how much you may second-guess your motivations.

Strength is so many things.  It takes strength to pretend a strength you don’t feel.  And the way to achieve strength is to exercise it, so long as you do it in enough moderation to not strain or break anything.  Being able to affect strength when necessary while being able to put it down again when that in turn is necessary is healthy.  Everyone starts weight training with the littlest weights.  It’s not fake or pretending to do what you gotta do in any given situation.

Funniness lives in the interlocutor, not in the speaker.  It doesn’t matter how funny you think you are (or think you are pretending to be) – that’s not how it’s measured.  At what point are you “pretending” to be a musician if the music still gets made?  And often what it’s tempting to describe in first person as “pretending” is more accurately described in the third person as “practicing” – which is of course the way you cause things to Be.

Sociability is also performative.  Pretending to be sociable is just…being sociable, despite a disinclination towards it.  It’s making an effort towards something you value.  So long as the effort is not so great that it backfires into resentment, there’s no practical difference.  

Qualities or activities or whatever are no less worthy because you have to actively choose to perform them.  If anything, the worthiness lies in the act of choosing.  It’s not “pretending” – it’s agency.

tl;dr: ain’t nothing wrong with “fake it till you make it.”  A plastic spoon* holds just as much soup as a “real” one

* I keep wanting to talk about semantic domains!  Artifacts are defined by their utility, whereas living things are defined by their identity.  So plastic forks are still forks, but plastic flowers aren’t flowers.  So there’s two pep-talk messages to take away from this: (1) for certain things, the distinction between “fake” and “real” isn’t a relevant one so long as they still get the job done, and (2) the purpose of a living thing is to be the thing that it is.  The idea of a “useless person” is as semantically nonsensical as the idea of “pretend kindness” (or fake cutlery).

I love this post. It illustrates what I think is maybe the key difference between a developing self-identity and a formed self-identity, which is, like…confidence? If you are BEING kind, consistently, if you are prioritizing that over your own comfort or fatigue or even, occasionally, your emotional inclination (because OH MY GOD FUCK THIS GUY, I HAVE HAD IT UP TO HERE–uuughhh, but no, I’m not gonna lash out at him, that won’t accomplish anything, and besides, he’s probably had a bad day, he’s under a lot of stress, I don’t have to be an asshole about this…), guess what? That makes you kind. That is literally what kindness is. Same for patience, same for strength, same for all of this stuff. You got it. You’re doing it. You’re not faking anything. Stop second-guessing yourself and cutting yourself down. Give yourself enough credit to look at your actions and confidently assert to yourself that you are no longer just making things up as you go. 

orochimemelord:

daloy-politsey:

denanagy:

daloy-politsey:

Thesis: People hate social media and the concept of internet friends because it breaks through societal control of social interactions. White kids who live in towns that are 98% white aren’t supposed to have black or brown friends. Teenagers aren’t supposed to know 15 other kids their age who are LGBT, lest they question their own gender and/or sexuality. There are people who hate that kids and young adults are making friends in places other than school, work, place of worship, places within the local community, and family connections, because those are the places where you meet people who are “your kind”, and now it doesn’t matter what worldview adults try to instill in their children. They can be exposed to several other world views, some of which may conflict with the one they were brought up with, by talking to people online from 5 different countries.

oh i thought people hated it because there aren’t really “visual” interactioms with online persons, such as eye contact or body language

This is another reason people hate it. They see neurodivergent people making friends online and they don’t think it’s good for them because we’re not practicing all of the skills we need in the “real world” so they say these internet friends don’t count because we didn’t work as hard for them as people we met through irl interactions that could often be awkward and scary for us.

It also throws a wrench in the plans of abusive parents who want to isolate their children and the plans of parents of

disabled dependent adults who move to tiny deserted communities to hhide the fact that the have *gasp* A DISABLED SON/DAUGHTER. Because the children of these parents now have a support network of people other than them!

Found this while looking for something else and I almost cried. What a book like that could have meant for me 35 years ago. It could have spared me decades of loneliness and depression and isolation and violent assaults and suicidal thoughts. (Fun fact: Aspies commit suicide about 47 times more than the neurotypical. Remember my recent rants about suicide as social control?!?)

And if you go to the page, there’s other books like this in print. Books that lay out all the secret codes the neurotypical understand intuitively, that we’re ostracized and beaten up and hounded for not knowing. 

Gods. Maybe there’s hope for the human race after all, if books like these are getting published, however belatedly.

If any of you know an Aspie kid, for the love of God buy them some of these books. You may quite literally be saving their lives.

Amazon.com: The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-so-obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens With Asperger Syndrome (9781849059152): Jennifer Cook O’Toole: Books