From the same stock

Since being back from Paris, I’ve been interning in hospital administration. I’ve worked, volunteered and interned at many places before over the last few years. But I’ve begun to notice that the higher up I go, the closer I get to management, the more people I meet that have this..this contrived friendliness about them.

You can find them anywhere of course, not just in management. Last year there was this unrelenting insurance dude who tried to bond with me over the fact that he graduated from NTU. So I had to very politely question his current career choice as a useless waste of my time. A year before that, another guy stopped to talk to me about some exciting business opportunity. He refused to tell me concretely how money was to be made and tried to draw me in with the mystery of MLM. And then are those introverts who read self-motivational books, participate in student leadership camps and manage to be a partially realistic but still awkward caricature of an extrovert.

And its not just strangers I encounter. It sad when I see my friends who I used to cherish and love, turn into these people. They start to lust after networking opportunities and motivational seminars which teach them how to make people like you and earn lots of money. They get horny dispensing ‘life hacks’ and ‘tips’ to other people and jerk off to a poster of Adam Khoo on their bedroom wall.

I think I might be digressing from my original point.

When I was working at the ‘lower rungs’ like as a waitress or dental nurse, some of my colleagues may be more complex than others and put on a front for a myriad of reasons, and it is expressed in their personalities in different ways. As I begun to work at the ‘higher rungs’ over time, my colleagues are more educated and what not, but those who put on a front are moulded from the same clay. They try to ‘break you down’ and understand what make you tick. Its astounding how weird they get observing you and letting you know that they noticed that you have sinus in the morning, you were humming to this song earlier, you like to drink hot milo for lunch etc.  You never know precisely what their intentions are, where their loyalties lie and why they look like damn getty images. Moreover though, there is this nagging feeling you get when they try to engage you, that they see you as nothing more than an individual they can use to get ahead. They inundate with all this friendly pseudo-concern so you won’t realise they just wanna use you.

And I’m really uncomfortable with people like that. It reminds me of friends I’ve let go because they became ultra christian and suddenly all they see is someone they have to bring to church. ‘Pre-believers’, as they say. The entire friendship becomes based on a specific conditionality, and if it doesn’t make the cut, then the utility of the relationship is zero.

But in a work environment, you can’t choose the minimal degree of interaction you have to have with your colleagues. These friendly, energetic go-getters are simply the bane of my anti-social existence.



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