written by Bryanna A. Jenkins & edited by Xem VanAdams
I first began my transition in 2008. At that time, I would have never imagined as a black transgender woman from Baltimore City, that I would see a day where other black transgender women were being recognized nationally for their contributions to entertainment. In recent years, it has become commonplace to witness my sisters dominate television screens, grace the covers of magazines, be included in conversations about feminism and also receive admiration for their beauty, poise and decorum. Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Isis King, Madison Hinton and Amiyah Scott all exist as shining beacons of excellence amongst black transgender women. I applaud each of these ladies who are birthed from the struggles in our community, but use their platforms not only to entertain the masses but to educate and consistently advocate for change amongst the treatment and acceptance of all transgender people.
However, my high is interrupted and I am slapped back to the reality that black transgender women are facing a state of emergency. One of the gifts that the increased media visibility of black transgender women provides is that is has amplified our multiple oppressions.
I’m forced to remember that 17 of my sisters: transgender women of color spread across this country have been senselessly murdered in 2015 alone. I remember that two weeks ago our community lost 5 sisters in one week — with 3 bodies identified in a single day. I have to face the hard truth about a large majority of my sisters being murdered at the hands of men of color who each lady was engaged with intimately or romantically. Every time I see a new headline detailing the story of how one of my sisters has been callously murdered, I think of missed conversations about how necessary it is for black families especially to embrace their children who are transgender and to also continue loving, protecting, and pouring into them. I also think of missed conversations about how space needs to be given to black men who are trans-attracted – helping each one to understand and accept themselves so that they can love transgender women instead of hiding or harming them in fear of social repercussion. I remember that when most of my sisters’ deaths were reported, they were each mis-gendered, misnamed, and vilified in the news. And the one thing that I remember the most is that the same people praising the Amiyah’s, Janet’s, Isis’ and Laverne Cox’s, are the same individuals excusing and condoning the murders of black transgender women on ground level.
There is an ironic dichotomy between black transgender women who have received media visibility and black transgender women who maintain regular everyday lives.
The same people who look to mainstream transgender women as a source of information and entertainment fail to see the humanity of everyday black transgender women whose bodies are constantly under social and physical attack through systems of patriarchy and white supremacy.
There exists a hard misconception regarding the idea that since a few black transgender women have “made it”, that somehow all is well with the black trans community as a whole. I know that is not the case. Black transgender women exist at the intersection of multiple oppressed identities. In America, the oppression of being a person who is black, female, and transgendered is a unique experience that more often than not leaves most black transgender women at the fringes of society. We are most disproportionately affected when it comes to homelessness, unemployment, victims of violence and harassment, faced with discrimination, difficulties accessing healthcare, and being murdered in drove numbers.
Society is still very much uncomfortable with having real conversations about transgender people. The common understanding of our lives is limited to our body parts and neglects our lived experiences. Our narrative has been neglected for so long or has carelessly been clumped into the real stories and tales of gay males.
Additionally, black transgender people have always existed within the structure of the black community at large, but we have always been erased from cultural consciousness due to social levels of hate and intolerance. The experiences of black transgender women have been separated from the experiences of black people as a whole. The increased media visibility has ignited the process of black transgender women socially realigning with the black community in this current climate of black liberation movements.
“Blackness” or what it means to be a black woman in America is diverse and it is indeed varied.
I believe that the work truly begins by having intentional inclusion of issues that affect black transgender women interwoven into movements that are working to address black liberation such as: #BlackLivesMatter. The inclusion would help to change the trajectory of how black transgender people are not only talked about in social spaces but how our humanity is protected and uplifted.
It also remains important for those trans women who start to receive mainstream media visibility to continue bringing the issues of black transgender women to the forefront – using their popular platforms to help dismantle systems of oppression that work to diminish and devalue our lives.
There is a lot of work that still has to be done that will not only involve the visibility of more diverse black transgender women but it will also involve SOLIDARITY from those cisgender people who call themselves friends and allies to our community. Intentional efforts of using cisgender privilege to interrupt patterns of discrimination and erasure for transgender people will be vital if we are to fight for the liberation of the black transgender women we love to see entertain us online, via television or otherwise.
