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Spotting Toxic Friends

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Disney and Nickelodeon are an endless supply of television shows about youth and the unwavering power of friendships—and now kids have Netflix Originals, too! It’s freaking everywhere! If you’re my generation, you know Lizzie and Miranda, or Raven and Chelsea. There’s Carly and Sam, and even recently Riley and Mia. We’ve all grown up surrounded by the immortal trope of the undying friendship, and even in adulthood we’re still given an impressive I.V. supply of the crap. Examples include: Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Community, Will and Grace, the list goes on.

So then why do people still suck at friendship? Or better yet, humanity? I could lead this muse into a much deeper conversation given all the chaos going on in the world right now, but no, I just want to talk about shitty friends. Indulge me, please.

It is not hard to refrain from sucking, Let’s unpack the three things that form a friendship. It’s pretty simple, which is not a shocker.

Healthy, loving, good friendships:

  1. Open communication and dialogue. This ranges from all the serious talk, to the person you send random memes and videos to at 3am. That being said, you cannot have one without the other to form a close relationship. Everyone has Meme Friends. They’re a good boost to one’s quality of life, but a funny meme does not a best friend make.
  2. Truth, truth, truth, and kindness. Let’s face it, at some point in time we are all that bitch. And when we fall off the path and get lost, we need at least one person who is going to mosey on off the path to give us a whack on the head and set us straight. You’ve got the harsh friends that will do just that—the strong personalities that maybe we don’t bond so well with. But then there’s the good friends who will do this, but in such a way it will also cradle our hearts. “Hey, you’re fucking it all up, but I still love you.”
  3. Commitment. This is the one that usually drops people into the toilet fast—like dozens of little friend turdlets. Looking back on some of the television shows I mentioned previously, commitment is usually a big plot element, too. It’s also usually described as terrifying and super hard, but it’s almost always portrayed as romantic commitment. But when you become a friend, a true friend, you’re making a commitment to that person. Everyone should take care of themselves, but that doesn’t mean friends get to toss you to the wolves whenever they like. Friends will be there. They’ll be there whether it’s the 2am mental breakdown, if it’s the sudden death in the family, if it’s the embarrassing job interview, cringe Tinder date, whatever.

Now, this is the list that, when these things are not being done, it means it is time to throw the friend out. The whole friend. Know why? Because they suck. This is not someone who should be your inner circle, they will not lift you up, they will not support you in your time of need. They will let you land hard on the ground of that trust fall if something shiny catches their eye. Walk away.

Toxic, selfish, all-around bad friendships:

  1. They don’t even have time for your rants. You’ll get one of two responses. A competition—whatever you’re facing is not as harrowing as what they’re going through. Or you get apathy. Maybe they don’t even have time for a phone call. You let it all out in a full-text rant, and you get back a, “Man, that’s rough.” And sure, sometimes this can be enough, but all the time? No, friends, that’s not enough. Someone who cannot fit you into their schedule is someone who sees no value in having you in their life. Why are you trying to hold onto someone like that?
  2. Lies are seeds. They grow and flourish in the dark, but that growth leads to shrubbery—it always finds the light of day. When you find those leaves, believe what you see. Lies breed more lies, more seeds. If a person doesn’t rip them out by the roots, the lies come back. It is easy to spot a person who’s not particularly fond of gardening their own weeds.
  3. Friends show up. Period. And when they can’t, they find other ways. They check up on you, they call, or even something as miniscule as a text. They make sure you know they’re there, at the very least. I’m not just talking about the friend that consistently can’t make time for hanging out because they’re too busy. Beware of the “friend” who measures the world by their own ruler. What’s important to them is the only thing of importance. If what’s important to you is not on their radar, they will not care. Again, period. When they leave you standing there alone, don’t be there waiting by the time they decide to pass by.

