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Kvetching Corner | We Are Not Family, Because I Actually Like You People

Updated: May 25

Welcome to Kvetching Corner, our mini-articles that we are using as filler until we figure out what to do as a team of two.

Kvetching Corner is the only post that has a two-drink minimum. We give Jer a topic and glug or two of his choice of alcohol, and away he goes.

Today’s beverage of choice is: Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

His topic is: “We’re like a family here.”


Before starting, I got to say this is really good. This is an abuse of good whiskey.

Let’s get into it.


I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve either worked for a company or interviewed for a company where the interviewer or manager said that we’re one big happy family, and dude, I’m telling you that is never the case. I’ve worked for companies where the staff was family or pretty fucking close to it, but the managers, regardless of how close with the staff they were, were pathetically like mom and dad in the family.


I’m not shitting on all managers who run a “family” atmosphere, there are some out there that can pull it off, but in my experience, they all try and be the “cool mom” and the “Disneyland dad.”


Shit, speaking of, you want to know what it’s like where your coworkers are like family, work at fucking Disneyland, I loved every single one of my fellow castmembers. Some of my closest friends came out of working there. Time of my fucking life man.


Jer, we’re really going to need you to focus up

(singing) Roger that, let me try it with another film!


Dammit

Alright, sorry.


I remember reading this article in Forbes about bosses and employees being friends and thinking it was total bullshit. There were so many fucking articles about bosses and employees being besties and how to ensure that you don’t, like, fuck it up by overstepping boundaries and shit. Do you know what that advice comes down to, establish boundaries, as if that shouldn’t already be a fucking thing. No one is ever going to say hi, I’m from Bosses without Boarders, where we get all up in your fucking shit and act like we’re childhood friends who experimented in high school once, but no longer talk about it.


You know what the real issue with the “we’re a family” fucking shit is, the bosses who say we’re one big happy family only say that shit because they want to infantilize you. They want to be your daddy or your mommy, they get disappointed not mad, and any feedback you get is fucking designed to mommy guilt you into being a better part of the family. It’s not organizational culture, it’s fucking control, it’s weird.


It’s… fucking… control and abuse – psychological abuse, and it’s fucking ridiculous.


Worse still, these fucking HR assholes who advocate for the family atmosphere… look --- come closer, yeah, I know this is just going to be transcribed and you’re just reading it, but stick your face right up against the fucking screen, because this is important.


By forcing the family BS, you are driving a wedge between employees and management, and creating an unnecessary rivalry between sibling-like team members.


What the fuck does that even mean?


There are libraries of fucking articles on childhood development that discuss why teenagers are little shits, and why it’s a good thing for their development. One of the biggest frustrations you hear from teenagers is that their parents treat them like a child, instead of the bourgeoning adult they are becoming. This creates a division between child and parent, and an environment that can seem combative, and for teenagers, it fucking sucks. You don’t think that mommy manager is not going to create the same conflict?


It’s fucking stupid man. I just don’t get it. Especially since, ok, hear me out, when you are a teenager, you need guidance, right? You have questions, you’re experiencing things for the first time, and the last thing you need is your parents treating you like a five-year-old, embarrassing you because you popped a boner during your presentation in IB history class. You want someone who will tell it to you straight, that will talk through things with you, that doesn’t minimize your fucking experiences by infantilizing you. Does this sound like managers you know? These mommy-daddy types that try to make everything hip and cool, and really they’re not helping you grow.


Worse than that are helicopter parents/bosses. I swear to all the gods that have ever fucking existed, that if I hear another manager saying they “just wanted to protect me” I’m going to move to Concord Massachusetts, and live the examined life on the shore of a fucking pond.


The sibling rivalry thing comes from vying for the attention of Mom and Dad boss.


So… I mean…


Ok, so in my family, two of us are stable, we work hard and have always persevered. Then there’s the one who has to be bailed out all the fucking time. Do you know who the favorite is? Right, the one who is the worst of the three.


How many teams have you been a part of where the asshole who does the least amount of work gets the most praise? It’s because they design their entire job to make Dad proud.


For me, there is only one person I want to hear is proud of me, and that’s my fucking dentist. I know she knows that I lie to her about flossing, and I know she’s disappointed, but I just want her to acknowledge that I’m trying and that she is proud of that at the very least!


Teams should not be families!


Teams should work like a machine. I fucking hate that analogy, but it's true. You don’t build a watch expecting that the cogs and springs will act like a family, you expect them to do their part in harmony.


When was the last time you heard of someone with a healthy family life?


Last time I heard someone unironically claim they had a healthy family life was from a large LDS family, whose kids all moved away when they turned 18. At that point, the perfect healthy family façade fell apart, and everyone ended up talking about their mental and emotional trauma. From the outside, though, they were a poster-worthy example of the nuclear family.


Just like your family environment, I guaran – fucking – tee there are team members leaving with trauma and workplace PTSD; that there is that one fuck up that doesn’t deserve their praise but gets the Marsha Brady treatment.


Is there anything good about being a family workplace?

No… fucking… just… no.


Actually.


So, let’s go back to Disney. With the exception of two people, I trusted every single cast member I worked with 100%. Even the ones I didn’t like.


Three, three people I didn’t trust.


There is a certain level of familiarity that comes with family.


Holy shit, is familiarity and family the same root work? Shit… I mean that makes sense.


Ok, back to it.


Familiarity. In a family, you know about the cousin addicted to meth, the hypochondriac grandparent, the sibling that’s been stealing money from mom/dad for more than a decade. What’s more, you have a lifetime of shared experiences.


It’s what we had at Disney, a ton of shared experiences, both good and bad. It brought us together. We were closer than family. We were together by choice.


We achieved it without feeling like we had to cover for our fuck up brother, who also happens to be mom’s favorite, or the need to be on your best behavior so you can go to the Skankin’ Pickle/Blink 182 concert (you’ll probably sneak out anyway).


You can achieve the benefits of a "family atmosphere," without having a parent as a boss. Here's the thing, that really pisses me off though. If I or anyone of those in my work family were hit by a bus tomorrow, they'd have a replacement within a couple of weeks. If one of my brothers was hit by a bus, I wouldn't just replace them with some dude. There is zero loyalty from the people who claim are your family, and they expect loyalty from you because "we're all a family!" Yeah, fuck that.


That’s my take. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go drink a gallon of water.

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