I am hopeful that I will still be living to see a day where black transgender women will not only be celebrated for their contributions to the world at large, but we will also be celebrated for living our most authentic lives — free of judgment, ridicule and shame.
Bryanna A. Jenkins, B.S., M.A.
The Baltimore Transgender Alliance
Founder & Director
Trans Activist, Writer
Facebook: Bryanna A. Jenkins
The summer of 2015 has unified black people under an umbrella of consciousness that encourages the development of our own ideals and unique forms of expression. Seasonal events such as Curl Fest and Afro Punk have been designed to magnify the voices of black people and to also offer a platform where the black experience is celebrated instead of brutalized or interrogated. Each local and national gathering seems to attract a crowd of African-American people who are often young, eccentric and easily distinguishable from those who regularly represent our race and culture within the framework of mainstream media. These crowds are dominated especially by a slew of women adorned in their dashiki dresses, wedge sandals, big, wooden jewelry and big, shea butter infused, twist-outs to match. These women exist as this generations ethnic, online icons – the card carrying members of #TeamNatural. Seen by onlookers up and down numerous tumblr timelines, Instagram feeds and various blogs dedicated solely to their subgroup amongst black women, #TeamNatural seeks to embrace beauty on their own terms by first accepting their natural, physical traits.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a surge in African-American women who are consciously choosing to display their tight curls and natural coils as opposed to wearing Eurocentric, chemically enhanced styles. Mainstream Hollywood starlets like Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o and Tracee Ellis Ross are walking red carpets and taking center stage under a spotlight that reinforces the beauty of cropped, kinky, spiraled hairdos — challenging America’s obsession with long, straight, blonde locks. Young, black girls are witnessing a change in the tides. Their big sisters, aunts, classroom teachers and moms are truly beginning to cultivate the roots of our ancestors by now embracing their natural wave patterns, instead of heating and straightening their hair strands or hiding them beneath bundles of Brazilian weave. Still, however, as more and more women begin to dump their perm kits and elect to wear hairstyles that cater to the likeness of Angela Davis, I have to wonder if #TeamNatural is all but another contemporary, pop-culture trend or a permanent movement towards changing the narrative for black women.
In light of current political and social protests against racism, ignorance and police brutality, it seems that black women are joining forces to disengage themselves from the physical standards of beauty that have been structured by American society. Within this raging climate, #TeamNatural seems to represent not only a simple hairstyle, but also a sense of empowerment for women of color. Just as the civil rights movement of the 1960’s highlighted the civil wrongs on American soil, people began wearing AFROS as a revolutionary political statement. More than just simply an expression of fashion or style, the natural textured fro became a distinguishable representation of black power. Now, over five decades later, it’s not too farfetched to believe that the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement has ignited the reemergence of progressive statements that black women are making by using their virgin hair to represent self pride.
My sister exists as one of the only women amongst her core circle of friends who still gets her hair permed every 6-8 weeks, visits the salon twice each month for professional styling and sometimes elects to have her strands highlighted with honey blonde streaks. While she has spent this past summer wearing long, Senegalese braids, my sister admits that she often feels judged by her female peers and other black women alike for not jumping on the #TeamNatural bandwagon. She does not ever wear weaves, extensions or wigs. Sometimes my sister wears her hair straight, bent at the ends and a short bang that edges slightly above her eyebrows. Mostly, however, her hair is styled in shoulder length curls that fall all around her head. As a professional, corporate woman who engages in yoga and other gym related exercise programs at least 3-4 times each week, my sister has shared with me that it’s simply easier and more convenient to manage her hair when it is processed and permed.
Meanwhile, despite her personal preferences and choice of convenience over the now popular twist-out hairstyle, it seems that my sister, along with other women in her position, are possibly being looked down upon. These women may be seen by those who exist along the #TeamNatural spectrum as “still” simulating whiteness and conforming to the mainstream standard of beauty.
