20th Post

Today marks my 20th post in 5 years.

I’ve spent the last week trying to figure out how to make this the most grandiose post because 20 is a big deal, right?

Wrong. I spent so much time focused on this one post that I missed 2 weeks of posting. It reminded me of why 5 years have passed and I’ve only posted 19 blogs…

I PROCRASTINATED!

THERE…I SAID IT!

IF YOU WERE EXPECTING A POST ABOUT HOW WE NEED TO NOT WORRY ABOUT SMALL STUFF BECAUSE LIFE’S TOO SHORT (which is true), THEN YOU ARE NOT IN LUCK TONIGHT!!

Instead of writing about how I’ve made it this far at such a slow pace, I’m going to celebrate this 20th post by watching Monday Night Raw and having a beer.

I do have a challenge for you, the reader:

Read my older posts….

Write a comment…

Follow..

Swig a drink to celebrate making it this far. You deserve it.

More to come 🙂 🙂 🙂

-CK

 

 

Workplace Characters Too

Being a minority at work could make for a very interesting experience. It’s an adjustment that has to be made on all fronts. It’s like being a unicorn amongst humans. Everyone is amazed at your appearance and want you to speak for “your people” as if you were the ambassador.  The worst is when your coworkers don’t accept you as an equal individual. Your job may have the “non-discriminatory” sign on the wall in bold, but that doesn’t mean you will be approached with open arms. At a previous job, I was reminded  everyday that I didn’t fit the criteria to be acknowledged by some of my co-workers. Sometimes you can ignore it, and majority of the time it’s disheartening and infuriating. Nothing is worse than walking behind someone that knows you’re there, yet squeaks through the door and the door slams in your face. That is just one of the many ways someone can make you feel like you’re nobody. Today we will explore others to look out for:

The Blind spot – Everything is more important than the person in front of me

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Picture walking towards someone and that person refuses to acknowledge you. This person will avoid looking at you at all costs. The floor, wall, or ceiling usually draws the most attention until you are no longer visible. Congratulations, you have become the blind spot. I hope you’re not on fire.

The Statue – Maybe if I stare, they will get the hint.

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You walk into the break room and you’re watching your coffee brew (or tea if you’re like me) and suddenly you feel a burning sensation on your back. You turn around and notice a person staring at you as if you were Exhibit A. You speak to them and they don’t utter a word. This person then transforms into a statue until you are nowhere in sight. Mannequin challenge anyone?

The Curve – Hey you, not you

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You’re walking and someone is coming towards you. You speak to them and they look through you only to ignore you and speak to the person a few steps behind you. This is a curve. Don’t be naive and think that they just missed you. You were purposely drifted.

The Struggle Smile – You don’t deserve my words

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Lastly, the struggle smile. The person that uses this indescribable countenance looks to be heavy lifting to form this half-assed smile.  Note: This is the same look that is used to express disappointment, carelessness, and disbelief.

The worst thing a person can do is intentionally do something that makes another feel like an outsider. We may look and act different, but we are all working towards a common goal. Excelling at this thing we call life.

If you find yourself being described as one of the people above–it’s never too late to try for a change–starting with a simple wave.

Give it a shot and watch the magic happen.

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A smile.

-CK

The Death of Valentine’s Day

Love will be in the air next week when Valentine’s Day arrives. People will frantically scour every store shelf (usually the night before) in attempt to find the perfect gift to get themselves in the good graces of their loved one. People will empty their pocket/bank account and spend the most money in a matter of minutes. The love smoke will fill the air as people skip through the fields holding their significant other tight. The night will be epic with dinner ending with a show of affection. Once the sun exchange places with the moon and the smoke settles, the fireworks from last night will be duds.

Another V-Day will go by and the hopeless romantics in the world will still be hoping for better luck next year. Valentine’s Day, in my opinion, is the equivalent of Black Friday. The image of love is a smoke screen in place to cover up what this day is really about…the moolah. Traditionally, we are taught to go ape shit while spending money and the only way to truly express our love is buying expensive, but expendable items. The definition of true love has gone extinct and I’ll list 4 reasons why Valentine’s Day is over-exaggerated and has lost its true meaning:

ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE…DEAD?

