List of things I hate #3


This is not an exhaustive list on the topic. In fact, it may be an inexhaustible topic. There are older lists of what I hate. So today’s post is merely my most recent list.

Which is notable because hatred is a process. Neurologists have proven that love and hate are closely related, and I have found it’s hard to hate a person unless I am also close to that person, and the same is true for a topic. In that vein, life is the process of expanding our love and our knowledge, and I suppose, our hate.

So here are some things that I have recently reached the point of thinking so much about that I feel qualified to hate them:

1. Sarcasm
The use of sarcasm is always inappropriate. Sarcasm reveals insecurity and cynicism — both things that make a person unlikable. Sarcasm is always negative in meaning, and the tone is always disparaging. On top of that, people who use sarcasm think they are being funny, but this is a poor man's humor; because comedy is about timing. You say it, then there's a beat, and then people laugh. With sarcasm, you say it, there's a beat when someone realizes you've said something you don't mean, and a beat to process what you did mean. The timing is off.

So comedians rarely use sarcasm because it's not funny. And top performers don't use sarcasm because it's mean.

2. Getting bids
If something is so important to you that you are spending enough time on it to collect bids, then you shouldn't get bids. Because if it's so important to you, give it to the person who will do the best job. And if you think you can swindle someone into “giving you a deal,” well, why do you think they're so good if they don't even get market price for their work?

If your project is important, find someone who has done it before, with someone who was great. And hire that person. You could get another bid, but the work would be different, right? And you should hire someone who does good work. And if everyone does the same work, then pricing can't be that varied — it's a commodity, priced the same across the board — so you don't need bids.

3. Maternity leave
It's not that I don't like the topic. I don't like that people think this is an area fraught with controversy. This is not a gray-area area. This is a right answer/wrong answer area.

Don't tell people you're pregnant if you're not showing. Hide the bump as long as possible. This is your right. And you have this explicit right because everyone knows that even though it's illegal, women are penalized when people hear they are pregnant. No one trusts they're coming back after the baby, so the project flow goes dry or gets boring.

Also, you do not need to know if you are coming back to work full time after the baby. Tell your employer you are. Change your mind later if you want. This is reasonable: no one could guess how they want to raise their kids until the kids are there.

Take paid maternity leave no matter what. It's your right. And the fastest way to post-partum depression is to take no time off to recuperate. (I know from my own experience.) So even if you quit when maternity leave is over, take paid leave. The US makes women earn maternity leave. You've earned it already. You don't need to work more after.

4. Pseudonyms
Here's what I read in Car and Driver magazine: The most popular name for upscale strippers to use is Lexus. Do you know what this tells you? Pseudonyms are for strippers.

If you're being your real self, doing things that bring you self-respect, why have a pseudonym? And if you don't want to claim what you are doing as your own work, ask yourself why you are doing it.

Here is a post about how using a pseudonym made my life a mess. And here's a post about pseudonyms undermine your career, which is ironic since people are usually thinking they need a pseudonym to save their career.

5. Lack of hate
My son came home from preschool and told me that using hate is against the rules. I told him that discerning people hate things, and I encouraged him to think of something he hates. (Bowser, a bad guy in Super Mario, for those who are curious.)

Recognizing that we each love and we each hate is part of the process of knowing ourselves. Talking about it is part of the process of letting other people know us as well.

196 replies
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  1. ukko
    ukko says:

    Funny you have the issue of bids and pseudonyms on your same hate list. The only problem is that you are letting your privilege show a bit to much.

    In my line of work I have to submit proposals to get work in a very politically charged environment. It is partizan and totally irrelevant to my ability to get the work done, but I know that every time someone looks at a proposal they google me and go from there. My only choice is to live under a pseudonym if I am taking a position on almost anything interesting.

    I always chafe at the arrogance of people who hate on pseudonyms because for a portion of the population it is the only way that we can participate. We don’t all enjoy the privilege to post under our own names and even in the U.S. of A we can suffer very real impacts on our families and incomes for even non-contriversial positions.