But if #TeamNatural exists as more than a contemporary, pop-culture trend, then it suggests to me that the movement is indeed open to enveloping all women who support the idea of progression. As black women join forces to increase their visibility on movie screens and magazine covers, inside of board rooms, along the front lines of major political parties and amongst the ranks of the powerful, decision makers in the world, ones decision to wear her hair in its natural state is only a part of the fight. That very brave and powerful decision can possibly be paired alongside the responsibility that comes with redefining a generation.
The movement could begin challenging its members to live an overall, organic lifestyle. Wearing your hair in tight curls or a kinky updo does not necessarily make one natural, conscious or socially aware. I’m also thinking of the black women who elect to have thick, afro-textured, wooly fake hair sewn into their real, braided hair as a method to merely achieve the “look” of being natural.
The natural hairstyles are merely the top layer that sits above a pyramid that can include organic eating, African dress, minimal to no facial makeup, the full use of natural soaps, toothpaste, juices and other organic, skin care products as well. Beneath the Afros, must exist an understanding of what wearing natural hair represents politically, as well as a train of thought that is focused on total abandonment of processed living.
It is my hope that #TeamNatural and all of it’s card-carrying sisters remain as visible and collectively strong long after the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag fades from online, trending lists. I want to feel that black women truly understand that their natural, physical beauty shouldn’t only be celebrated in mass numbers as opposition to racial unrest or the fight for equality on American soil. Being proud of our skin and our nappy or kinky hair isn’t a trend that only coincides with a social climate riddled with hatred and earthly damnation against black people.
If #TeamNatural continues to reign supreme in the pages of our magazines, on our billboards and amongst our everyday communities, black women take back the agency in deciding the value and politics of their entire being amongst contemporary, westernized society.
Xem VanAdams Presents
Love, Dating and Relationships Between Men
The iPhone Group Chat Live
*In association with XemSays.com and Emerald Eye Entertainment
The themes of love, dating and relationships between men of the LGBT community frame this 30- minute, real life video segment. Over the past three years, out writer, speaker, advice columnist and online personality, Xem VanAdams has spent countless hours throughout each day engaged in a series of group text message and screen-cap exchanges with his two good friends, NATE and DUANTE. On Saturday, July 11, 2015, the trio invited three other guys to join them in Washington, DC for a roundtable discussion that would bring to life their iPhone group chat conversations. MATTHEW, BRANDON and CHRISTOPHER were added as round table contributors to the candid conversation. The video release offers a balance in the images, ideas and experiences that comprise the spectrum of the modern day gay male.
With the unprecedented success of FOX’s latest musical-drama, Empire, it’s no secret that the character of Jamal Lyon has especially resonated with cross-cultural audiences. Jamal’s passion, talent, confidence and external strength appeal to not only the gay male, but also to the special women in our lives who support and champion our journey. Behind closed doors, if Jamal were to be sitting with his close, same gender loving friends, this video visually peers into how the group conversation may look and possibly sound. “Love, Dating & Relationships Between Men: The iPhone Group Chat Live (Washington, DC)” invites viewers to witness and embrace some of the backstory that creates our personal lives as open, gay men living in a major, American city. Filmed by Joshua Cristos and his Malak Media team, this group of guys engages on film in a 30-minute conversation that successfully addresses the relationship dynamics that frame their individual lives, which then ultimately ties them all together.
Join us today by watching and possibly posting, sharing or linking this special Xem VanAdams video segment that has been released exclusively via youtube.com/XemVanAdams, XemSays.com & XemSays.tumblr.com.
Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Xem VanAdams is a writer, speaker, advice columnist and nationally known online personality. Xem offers love, lifestyle and self-esteem advice through original articles posted to his XemSays.com website and a series of informational and entertaining videos recorded for his youtube.com/XemVanAdams channel.
