Hating, just like everything else in life, can be a healthy habit as long as it's done in moderation. Yes, it can even be good for your career. Here are three tips to help you get into the swing of Healthy Hating.
Does any of this sound familiar from your childhood? "Don't say 'hate'!", "You don't hate anybody!", and "'Hate' is a very strong word." They're the sorts of "be nice" phrases we were told by our parents as kids whenever we might say, "I hate my homeroom teacher." So, naturally, we all have developed a deep-seated stigma against saying -- and hearing -- the word Hate.
Just like your aversion to eating broccoli or doing your chores, it's time to get over it.
As the co-author, with Jonathan Littman, of the book I Hate People!, I've taken a lot of heat for using the "H" word in our title. "It's not that I don't hate some people," I often hear, "It's just that I don't want to be seen buying it in public or carrying it around." Which means there are a lot of hidden Haters around. Thank god there's Amazon.com and other online booksellers -- that help people express their true nature. We don't care if you're a Secret People Hater, just don't be afraid to admit it to yourself. Self-loathing issues aside, you're probably the one person on Earth you hate less than anyone else.
On the other hand, we've recently found the Hate Mecca. Jon and I were drumming up awareness for I Hate People! on the streets of New York. Taking turns, we pounded Times Square wearing sandwich boards and t-shirts with the book's title in giant letters across them. Although we'd get the occasional "It's wrong to hate!" flung at us by some misguided, though well-meaning schmoe, the numbers ran roughly 30-to-1 for comments in blatant support for the sentiment: "I hate people, too!", "Where can I get a shirt like that?", and "That's what I'm talkin' about!"
Once you've started in on a diet of Healthy Hating, it will become easier to keep your day on course while evading the treacherous waters that threaten to capsize you. Here are some appetizers to get you started.
• Serve Notice On The Side
When you start getting e-mails that are threatening or off-color or objectionable in some way from a superior (or peer) too dumb to realize they're leaving a paper trail, help them out. Send a reply that their message has been received and CC your friendly neighborhood HR person. Your tormentor should get the hint.
• Knock The Ball Into Their Court
Many meetings are unavoidable. But there is still a hefty portion of interoffice confabs that don't truly concern you and really shouldn't be chomping up your day. Depending on the nature of the meeting, and more importantly, who called it, you might be able to start a pattern of playing meeting hooky.
If it's at the behest of a superior, mention that you're finishing up that report or the research or the whatever-it-is that they wanted. Point out that the meeting you're heading for isn't immediately "impactful" on you but if it's important to your superior that you're there, you'll put off finishing the assigned task until later. If this tactic works, just make sure to finish that damned report.
• Pitch A Shutout
Silence is golden. And nearly non-existent at most of the worlds' workspaces. Ringtones, e-mail alerts, noisy intercoms and the incessant buzz of office chatter is the baseline level of ambient sound, just varied enough to keep pulling you out of blissful concentration. You may be lucky enough to have an office door that can be closed but chances are you're in one of the office/shared workspace/cube farm hellholes that dominate most of today's corporate salt mines. How can you shut out the yammer when there's nothing to shut?
The first and easiest solution is headphones. Feeding music into your noggin at a sound level that cancels out the rest of humanity is easy genius.
Grab your laptop and score an empty room. It could be a vacant meeting room, the break room or a quiet corner of that gloriously decorated lobby that never gets used. The important thing is that it's mostly devoid of people.
For those people who have not yet come around to Healthy Hating, never fear. Sooner or later you'll give "I" a try. When you do, remember that it's not necessary to let others know about what you're doing. Unless, of course, someone asks why you seem so much happier of late. That's when you can give them a big, cheery smile and let them know: "I hate people!"
Marc Hershon is the co-author of the new book I HATE PEOPLE (Little, Brown and Company; June 2009) with Jonathan Littman. Marc is a branding expert who, through his Simmer Branding Studio, has created such memorable names as nüvi, Crackle.com and the title for Dr. Phil's book "Love Smart".
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