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Every year, millions of flowers are bought by suitors to impress their significant other. These flowers could range from $10 to a car note or mortgage or bankruptcy. By the end of the week, you are reading the eulogy for the flower that was once standing tall, but now seems to be more focused on the floor or table top, depending on your placement preference. If The Beauty and the Beast were a true story, the beast would be a skeleton by the time that Belle wondered to the mansion. Are your pockets feeling a little empty yet? If not, here’s another example that will have you questioning that late night shift and early morning escapade.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?

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Regardless of the gift you buy for that special someone on Valentine’s Day it will be forgotten once the more important days roll around such as: Christmas, birthday, or one week anniversary. Think about a time when you’ve spent your last, hard earned penny trying to impress your honey bun (if you’re into nicknames) only to have them transform into a gift crazed beast when the next gift doesn’t amount to anything. A sudden case of amnesia hits once their birthday comes out of the hat because now you have to do your best magician impression to top your V-Day gift! *POOF* hopefully you didn’t purchase a boat the first time around.

BUT YOU SAID YOU LOVE ME

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One unfortunate thing about Valentine’s Day is most of the time it’s like a 24 hour high. Everyone wants to confess their true love and feelings, then once that 12th hour hits hopefully you didn’t lose a slipper, Cinderella, because no prince or princess is going to find it and hunt you down to return it. The day(s) after is doomsday for partnerships, couples, friends with special privileges, domestic arrangements, and everything else under the sun. There is usually a spike in breakups after Valentine’s Day, which I still have no idea as to why this would happen the day AFTER people spend their hard earned cash to impress someone. While this is not the case for all relationships, it’s still worth taking a look at.

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER DAYS?

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The last time I checked, there were 364 other days in the year. How cool would it be to use a random day to surprise your loved one with a nice bouquet of roses, a puppy, or a movie night with a horror film that will make their heart pound? Cuddles anyone? Valentine’s Day has so much importance placed on it; we forget to live for those random days, which could be more impactful than any appointed day of love.

The world has become an item driven society. ALMOST gone are the days of true, unequivocal love like showing affection by doing a random act for a stranger because you felt it in your heart.

Do you know the history of how Valentine’s Day began?

Valentine’s Day began as an early Christian celebration for one or more saints named Valentinus. There are many stories that were invented to go along with this celebration, and the most popular one is an account of Saint Valentine of Rome. According to the story–three hundred years after the death of Jesus–the Roman emperors still wanted people to believe in Roman gods, so an emperor called Claudias, persecuted the church and also prohibited the marriage of young people. He had a theory that unmarried soldiers fought better because they would not have the worry about the fates of their families should they die in war. Saint Valentine, a well-loved Christian priest, would secretly perform weddings for the soldiers, although it was forbidden to wed them. He would also minister to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire.

Valentine would eventually be caught and imprisoned for both of these acts. There is a myth that during Valentines’ time in prison, one of the men who were supposed to judge him, Asterius, had a blind daughter and Valentine prayed with her, which cured her of blindness. Asterius was so astonished by this work that he refused to sentence Valentine and converted to Christianity. Valentine would eventually be sentenced to execution by beating, stoning, and decapitation because of following and spreading the word of Christianity. The night before he was executed, Valentine wrote Asterius’ daughter a letter, which was signed “From Your Valentine.” No expensive satchel, rose, or dinner was needed—only an act of love.

Valentine lived and died for what he believed in, but he also showed that love can be expressed without spending hundreds of dollars (or coins). I’m not saying that Valentine’s Day is a terrible abomination that should be abolished, but the true reason for this day has been covered up with politics and the dollar sign.

If you agree with what you have read and want to return Valentine’s Day to being about love, then I have a couple of challenges for the lucky soul that is reading this critically acclaimed blog:

  • Do something special for your significant other on a random day.
  • Volunteer, pay it forward or donate to charity.

If you want to go further with the challenge, then try to perform one act of kindness once a day until next year’s Valentine’s Day, then sign a card and give it to a stranger with a signature that reads, “From Your Valentine.”