I have spent the majority of my time over the past seven years sitting and existing behind closed doors. While writing, recording and collaborating with other creative types, my journey hasn’t provided many opportunities to form new, close relationships. I have created a space for myself, consciously and subconsciously where I am forced to rely on the random contact with friends who have been a part of my life since Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski reigned over Saturday mornings. It makes me feel good knowing that the individuals who fill the positions in my circle are people who listen to me, share with me, and like me as I AM – even as I have grown and changed into someone who isn’t as publicly social. In my daily struggle to reach mainstream media success, I have chosen to remain in regular contact with those who give me good advice when I ask for it, assists in taking action that will help me reach my goals, and works alongside me to help figure out what to do next in moments where I am facing difficult times. My goal is to maintain a crew I can tell anything to and know they will not betray my confidence.
In many circumstances, this generation has lost sight of the significance and supreme purpose of surrounding themselves with a group of people who can truly be considered friends. Instead, many teens and twenty-something’s have opted to simply hang out with individuals who engage in constant fun when out and about, while in the process — looking good standing together for group shots. The “MY CREW IS BETTER THAN YOUR CREW” slogan dictates a contemporary, collective status of surface qualities: pseudo notoriety and second hand loyalty amongst the ranks. Many young people are choosing their friends based on convenient connections that have very little to do with creating a circle where the interactions enrich their individual lives. Everyone wants to be accepted by the “cool kids” – even if that top tier of the social paradigm only provides temporary self worth and gratification. It has seemingly become enough however — in a world where including non-talent related booking information in an online bio has replaced the honor of listing degrees, certifications and other substantial achievements.
“MY CREW IS BETTER THAN YOUR CREW” should be measured on the basis of collective accomplishments and group success if indeed one circle is even to be compared to another. Are the majority of the people you call your “crew” involved in daily tasks and activities that somehow contribute to the growth and productivity of the communities from where they stem? When others see your “crew” walking into a venue or standing side-by-side at a Sunday, rooftop party, are you all being greeted with looks of admiration and handshakes gripped in respect? There’s a huge difference between a crowd being physically attracted to most or all members that comprise a crew and that same crowd feeling drawn to each member as a result of their positive energy and personal vibes. This generation sometimes confuses the surface attention their circle of friends receives, with the levels of high regard that is often afforded to those who are making great, individual strides.
It’s so easy to get caught up in this whirlwind of group praise and adulation when people don’t fully understand who they are behind closed doors or what their purpose is in the world at large.
People who are constantly attaching themselves to other social groups, unable to walk outside alone or attend events without being seen with a slew of others are often dealing with issues of inferiority. Somehow, they don’t feel confident enough to face the world as a solo entity — in fear that their insecurities and weaknesses will be exposed on the front lines. It’s easier to hide our lack of confidence or pride in self behind the names and reputations that others have built and established for themselves. Individuals who often jump between social circles, hanging with this group today and that crew tomorrow – are usually in search of their own identity. Because they are unknowingly confused about what they want to do with their lives or how to create a plan to reach certain goals, they constantly ride the coattails of people who are seemingly powerful & revered. “MY CREW IS BETTER THAN YOUR CREW” is only as relevant as ones perception. When each person who comprises the crew isn’t able to stand on their own accomplishments and ride the wave of their solo merit, it echoes a very empty reality. When someone has to rely on the company they keep to cushion the shattered framework of their self-esteem, that individual has to begin building their internal strength.
When we force ourselves to engage in public and private activities that don’t involve the distractions of television, music, the internet or the presence of other people, we begin figuring out who we are at the core. The silent time we spend with ourselves allows buried thoughts to rise to the surface of our minds and hidden feelings to pump their way through the largest vessels in our hearts. We give ourselves the space and time to not only identify some of our pain, confusion, frustration and self-doubt, but we allow our minds to process methods in dealing with these internal battles. Constantly hanging out with the “crew” only creates a situation where we train ourselves to only feel comfortable and confident within group settings. Alone time then becomes a nightmare of sorts – igniting a fear of being with our own struggles and demons behind closed doors.
WHO ARE YOU WITHOUT YOUR CREW? Sit by the water for two to three hours on a Sunday afternoon with no ipod, ipad or partner alongside you. Patiently wait and allow the tides to turn on your mind. The answer can only be uncovered when an individual separates themselves from the outside world, and deals with the mental and emotional layers of their stripped down character. It may be uncomfortable but it IS necessary.
