Category Archives: Behave!!

Nature or Facebook? The Illusion of Interest in Social Media

What came first, the propensity to overshare, or learning it from Facebook?

Studies have shown that oversharing can come from either a desire to belong, or are hard-wired neurologically. But I’m not talking about oversharing ON social media. My question is about those who seem to learn from social media to behave in such a way outside of cyberspace. There must be some psychological predisposition to such conditioning. Is it narcissism? Is it low self-esteem? WHAT IS IT?

My roommate’s tendency to share mundane details of his day with me (multiple times) is irritating.  I struggle to not just shout “I DON’T CARE!!” at least 3 times per day. He also delves into my business, and likely the business of others, in bizarre fashion. Why does he care whether I take the bus or an Uber? What difference does it make what I’m doing on my days off? Why does he answer phone calls from unknown numbers, and then relate to me the conversation he just had with a telemarketer when I was sitting RIGHT THERE while it was happening? Why does he narrate the news?

I had an epiphany today. It’s the effect of Facebook. He spends an inordinate amount of time on Facebook everyday, often losing track of time. He and I are not friends on Facebook, which is probably a good thing due to the aforementioned “habit” of minding everyone’s business but his own.  I don’t know exactly what it is that he does on there all day, except when he shows me fake news and Photoshopped images as if it’s to be taken seriously.

Chalk it up to what I’m calling “The Illusion of Interest”:

The time-lapse between posting a status and at least one “Like” or comment causes some to believe that their status was worthwhile [to any/everyone], even though it’s just NOT.

The fact that any status opens up the floor to commentary, either unnecessary or insightful gives people the opportunity to opine constantly. For those seeking validation, this obsession with attention can seep into their interactions with people offline.

The venue of Facebook, and indeed all social media outlets, gives the illusion that any input is warranted, if not welcome. For some, this seems to justify similar behavior in real life, though this behavior is incredibly socially awkward when face-to-face instead of feed-to-feed.

These people believe that anything they say is worth the attention of others, and social media provides indirect (*ahem* FALSE) evidence that they are correct.


