Thursday, July 28, 2005

Am I a Manipulative Bitch?

Etymology: back-formation from manipulation, from French, from manipuler to handle an apparatus in chemistry, ultimately from Latin manipulus.

1 : to treat or operate with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
2 a : to manage or utilize skillfully b : to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage
3 : to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose

I was bored at work yesterday. This is not an unusual experience for me. I’m a peon amongst peons at a peon branch of a mega-huge Fortune 100 company. Although I am paid fairly well for the mindless paper-pushing that I do, I’m not paid all that well considering my education, skills and abilities. It’s really my own damn fault. I simply lost my ambition, and I’m hard-pressed to find it … or at least it’s been directed toward more hedonistic activities.

Amidst my boredom, I received a misdirected telephone call. A frantic gentleman was on the other end of the line explaining that he had a serious problem that needed immediate attention. He’d talked with a number of people, but seemed to be getting nowhere.

Ordinarily, I would transfer a misdirected call to the appropriate party. It’s not within the scope of my job description to help people … at least not to help in this sort of situation. However, I heard myself utter the words, "I’m going to help you." And as I did, I knew in my heart that the only reason I was doing it was due to sheer BOREDOM!

He thanked me and explained his situation. Then he asked who I was, as if he needed reassurance that I could handle the task at hand. I told him who I was, what I was going to do and how long it was going to take to resolve his problem. And then I added, "Don’t worry. I know how to be very persuasive and manipulative when I want something." He stammered a bit, as if I had just told him I was going to lie, cheat and steal.

Needless to say, I resolved his day-long frustration in about half an hour. I know the system and most of the people who work there. It was a matter of gathering information, and asking a couple of people to do a couple of things that they might otherwise not do immediately.

In reality, the person who was supposed to solve the problem probably wouldn’t have been as successful. Why? Because he doesn’t know the people and the system, and he’s not as persuasive and manipulative. Does that make me a better or worse person? Should it matter that I’m good friends with the two people who helped me? Shouldn’t they help everyone the same? What if I made-out with one of them after a party one time when we were kind of drunk? Do you think that matters?

Personally, I think of manipulation as a personal skill that, when held in check within certain moral parameters, is helpful. If I’m trying to raise money to support the Domestic Violence Shelter because their state funding was cut by $100,000 last year, I’m going to be very persuasive in my attempts to part you from your money. And I’m not going to feel guilty about it. You should give me your money. And, you should be happy for the opportunity to help people less fortunate than you.

Sometimes I’m manipulative. I’m not mean or selfish, and I try very hard not to hurt people. I’m a realist. I play the cards that I’m dealt. However, perhaps in this case, I was just trying to amuse myself during and otherwise painfully boring day.


At 12:54 PM, Blogger Al said...

No, you're not a manipulative bitch. A manipulative bitch would whisper "if I had a....maybe I'd feel more amourous". Yes guys can be manulaptive bitches too, but it usually has to do with beer or food.
BTW - I don't think I lost my ambition as much as it was ground out of me by "The Man"

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Mr 5.25 said...

Do you accept Paypal?

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Ron Southern said...

If you have to alter one's own or someone else's comment, one should be able to remove all sign of it and that can't be done on cocksucking Blogger comments.

This person who had to bowdlerize himself, did he just go a little too far or did he rush screaming and howling into the nether world by offering money for various body parts?

You can be manipulative, I don't mind; just don't use your fingernails.

Honestly, I did plan to make sense when I sat down to do this, but I'm rapidly losing control. Will visit your planet again later when I'm making better sense. Ta ta.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger Chick said...

Changing a be more favorable to indeed an art...& you're does not have to be done in a selfish or deceitful way.

You're right about boredom too...can trouble be far away...if Theresa is bored...I'll answer that...oh can't be too far off.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Larry Jones said...

Good girl. You did a good deed. Someone out there is a little happier tonight because of you. Probably a lot of people, come to think of it.

I do things likie this mainly to embarrass the lazy jerks who are supposed to be doing it. I do it cheerfully, efficiently and quickly, making sure everyone notices that I'm doing someone else's job. Then I go back and finish my own work, too.

This gets me nowhere, in case you are wondering: No more money, and no gratitude. But sometimes I just can't help myself.

At 12:35 AM, Blogger R. U. Serious said...

I get lots of calls from desperate customers I can't help. Making matters worse, I have one of 3 lines in the company that can't even forward them to anyone. So after they get me and unload their story, I have to tell them to hang up and try again.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Blazngfyre said...

I'm too apathetic to be bored.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Kyle Stich said...

Are you manipulative? Yes. Manipulative because you can turn negative situations into positive ones.

Is this a bad thing? No. We are all manipulative, some just give up easier than others or haven't made certain connections to realize their goal.

The reason it might feel "wrong" to be manipulative is because it has been used with a mostly negative connotation. Maybe you can reclaim the word, make it something positive the way you do with "chik" and "slut."

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Popeye said...

I think there's a thin line we all walk between "manipulative" and "convincing." Sometimes I walk it, sometimes I cross it firmly in to one or the other.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

You know, I would have never judged you to be a paper-pushed or to work for a Fortune company. Not even a for-profit, frankly. Where has your ambition gone?? Would you get it back if you were someplace where the mission excited you? Just considering these things because I've been looking into it myself for a while now.

Manipulative does have a horrible connotation the way people use it in ordinary speech. The verb does not seem to have as negative a meaning for some reason.

I think what you said about morals is the key. If your value is to promote yourself, I say manipulation is awful - but, that's b/c I don't value that. Helping others, I think it's still best to be honest, but you can tell people what they want to hear and omit somethings that they don't. I still think it's dishonest, but if it hurts no one....


Tough call.

Stacie - Spitting in a Wishing Well

At 2:56 AM, Blogger Clark K. said...

I used to manipulate people at my job all the time. Its what made me a good leader becuase I only did it to support my staff and get them the help they needed. Everyone wins.

That word has become a four-letter word b/c its associated with doing something for petty personal gain. It doesn't always have to be bad though.

I lost some of my ambition a while back too, it let to boredom much like yours and it ultimately led to big trouble. So don't get too bored.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Opaco said...

i can be manipulative at times. but most of the time, i'm just demanding.
yeah i know.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Buffalo said...

Motivate, not manipulate. It sounds so much more positive and accomplishes the same goal.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Popeye said...

Have you really lost your ambition?

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could list manipulation and common sense on my resume, I think those are skills that can't be taught, and are worth a whole lotta $$...

Don't sweat it, it's a good skill to have...


At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Joe and i'm a freelance writer. I was wondering if I may ask you some questions for an article i'm writing?


PS you can contact me at


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