  2. Chris
    Chris says:

    This blog is so fortuitous (as many of your blog postings usually are)! I’m pregnant and have been thinking about the best time to tell my boss. I feel like it’s really none of his business until I feel like it’s appropriate to give him notice of leave. And I do feel like it’s a given that women will go back to work and work even harder than before because they got three months off (sometimes less). In Canada, you get almost a year off AND you’re guaranteed your job back. What’s wrong with this system in the U.S.? Anyways, this helps me think about whether I’m ready to share the news with my boss and colleagues so thanks for the very timely blog.

  3. Margarita
    Margarita says:

    I think I’m so lucky to live in Canada, our maternity leave is one full year, more if we’re lucky. I love this list and agree with it most of it. But I”m highly guilty of using Sarcasm. Perhaps I should stop.

  4. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I love a sarcastic sense of humor — it’s just funny! It can be done well in a non-hurtful way.

    As for maternity leave….what are you talking about? Most people in this country don’t have paid leave and small businesses aren’t required to even give unpaid leave. I had 6 weeks of accrued sick time and vacation that I used. And if my baby was sick at any point over the next year…well, i had to eat that day.

    This topic deserves a post all its own. It’s a HUGE issue — as are all child issus — for working parents. The cost of daycare and education also dictate a parents needs to KEEP working. I know that unless my daughter can get into a (free) public charter school at some stage (here in Philadelphia), she won’t have any siblings and neither of us would be able to cut back on working. The regular public school system is terrible, so we’re forced to pay a minimum of $15,000 a year for private school. No choice! Meanwhile I work two jobs (full time and part time business), along with my husband working his job, just to keep everything afloat. We’re close to bankruptsy, we have scads of student loan debt, and our quality of life sucks. The worst part is that if i lived in Germany or Sweden, my life wouldn’t be this way. This country just has everything wrong, in my opinion…The things I hate have more to do with the injustice of living in teh richest nation and having a significantly lower quality of life than other first world countries.

  5. Weston Branch
    Weston Branch says:

    I think you might be right about strippers named Lexus…..Just met one last night named Lexus!!! Come to think of it, I’ve also met strippers named Porsche and Mercedes, too, but never a Mazda or a Toyota….Go figure!

  6. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    The reason I quit my job and became a full time consultant was because I got tired of picking up the slack for all the women who were on maternity leave. However, I can see that it is important to society, that women spend the early months with their babies – those babies will probably be healthier adults. Still, I thought the company should have hired a freelancer to help with the extra work.

  7. Jens Fiederer
    Jens Fiederer says:

    It’s nice enough to say “It’s a right!”, but this is something that has to be paid for by somebody. Why should it be the company that might be just about to lose you as a productive worker should you decide not to come back?

    Perspective on this can change a lot when you age. About the time I got married, my wife quoted a male pharmacist because she thought he was annoyingly sexist: “What were they thinking when they hired all these young women as pharmacists….if they all get pregnant at once, we are sunk!”

    Now that she is in her fifties, and working with a number of young woman pharmacists and unable to take her vacation because she has to cover for maternity leaves, and mutters, I occasionally repeat that quote to make her laugh somewhat bitterly.

  8. Anon
    Anon says:

    A bid could also be called a proposal, which is how we stand out from our competition, how you are able to evaluate if what we propose is what you need, want and can afford. It allows both sides to come to an agreement about scope of work, pricing, time line for delivery, client responsibilities, etc.

    If you like our work but think it’s a 10K job while we think it’s a 20k job then the bid is the opportunity to discover that difference and come to an agreement, or for either side to decide it won’t work and move on.

    A proposal is part of a successful project and prevents a lot of problems later on.

  9. Mary Going
    Mary Going says:

    Yours is the only blog I read, mostly because it’s funny. But, today, it’s also because you’re making me think about the role of hate in our lives. I don’t have The Answer, but I’ve had some experience that instructs me on the topic.

    When I was in the 9th grade, I hated my gym teacher. I hated her deeply and vehemently. When someone pointed out to me the feelings I was having were hurting ME, not her, it blew me away. I honestly hadn’t considered this perspective, and once I did, I realized I had to change my feelings. I was taking poison to kill her.

    I didn’t need to becomes friends with her, but I did have to make her less important in my life.

    Two years ago, my boss offered me a promotion with a raise. One week before the change was to take place, she brought me into her office, and said it didn’t seem like the right time for the promotion/raise, but could I please take on the additional responsibilities anyway?