Numerous acts of kindness and love trumps one day of short lived affection.

-CK

The American Way

The Women’s March on Washington happened last weekend and everyone would’ve received extra credit for participation if this were a class assignment. People from all over the country got off their couch, grabbed their P-word hats, put their walking shoes on, and marched in the name of equality. People from different backgrounds came together with one mission in mind to stand tall towards something they felt was in jeopardy, their rights. This was a representation of patriotism at its finest. There were no disruptions and everything was peaceful (Except for Madonna speaking about her thoughts of blowing up the White House, but I digress).

What bothers me is the backlash that came as a result from people on social media. Since when did a protest become such a negative thing? This is nothing new in America, as protests have been happening since the beginning of time. The Civil Rights Movement, The Women’s Suffrage, and The Labor Movement were a few protests that changed this country in ways that we benefit from today.

The above protests would prove to be huge movements and if you still think protesting to protect or gain rights are silly, then allow me to break down the most important protest of The United States of America.

The Boston Tea Party:

One day, a man by the name of Kermit was sipping his daily tea.

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Then, a telegram came in, which read:

Here ye’, Here ye’

As you sip-eth your tea, ye’ will impose yet ANOTHER TAX. The Tea Act…

Kermit, visibly upset, could not believe what he read..

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He immediately called his friends to tell them the news

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His friends could NOT believe the RIDICULOUSNESS! The info quickly spread to the town folk and everyone was appalled.

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Feeling slighted, they devised a plan..

On the evening of December 1773, Kermit, his friends, and the town folk gathered to protest and reject the latest shipment of tea.

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When the shipment of tea arrived, Kermit and friends boarded the ship disguised as Indians and dumped 92,000 pounds of tea overboard. They felt pretty good about it.

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Tensions would boil over and this would eventually start the American Revolution.

There was bloodshed, but in the end–The United States of America was founded.

The tea party led to war, but the women’s march was about peace. They took a page out the book of history that this nation was built on. No tea was harmed that day.

I was proud, as an American, to see other Americans unify for each other and speak out. Actions speak louder than words, but actions with words and a sprinkle of love can change this nation for the better.

Stand for something or fall for anything. It’s the American Way.

-CK

 

Nostalgia

“Back in the days when I was young, I’m not a kid anymore/But somedays I sit and wish I was a kid again.”

Ahmad hit the nail on the head with the chorus of his song “Back In The Day.” I think a large portion of us sit and think about the old days when life gets crazy. Thoughts of the past can be like paradise for some of us. Our minds paint a picture of a time that’s almost perfect and today can never compare to it. Welcome to the world of nostalgia.

I like to spend time thinking about the past, specifically because of what was going on during that time. My favorite era to meditate on is the 90’s. I always wonder what life would be like if I could go back as an adult and really take in the moment.

The selection of television shows were in abundance and while the style of clothing was nothing to run home about, it still showed character in a variety of ways.

I loved it all, but the most important facet from the 90’s, in my opinion, was the music.

As an avid hip-hop fan, the 90’s were the golden years of the hip-hop genre. This particular era saw the evolution to a new generation of artists. Everyone had a different style and the talent levels were far beyond what we have today. Lyrics were at the forefront of music. Each verse would rhyme about being proud of who you were, standing up for something and empowering oneself. Queen Latifah told women to unite and stand up to the disrespect shown to them in society. Arrested Development’s “People Everyday” spoke about experiences of black culture in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. KRS-One placed a spotlight on the law with “Sound of da police.”

I can only imagine what it was like to vibe to these timeless pieces of music as they were produced. I’ve only scratched the surface. I can go on forever about why I love the 90’s, but I am going to pass the baton and allow someone else to tell me about their love for the 90’s or a certain era.

What was your favorite era and why?

-CK

 

Just A Thought: Change

As I sit and watch President Obama’s final speech to the nation, I think back 8 years. I can vividly remember being at a friend’s house during the election coverage and nervously watching as the percentages updated by the minute. The win was confirmed and I found myself happy, but I did not understand the magnitude of what was happening. The first black president was obvious, however, there was more than what the surface presented.