It’s so easy to talk a big game when I’m sat on my couch in my pajamas basically letting myself rant. There are such kind people out there: people who can’t stand conflict, people who want to help others, and people who can’t stand the thought of losing friends. If you relate to any of these things, it’s not wrong to feel this way. It doesn’t make you stupid, it makes you a good friend. You’re smart enough to spot these signs.

Be a good friend to yourself first.


Thank you to everyone taking the time
to look at my writing.
All comments and critique are greatly appreciated.
Friendship issue? Or similar
experience? Please feel free
to share below, this is a safe place!
♥ Becca N.

What I Hear When You Say They’re Just Illegal Immigrants

Serve me my dinner or I’ll
serve you up, you’ll be
serving time until it’s
back to the border
it’s what you deserve.
You’re illegal.

The time limit’s up on earning my favor
You’re not people.
Just the drain on my country’s funds—
You’re cheap labor.
The American Dream’s not a dream
it’s a lifestyle.
Serve it to me quietly
or your life’s in danger

My lawmakers sleep in houses that scale
the dream houses my Barbies lived in.
I open my mouth to swallow down
whatever food they spoon in.
I’m eating their table scraps,
so how can I let a stray in?
If there’s no real news on the news
I’m not safe then.
Lies taste sweet, if this earns me
a retweet it was worth it then.

You crossed the border and
you brought the truth—
I can’t live on the truth,
it won’t buy my daughter
a new pair of shoes,
it won’t keep me comfortable
in these shiny church pews.
I like my truth.
I like how it’s always been.
We’ll send you back over
so we can keep playing pretend.


So many families have not yet
been reunited. This is for them.
Please don’t forget the tragedies
taking place right now. Don’t forget them.

Thank you to everyone who took
the time to give this a read.
All comments and critiques welcome—
friendly discourse only, please.
♥Becca N.

 

How Bad Management Ruins the Job for Everybody

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Part 2 of How One Supervisor Ruined My Job in One Week

“Chad” had been my supervisor for a month and had somehow managed to chill the hell out. If you didn’t catch my first post about Chad, I’ll sum it up like this: Chad is a jerk. Or, was a jerk, I guess… Nah, he’s still a little bit of a jerk.

He’s still high-strung, but secretly I am too so I can only fault the guy so much for that. Not to mention at this point in time, one month into his job, he’s also doing two jobs he wasn’t hired for. Yup. Chad isn’t supposed to be the supervisor of my area! He was hired on to supervise a new area of the factory—which he is…as well as operating that area. So he’s in charge of two areas, and he’s also doing the same work as me. It’s pretty ridiculous.

Then another supervisor got hired on—let’s call him Biff.

Biff was to be the new supervisor of my area. On his first day, he immediately introduces himself to me. Normal, right? Biff really put me in a false sense of security with the introduction, because our first conversation continued on like this:

Biff: So, Becca, we gonna have any problems over here?
Me: Uhh… (I decide he’s talking about the machines) I mean, sometimes the machines mess up, but I’m getting better at fixing them.
Biff: Alright, alright—my philosophy as a supervisor, see, is that if you take care of me, I’ll take care of you. You see?
Me: (I just stare at him)
Biff: You take care of me, I take care of you–if the people on the top, upper management, got any kinda issues they gotta go through me and I’ll take care of that for you. You won’t gotta deal with nobody. You know? You got no problems, then I got no problems.
Me: (Wordlessly nodding, hoping he’ll go away soon.)
Biff: Yeah, cause, you gotta be careful because someone is always watching. (at this point Biff breaks eye contact to stare out blankly into the distance) Someone is always watching…might be upper management…might be a business partner….somebody……………I’ll talk to you later, Becca.

As you can imagine…I have some fucking questions. First of all, who does Biff really think is watching? Was he telling me that he was watching me? Does he feel that someone is watching him? Generally, feeling watched does not lead to good things and I have no idea whether to take Biff seriously or worry that he needs some kind of help.

Second, I’m pretty sure that, as my supervisor, his job is to take care of me regardless of whether or not I’m a jackass that can’t do my job. Their job is to literally check on us, get us anything we need, and document our paperwork at the end of the shift. So why is Biff trying to cut some kind of deal with me?

