Symposium Re-Boot: Why You Should Stop Being a Loyal Employee

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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30 Responses

  1. Avatar Maribou says:

    @rtod, I don’t remember if I said this (or if so, what you said back) on your old post, but my response to both you and @Patrick is pretty much the same now that it was last time you posted this:

    This is a vein of advice that I have *ONLY* ever been offered by middle-class (or upper-class) white males (and I have too few digits to count up the number of middle-class (or upper-class) white males who have offered it to me, usually not because I was asking for advice or even talking about my job).

    I’m not saying it is not good advice. It’s very good advice and when I have felt brave enough or stubborn enough to take it, it has served me well. I think both you and Patrick express your points very well; I enjoyed reading both your posts. And I was lucky to hear this speech from other very eloquent people at times in my life when I was young and impressionable enough to find it useful.

    But the reasons why people DON’T take it are incredibly complex, and it seems significant to me that I have never gotten this particular set of instructions from any of the women, genderqueers, or people of color that I know. No doubt that is well outside the scope of your post, and of Patrick’s – but it still bears saying. Also I’m pretty sure that it’s easier to follow through on if you are an upper-middle-class white guy (and in a gradual fashion, so the more points of visible difference away from that societal standard you are, the harder it gets) – but that’s a whole field of research, and not really my point.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Maribou says:

      @maribou “the number of middle-class (or upper-class) white males who have offered it to me… it seems significant to me that I have never gotten this particular set of instructions from any of the women, genderqueers, or people of color that I know.

      I’m not entirely sure about the class thing, so it’s possible you’re right — but if I’m being honest, I suspect that the opposite is true: That not knowing that you can or should do this is one factor that keeps people in lower-wage positions. But the truth is I don’t know. And since I’ve need worked with people who are transgender I certainly can’t comment on that.

      As to the rest, my own experience tells me that you’re wrong. If I look at certain kinds of companies that I have worked for, this has been the key to people of different ages, colors, and sexes being given progressive responsibility and leadership positions. Heck, the person who first convinced me that it was a path worth considering is knittingniki, who has based her entire career on coaching people (but mostly women) on how to use these kinds of skills to get better and more fulfilling work. So I don’t believe that it has anything to do with being a white male.

      Now, I *do* believe that making this kind of transition is far easier for some than it is for others.

      There’s no question that making the shift that I did came far more naturally me (or knittingniki) than t would, say, my best friend, who is quite introverted. For him, getting to a place where he could comfortably make this kind of transition took time and a bit of effort. And my sister is a good example of someone who takes to this mindset far more easily than I.

      And for many, I recognize that it holds enough uncomfortable steps (and risks) that it’s just not worth it to pursue, or at least to pursue very far. And that’s fine, but I still maintain it’s good career advice.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @rtod ” this has been the key to people of different ages, colors, and sexes being given progressive responsibility and leadership positions” – and statistically, at the city, state, federal, or international level, pick your favorite – how are we doing on that? Not relative to 1900, but in terms of actual percentages?

        My point wasn’t that it was not good advice! I AGREED with you, emphatically, that it is (usually) good advice. I think targeted, intensive coaching on how to do it is helpful for those of us who struggle with it (whatever the reason), and that knittingniki is doing wonderful work.

        What upsets me – what I was trying and obviously failing to get at – is that there are much larger, systematic problems at play. Problems that don’t get solved one at a time, one on one. And problems that put two people at MUCH different advantage levels, when it comes to this particular solution, than being an introvert vs an extrovert. (I’ve been both, at different stages of my life; I still am both now though I switch back and forth. I know it’s hard, but trust me, compared to the other stuff I have experienced or that I see regularly in my student workers? NOT that hard.) Mostly because, if you are a woman, or a person of color, or noticeably non-genderconforming, or visibly disabled, you get told over and over (even more over and over than someone who isn’t middle-class) that This Advice Does Not Pertain To You And How Dare You Act As Though It Does. I started getting grief for assuming I had ownership of my life, and the ability to negotiate and provide solutions to the problems I saw, at the age of FOUR – and I dropped out of that kindergarten, and refused to go back, because I got sick of being told by the teachers that I needed to be a good little girl and didn’t I see how well-behaved all the other little girls were? (No, boys did not get this lecture. Yes, I really do remember this. I also read Anne of Green Gables when I was three, so I had counter-models in my head already.) I am “naturally” the perfect vessel for this advice. But I spent the first many years of my life having it drummed out of me and that is HARD to overcome, much harder the more cultural baggage it comes with. And despite my abusive misogynist father and being a woman? I have it a lot easier, cultural baggage wise, than many of my students and friends do.