We were ushering in a new era that would drastically change the world and become the new norm. This was the beginning of shifting views and the evolution of a country that has been unchanged for decades. It would take years until I was finally able to see what changes came, but now that the smoke has settled I can see clearly.  In 8 years we’ve seen the acceptance of so many things that were looked at as taboo prior to the 2008 election. We’ve seen people of all backgrounds come together for the greater good of humanity and work together to reach a common goal. Technology has advanced, as we are now able to join in on the conversation with a flick of a camera phone. Gone are the days of being blind to what’s really going on around the world with everything literally at our fingertips. We have grown to be more health conscious with more people opting to choose healthy alternatives. We still have ways to go, but with an open mind and unity –anything could be possible. The world has reached new heights and only time will tell if it will go backwards or continue forward.

No matter if you bought into the change slogan, you can’t deny that change has happened.

This is not to start a debate.

This is not to educate.

This is just a thought…

  • Chicago Keith

 

New Year Resolution: DE-STRESS

Whew! We survived the holiday season! We’ve avoided our last crowd of anxious shoppers, made it home from visiting family, and spent our last dime (literally) on gifts. The smoke has settled, the new year is in and what do we see? A bunch of pieces to clean up!

The most difficult thing about coming out of a holiday season is going back to normal life, which can be a tough transition. You have to readjust to waking up early for work and not having extra days off, the bills seem to all come together to have a “pay me” party, and you could be stuck in a rut. All of this can be overwhelming and you could feel like you’re sinking. Before you lose yourself, look in the mirror and reassure yourself that you are cut out for this kind of pressure.

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Don’t throw your hoodie on just yet, READ MY LIST of things that I tell myself when stress has me by the horns:

Stay true to self

When I find myself buried under a pile of stress I try not to forget who I am and where I’ve been. Always remind yourself that you’re above whatever it is that is holding you down. Nothing wrong with being a bit cocky in this situation because you know that you’re above the stress!

I always remind myself, “I’m Chicago Effing Keith!”

Give it a shot!!!

It’s only temporary

The good thing about a lot of situations that we encounter is it’s only a moment in time. Everyone goes through ups and downs it’s part of this thing we call life. We gain strength and wisdom from stressful days, so remember that the clouds can’t cover the sun forever.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

A paper cut seem to hurt more than a burn, but it heals faster. The same thing usually goes with small problems that come our way. At first glance it seems like a big issue, but overreaction is the first reaction when we are stressed. I try to not put a microscope on the the little things, which leads to the next part on this list.

Stay positive

ALWAYS STAY POSITIVE…ALWAYS.STAY.POSITIVE.

This is what I repeat to myself even before I encounter stress. There is always a silver lining somewhere and training your mind early will help you locate it when things go by the wayside. Try to look at bad issues from 100 different angles and don’t immediately think bad. It takes practice, but I know you can do it. It could be worse!

Stop and smell the roses!!

Life can be full of so many turns and we may feel like we’re in a fight to survive. Although we can’t pause time, we can take a break from the madness and enjoy the finer things in life. After a long day of being an adult, I like to take at least an hour to do something that I enjoy like watch Youtube vids, play a game or anything to take my mind off what transpired earlier. I find it better to end my night on that instead of the stress build up. Make sure you give yourself some time to do something that will pull your mind out of the moment. Meditate, pray, write, hang with your significant other, play Candy Crush (hey love), or whatever it is to bring you back to earth.

SMELL.THE.ROSES

Hopefully you are able to find something that will allow you to combat the curveballs that life may throw your way. If things get too heavy don’t be afraid to speak to someone about it. Talking out issues are a great way to cope when everything is too heavy.

I’m no licensed professional, but the list above has helped me make it through the hardest days. I know it won’t magically work overnight, but with practice anything is possible.

Now you can throw on your skully, hoodie and run out to capture the world!

-Chicago Keith

 

 

The Blank Page – A Tale of Creativity

As I sit in front of my laptop with every intention of writing the most amazing entry EVER, I find myself stuck with no idea of what to write. I am drawing up all blanks and it’s frustrating. An hour pass and I am still here staring at a blinking cursor.