    Once again, I tested the idea of whether hate serves me. I tested it for months- seething, plotting, processing. I hated her for that decision, but the feelings were not confined to that decision. They ran into my feelings about every choice she made, about the looks she gave, about the way she chewed her food. I looked for (and found!) more and more reasons to hate her. All I thought about and talked about were her flaws. I became a boring, seething, ridiculous person.

    It took me six months to remember that hate is my poison, not hers. I found another job. The sad part is that I loved that job. If I hadn’t let hate take over, maybe there would have been a less extreme choice than finding another job six months prior.

  10. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    “And the fastest way to post-partum depression is to take no time off to recuperate.”

    LOL – who gets time to recuperate? The baby’s there, so you’ve already got 3 full-time jobs immediately whether you go back to paid work or not.

    I love it that someone could think of caring for a newborn, post-birth, as “recuperating.” 2 months at a spa while someone else takes care of the baby would be recuperating.

  11. Gregory Johnson
    Gregory Johnson says:

    Regarding maternity leave, I am glad that you have written this, since the modern-day woman seems to be expected to not only raise a perfect family but also have a successful career.

    Biology, however, requires that a mother breastfeed her children, which has innumerable benefits to the long term health of the child. Health Canada recommends 6mos minimum, and some nurses recommend even a year. Ultiamtely, we work in order to support the wellbeing of ourselves and our families – and taking time to be with them in their first year of life should not even be a debate.

    Also, I was a bit disappointed that you did not mention the father, who also has the option to take time off work… at least in Canada this is the case. As a husband, supporting a new Mother is obviously also important.

  12. MemeGRL
    MemeGRL says:

    I’m with LPC and Kathleen on the bids. When we were considering re-siding our home, we brought in 5 companies for bids. I had no idea the different options that were out there for materials, techniques, aesthetics, etc. Before the bids, I never thought once about whether seams showing mattered, or how insulation below siding worked, or whether or how soffits and gutters were related. It wasn’t about trying to argue a lower price (though I’m not against negotiating). We learned a ton through the bid process.
    Thanks as ever for a thought-provoking post!

  13. Harry Ball
    Harry Ball says:

    You have got to give the dads a thought also, OK so the new moms need rest and pampering after the new bundle of joy arrives, so the dads could also do with some of the attention, I think what I am trying to say is spread the joy and love around evenly !!

  14. JJ
    JJ says:

    This list is confusing; I like better the older one you linked. For example, the “hate people/things you are close to”, does that mean you are close to that David from Ohio (that’s the first post that shows up when Googling your name)? The other one, Tim Ferris guy.
    Also, what is that you hate about Maternity Leave? How many people consider Maternity Leave a controversy, to make it an issue?

  15. Chris Fussell
    Chris Fussell says:

    I totally agree with all of the things in the hate list. I run a window washing company and often people will get several bids trying to save money. I am definitely not the cheapest in my market but I believe I give the most value for the work that I do. Many times people will call me back after they have gone with a low ball offer and complain about the terrible job and complete lack of professionalism from the low price guy. You get what you pay for!

  16. Abi
    Abi says:

    I agree with some of the things on the I hate list but not all. sacarsm for starters… I hate as well. The idea presented under maternity leave also, but I dont quite agree with getting bids, atleast not totally

    I also dont believe paying the highest price for a job is necessarily having the best guy do the job. this is definitely not value for money. I believe in competitveness.

    One key rule about bidding is that you never compare apple with pear. Let’s say for example you wanted to buy a printer, asking for a bid for good printer will give you varied prices, because we have diffrent brands of good printers (HP,Compaq, Sony etc) but for a good bid, you ask for specifics, down to the minutest detail, e.g a HP laserjet printer, version xyz, copy function, duplex function, etc. Now the lowest bidder for this will be the most competitive and the best.

    Now for services, this might not be as straight forward, but the same principle applies.

    Maybe for instance you have a list of companies you know can provide a service. From this list you choose the ones for which you have received referrences from similar industries as yours. From this smaller list if you detail exactly what needs doing exactly, the lowest bidder will still be the most competitive and probably the best.

