It seems that I should have commented on this article yesterday before the slew of “likes” and comments started fluttered in, proving what I had feared: this mentality is unsettling.
First, background: the article commands people to stop complaining and start taking responsibility for themselves (in the workplace) by remembering one key acronym: TUSB (Tough up, sissy boy).
And, while I agree with some of the ideas in this post, I find it to be generally problematic. The concept itself is a good one: taking responsibility for oneself in lieu of placing blame and getting caught in a negativity-loop. But the core idea here reinforces something I’d like to see us evolve past - both in the workplace and in life. And that is: feelings = weakness. That feelings are detrimental. That they are The Worst Thing To Have. No. Why is vulnerability the gravest of workplace sins? Because it sets us up to be taken advantage of and not taken seriously? That’s a problem on its own!
Just because “there is no crying in baseball” - doesn’t mean that the people involved in the proverbial game aren’t, in the words of Mariah Carey - “feeling emotions.’ It’s very likely they are feeling things. Perhaps they are just not outwardly expressing them to others. And I think we all know where not-expressing-feelings gets us: bottled-up resentment at the very least. And at most - well, we won’t go there.
I want to propose something a little more touchy-feely (sorry not sorry). Instead of hardening ourselves to potentially serious work-issues and just “toughening up” and “getting over it” - maybe what we really need is to communicate better. Maybe what we need is a safe, neutral space where communication takes the place of pent-up frustration and other things that lead directly to aggression. The “toughen up, sissy boy” mentality is problematic in itself. It reinforces the idea that men (and women, by proxy) *need* to ignore their feelings and intuition, ignore what their minds/bodies are telling them - and move on. And, if that wasn’t sad enough, the mantra we’re supposed to apply adds an insult for good measure. (The terminology “sissy boy,” itself, is rife with gendered issues and implications - but that’s a topic for another post.)
As millennials (and our workplace counterparts) start to see our personal/professional lives merge more by the day - we have to start looking for new ways to address these things. Forcing ourselves to regress to a buttoned-up, gaslighting - “sit down and shut up” philosophy can’t be the way. We’re not going to become 21st century Don Drapers - there’s a reason why his relationships and successes are so slated to fail and heavily rooted to his (sexy) selfishness.
How can we work to acknowledge our own feelings (without letting them suffocate and take us down to a place of no return) without giving ourselves over to a self-doubting war with ourselves? Where is the middle ground? It’s easy to say “I don’t have feelings!” or “I don’t care!” when really, you do, you just don’t have the tools to manage or understand what you feel.
I don’t have the perfect answer - but I know that it sure isn’t by berating ourselves against emotion by way of aggression and negative self-talk. Positive self-talk? Pep talks? Yes. I’m all for them. Sometimes they are all we can do to get going. And I get (trust me, I understand) how complaining and being caught in self-pity can infringe upon your ability to effectively accomplish work. But why start by telling yourself you’re wrong? Why start there? Why should we start by telling ourselves we are wrong, ignoring what our minds/bodies are telling us, and doubting our own perspectives? You’re the one who has to live with yourself - don’t forget that.
What if what you’re feeling actually is injustice? What if your intuition is really telling you that “something needs to change”? How can telling ourselves to shut up encourage us to speak up? It can’t. Perhaps this article, and the subsequent commenter camaraderie are so focused on the day-to-day battle of suppressing their own emotionality that they are now imposing it on others. “If I’m going to ignore my feelings in lieu of productivity - you should, too!”
We don’t need to chose only: fight, freeze, or flee. As evolved adults who (I hope) are striving for evermore astute emotional intelligence and self-awareness - there has to be another option besides: “Shut up, self. Get over it.” or wallowing. I’m not expecting people who don’t understand or want to deal with feelings to suddenly do 180s - but for those of us who are naturally emotionally-driven, communication-obsessed folk - it’s on us to come up with alternatives and implement them.
I’m in love with this list from HBR.org
How close is your organization to the ideal?
To find out, check off each statement that applies. The more check marks you have, the closer you are to the dream.
Let Me Be Myself
☐ I’m the same person at home as I am at work.
☐ I feel comfortable being myself.
☐ We’re all encouraged to express our differences.
☐ People who think differently from most do well here.
☐ Passion is encouraged, even when it leads to conflict.
☐ More than one type of person fits in here.
Tell Me What’s Really Going On
☐ We’re all told the whole story.
☐ Information is not spun.
☐ It’s not disloyal to say something negative.
☐ My manager wants to hear bad news.
☐ Top executives want to hear bad news.
☐ Many channels of communication are available to us.
☐ I feel comfortable signing my name to comments I make.
Discover and Magnify My Strengths
☐ I am given the chance to develop.
☐ Every employee is given the chance to develop.
☐ The best people want to strut their stuff here.
☐ The weakest performers can see a path to improvement.
☐ Compensation is fairly distributed throughout the organization.
☐ We generate value for ourselves by adding value to others.
Make Me Proud I Work Here
☐ I know what we stand for.
☐ I value what we stand for.
☐ I want to exceed my current duties.
☐ Profit is not our overriding goal.
☐ I am accomplishing something worthwhile.
☐ I like to tell people where I work.
Make My Work Meaningful
☐ My job is meaningful to me.
☐ My duties make sense to me.
☐ My work gives me energy and pleasure.
☐ I understand how my job fits with everyone else’s.
☐ Everyone’s job is necessary.
☐ At work we share a common cause.
Don’t Hinder Me with Stupid Rules
☐ We keep things simple.
☐ The rules are clear and apply equally to everyone.
☐ I know what the rules are for.
☐ Everyone knows what the rules are for.
☐ We, as an organization, resist red tape.
☐ Authority is respected.
A Profile of Americans’ Media Use and Political Socialization Effects: television and the Internet’s relationship to social connectedness in the USA ― Daniel German & Caitlin Lally
There are more “non-humans” on TV than women. Talk about unequal gender representation in the media.
Dr. Christiane Northrop
I may have reblogged this before but I don’t care. I’ll go to my grave saying this and bemoaning the fact that instead of medical professionals putting the emphasis on healthy living and self love they put it on losing weight which causes more medical problems.(via fuckyeahsexeducation)