Chad. Of course it’s Chad.

The next day Biff goes to the woman who trained me and asks her about me. He specifically asks if I have been a behavioral issue. She defends me because, major plot-twist folks, I am actually a good worker! Biff doesn’t seem shocked to hear this, but instead outright says to her, “Yeah, I thought so too. Chad just has some kind of problem with her.”

At this point I’m ready to start a Work Fight Club and take Chad down like the nemesis he is. I’m also convinced this means that I’m going to have a good supervisor in Biff. I should have known better because optimism never works for me unironically.

I could break up The Adventures with Biff into a five part saga because this strange man turned out to be so problematic. Instead I’ll give you some of the highlights. The first being—I don’t see how Biff has any supervisor experience because it’s like he’s never had to talk to people before. When he makes his rounds to ask how you’re doing, he doesn’t listen for your answer and will walk away from you mid-sentence.

He stopped bringing anything to the girl in the area beside mine–she waited two hours for a replacement machine part before going to find Biff…asleep at his desk. He gave her the keys to the storage closet and had her do it herself. He no longer brings anyone anything. He’s caught asleep at his desk or hiding in the bathroom to nap at least once a day. He’s even been spotted holding his phone, on Facebook, while also asleep at his desk. It’s glorious. Biff could literally pull an Elvis in the bathroom, and none of us would notice that he was missing for at least two days.

By the time Biff had been my supervisor for a month, he still couldn’t remember what part I made versus the other two parts in the areas he supervised. He had no idea what our numbers were, if I didn’t know what I needed to run then neither did he. On more than one occasion he told me that I needed to run parts that aren’t even created in my area. He never gave us any paperwork that held new information, he never told us about any number changes. In his defense, I doubt he knew about them either.

It turned out that he was also no help to the other supervisors. He never answered when called on the walkie-talkies, he never showed up to an emergency or a broken machine, and he even skipped out earlier than everyone else when it was his turn to do the paperwork. He was an absolutely useless human-sloth! At least animal-slothes are cute to look at.

Last but not least, Biff had a particular interest in a girl that worked in area close to mine. I would notice that that area would get checks more frequent than others, and he’d be in that area twice as long. What I didn’t know until after the fact, was that he was also being inappropriate towards her. He was giving her his cellphone number, he was asking her if she was married, and he was prompting her to call him, “Big Biff.” (Gag me with a fork.) Completely unprofessional and disgusting considering that not only is this a workplace, he also technically has authority over her. She went to HR about it. Now, when I was hired I was told that our HR department had a no tolerance policy regarding harassment. Biff played innocent, saying he thought it was clear they were both joking around, and that if he had known she was uncomfortable with it he would have stopped immediately. According to HR, harassment occurs after you’ve asked the offending person to stop and then they continue. Because she never said anything to him, it wasn’t harassment. Biff got in no trouble, and they would do nothing about the fact that she was uncomfortable with him remaining her supervisor.

She walked out, and my respect for my company plummeted.

Biff was already useless and unhelpful, but now I knew that I didn’t want to interact with him at all. This was pretty easy, considering his fondness for napping. With all of this under his belt in under two months, you’re probably wondering: How is this guy not getting fired? That’s a good question that I also had! The people with authority in this place sure do love to gossip and share information that they shouldn’t, so fortunately I can tell you why! A manager mentioned to me one day at the start of my shift: Biff was here because another manager asked him to come and work for him. He had friends in high places, it seemed.

I never thought I could dislike someone more than I disliked Chad, yet the universe had provided me with the most unfortunate Messiah of Disappointment that is Biff. On the other side of that coin, I don’t think Chad thought he could dislike someone more than me, but Biff was a Messiah for all. Chad loathed Biff with even more vigor than I could muster.

Our hatred bonded us more than any polite conversation could have.