        And so, I get frustrated that no matter how many times I get given this advice, it never comes *together* with a stated awareness of how unlevel that playing field is, that if this advice was a race, some people are starting on the 30 yard line and others are starting 60 feet behind the starting gate, not because of their “natural selves” (whatever that is), but because of how society sets things up. Not frustrated just (or even mostly) for myself. But frustrated for myself and everyone else who finds it even harder than I do, because they have even fewer of the unfair advantages that I had, and even more experience of being told not to be that way.

        I’m not saying you can’t win from 60 yards behind. OF COURSE people do it. Absolutely, the path you detail above is probably one of the healthiest ways to do it. It’s just that the career advice I’ve received from people of color, from women of my acquaintance, and from folks who aren’t fairly high up the class ladder? Tends to have a very different flavor from this. Tends to be a lot more couched, right up front, in the awareness of what the obstacles are and how situational one’s choices have to be. Tends to talk about stuff like “Well, this one time I did this and it ruined my life for three years, but in the end it was worth it to ruin my life short-term to make it better long term,” rather than saying that it got them fired once so they finally went into business for themselves – that is a position of strength that many people just do not have access to.

        Why not start posts like this by talking about how even though you firmly believe this is good advice for everyone, it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder for some folks than it was for you, and maybe give some pointers to some of the stats out there about that, before circling back around to the advice? And why when I said it was good advice but here was my problem with it, that I only ever HEARD it from middle-class white men, did you respond as if I said it was only good advice for middle-class white men? I adore you; I think you give GREAT career advice – but I like you way too much to keep thinking, “Well, obviously he must take these types of inequality seriously, I’ll just assume he doesn’t realize how it can make someone feel, that he generally only talks about them after someone else forces the issue.”Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I very much agree with what @maribou has said here.

        I wonder if the difference here is this bit from @tod-kelly :

        If I look at certain kinds of companies that I have worked for, this has been the key to people of different ages, colors, and sexes being given progressive responsibility and leadership positions.

        Are these companies that sought you out (presuming your talking consulting gigs from your self-employment)? If so, does that suggest mean that the companies have already self-selected to value diversity and a multitude of voices in leadership positions?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I clearly misunderstood what you are saying, and that’s on me — totally a read fail, not a write fail. I don’t think there’s any question that different people start out of the gate with a disadvantage, and the ones you mention are all perfect examples.

        Part of my issue, clearly, is privilege. And I don’t say that sarcastically, I really mean it. I see things from a vantage point that not everyone is able to, and I in turn am left to only guess exactly what things look like from other POVs.

        As to your larger question about my writing:

        “Well, obviously he must take these types of inequality seriously, I’ll just assume he doesn’t realize how it can make someone feel, that he generally only talks about them after someone else forces the issue.”

        I’m unsure what to say except that’s not who I am as a writer — and it’s not who I want to be. I *do* write about inequality; I think I write about it a lot. But I don’t write about everything first and foremost through that (or any) prism, and I probably never will.

        There are a few reasons for this. For one, I don’t actually think it’s appropriate for me to attempt to be the voice of women, or African Americans, or the LGBT community. I am neither qualified nor, I have to think, particularly welcome to be that person. Also, sometimes I think White Upper-Middle Class Guy telling the world how tough it is not to be White Upper-Middle Class Guy can come off as being condescending and counterproductive, even when it’s well-intended and and meant to point out something that seriously needs to be addressed. (Call it a sincere desire to check my privilege at the door, if you will.) And sometimes (though not nearly as often as you might assume; it’s pretty damn rare) it’s part of being privileged that I don’t consider that viewpoint when I sit down to write.