    Even with the example of implementing a project you spoke about, you could still look for the best guys in your field of interest and still get bids from them, for competitiveness, instead of hiring just the first best guy.

    No matter how high up a standard you are trying to achieve, there is still room for competitiveness, and that is when you as a client get the best result/service


  17. Erik
    Erik says:

    Hate is against the rules? I thought we were grooming our children to believe they are able to express their feelings freely.

    We’ve taught our children to have zero back bone. As cliche as it sounds, our children are our future. I don’t want to live in a society full of people who are always trying to be nice to another regardless of the situation.

  18. Tkevin
    Tkevin says:

    I guess there are a lot of things to hate in the world, in the past I have had problems with my self on that issue, meaning I hated who I was that comes from having depression I guess, I learned to over come the self hate to a point, I hate the way orphanages treat the children,I am sure they do the best they can but I can’t get past it all.
    thank you for allowing me to vent a little.

  19. neko
    neko says:

    Speaking of Love & Hate ….

    “Love turns, with a little indulgence, to indifference or disgust; Hatred alone is immortal.”

    (~via William Hazlett)

  20. Mehul Kar
    Mehul Kar says:

    I don’t think hate is necessary at all.
    Scrolled through some of the comments though, and someone said that making kids uncomfortable with expressing hate is wrong, and I agree with that. But, hate is not a standard of life.

  21. Martin
    Martin says:

    Pseudonyms can be really important as long as they are not abused. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that it is a fundamental right to use a pen name. It allows individuals to express controversial anti-government sentiments under the protection of anonymity.

    If it were not for the reality of severe consequences, I would agree that pseudonyms are not necessary.

    There are many other situations where exposing one’s real name could be dangerous, even fatal. Example, abusive ex-spouses looking for revenge.

  22. Kat Wilder
    Kat Wilder says:

    Many professions allow sabbaticals, which is like maternity leave but without all the fatness and pain and leaky breasts.

    As for pseudonyms, well, I use one, and it’s important for me because it allows me freedom to talk about “edgy” things without dragging my family and friends into it (and my friends have often made it very clear that they don’t want to be “exposed”).

    My career and my pseudonym (which I use for my blog) are two different realities. However, if “Kat” ever becomes more famous than “me,” I’ll so be in on that action!

    And I could not agree with you more about allowing our kids to express hatred. Love and hate are real emotions; indifference is so much worse.

  23. Dr. Pain
    Dr. Pain says:

    I agree that sarcasim is not funny and is often very hurtful. Another thing that goes along these lines is deceitful. People have a tendency to have hidden agendas and put on a front like everything is fine. In reality, they are trying to manipulate you or your friends and family. I see this in relationships and friendships and marriage all of the time.

  24. Ling Sutiono
    Ling Sutiono says:

    Great article, especially on love/hate relationship. Now I know why there is a saying “When love and hate collides”. You can’t really hate someone enough until you love him/her enough. Well..:)

    • JJ
      JJ says:

      I hate snakes and Dick Cheney, and I can assure you, there was never love in my heart for any of those things.

  25. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    Finally someone said something about sarcasm. I hate it!!
    I also hate the phrase ” Its a no brainer ” implies that if you think about it at all you are stupid. I think people say that when they want you to go along with them and not think for yourself. If someone says its a “no brainer” I know I better think about it for sure.

  26. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    Bids don’t take into consideration the intangables. Like how the employees are compensated at the bidding company.
    Also many times you find that cheaper is more expensive because you end up paying for it twice. Sometimes that is ok but usually not.

  27. Chris Barry
    Chris Barry says:

    I hate liars. There are some people out there (maybe most people) that lie on a regular basis. My x-wife could sit right across from you with her blinking lids as she told you one lie after another. Why can’t people just tell the truth?

    If I want to get off the phone with someone I will make something up like “I have to get to an appointment” so I can get off the phone. That to me is a fib and not a lie.
    What say you??

  28. Maxine Lee
    Maxine Lee says:

    I have to say that my partner (a car obsessive) and I have been looking and arguing over a new car, he wants a Lexus!! Therefore when I read you pet hate about pseudonyms it cracked me up laughing. Thanks for that and putting a smile on my face on a rather stressful day!!

  29. Julie Encabo
    Julie Encabo says:

    There are people who does things in order to please us but others are really overdoing it. That is what they call sarcasm.