We were no longer enemies and I was even purposefully going to Chad for any issues that I had. Less than three months working here, and I had watched the incompetency of our workplace kill the light from Chad’s eyes. I won’t lie, I still get a chuckle out of it. I think Chad had finally seen what it was like for us and had realized: it’s total bullshit. I can’t go into all the details of the problems of my workplace, but the hiring of Biff feels like a good visual metaphor for all of the decision-making that happens here.

In the end, Biff transferred to third shift because he wanted his Friday afternoons free. Oh, the sweet irony of the relief and happiness I felt when I got Chad back as my supervisor. The personification of life has to be a woman because she is a sneaky gal that knows it all in the end.

Now, if I could just shift the subject?

I’ve been seeing even more media coverage about the laziness and entitlement of millennials these days. It’s such a trope it’s no longer just a meme to complain about them. At 23, I’m a millennial. Chad is actually the same age as me. (Another piece of irony is that I actually have more management experience than Chad, there were just no open positions when I needed a job) At my current place of work, Chad and I ended up bonded not just in our hatred but our disenchantment. What was Chad guilty of? Taking his job way too seriously? At least that’s not laziness like Biff. Biff is twice our age by the way. And the management that hired him is three times our age. But that’s a rant for another day.


Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my story!
As of last Thursday Chad quit.
So now I suffer all alone,
but I hope he loves his new job.
Share your own work experiences below!
All comments welcome & appreciated~
♥Becca N.

How One Supervisor Ruined My Job in One Week

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Seven months ago I started a new job at a factory.

Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s not exactly the kind of job you dream about. That didn’t mean I didn’t like it! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the job. I make a particular car part that I never knew existed, and I certainly don’t understand how it works even now!

At my job I am the only worker in my area and I operate six machines. There are two processes in my area, so divide those machines in half per process. It was so much to learn, and even once you learn how to operate them you still aren’t quite there yet. The first process is actually making the part, which involves a lot of adjustments and measurements. I’ll say it: it’s damn hard. Training is anywhere between thirty and ninety days.

The factory I work for is in a period of change–they have a new set of managers, several supervisors have been replaced, and the president has also just been changed. A lot of this change, I gather, is the result of a previous plant manager running the entire place poorly. The factory’s parts quality is…let’s say, “below average.” We have a lot of scrap as well, measurement-wise I’d say we have a fuckton of scrap. Yup.

Being a perfectionist, I took this to heart. When you first start operating your numbers are gonna be lower until you gradually gain speed. We’ll say my factory measures the amount of parts you handle each shift by “sets.” The average goal is five sets per shift.

This was not my average and it was fine because I was new. I was also told it was fine because for a trainee my quality was exceptional, and it was clear to everyone that I wanted to do my best.

Then, three months in, Chad arrived. My new supervisor.

The shift in my work day changed immediately. Chad was hired on because my shift only had two supervisors and he was supposed to lighten the load. He was assigned to my area, as well as a few areas next to mine. When a supervisor makes the rounds, it’s to check up on you and to see if you need anything. This was not the case with Chad.

Chad only had one thing to say, “How many sets are you at?”

Let me explain why this is the doucheiest thing: I operate the machines and now that I’m on my own shift I’m also the only person in the entire factory that knows how to work them. If something goes wrong with any of my machines, I fix them. Me. Maintenance? Nah, man, forget about it. There are two machines that maintenance could help with–and that’s with only specific issues. Otherwise, it’s all me.

Oh, and p.s. these machines break down or fuck up all the damn time. To the point where I have to leave a machine down until the next shift, which is my former trainer, can fix it. Chad can not comprehend this to save his soul. The other supervisors understand that they don’t know shit about these machines, but not Chad.

On Monday, Chad patronizes me for not getting five sets–something I hadn’t yet accomplished ever. On Tuesday, Chad actually raises his voice and complains to me that my machine is down–let me say again, a machine that only I can possibly fix and it’s his job to help me and bring me anything I need. Not to fucking whinge at me.

