Saturday, May 7, 2011

Will the Dark Side Rule Your Desinty?

Here is a short review of a general book that is supposed to be of much assistance to academics--how to deal with @ssholes in the workplace and not become one.  It has led me to ponder whether I have already crossed over to the dark side or not.  The good news is that the book provides an online quiz to help determine whether one is or is not an @sshole. 

The problem with the quiz is that most of the questions are true/false:
  • You secretly enjoy seeing people suffer and squirm?  Not all people, but some? Um, yes.
  • How about this one: "You are constantly “buttering-up” your boss and other powerful people, and expect the same treatment from your underlings."  I think my current and past chairs would comfortably say nope.
  • Guilty"Your jokes and teasing can get a bit nasty at times, but you have to admit, they are pretty funny."  Not intended to be nasty and certainly not always funny.
  • "People seem to stop having fun when you show up."  Mais non. [Although there was an @sshole at my first job that would flee during my second year there whenever I turned up, but that was more about him than me]

My score: 3: 0 to 5 “True”: "You don’t sound like a certified asshole, unless you are fooling yourself."  As I often write of misperception, I realize that I might, indeed, be fooling myself.

While some of the questions are focused on how others react to you, the quiz itself is kind of flawed because it requires one to address one's own perceptions, and isn't "@asshole-ness" a socially constructed identity?  That is, it depends on how others see you and react to you, not just your behavior, although behavior does influence the perception.  

I was very tempted in this quiz to answer "sometimes" or "to some people" as my behavior varies over time and depending on the person.  I turn the other cheek badly (I wanted Bin Laden dead).  While I do think some people fit into the category of always and some in the category of never, I think most folks are in the category of "it depends."  The real question is how to handle the folks who are always or nearly always, as I have mentioned before, the trick is how the community handles the bad folks.

I probably need to read this book, as my reactions to @ssholes almost certainly does not make things better.

No comments: