I came across some old notes I had written in high school that led me on a trail of some of my messages and friendships during the time. A lot of the stuff I found that I wrote was truly cringe-worthy. I wonder if the reason I always bring up that research on how much people change in the past decade is because I know how much I’ve grown personally and would hate to be judged for my past self. During my many low moments, I think I still imagine this version of myself as the undeserving Jack of people’s praise. The one that’s like “if you knew the real me, you wouldn’t think I was nice or good at anything.”
But I know other people change and I know I have changed, so it seems like a really unhealthy thought to always picture the worst version of myself as The True Me. I guess the plethora of self-help books I’ve read during my work-hiatus helps too. It made me think about the people and experiences you need to have to create growth for yourself.
In San Francisco I dated a tech bro who, unfortunately, was very much like the stereotype. Let’s call him Don. I shared some of his latest tweets with a friend. My friend said Don sounded like a joke account…but Don was being completely sincere. Some bad tweets aside, I learned that he had some really sexist and un-inclusive opinions:
- He said he’d never want a woman manager because he didn’t think they would be as good? (Me: why?! Him: they just wouldn’t be as good. Basically they wouldn’t be men)
- He didn’t feel like diversity improved all teams, for example: his. He argued he wouldn’t be able to collaborate and connect with them as well. He gave the example of the friends on his team that he can joke around with and they “just understand each other” versus the foreign team members whose English wasn’t as good. ([scream] I know)
- He felt like his company was overdoing diversity and that he was on a hiring committee and they approved a woman who he didn’t think was as qualified, and that he was the only person who voted against the hire. (yeah, so people with these beliefs are on hiring committees in charge of people’s careers. The fact that he was the only one on the panel who felt differently didn’t give him any pause).
- He tried to tell me that going to a strip club as a work event (this actually happened) was totally appropriate and used the fact that a female team member went and seemed totally into it as evidence. It made her cool. I tried to point out that maybe she feels pressured to go along with the team to fit in with the prevailing culture and knows that she’d be “uncool” by being against it, and wants to advance at the company.
[red flag emoji red flag emoji red flag emoji]
I know you’re questioning all of my critical-thinking skills at this point knowing that I dated this person for months, but let’s pretend you still have some respect for me. My point in telling you this is that he had these opinions, but didn’t have an outlet for challenging them because he knew they were unpopular. But he was still able to use his power to act on them: hiring decisions, team culture, and whatever else he might be up to. I was the first person he talked to about it because girlfriend=confidant. Honestly, you have to admire my patience and optimism to think I could change this one person.
I guess I’ve been thinking about all the people who’ve done something wrong that you see get torn down in the news. Sometimes they know better, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s heinous, sometimes it’s just typical jerkiness (if I was Carissa, I would say “assholery”). But it feels like it’s all treated the same: where you have thousands of people demanding the offender’s life to be ruined and often cruel insults and/or violent threats. This can’t be the most productive approach, right? Like, it probably works for some people, but for others it might just intensify their opinions, but they learn to hide it.
This is the last week of my work-hiatus. I often think that I shouldn’t write anymore mainly because 1) I am going to leave a trail of misguided thoughts that will haunt me later and 2) I’m a really poor writer*. But here’s to gemini season!
*I recently scored 10/12 on an English competency tested in the writing portion
Also my emojis still aren’t loading and I don’t know how to fix it.