On Wednesday, Chad comes over and tells me that he’s been to the area that performs the next process on my parts after they leave my area. He tells me that they absolutely need six sets. He is speaking quickly, fidgeting like he’s panicking, and repeats again that if they don’t get six sets they are fucked. So I have to get six sets by the end of my shift.

I am immediately yanked into a panic attack.

I black out for the next five hours, and skip my last break. By the end of the night I get six sets, but by the time I’m at home I completely break down. Thursday, I come into work and a coworker tells me about the conversation she had with Chad yesterday before I arrived:

Chad: So, how many sets should Becca get in a shift?
Coworker: Uhh…. (this is awkward for her) I don’t know, she just got off training, she could get four probably. The average is five.
Chad: Okay….okay….. So we’ll shoot for six. *immediately walks away*

This asshat lied to me on a whim, and for what? Six fucking sets when we weren’t even behind on the product! He had me convinced that I would get in trouble if I didn’t do what he’d said. He took away any sense of satisfaction I would’ve had doing more sets than I’d ever done, just because he thinks I should be faster?

In under one week, I went from really enjoying my work, to never wanting to set foot in there again. I didn’t even want to do my work, because now getting numbers was for Chad, not for myself. This is even more of an insult because the company is trying to change it’s work ethic. We have meetings with higher-ups every month telling us to stop mindlessly running our machines to get big numbers and instead run our machines intentionally.

I wanted to invest in this place because I believed in the goals the managers had, yet somehow they’ve hired Chad: A supervisor determined to manipulate the employees who count on his leadership and authority. I can’t stand it.

Employees don’t leave jobs, they leave management.


Keep a lookout for the continuation of my story–
What could happen to bring Chad and I together?
Another new supervisor, that’s what.

Thank you to everyone that took the time to read this.
Share your own work experiences below!
♥ Becca N.

I’m Setting Myself Free

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I found such joy and freedom here on WordPress several months ago. I was on here all the time, every day. There was going to be an outlet for my writing, and it was so inspiring.

But my soul was slowly suffocating. And I let go of all the things that fuel me, that bring me any kind of happiness. Depression has ravaged my will, and it presses down on my chest and shoulders each day. Even now it feels like I’m going to make this declaration and it will change nothing for me.

I have worked so hard against this for years, for my entire life. I’ve fooled myself into believing that my willpower was enough–that I could stop hating myself, that I could love myself and take care of myself. But these were all Steps 2, 3, and 4. I missed Step 1. For me, I now know I need medication. My issue is a chemical imbalance I know it is. I can climb and climb against this but this illness is a glass ceiling that will inhibit me from going any higher. It will knock me down again and again.

So I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment, and I’m going to start blogging and writing again even if it’s shit. I need to live, not float through my life.

In an effort to connect myself and feel less hidden I’ve removed my pen name from my blog on WordPress and from my Tumblr. I was once Mandi O’Bryan on here, if anyone remembers me. But not anymore. I’m Becca. Just Becca. And I’m going to love that from now on.


I appreciate anyone that took
the time to read this.
Thank you.
♥ Becca N.

could i just be

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i am not a person
my soul is a wasteland
of shards taped together
jagged and haphazard

i starve for anywhere else
each piece of me
needy for a home
that i have never seen

i am not meant to be
anything
fingers outstretched
grasping at my emptiness

i am desperate
for any kind of joy
feed me dirt
it will taste like gold


All thoughts and responses on my pieces
are welcome and so appreciated~
Thank you so much.

♥ Becca N.

It is Impossible to Know You

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It is impossible to know you.
Unmoving mouth, loud eyes.
Your eyes
scratching, biting,
they reach and they grab.
Like fire and daggers
clawing, piercing —
you look at me.

Your loud eyes, unmoving mouth.
How many words, novels,
waiting behind those lips?
An infinite biography in darkness
hiding away from my prying eyes,
but your eyes —
singing and screaming
are louder than words.


All thoughts and responses welcome~
♥ Becca N.