        But most of all it’s this: Writers who always write about things through any prism lose power over time. I don’t want to make an Off The Cuff post about my career something that’s seen through the lens of inequality, because soon I’m going to want to write about inequality and I want people to notice and listen. And not the Maribous and Kazzys and Russells and Veronica Dires, because for you all my voice can carry no gift; I have nothing to teach you on the subject. There are others, though, whom I like to think I can sometimes get to stop and reconsider. But I can’t if I give them an out. And my putting everything through a prism – even an important one like inequality — gives them an excuse to tune me out.

        That isn’t to say that yours isn’t a good point, or that someone shouldn’t push back on me for not saying things initially. It’s good when that happens; to a certain extent I have come to expect people (Ms. Dire comes to mind here) to raise those issues in my threads without my prompting — for which I am continually grateful.

        Anyway, that’s just who I am as a writer… for better or worse.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @tod-kelly Thank you for your thoughtful response.

        I (unsurprisingly) have two more points of pushback, though:

        1) I didn’t say you have to write about everything through that prism. No one I know writes about EVERYTHING through that lens – certainly I don’t. I said that on “things like this” – specifically, you are writing about *how to succeed in the workplace*, a topic where inequality is incredibly relevant – a prefatory (or middle-tory or whatever) nod to that prism would be welcomed by those who don’t have luxury of putting it on and taking it off like a monocle.

        2) I strongly disagree with the idea that ” for you all my voice can carry no gift; I have nothing to teach you on the subject.” I understand that it is hard hard hard to write about these topics without coming off as condescending; I understand the temptation to write to people who don’t seem to be further along the road to understanding whatever than you are yourself. But it is an INCREDIBLE gift to those people, on topics as personal and painful as discrimination, when someone who hasn’t had those particular struggles writes about them, and writes about them well. You have that capacity, which makes me want you to do it. For one thing, I would feel … relieved … from having to always take that stance myself, because dagnabbit SOMEONE should and it shouldn’t be the same 3 people all the time, and I could talk about other things, confident that what I knew was generally known.

        I know that for many people, the particular frustration I feel at being surrounded by people who don’t feel entitled to talk about injustice or don’t have to notice it or both or some other combination of factors? That frustration itself would be a luxury. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your biggest frustration about this stuff be people who don’t want to talk about it, instead of people who actively enforce and encourage it, I assume they think, if they have time to ponder that kind of navel-gazery at all. But, for me at least, I spend SO MUCH TIME in my daily life not saying anything because I don’t want to be the perpetually squeaky wheel and it’s incredibly uncomfortable and hard to always be speaking up about this stuff.

        In fact, usually when you all have a forum or symposium like this *I avoid reading almost everything because I do not have the energy to discuss it and keep being one of only a very few voices pointing this stuff out*. If you all make a post that touches on child abuse, for example, and it isn’t @zic writing? I sort of have to work up to reading it and a lot of times I end up regretting that I did. (Not every time. But I also don’t read them every time.) I’ve sworn off reading the site for weeks at a time *when I wasn’t even involved in any discussions* just because I knew it was too much for me to handle, being in these reading fails (and writing fails of my own) and struggling and failing to expand the discussion.

        I know you all have spent some collective energy wondering over the years about why the site skews so much to one particular audience – and I feel like your response about what kind of writer you are … well, it’s hard not to overgeneralize it to “I write to middle-class white guys who aren’t actively engaged in social justice, and I am not really worried about reaching anyone else, because you don’t need me.” (I know that is a vast overgeneralization; but if there is even a seed of truth in it, well, that might kind of explain the make-up of the site’s commentariat – more vast overgeneralization!)

        So I guess what I am saying, is that for me, having ONE PERSON who is not directly affected (or who is! but if they are directly affected then I feel empathetic exhaustion for them) point this stuff out can be a huge gift. Especially if it is an OP, which feels like “equal weight.” Especially if it is an OP by someone whose writing I enjoy and value.

        They don’t need to wax on about it or whatever. Just say SOMETHING.