All of America is a Casino

If the world is a stage, then America is its Casino Royale.
Now that wit is out of the way, grit may have its day:
A great article by Nicholas Kristof entitled “America’s Stacked Deck” is available on HERE:
The article discusses the income gap (re: financial chasm) in America, in which the rich get richer, primarily due to the fact that they are, well, rich.
In classic “Katty Rant” style, here is a personal experience that demonstrates this point in (I hope) entertaining clarity. Warning: Political Correctness Within
During my Freshman year of college at Kansas State University, I served on the Residence Hall Governing Board first as Hall Representative to the Governing Board, and then as the Social Coordinator for all Residence Halls.
While serving as Hall Rep, my RH (Residence Hall – do NOT call it a “dorm”!!!!), West Hall, an all-female RH paired with the all-male Haymaker Hall, held an EPIC Casino Night to raise money for…something.
Prizes were donated by local businesses, and officers manned the attractions while hundreds of RH dwellers flocked to the Student Union for $500 in Funny Munny with which to play. At the end of the night, the prizes were auctioned off.
Following family tradition, I dealt Blackjack. Not simple 21-BJ, but full-on, double-down, MFing BLACKJACK. I dealt fast. I dealt for people that knew how to play. KNEW how to play. Talking was not allowed at my table; a tap or a wave, and then we moved on. The minimum bet quickly reached $10,000. Many people approaching my table couldn’t afford it, but the millionaires that had developed there were simply not interested in teaching and waiting on newbs. I may have made the rule, but I had a few dedicated players at my table that I felt responsible to. During the auction at the end of the night players from my table had so much munny that they were able to afford not only the prizes they really wanted, but also just about everything available. This left the crowd at the veritable mercy of my players allowing them to have anything at all.
There’s a flaw in my logic, though. Everyone had received the same $500 at the door, so why did I punish the latecomers that had just as much chance of becoming millionaires as everyone else, simply because it may have affected their ability to make more munny quickly? Refusing them access to my table, which was the Fort Knox of a considerable amount of the munny available, essentially cut them out of the auction entirely. My discriminating discretion was partially to blame for their inability to purchase prizes, which was the point of coming to Casino Night in the first place.
Imagine that instead of neon signs and spa gift baskets, the prizes were commodities like real estate and pork bellies (BACON, essentially, for those of you that need some extra motivation to be angry). This is how the American Stock Market works for those that invested shrewdly long ago. The buy-in is so high at this point for the safe stocks that to play at all is a risk that most Americans just simply cannot afford. Meanwhile, those that got rich during the tech-boom are able to continue doing so, with the wealth at the top growing exponentially while the trickle-UP economy bleeds the lower classes by nickel-and-diming them with minimum wage, and part-time jobs. The wealthy are literally gambling with your grocery money.
Incentives like employee discounts at retail stores bribe the lower classes into implicitly lining the pockets of their Masters by increasing transactions, and sales, leading to greater power in the Stock Market. In other words, Big Box Store employee, every time you take advantage of that 10% discount you lend credit to your employer’s view that they’re justified to only pay you 8 bucks an hour.
Do the math (in what is an oversimplified example): If you work 40 hours per week for $8 an hour ($320 per week), and then spend $100 per week with a 10% discount at your workplace, you “save” $40 per month to earn beneath the poverty line. The company, which is divided into, say, just 100 shares puts your $40 in their (re: stockholders) pocket if the stock price rises just 40 cents that month. You make that happen every time you hand it over by shopping at the store. And that’s just you – divide/compound the stock price increase by the amount of employees. As a matter of fact, the longer you work there, the more likely it is that it will become the only place that you can afford to shop at all.
For the sake of discussion, let’s add that if instead of offering a 10% discount the store paid its employees 10% more, a rate of $8.80 per hour. Those employees would earn an additional $128 per month – a whopping 3+ times more than they saved with the discount. The discount isn’t inherently evil, but being incentivized to invest in your own job security via returning a portion of your measly paycheck to the company you work for feels like the labor equivalent of being stuck in the mud spinning your wheels. It’s a strange matter of perspective (see the above divide/compound statement). To the company, the discount is a perk of the job, but to the savvy employees, the discount is an invisible leash without so much as a foot to hang themselves.
However, if you are able to find work elsewhere that pays $10 per hour, just 25% more, but doesn’t offer a discount to employees, you would be earning an additional $80 per WEEK, an additional $320 per month – it would be as if there were an entire extra week in the month. (Oh my Spaghetti Monster, you’re RICH!!)
That discount doesn’t look so enticing anymore, does it? Instead of scrimping on shrimps, you can afford to buy clams with all YOUR clams!! No more boxed wine for you, my friend!!
In board meetings, at water coolers, and happy hours, they’re laughing at you. Because you’re “stupid” enough to believe them. Don’t buy it.
I’ve lamented several times that I often feel at the mercy of people that are not as capable as myself; indeed, often times don’t seem capable of doing their job, period. As Mr. Kristof cites in his article:
“One glimpse of the structural unfairness in America is this: A dumb rich kid is now more likely to graduate from college than a smart poor kid, according to Robert Putnam of Harvard University.”
This fact is a matter of perception for many in my generation, unfortunately. I feel as though money is not the true barrier to my success at this point, but the inability to blast through the wall of blockheads that have gained control of goods and services that I need via nepotism, real or implied.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC NEPOTISM: the systemic self-fulfilling prophecy in which a person’s poverty is incorrectly perceived to be the result of a personal defect, thus preventing that person from being offered opportunities in which to prove their worth. In other words, the belief that a [financially] poor person makes [socially] poor choices.
Example: A homeless person is never hired due to being perceived as a potential thief, thus leading to their need to receive assistance, which is perceived as laziness, making it even more difficult for him/her to be perceived as employable.
I support a company specific minimum wage determined by the previous year’s (or quarter’s) reported gross profit. More to come in a future post.

Dog-Wielding Psychopaths

That’s the link to a great TED talk about psychopathology. It includes the case study of a man who, after being arrested for brawling in a bar, pleaded temporary insanity to avoid a short jail sentence only to find himself indefinitely locked in a psychiatric hospital. Hilarity ensues.
Recently I deleted all of my friends on Facebook, and refused to add anyone as a friend (except for my brother) until someone reached out to me first. I then proceeded to add friends as people seemed to align with the character of the person who came to me.
Fast forward to this [note], to which I have tagged many of my friends in the hope that they will read it, and because I have some new projects in the works. I will be re-upping my Internet presence soon as I officially launch my own business.
One of the things that I am bringing back is the “Katty Rant”, and this [note] is kind of my first one. It’s the tale of my experience with someone, sparked and prefaced by an incident that occurred at Wal*Mart (aka Satan’s Lair).
I was waiting in line for the ladies’ behind a woman that had a dog with her that did not have any of the usual insignia of a service animal. Another woman asked her what kind of dog it was. I was wondering the same thing myself, as it was a very interesting looking dog; it appeared to be an Australian Shepherd/Blue Heeler mix. However, the dog owner responded that it was a companion dog. The interrogator pointed out that it must be in order to be in Wal*Mart (thus reiterating via implication that her question referred to the breed of dog), to which the dog owner reiterated that it was a service dog. The rest of us (about 4 ladies) exchanged awkward looks, as the question on the table obviously referred to the breed of dog in the first place, and as I mentioned, the attempt to clear up this misunderstanding had escaped the owner as well. 
Because of this she struck me as being slightly mentally handicapped, and therefore perhaps did in fact need a service animal. Otherwise, this ordeal would have been worth a giggle. The lack of insignia on the dog, however, means that the woman probably gets a lot of flack about it not being a service animal, and thus had come to expect the third degree about her rights to have the dog in businesses. But this just begs the question of why the dog is unmarked, bringing us back to the assumption that the animal isn’t a legitimate service dog, and therefore the owner has good reason to be paranoid. But therein lies the question of her mental handicap, and we’re back at square one: Why is the dog in Wal*Mart? The owner’s paranoia leads me to suspect that she isn’t developmentally disabled, but rather somewhere on the spectrum of narcissism. In other words, she isn’t unintelligent, she’s crazy. 
Okay so the good part (because stories are AWESOME):
Once upon a time I knew someone that discussed with me her desire to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder so that she could register her pet as a service animal in order to take it wherever she wanted. This person also admitted to me that she had lied to her doctor about having symptoms of a particular psychological condition in order to get the associated prescription drug for recreational use, and to sell on the side. (Re: fraud, and trafficking. Oh, and tax evasion.)
This is a classic example of the type of behavior that a psychopath is akin to – manipulative for personal gain with a seeming lack of responsibility to others. Granted, drug-seeking behavior is common nowadays, and even if it wasn’t this behavior wouldn’t be strong enough evidence for a serious diagnosis like Psychopathy. In other words, it’s not quite pathological – it’s merely irritating. 
Just to round it all off, this person had a total meltdown to me after she planted evidence that a third party (our roommate, with whom she shared a bathroom) had been stealing said pills, which included bursting into tears over her “necessity” for the drug, and anxiety that there would not be enough to satisfy her need before refilling the scrip. At the time it just seemed like irritating behavior, but hindsight is 20/20, and I now realize that this person truly is/was as toxic as I had intuited. Or perhaps she shouldn’t have promised the sale of goods she didn’t actually possess? Or maybe she should have locked them up? Or not be such a manipulative attention whore? Who knows, and really, who cares? 😉
NOW PLAYING: “Call Off Your Dogs” by Lake Street Dive. I love them, they are so rad.

