I’m not sure which part of the brain controls the urge to just f*** with people, but mine went necrotic long ago. There’s just something about saying something absurd in a convincing tone and the reaction from people when they say “really?” Yes, Jeff, the government is really trying to suppress the sewer rat uprising and you can contribute to the effort by making intricate webs of tooth floss all over your carpeted surfaces.
See? That was way too easy for me.
When I started doing the “Ask an Author” advice column, it was in that same vein. I’d take questions from regular folks and dip the answers in a saccharine sarcasm, then sprinkled it with a smile. Until I get popped in the mouth for it (and even then I’ll still do it with missing teeth), I’m going to keep bringing you advice that will cause financial & emotional harm. So, now that you know that, welcome!
This week’s column has questions about how to tell your employer you’re leaving for greener pastures, managing family toxicity, & more! If you have questions you’d like the author to answer, leave them in the comments below, or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[WARNING]: No one knows why A.P. is an idiot — some suspect some oxygen deprivation from a swimming accident when he was a toddler — for the love of whoever you pray to: DO NOT FOLLOW ANY OF HIS ADVICE! It’s hard enough to keep sharp objects out of his hands, we don’t need the liability for your sheep mentality either. All persons & situations mentioned in this blog are fictitious & not intended to harm anyone’s reputation. Any similarities between persons & events is purely coincidental. If you take issue with the way anyone is portrayed in this blog, consider not being an asshole.
Take This Job & Shove It!
I work for a small company that has a department supervisor in place that holds the “you should be grateful to be employed” mentality. Routinely we are burdened with the company’s struggles and there is no opportunity to share in the company’s success. Recently, I’ve received a job offer from another company, and I’m afraid to tell my supervisor because I know I’m going to be guilted with “but we need you, if you leave, what are we going to do?” How do I get the courage to walk into that office and hand in my resignation?
Sincerely, Workin’ 9-to-5.
Long story short: take a deep breath, close your eyes, and on the exhale say “F*** ‘em!”
If you are as integral to their operations as they say, are they willing to pay you what the new company is offering to pay you? Are they going to offer the same benefits? Are they willing to institute a profit sharing program? If not, then f*** ‘em.
Until you have financial consideration and stake in the financial performance of the company, your only obligation is to look out for your financial well-being. Think about it like this: would that company be willing to perform their services or sell their goods at a lower price because people are struggling? F*** no, they are going to go out and find people that value their product. Your work efforts are your product and you need to associate with people who value that product.
I’d be willing to bet my favorite testicle (it’s the left one, I will not be elaborating) that the “you should be grateful to be employed” supervisor is bonused on their budget — they get more in their pocket by keeping less in yours. F*** them too. If their entire business hinges on you being on their payroll, then they need to pay the premium to keep you there. I have no sympathy for employers who treat their staff like that.
Go to work for the new company and be glad you don’t work for Dickweed & Sons anymore.
Blood is thicker than water, but everyone is drinking whiskey!
I’m recently out of a marriage, in a new relationship, & I’m struggling. My new partner comes from a big, loving family & I don’t know how to handle myself sometimes. They are great people who have made me feel welcome beyond measure, but part of me keeps waiting for the shoe to drop on the family insanity. I struggle with my own sense of family — my mother & her family had some turbulence, so there is bad blood there, and my father’s side of the family is spread out over the country. My mother re-married, but I had a lot of issues with her husband & my mother made it clear that her husband was her priority, not me. My ex-wife’s family are a crowd of narcissists who only see the people around them as means to an end or an adversary to their good luck. All of that considered, I have no sense of people having my back, & only expect people to want something from me. How do I stop thinking like that?
I need you to remember something, always: you are valuable & worthy of love. What makes a family a family? Love & mutual respect, not genetic commonality necessarily. It sounds like your family dynamic may have been lacking one or the other for the majority of your time.
The first thing you need to do is talk with your partner and communicate to them the struggles you’re dealing with. Let them know there may be times when things feel awkward or anxious, and let them know what it looks like when you’re experiencing those things, so they can be aware & support you when you’re going through it.
The good news is that you won’t always be like that — there will come a time when your first response to fellowship & love won’t be suspicion. The bad news is that when the toxic people who are no longer in your life hear about how good you are doing, and when their bullshit gets around, they are going to do what narcissists do: they are going to turn it around on you so they are seen in the best light. They are going to tell everyone who will listen what a bastard you were & what kind of monster you could be — tell your partner about that too, prepare them for any blowback that could be coming your way so they are ready if they hear it.
If the people in your mother’s family try to lay the “but we’re family” guilt on you, & say things like “but blood is thicker than water,” stop them in their tracks. The entire quote is “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” — the relationships you choose are more valuable than those you may have been born into.
Celebrate your new relationship, my friend!
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Obviously, we’re in some really unique times in our country. People have strong opinions on all sides of every spectrum. More and more, I’m seeing calls to make decisions and take stances that will have supreme implications on my future. This discourse has bled into the workplace, everywhere I turn in public, on television, and of course, social media. How do I avoid these heated conversations? If I’m baited into a conversation, how do I remove myself from it?
Thank you, Red, White, & Blue in the Face
Dear Red, White, & Blue:
I know the impression I give — super successful author, masculine badass, and international sex-symbol — the truth is, I have a day job like the vast majority of Americans. I have concerns, I have values, and I have boundaries on what I will and will not tolerate from other human beings. As someone who uses words in every application the written & spoken word will afford, I have to be extra cautious about what I say & when I say it.
There have been some things I’ve been happy with and happenings that I’ve been super pissed off about in the last year. I’ve kept them to myself. I put more value on keeping my friends close, my acquaintances familiar, and to not be at odds with family. That doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion, or care, I just let my voice be heard in the voting booth. I’ve said that I have boundaries that I insist are respected — there may come a time when my core values have been so offended that I am motivated to respond with the skill & ability I have at my disposal. I would advise you to know what that line lays for you and make it known that you’d rather not entertain a conversation there.
It’s that easy. You tell folks “I’d rather not get into it.” If they insist on it, you remind them again. After that, they’ve been warned. If you seem rude, or hostile, for removing yourself from the conversation, you’d already observed your diligence by making it clear you had no interest in participating.
Now, that advice needs to come with a caveat: if that boundary becomes encroached upon, after your warning, you need to be prepared to respond. If you don’t, then the boundary you’ve set means nothing. As much as I am an even keeled author & novelist, all of that was still built on a foundation of punk rock & anger. If you don’t stand up when that boundary is disregarded, people will walk on you forever. Long story short: disengage where you can, be clear about your boundaries, insist those boundaries are respected, and pick your battles.
Good luck & give ‘em hell! -A.P.
Thank you for joining me for this edition of “Ask an Author,” with yours truly. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you. I’ll see you on your next trip across the Millerverse!
Songs listened to while writing this blog:
- “Anti-Complicity Anthem” – Ignite
- “The Shining” – the Misfits
- “Satellite” – Rise Against
- “Rock the Casbah” – the Clash
- “Smash it Up (Parts 1 & 2)” – the Offspring