Jøhnny Fävòrítê (johnnyfavorite) wrote,
Jøhnny Fävòrítê

from the corners of my mouth

I saw this WikiHow article linked from Google’s home page today, and thought it was something I could learn from, so I read it. This is the most unnerving thing in there: Consider that a person whom you detest is invariably your “perfect” mirror — they are just like you.

Okay, that’s a pretty ugly thing to think about. I’ll try to trace along the edges of it, though.

In the last few years, I think the guy I detested the most was somebody I worked with at my last corporate job. He was a mediocre developer, which is not a big problem in and of itself. The problem was him acting like it was his world, and the rest of us just live in it. He would be working on some module, and then completely rewrite it without telling anybody, breaking everybody else’s code that depended on it. Somebody would mention this, and he would completely brush off our concerns, explaining how much better it is now. When there was some technical decision to be made, like how to solve a problem or which library to use or which platform or whatever, he would argue desperately that his choice was the only possible way that it could ever work. Mild disagreement was met with increasingly shrill retorts, appeals to authority, and threats.

I distanced myself from him, even though he was ostensibly my technical lead at the time. I gradually changed things so that my work depended less and less on his. I did what I could without consulting him, all the while trying to get myself moved to another group. So he went to our mutual boss and complained about me. I was wrecking his group, you see. This got me and the other guy hauled into our boss’ office. One of the many gems he uttered there that day: “I don’t like him [referring to me], and I know that’s not a very nice thing to say, but it’s just the truth.”

That situation settled itself without me having to do anything else. He was psycho enough that he pissed off everybody, not just me. I succeeded in changing my role in the company enough that I had basically nothing to do with him. He got demoted into lesser and lesser roles, and was ultimately laid off.

Then there was the guy at the company where I was initially so happy to be contracting. It turns out that he wants to treat all developers as interchangeable cogs. Just do the job, as quickly as possible, for the least amount of money, and get out. Don’t bother trying to understand the project, that’s a waste of time. If you are not available today, I’ll get another cog to take your place. Complaints? You are defective cog. Next!

I have to assume that guy has so far been successful in his strategy. One of the apps they were working on had a hard deadline, because it was tied to a real-world event. Looking at the iOS app store, I see it was released just yesterday. He started his own company and he lives off the profits. A goal of mine which I have not been able to realize.

Then there’s my former sister. Through a twist of fate, she ended up in control of the family fortune. Then she betrayed me, worse than anybody has ever betrayed me in my entire life. She decided that all the money is to be spent on her, and me and our mother can go pound sand. I haven’t spoken to her for seven or eight years now.

As to whether she was successful in that strategy: Half and half. She lives in a very nice house and travels all over the world, all on the family fortune. Of course, she is also a bitter shell of a human. A weak, petty, egotistical liar.

Am I seeing myself in these people? Wow, I hope not. There are some areas where I can clearly refute any similarity. In the corporate job, I was way more successful than that other guy. I was the first and so far only person who was so valuable that they bent the rules and let me work from home for several days a week, for example. I would still be working there, if the job hadn’t been killing me. The other guy was essentially fired. Here’s another area: I don’t have a lot of money, but there is nobody who knows my whole story who could possibly doubt that I am generous with it. I wouldn’t mind telling those stories, but it would involve a lot of other people who don’t necessarily want all those details to be public.

In other ways: well. okay. um. It’s my world, and other people just live in it? I think some people might agree with that assessment. I could go on, but this is already painful enough.

I’ve not allowed myself to be this negative in public for quite a number of years. It was a good idea, at the time I instigated the rule. I couldn’t see anything clearly in my situation, due to all the firestorms I was creating in my life. I could not be trusted with negative thoughts and words. It was like keeping a loaded .38 in a house with a toddler. I needed to impose some order so I could think for awhile.

But now, I’ve learned how to control it. I don’t go around starting unnecessary fires anymore. And all those negative thoughts are still there. They didn’t go away on their own. My evil sister really is a weak, petty, egotistical liar, and it still grates on me, to this day. And by me not saying anything out loud, she gets away with it, every day.

UPDATE. another gem from the aforementioned WikiHow article: “People who are unwilling to reflect on how their words and actions appear to others can end up not caring about how they are viewed and in turn, this shows up as not caring about others either. This can make them seem selfish, aloof, and perhaps even vacant and after an initial enthusiastic encounter with such a character, you may have initially felt they were attractive, or interesting, only to quickly realize that they are blinded to their effect on others and have little to share because they hide within themselves.” Steph, guess who I am thinking about right now. And for that matter, the overall trend that you love to point out about the sorts of people I end up fraternizing with.
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