Problems with Privacy in the Workplace ~ Security Cameras 1

Suppose that a popular convenience store has a cash handling policy that allows for anyone working in the store to log on to any cash register at any time during their shift. This implies that no one working in the store could ever be held accountable for cash shortages, pursuant to HRS §388-6(2). This means, specifically, that an employer is not allowed to deduct the amount of the cash shortage from a common till from an employee’s paycheck. In an at-will employment state, there is no need to have a law about other recourse; an employee may be fired at any time, for any/no reason. Now consider the following scenario, which is loosely based on a combination of true stories:

In this store, cigarettes of the same brand have been coming up missing on a consistent basis. It is reasonable to assume that they are being stolen by an employee, since, like most convenience stores, cigarettes are kept behind the counter near the cash registers. The cigarettes are disappearing on the same shift, and there were 3 employees working every time cigarettes disappeared. Only Esmeralda smokes. In order to observe every move behind the counter without arousing proper suspicion, the store manager alleges that the cash till Esmeralda has mostly, but not exclusively used is short $300. If Esmeralda is caught pocketing the cash, she could be prosecuted.

However, it is possible based on the business model of the store that anyone could have used this cash till; Esmeralda was only responsible for closing out the sales at the end of her shift, and she insists that she is innocent. Therefore, in order to prove that Esmeralda was the only person that used the till, thus providing evidence that she is culpable, the store manager must observe the security footage of the cash registers for Esmeralda’s entire shift (and, ipso facto, the cigarettes as well as every other employee that worked with her). In order to investigate the missing cigarettes, Esmeralda is reprimanded with a written warning about the cash shortage in order to create a paper trail that justifies watching the security footage. (Arguably, this implies an understanding of wrongdoing on behalf of the employer; otherwise, just watch the damn tapes!!)

The moral problem here, of course, is falsely accusing Esmeralda of stealing cash. It’s also a problem that she is assumed to be stealing cigarettes because she smokes. The ethical dilemma of the story is that it’s very easy for an employer to falsify a situation in order to justify observing employees at length, which isn’t the intended purpose of security cameras in a business. This is a cause for concern everywhere, but especially in at-will employment states such as Hawaii.

In case you’re wondering, the new employee assigned to doing inventory at the beginning of her shift was the cigarette thief. She was caught red-handed by the assistant store manager, who was doing her job in the field instead of spying via satellite like the store manager. The $300 (which was never missing in the first place) was miraculously discovered by accounting at the end of the month. Unfortunately, the store manager had already terminated Esmeralda without cause to save her own ass. If Esmeralda never finds out that the money was “found”, nor that cigarettes had actually been stolen, she will never initiate that pesky false accusation complaint.

Esmeralda had to be fired to save the business from the repercussions of its own unethical behavior. There is a behavioral implication here that this use of security footage presumes the guilt of the party in such a way that it runs afoul of our justice system. The at-will status allows the employer to terminate employment at any time, with cause or reason. Unfortunately, I have seen too many cases in Hawaii in which someone is terminated for the inappropriate behavior of a superior, or the business in general.

By the way, there was a brief, slightly hilarious moment in the footage in which Esmeralda’s co-worker was seen singing along to the radio while dancing with a broom when he thought he was alone. It’s a shame you couldn’t see it for yourself ~ the kid’s got talent!