I NEED 100% INVOLVEMENT FROM MY READERS, VIEWERS & SUPPORTERS!
When I release “Love, Dating & Relationships Between Men: The iPhone Group Chat Live (Washington, DC)” segment on Sunday, August 16, 2015, I really need ALL OF YOU to watch the video within the first 24 hours. Please do not wait and put off viewing the video until later in the week or the following weekend as many of you often do. I need your viewership within the first 24 hours. The video will be released to youtube.com/XemVanAdams, XemSays.com and XemSays.tumblr.com between 8:00pm EST and 9:00pm EST. There will not be the usual reposting of the video link on any of my social media platforms. The link will appear only ONCE.
PLEASE leave all of your comments directly beneath the video. In the past 7 years, I have received the MAJORITY of your comments and feedback in my various social media inboxes, via email or in my notifications. For this particular video release, please say EVERYTHING in the comment section, directly beneath the actual video. Even if you have NEVER posted a blog or video comment since September 2007, I need you to make this release the first time you actually step outside of your comfort zone and PUBLICLY comment. I stepped outside of my comfort zone majorly to create this project. Also, I need each of you to physically “LIKE” the video. It does not matter if the video has already received 300+ or 500+ “LIKES”. Yes, you clicking the THUMBS UP button does matter and truly does make a difference.
A LOT of important individuals will be watching and paying attention to how this video is received. One of the major differences between my platform and those of my contemporaries is that even though my stat sheets prove that my articles are being read by mass audiences and my videos are being seen by thousands, the PUBLIC FEEDBACK isn’t as evident. For whatever reason, you all will only contact me privately, and that does nothing to prove to the POWERS THAT BE that I am able to successfully engage an audience.
I truly need you all to come through for me this time. A LOT of money, time, patience, promotion and effort has been invested into this upcoming project. I really am relying on you all to post the link EVERYWHERE within the first 24 hours of its release. I need you to post the video link or embed code on your Twitter timelines, in your Facebook groups, Google+ circles, tumblr pages, personal websites, create screen captures or record 10-15 second video clips for Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and any other online forum where you operate a network page. The reach for this video segment will greatly determine whether or not I elect to invest in the recording of a follow-up.
So, I come to you to say — IF you truly believe in me and support my platform in the ways in which you have declared over the past 8 years, you will immediately WATCH, COMMENT, LIKE and SHARE the 30 minute video segment that I am releasing on Sunday, August 16, 2015 between 8:00pm EST and 9:00pm EST via youtube.com/XemVanAdams, XemSays.com + XemSays.tumblr.com.
One of the toughest parts of adulthood is probably letting go of people who once upon a time we assumed would exist forever – having to make a final decision to cut off a relationship that has begun to create stress, sadness and personal anguish. We sometimes battle with a sense of guilt for ending these friendships, regardless of how miserable or one-sided they’ve become. And its simply because this individual has existed alongside us for so many years. We naively convince ourselves that if someone has acted amongst our circle as a long-term friend, then somehow that’s the role this person is “supposed” to always play in our lives.
Time and time again, we leave from spending time with this person or interacting with them over the phone, and there’s a consistent feeling of frustration. You sense that the two of you are growing apart, but somehow, you can’t pinpoint why the closeness or even comfort level in being in their company has changed. Then, as you begin to replay the past few months or recent years over in your head, things become a bit more clear.
For a little too long now, you’ve been making excuses in order to keep this “friend” in your life. Their time expired quite some time ago, but in order to have them around, you’ve allowed yourself to suffer – to play backseat to their selfish ways, inconsiderate decisions, sneaky behavior and dismissive attitudes.
Over the past few months, your friend has not been physically or emotionally as present for you as you have always been for them. Their go-to reason or explanation continues to be the fact that they are “going through stuff” or don’t feel like being around people and simply need space to think. And that would be understandable if the two of you were merely associates, but you never shut this friend out of your life when you too were going through your own dark moments and personal storms. You’ve never told this friend NO, regardless of how tired you were when unexpectedly they asked you to pick them up from the airport at 2:00am or needed to borrow twenty dollars when you were down to your last few coins.