It would be easy to close my laptop and let this day go by the wayside, but I decided to write about a writer’s worst nightmare…The blank page.

Writers are heroes..

Words are life changers..

We take words and put them in combinations that could turn out to be informative, relatable, encouraging, or anything we want.

The blank page is the conduit that we use to deliver these messages to the world. The blank page could be the most intimidating thing in a writer’s life because it’s the start of something and we all know that starting certain things could be tough. Not only do we have to deal with trying to figure out a way to begin our story, but we occasionally have to wrestle with the monster known as, WRITER’S BLOCK.

Writer’s block is pure evil. It blocks all creative ideas that a writer has ever had. No matter what you attempt to write; the only result on your page will be FAIL. Writer’s block changes a creative brain into an evil mind that is out to ruin a person’s life. No longer do we receive uplifting or encouragment–only defamation and despair. Plagiarism dwells within the belly of writer’s block and a select few give into the temptation.

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DO NOT BE THOSE FEW.

It may be hard to overcome the hold of writer’s block, however, there is a way to combat it.

When I write, I envision myself as a knight with a paint brush and I have the power to paint a picture that would open a door to a world of happiness. Sometimes, things could go awry. Here is how the story goes in my mind:

I’m riding my horse towards an area called The Page and I am happy-go-lucky as ever until a dark cloud starts to form over my head. The closer I get to The Page, the darker the sky changes. Out of the sky falls a huge 100,000 headed dragon. It’s breathing fire, burning down my creative soldiers, and offering me the fame of plagiarism. It breathes a foul smell as it speaks:

Dragon: Go ahead, use these words and I promise you’ll be famous. I have a better idea, use hate, greed, and slander…it will get you to high places. If you don’t agree, then I’ll hold you here with no thoughts. Muahahahahahahaha!

I can’t think of anything to say because my brain is cloudy. The dragon is also holding me and I can’t move. I could be stuck here for a long time if I don’t think of something!

Everything is in slow motion and I am about to give up, then I look back and I see a canvas with a rainbow and smiley face drawn on it. It speaks to me:

Canvas: Yo! Use your words!

I raise my brush towards the dragon and words come out. The dragon flinches and I start to throw more words. Word after word and the dragon hurting. After a paragraph, I am able to back the dragon to a cliff. The dragon falls and the sunshine returns.

Once I arrive to The Page, I have this crazy story about a dragon and a talking canvas.

Moral of the story, just write and the rest will follow.

-Chicago Keith

Commitment Issues

I’m not really sure how to start this off.

Once again, I was burned .

I thought this time would be different.

I was clinging on to a little bit of hope.

The same outcome as before.

How could I fall for the same thing over and over?

We were so close…

Until..

You guys allowed Jordy Nelson to catch a long pass downfield! Oh my gosh! Once again we lost to the Green bay Packers!!!

This is just a view of the kind of pain that Chicago Bears fans have to endure every year. As a fan, I have to take on whatever is thrown at me. Luckily I am not the only one. I can only imagine what a Cleveland Browns fan is going through or anyone that has a favorite team in a drought. When you align yourself with something and say you are a fan, you must be willing to go through the highs and lows. Using the word “fan” is like confirming a relationship and posting it on Facebook. The world knows and they will leave comments all over your page to get the inside scoop. It’s always roses in the beginning.

Then when it all falls down, be prepared to answer dumb questions like:

  • What’s up with your team?
  • How could you continue to follow them?
  • Why do you like them?
  • Don’t you think you should get another team?

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SLAP for all of the bandwagoners in the world.

As a Chicago Bears fan, I inherited the championship drought that we are going through and the rivalry with the Green Bay Packers. The oldest rivalry in sports. The Bears and Packers have been duking it out since wooden wheels and radio broadcasts. The Packers are like the ex-boyfriend that was a complete jerk. It’s a must that I dislike them. I know a lot of good people that are Packer fans and we are very cordial…until our teams play. It’s something about that yellow and green, yuck! I was lucky to be around when we were the Monsters of the Midway beating on the Packers, but now the Packers are beating on us and it’s no fun.