        For example, we were sitting around at work once discussing the college’s compensation system, and one of the librarians said, “I would be happy to pass on my raise if it means that fewer people at the college made less than a living wage, or even that my coworkers here in the library who make half what I make [ie the ones in non-librarian positions] got raises.” That’s all he said. But he MEANT it (despite having financial troubles of his own) and he got it and everyone in that room who had grown up not always knowing where their next meal would come, and was making about half what he did, breathed a sigh of relief that he’d started that part of the conversation, so they didn’t have to. (True fact? this is one of several reasons I am superexcited to have him be our new permanent supervisor, MANY years later, after I put my job on the line to oust a very bad one last year.)

        I have a feeling that, in person, you do those kind of things. I think in your writing, you could also do those kinds of things, more frequently and not just when it was the main topic of your post, without shooting yourself in the foot. You could find your own way to do it, like Scalzi does.

        Or if you are so worried about losing certain people that you are more than willing to risk others, maybe you need to look at your worries a little differently.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @rtod I forgot to address the “teach” part specifically. You CAN teach us. You can teach us that not everyone who benefits unfairly from the privileges you share, doesn’t recognize and appreciate what those privileges do. This comment that I am responding to teaches me that.

        Of course, you can argue that I should already know that. And of course I do know that. But lessons that are drummed into one pebble by vicious pebble, are often best soothed by very very many applications of happier truths.

        I used to be VERY reticent about discussing things like this if they weren’t my problems, for reasons much like the ones you name above. But through working with my students over the last 7 years, I have come to realize that opening those conversations – leaving nooks and crannys and acknowledgements of those problems strewn liberally about for people to see – is at least as important as not appropriating stuff. And worth the risks it runs. They needed to know I saw them. You can give people the gift of making sure they know you see them, without them having to solicit it. And that will probably affect a lot of lurkers even more than it affects me.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @rtod Last thing, I swear! This bit of mine is a total mess due to bad revisions:

        ” I understand the temptation to write to people who don’t seem to be further along the road to understanding whatever than you are yourself. But it is an INCREDIBLE gift to those people, on topics as personal and painful as discrimination, when someone who hasn’t had those particular struggles writes about them [etc]”

        What I meant to say was something like “I too find it tempting to write to people who I don’t think are further along some road to understanding than I am myself. But when I am one of those further-along-people, it is usually an INCREDIBLE gift to me, on topics as personal and painful as discrimination, when someone who hasn’t had those particular struggles writes about them [etc]”

        [Oh, for a 10 minute edit window!]Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @maribou I will take what you say to heart, and try to push forward with certain topics more than I do.Report

      • Avatar Michael M. in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @tod-kelly (Call it a sincere desire to check my privilege at the door, if you will.)

        I don’t know yet what I think about your main topic and some of the comments about it, I guess I need more time to think about it. But the comment above struck me because I’m not sure what you meant by it or whether we have the same perspective about this.

        A characteristic central to the concept of privilege is that it is unearned — you have whatever privileges your have through no achievement of your own, based on your race, ethnicity, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, class, language, religion, etc. Like (I think) many people who have many privileges but not others, before I was introduced to the concept I tended to spend my time and energy focused on the problems created by the discrimination I and “my people” experienced, and I related other forms of discrimination that I didn’t experience directly to that. That is, I am white so I can’t fully understand the experience of racism; I am male-identified so I can’t fully understand the experience of sexism; I am gay so I can relate my own experience of discrimination through that prism, understanding that there are differences and variations that make racism and sexism different from homophobia and different from each other. That didn’t get me very far.

        Learning about privilege helped me re-frame things. I began to focus less on the injuries inflicted by discrimination and more on the systemic reasons why those injuries exist. The thing that I didn’t grasp immediately was that because privilege is unearned, it is also not something you can shed. Privilege isn’t just something you have through no achievement of your own, it’s something you’re stuck with no matter how you might wish it would go away. I think my initial reaction to my privileges was “I don’t want these … how do I get rid of them?” But I learned that isn’t the work — you simply can’t check your privilege at the door, and having a sincere desire to do so is not useful. I have come to see that as a waste of energy born of guilt. As I understand it, the work is in being aware of your own and others’ privileges, observing and understanding the advantages they confer and taking them into account in everything you do.Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to Maribou says:

      Hm.

      Well now the draft version of the big post needs to be gone over again.