We try to pretend that it doesn’t bother us when we learn more about our friend from circulating rumors and second hand stories than we’ve actually heard directly from their mouth. The tid-bits of information that we have managed to squeeze from our friend as of lately have been riddled in half-truth and flat out lies. Whenever you’ve tried to have a heart-to-heart conversation simply to make sure they are doing okay or surviving day to day, the invites are blown off and the phone calls go unanswered. The friendship has become nothing more than you holding on to the last few straws that keep the two of you bound.
Your feelings are hurt. You are tired of fighting for someone who not only has given up on the relationship and bond the two of you have established, but they’ve ultimately given up on themselves. While you are forging forward in life and trying to carve a future that mirrors the dreams you’ve always envisioned, they are spending their days sprawled across the living room sofa playing Xbox. Never once do they ask anymore about how you are feeling or inquire about your day-to-day activities. They express little to no interest in your recent accomplishments in school, on your job or even the new happenings that frame your personal life. Things have honestly reached the point where you question whether or not your friend even still loves or cares about you.
So, you’ve made the difficult decision to remove yourself from the situation – because that is what the friendship has become; a difficult, frustrating situation. You’ve been mistreated for so long at this point that you no longer have the energy to even send one of your, “just checking on you” or “we really need to talk” text messages.
And, you’re not mad at your friend necessarily, but you expected to be treated with a bit more respect after all of these years and between all of those memories and above every moment you pushed your personal shit aside to be the light your friend may have needed. So now you’ve moved on, and you’re not going to allow this friend or any other to make you feel unappreciated ever again.
You do not have to still like someone or even desire that the individual remain in your personal life in order to move beyond a situation. In most circumstances, forgiveness is instant. However, trust must be built and restored over time. There is no parallel between forgiving someone for your own sake and being forced to offer them the same level of relationship that existed previously.
Forgiveness simply means that we have accepted the fault or flaw in ones actions and we no longer hold a slate of anger or malice towards them. Our hearts and our spirits are free of the resentment that once dictated our every thought or feeling regarding this other individual. Once we have successfully rid ourselves of the ill feelings we carried as a result of how someone mistreated us, it’s then important to make that person earn your friendship back. You gave them everything the first time and their assumption that you’d always be around resulted in them taking advantage of your friendship and your heart. WELL… NOT THIS TIME.
COMING SOON: “LOVE, DATING & RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MEN“:
The iPhone Group Chat Live (Washington DC) — Sunday, August 16, 2015
to be exclusively released via youtube.com/XemVanAdams, XemSays.com & XemSays.tumblr.com
between 8pm EST — 9pm EST
While out in Mount Washington this morning praying and taking photos, I decided to turn the camera on myself and share a brief message that existed in my spirit. I hope something of what I say resonates with the right individual(s).
I simply want people to realize that the power of change truly does rest in our hands. How you invest your time, energy and attention determines the ways in which certain elements in your life will ultimately take shape. Our circumstances are temporary. Those who plant seeds during harvest season, shall reap the rewards of their hard work and continuing efforts as the tides turn.
In association with XemSays.com and Emerald Eye Entertainment
Xem VanAdams Presents…
The iPhone Group Chat Live: Washington, DC
LOVE, DATING & RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MEN
Over the past three years, I have spent countless hours throughout each day engaged in a series of group text message and screen-cap exchanges with my two good friends, NATE @psycho_gemini and DUANTE @4theloveofdevious.
Discussing a variety of issues associated with our dreams, aspirations, spirituality, favorite music, news headlines and other people’s online mess, the three of us always return to the ins and outs that frame our dating or relationship experiences. In the winter of 2014, we joked one morning about how funny or odd it would be to see other people’s reactions if they were to ever read a leaked copy of our uncensored, iPhone group chats. We made the collective decision to someday film ourselves actually talking to one another as openly and freely on camera as we do via cell, daily. Then, a few weeks ago, the three of us attended a happy hour event in Silver Spring, MD to kill time before we arrived at the Tori Kelly concert. Duante randomly suggested it would be a good idea to add other individuals to our videotaped chat session. He wanted to incorporate guys who would possibly challenge the similarities in our perspectives and points of view.