It hurts worse because my team has been on the downside and while I understand the process of retooling/rebuilding, this recent loss to the Packers really made me question my commitment to my team. I’ve always been the optimistic one that defends DA BEARS to no avail. Now I am feeling torn.

So many people have told me that my Bears are no longer good for me, but I believe and think that things will change soon (Deja Vu). I still hold onto the memories of the Walter Payton and Brian Urlacher era. Our team was so dangerous and I know they will be glorious once again!

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I won’t babble for long about the old days, but the present is looking ugly right now. My relationship with the Bears has been stale and I need my roses! I’ve been faithful to you for years and you continue to let me down!

However, a true fan don’t bail on their relationship with a favorite team. It’s a marriage and in order for it to work you have to work on it. Commitment should be the ultimate goal and eventually that commitment will pay dividends. I can’t wait until the day that I can look the hopeless in the eye and say:

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Hopefully I’m not 95 like some Cubbie fans were.

So as I sit here hurting and feeling the pain of another lost season, I will remember the glory days and say a line that is all too familiar to me.

Better luck next year

Sincerely,

A Battered Fan

 

Workplace Characters

How do you feel about your 9 to 5? I’ve always had a love and hate relationship with almost every job that I’ve worked (besides Envision). Nothing is worse than being prisoner to the clock. Everyday you’re worried about making it on time. You’re assigned a time for lunch, break, etc. It’s all a messy ordeal. If you’re like me, your days are spent working hard and clock watching.The number one question in the workplace always seems to be, “Is it Friday yet?” NO IT’S NOT FRIDAY! ACTUALLY IT’S TUESDAY AS I WRITE THIS…Sorry, I got carried away. Work would be a shade better if people came in, did their work, and went home. However, there are always folks that have been put in a position to make your time that much harder. There is no escaping these people. You either have a few or a ton of them working alongside of you. Today we will place a spotlight on on a handful of these people from the very top of the ladder and down to the entry level.

# 5 The CEO that could care less if you are a  person or a cardboard cut out.

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Main Characteristics

Arrogance – Feeling as if the ground should be lucky because they are walking on it.

Ego – Feels that everyone should know their name and address them with a salutation in front.

Insensitive – Could care less if you have a name or family.

Favorite lines

“Actually, it’s Dr. Blah Blah Blah the third.”

“Hey you, fetch me some water”

“Why is that guy standing around dying?”

#4 The  Manager that hates you just because

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Main Characteristics

Manipulative – Drags your name in the dirt to make others hate you

Condescending – You have no opinion

Querulous – Find ways to make you quit

Favorite lines

“I was “randomly” checking to see if she was working and she was tying her shoes. That’s not production!”

“I don’t care if he did have the top stats, he needs to be working nonstop on the stuff I gave him!”

“You see that crap over there that means nothing? Let them work it.”

#3 The supervisor that knows you are being unfairly treated, but turns the other cheek

Main Characteristics

(Fake) Oblivious – Will see something out of the ordinary and act like it never happened

King or queen of the swerve – Good at throwing smokescreens

(somewhat) Loyal – Always take the side of the manager

Favorite lines

“Really? I had no clue.”

“You’re not the only one that’s having this issue, so don’t feel like you’re being targeted.”

“Maybe you getting in trouble is just luck of the draw.”

#4 The snitch 

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Main Characteristics

Mole – Eavesdrop on conversations to get the juicy gossip

Talebearer – Rumor spreader

Biased – Will snitch on you for doing things that they do everyday

Favorite Lines

“Have you heard about (insert name here)?”

“Don’t make me have to tell the boss what you’re doing.”

“I’m not saying any names but…”

#1 The cynical one

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Main Characteristics

Distrustful – Don’t Trust Anyone

Pessimistic – Good at planting dark narratives

Exaggerate – Takes everything too far

Favorite lines

“I don’t care who it is, I don’t trust them.”

“You know that they are about to make some big changes right?”

“Better watch yourself!”


I’m sure you could identify at least one person at your job that can be listed here.

Tip 1 – Steer clear of them.

You’re welcome,

-Chicago Keith