break the cycle of meanness


my original flow chart: break the cycle of meanness by turning around and being nice to someone. (no, i'm not NEW AGE. hell, i wear black every day!)

back when i was a wee intern, i can say with great certainty that, for the most part, i was treated like sh*t. kind of like a doormat–but worse. this cycle continued to my first job, where my editor literally made me break down in her office. months later, as a temp in dc (for an eye-opening year and a half), i came into close contact with a great number of people that seemed to take great pleasure in demeaning me. in other words, ppl were mean to me. and yes, some of them made me cry.

but you know what i did? instead of taking it out on someone else, i’d wipe my eyes, turn around and be nice to someone. i started doing this all the time in my day-to-day activities. nasty-as-sin cashier at cvs? big smile to the person walking in as i’m walking out. hateful colleague does me wrong? a complimentary email to someone i think is doing a great job. the list goes on.

so i’ve been doing this for years now, and i came up with a flowchart that i finally put on paper (well, my computer screen; see above) today. see, when one person is mean to another, the recepient of that meanness will often be mean to someone else. my theory is to break the cycle. break the friggin cycle of meanness and turn around and be nice to someone. chances are that person will be filled with such gladness that they just might reach out and be nice to someone else and so on and so forth.

think of the power of this! i’m completely serious. i’m about the least new-agey person you’ll ever meet, but i honestly believe it could change the world.

i started supervising interns a couple years ago. the first one i had said to me one day, “i can’t believe how nice you are.” and i got chills. i told her that ppl were so mean to me when i was an intern/recent undergrad in the workforce, that i pledged to myself that one day, when i had ppl reporting to me, i’d treat them how i wish i had been treated back then.

i think a lot of ppl, they figure, hey, i was treated like crap when i was young and just starting out. that’s how the cookie crumbles. so they treat their employees like sh*t. or their interns. whoever. but it shouldn’t be that way. (it’s like these ppl forget how it was to be young and scared; they should take a moment to remember those days)  i’d like to think that my teary days as a late teen/early twentysomething have paid off to those i supervise now. and to strangers when i give them my seat on the subway b/c some jerk just shoved me.

so yeah, try it. if you get flipped off by some friggin idiot on the road, let someone out of a driveway on a busy street. you’ll feel a lot better. and if my flowchart is right, you might just make a dent in the world.

happy friday!!! GOOOOOOOOOOOO STEELERS!!!!


2 responses to “break the cycle of meanness

  1. I totally agree. I felt like I was reading an excerpt from my diary. If more people would do one nice thing per day, the world would be a better place!

  2. i LOVE it, jess! the concierge lady at my bldg was always so nasty and one day i just decided to try to kill her with kindness! well, not literally…but i figured if i smiled big enough and said hi to her 5 times until she looked up then she’d come around. well, she started to….and then apparently she got canned. oh well. i guess not everyone is as open minded as the rest of us! 🙂

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