After careful evaluation, we decided that MATTHEW @jaiden_elijah, BRANDON @bgldnboi and CHRISTOPHER @me_poppa, would make great contributors to our candid conversation. On Saturday, July 11, 2015, the six of us convened in Northeast, Washington DC to openly discuss love and dating within our community.
Filmed by Joshua Cristos and his Malak Media Group team, the six of us engaged in a 30-minute conversation that tackles a variety of issues. Through a series of direct questions and bold responses, this group successfully addresses the relationship dynamics that exist between men.
Join us during the summer of 2015, as this special Xem VanAdams video segment is released exclusively via youtube.com/XemVanAdams, XemSays.com & XemSays.tumblr.com.
Please follow the Xem VanAdams social media networks to guarantee that you are one of the first individuals to be notified before the link to this special presentation appears in timelines and forums across the World Wide Web.
Many people spend forty hours each week strapped to a swivel office chair that is positioned comfortably behind a cubicle or a cherry wooden desk of some kind. Between taking calls, inputting computer data, running reports or managing a staff that completes all of these tedious tasks, your job has become an intricate part of your life. You either love what you are paid to do from nine to five everyday or you’ve grown to loathe everything associated with your title, position and responsibilities. However, you’ve become very comfortable or complacent in the routine of each day. You don’t have to consciously think about what needs to be completed first thing in the morning. Your boss no longer has to remind you about turning in certain files after lunch, or remembering to shut down your computer and lock your phone at the end of the day. When you are in the office, you pretty much do whatever you want because you’ve been employed with the same company for years. No one of authority addresses your attitude, mood or demeanor and that’s precisely why most of your co-workers can’t stand you.
For quite some time now, you’ve been allowed to get away with being less than professional. Everyone who works around you has become increasingly bothered by your behavior. The things you say out of your mouth and everything you do during office hours has become so normal to the higher ups that they basically allow your actions to slide. As a result, you’ve become the topic of lunch hour conversations for seven of your most annoying, in office habits….
7. PROLONGING GROUP MEETINGS – You are the only individual who sits in the back of the team room and actually responds to the boss when he asks if anyone can share a story or give an example of a situation that supports a statement he has made. You see meetings as the perfect opportunity to ramble on and on about how things use to be when you were hired before all of the new people came on board. Very little of what you have to say in meetings is concise or even relevant to the topics that are being presented. Your entire point and purpose in raising your hand is to verbally remind everyone that you have some level of seniority or advanced experience.
6. YOUR OFFICE PARTY CONTRIBUTIONS ARE ALWAYS BASIC – As much as you love to brag about your seniority on the job, you never like to bring real food or necessary items to the holiday parties or other company events. While everyone else makes homemade pasta, grilled chicken, baked cookies or a special seven-spice punch, you’ll bring straws – a pack of 20 for a staff of 53. Even when it’s your turn once a quarter to contribute to the Friday staff breakfast, you’ll simply stop at Dunkin Donuts to purchase one, twenty-five count box of munchkins. You’re the first person in the office to pile your plate with everyone else’s homemade dishes. However, when it comes to contributing food items that most of the other staff would eat and enjoy, you choose to bring the flimsy, white, dentist office cups.
5. YOUR GOSSIP HAS CREATED A LOT OF OFFICE TENSION – Since you’ve been working for the same company for so long, you seem to know the personal and professional business that’s associated with the admin, supervisors, newcomers, janitors and support staff. Although you don’t maliciously cause drama by sharing people’s business with others in the office, you certainly don’t stop yourself from gossiping either. Since you spend more time walking by everyone’s cubicles than you spend sitting at your own, you tend to catch the tail end of personal conversations. Anything you hear, whether it is accurate or only the partial story, you take the information and tell it to anyone willing to listen. If you see Tony tap the vending machine with his fist to help Janet retrieve her soda that was stuck, you’ll begin telling others that they’re dating. Your mouth and half-truths are always found at the center of controversy that ignites between your co-workers. When people approach you to ask why you said certain things about them, your first and immediate response is always, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Where did you hear that?”