      But the reasons why people DON’T take it are incredibly complex, and it seems significant to me that I have never gotten this particular set of instructions from any of the women, genderqueers, or people of color that I know.

      This observation reminds me of my rejoinder to folks who claim that such-and-so law is bad for poor folks even though poor folks support it.

      The reasons why people don’t take it *are* incredibly complex, you betcha. And power differentials, and privilege, and probably most importantly – the way that the privileged folks can turn “what we regard as a positive characteristic when exhibited by the privileged” into “a negative characteristic when exhibited by the out-folk” – those are all important.

      The cold brutal fact is that (probably in a lot of scenarios, if not most) a marginalized group is going to be making a different utility calculus than a non-marginalized group. Staying employed is more important to a poor person than a rich one. Getting a reputation as bitchy is a negative outcome that only women and certain types of genderqueer folks have to include in their calculus. I recognize that. To the extent I’m talking about “being happy in the workplace”, for folks who “being in the workplace” is already a struggle, talking about happiness can seem like a conversation that requires a certain off-red color of optics.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Patrick says:

        @patrick Yep.

        For what it’s worth (and I say this with love, and realizing it is a tangent), often when something at work feels like I am going to be way out of my depth and people who don’t see their privilege will be thick on the ground? The advice I give myself is “You are in a play, and you are an upper-middle-class white male.” I think I actually got this advice from a book called Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams, by Alfred Lubrano – not directly but by implication. I’m pretty sure a lot of the upper-middle-class white males I know got where they are by doing just that (either on purpose or because they were born to it and thus didn’t have to learn to pretend), and that my shorthand ties into what both you and @rtod have been saying here. But, you know, my version is PROBLEMATIC advice, advice we shouldn’t need to take or give. Also, sometimes it backfires on me because I am, not, actually that which I am pretending to be, which sometimes makes people angry that I am pretending. And I’m very careful about how I give it to people, even if I think it’s what they need.

        Still, it helps.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Patrick says:

        (Note that Upper-Middle-Class-White-Male-Me? has all the exact same opinions that actual me does. He just exudes a lot more certainty, confidence, and obviously-this-has-nothing-to-do-with-me-PERSONALLY than regular ole me does. Since he’s basically a defense mechanism, I try to keep him corraled in any situations that don’t fit the mold I describe above, for fear of alienating people who find him as problematic as I do. But he sure has his uses. And he’s a good sort, really.)Report

        • Avatar Patrick in reply to Maribou says:

          I don’t know if this helps any, but fwiw exuding a lot more certainty, confidence, and obviously-this-has-nothing-to-do-with-me-PERSONALLY is in my experience pretty commonly an act among the upper-middle-class-white-male guys, too. It may be probably is a much easier act to pull off, but getting on stage and playing a part can be pretty terrifying if you’re not naturally inclined to be that breed of cat in the first place.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick says:

        The advice I give myself is “You are in a play, and you are an upper-middle-class white male.”

        Yup. I just want to say I’m with ya on all these comments, Maribou. Especially the one quoted above. Ever since I was small, the “upper middle class white male” shtick has struck me as exactly that. A play. Not entirely but very substantially disconnected to reality, a disconnect based on privilege. And we’re seeing it even now, in people we really like and admire. Hell, as a member of that group, I’m sure I’m not immune from criticism.

        But the thing about it that always struck me so clearly, ever since I was old enough to think about things, was that it was a construct. That it was a play.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Patrick says:

        @patrick @stillwater Good to know I was right when I said “I’m pretty sure a lot of the upper-middle-class white males I know got where they are by doing just that ” ;).

        To be completely honest, I actually knew that already. That was a feminine/Maritimes-softener “pretty sure”. I’ve started letting myself delete fewer of those because I don’t have to pretend ALL the time that I don’t speak the dialect I was raised to. [In this case it functions as “we all know this but maybe it isn’t true for all y’all so I won’t insist on it”.] And having that revelation in my mid-twenties was a big part of how I got out of the job track I was in and into a different one – that most of them were pretending at least part of the time, and I could too.

