Respect Versus Acceptance

I just finished a 10 PM lifting regimen (it’s the weekend, I was bored, and I wanted something to do) so the T is flowing and inspiration is running through me. My Eric Clapton album may have something to do with that too but that’s neither here nor there.

Earlier today I was thinking about a particular meeting my department had with HR (Human Resources) several months ago after reminiscing with a buddy of mine (another software engineer) at work yesterday; sometimes I wonder if he and I are long-lost siblings based on the way we interact… we’re practically the same person on some days. I trained him the day he got hired and we basically wound up cracking jokes, telling life stories, and getting to know each other his entire first day at the company. It was absolutely wonderful and made me forget about the stupid bullshit I had going on that day; he’s a hell of a guy to know. We’ve sat next to each other for the last year and I wouldn’t change it.

ANYWAY! In the aforementioned meeting there were about thirty of us (managers, AVPs, Directors, and the like) in a single conference room with a very nice lady from HR. The meeting was about “Dealing with Difficult People” (I’m an asshole but I’ll go to bat for my people [and I do constantly] and defend them any day like a papa wolf with my full wrath; fucking with my team is a HUGE mistake). It’s safe to say I’m the alpha of the office based on general consensus. Unfortunately, it was the typical feel-good bullshit you’d expect from a “one solution fits all and everything else is wrong regardless of context” kind of thing. I already knew it would be a waste of time but I figured I’d meet some new people so what the hell.

I almost feel bad for writing about the exchange since she and I had a very nice conversation and talked about all kinds of cool stuff one-on-one after everyone left, but I’m a dick.

The conversation went thusly:

HR lady: “We have to respect everyone”
Me: *laughs under my breath but loud enough for everyone to hear*
HR lady: “You’re laughing”
*everyone turns and looks at me, my boss included*
Me: “Absolutely.”
HR lady: “Why?” (she’s not pissed but rather genuinely curious)
Me: “You have to be kidding me. I refuse to respect any idiot just because he works at the same place I do. Respect is not given; it is earned. There are very few people I respect and I’ll maintain that until the day I die. You’re confusing respect with acceptance; either way I refuse to put up with any dumbass bullshit that someone says just because it’s politically expedient.”
*Twenty-nine jaws dropped as I locked eyes with HR lady (well, maybe twenty-eight since my buddy was probably thinking the same thing I was)*

Nothing happened to me, obviously, and I continue to speak against the feel-good bullshit that pervades my industry. Everyone needs to stand for their ideals and have something to believe in.

Sometimes all it takes is a single person laying down some truth to influence an entire group when everyone else is too afraid to speak their mind; it works in criminal juries and it works in the office. You have to stand by your convictions and your actions should show that you’re not afraid to face criticism. THAT is how you gain respect. My team looks to ME for leadership and direction, not our political and doting boss; is that any surprise?

I’ve had friends die (in some cases they were even murdered) for it; I have no interest in “respecting” some dumbshit trying to exert his influence over my department just because he has a PhD. He can take his PhD and shove it up his A-S-S. Nobody will sully those aforementioned actions by the mere act of existing.

Growing up around the people I have and having the kind of life experiences I do I refuse to equate respect with across-the-board acceptance; any male willing to die for it is a man with titanium balls in my book .

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