4. YOU DON’T RESPECT THE OFFICE CLOCK OR OTHER COMPANY POLICIES – As far as you’re concerned, everyday is casual Friday and your ‘lunch hour’ is merely a title that has little to do with a set, 60 minute time period. Despite the fact that you work in a fairly business-casual environment, the outfits you decide to wear to work are always inappropriate. You will come into the office on Monday wearing thong flip-flops and a wrinkled, graphic tee. Sometimes, your explicit body art and other piercings are blatantly on display. You have violated the dress code so often that for you to actually be dressed appropriately for an office environment would appear abnormal to the other staff. Meanwhile, though a five-minute grace period is in effect to give employees time to return from their hour lunch break and settle down, you return to your desk at your own leisure. Often times, without notice to anyone on the administrative staff, you’ll leave for lunch fifteen minutes early and return thirty to forty-five minutes late. Not only do you return from lunch way beyond your scheduled period, you’ll also then sit at your desk and carry on the cell phone conversation that contributed to your lateness.
You’re loud, laughing and talking to the top of your lungs. Never mind the fact that cell phone usage is only permitted outside, in the break room or in case of an emergency – your desk is used as a phone booth. Your co-workers know the intimate details that surround the lives of your family and close friends because they’re exposed to your “personal” conversations on a regular basis.
3. YOU THINK YOUR POSITION IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT IT REALLY IS – Sweetie, though you’ve been employed with the same company for three years, you have never been promoted beyond your entry level position. You hold the same title as all of your co-workers who were newly hired or brought on board permanently after completing a temp assignment. However, you make it your business to send out mass emails and other memos that detail what others in your same position need to have completed and processed by certain deadline dates. You’ve taken on this self imposed leadership position over individuals who have completed higher levels of education than you’ve achieved. These same co-workers have also garnered just as much experience working at other companies. You wear your job title on your sleeve, but you aren’t willing to actually do the work that is attached to your position.
2. YOU’VE TAKEN CREDIT FOR TASKS YOU DID NOT COMPLETE – Often times, it’s other staff members who have had to show you how to use the new programs, software and other equipment. You’ve grown so comfortable with the tools and resources that were used years ago, that you’ve never adapted to the system updates. As a result, you’ve been unable to effectively contribute to the projects that have been assigned by the higher ups. However, you’re the first person to volunteer to turn in the completed projects, as to receive credit for the organization and presentation of each assignment.
1. YOU IGNORE ALL HAPPY HOUR INVITATIONS & OTHER OUT OF OFFICE ACTIVITIES – You love being the center of attention inside of the office, but you’ve made it perfectly clear that you don’t want anything to do with your co-workers or boss after work hours. When everyone is going out for cocktails and wings on a Friday evening to celebrate someone’s promotion or new job offer, you’re the first to say, “oh…I have a doctors appointment”, or “wait…I have to pick up my son from daycare”. Everyone knows that you’re lying to simply get out of attending the out of office functions, especially since you don’t have children. Even during times when everyone has donated a dollar or two to purchase a wedding gift or flowers for a co-worker who lost a family member, you opt out of contributing anything. You don’t enjoy socializing with your co-workers outside of the office, but you will certainly make their lives a living hell while on the job.
As you pack your bags at the end of each day and unplug the portable heater that’s not allowed and hidden beneath your desk, you don’t even realize that you’ve alienated everyone sitting around you. You’ve become so set in your poor professional ways that much of what you do and don’t do in the office is acceptable as far as you’re concerned. The vice president of the company thinks the world of you and his supporting staff simply follows his lead. As a result, you’ll never be reprimanded for your bad office habits and that’s the only reason your co-workers need to hate your incompetent guts.