        But you know, a lot of really upper-class-people have been pretending since they were born and they *don’t* really know they’re pretending? We don’t just help the workstudy kids I supervise at my institution; we work with new-money mega-heirs, and the children of distant monarchies, and old-school rich kids whose families disdain new money, too. It’s made a lot of this less scary for me, even as I get more indignant over the disparities.

        Also, I don’t mean to diminish your experiences. I disapprove of EVERYONE having to play this game, even the people it is easier for. We see a lot of heartbreak among our rich white kids, and a lot of awful falling aparts – they just have more opportunities to start over.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Patrick says:

        Slightly both off topic and directly on topic, I’d like to get knittingniki to do a GP on the archetype roles we wear without realizing we’re doing it. Because she would say that not only do we all act out that part, we act out a variety of other parts in the same way all the time, and that each is simultaneously a mask and who we actually are.

        I’ve seen her do lectures on the subject, and they’re amazing.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Patrick says:

        But you know, a lot of really upper-class-people have been pretending since they were born and they *don’t* really know they’re pretending?

        Yeah. The unexamined life isn’t worth living but fuck me, many-if-not-most folk certainly do it, don’t they?

        Also, I don’t mean to diminish your experiences.

        I didn’t feel like you were, at all. For one thing, my experiences have limited usefulness as it is 🙂 I felt like you were trying to expand a conversation, not contract it.

        Nothing wrong with that!Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick says:

        Good to know I was right when I said “I’m pretty sure a lot of the upper-middle-class white males I know got where they are by doing just that ” ;).

        Hey, just because I’m an UMCWM you shouldn’t take my word for it. Alsotoo, I think I’ve shed all my upper middle class white male privileged expectations at this point, and if my success (and the most I could say for my success is that my wife and I can somewhat comfortably make payments on our very lower middle class house) then it has nothing to do with my taking advantage of *privilege* at that point. In fact, that’s a bit of a sticky point between me and my more privileged friends and associates, who continue to wonder why I’m not more “successful” than I currently am.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Patrick says:

        @stillwater Hooboy do I hear that one at work (mostly but not only from faculty). “But you have your MLS now! Don’t you want to move up??” I struggle not to just say “I think my job is a lot more important than yours is, and if I take the rose-colored glasses of my love for my job off, it’s equally important.” With my real work friends, I sometimes to do say that. They find it very perplexing even though they superficially agree with me that of COURSE all our jobs are important….Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Patrick says:

        side note: I personally have never had a problem putting myself on a stage, and stupid levels of confidence come pretty naturally, it took hard experience to drum a lot of that out of me. But when you’re a nerd naturally, you meet a lot of natural nerds, and getting up on a stage and possibly making a fool out of yourself is a pretty common nerd terror.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Patrick says:

        @patrick See, for me “putting myself up on a stage” is actually a COUNTER to terror, not extra terror. Oh thank goodness, this is only a performance, I know how to deal with stage fright. It’s a detachment technique, especially in situations where I would otherwise flee the room.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Patrick says:

        I can see that approach working, too, hi-yup.

        Humans are funny critters. Half the time I think “figuring out how to flummox yourself” is one of humanity’s core competencies. I wonder how well that framework would work for somebody who gets terrible stage fright…Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick says:

        not only do we all act out that part, we act out a variety of other parts in the same way all the time, and that each is simultaneously a mask and who we actually are.

        If that’s the case, then there is no person who acts out the roles. We’re nothing *but* the roles, merely waiting for a context to so act. But a role, sorta by definition, is something a person plays, a person who exists outside of the context of the role being played. To collapse that distinction seems to me like a really dangerous way to go.Report

  2. Avatar Maribou says:

    @tod-kelly Please add my enthusiasm for such a post to your pleas, if you think it would help. I would love to read it.Report

  3. Avatar NoPublic says:

    You know what they call a guy who makes a decision he’s not entitled to make in my world?

    The defendant.

    I suspect that most heavily layered and regulated industries would not be the place to take this advice.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to NoPublic says:

      No, I was in one of the most heavily regulated industries there is.

      There is a difference between “making a business decision” and “breaking the law.” If you don’t know the difference — or if you have no idea what your particular industry regs are — then yes, you would be wise to sit in your cubicle and never say anything for the rest of the day.

      And then that night, you would be wise to hit the books.Report

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