    Really, I also don’t like people like that but we can’t control those people, right? We will have to just deal with them and live life as we like.

    Happiness is a choice. You think so, right?

  30. Playstead
    Playstead says:

    Sarcasm if done well is a great comedy source. Hell, 1/2 of Seinfeld was sarcasm, and it’s going down as the funniest TV show of all-time. And I agree with the above comment about John Stewart – insanely sarcastic. I think this is much more personal. If you have an issue with social interaction (Asperger) then there is no way you can see enjoy or even understand sarcasm most of the time. But I agree that if it is not done well, or with malice, it can be a train wreck.

  31. sulap
    sulap says:

    you bet it..maternity leave also have been on my #1 list of things i hate. just think about this…a mother who has 5 child, and she give birth every single year..and how that affect the company whom she’s working for. you tell me..

  32. Bruce
    Bruce says:

    On the topic of bids, I certainly see your points. I wonder if there is some way to apply it in the government / public sector setting. For example, there’s one company in Canada that is the absolute specialist in producing legal documents in all the exacting ways courts and lawyers require them to be produced. Basically all lawyers agree on this. But federal government lawyers are compelled to get 3 bids every time and then make a choice. It is a policy that wastes the time of everybody concerned. But when governments do single source work to companies people complain it is corrupt. Catch 22!

  33. teacher
    teacher says:

    I agree with some aspects of your post. However, I think you are taking some things such as sarcasm and the word Lexus out of context. I do agree with you regarding your story about your son coming home from school. Hate is a pretty powerful word though. The only person that I ever hated was my ex-wife who lied to me about being married 5 times before me and not telling me. That ended in an annulment. Love your blog site!

  34. Austin Plumber
    Austin Plumber says:

    I mostly agree with your point about bids. If its that important look for something other than price to help you make determination. There’s so much you can tell about a company when you talk with them and the people who they have worked for,

  35. Dani
    Dani says:

    A friend recently forwarded me a link to your site… would it be inappropriate to say, “I think I’m on love!”?

  36. Sylvia
    Sylvia says:

    Re Sarcasm: this is interesting. It didn’t used to bother me, but I came out of an abusive relationship and since then it really rubs me the wrong way. My ex used it to demean me constantly, in a pretty socially acceptable, subtle way. To me, it’s a tool of the passive-aggressive. But I agree it can be used to comic effect when it’s not so personal.

    Re mat leave: I just wonder when it’s going to start applying to the self-employed. I was running a sole proprietorship and got pregnant. There was no mat. leave for me. I was back at work four days after my baby was born. That was tough, and it frustrated me to no end that even with a profitable business that contributed to my local economy, I was not afforded the same support as someone employed by a corporation, no matter how fallow. In the end I had to sell my business to raise my child properly, and the federal government and I are poorer for it.

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      Why didn’t you get yourself covered under disability insurance? Or is the tax-payer supposed to pay for you having a baby?

  37. Tom B
    Tom B says:

    Sorry, but I got as far as #1 and realised that you must be American. Americans just don’t ‘get’ sarcasm! It is a great form of humour, and top comedians DO use it and use it well. I have never heard an American use it, or understand it – you always think sarcasm = disrespect; well you are wrong. Sarcasm is often used to break the ice in difficult situations, to be humorous, and even to poke fun at oneself.
    It’s just not in your culture, which I think is a shame.

  38. Tina
    Tina says:

    I hate sarcasm more than anything else. It just radiates negativity and is so disruptive to any environment. I agree that people who use sarcasm must have self esteem or insecurity issues. It can also cause the recipient to develop insecurity issues if they’re exposed to negativity on a continual basis.

  39. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says:

    One time I went to a company who’d interviewed me for a job. They said it was good news, they were going to hire me, they just wanted to show me the contract and discuss the terms. Since I didn’t want the job (I’d been prewarned that they were horrid to work for) I told them I was pregnant. The speed with which they snatched back that contract still makes me laugh. It was a woman (childless) who did it too. I started a company of my own so I could work from home once I had my kids. I can’t imagine working for anyone else and being obliged to work to their schedule and couldn’t agree more that women do need to hide their pregnancies to get ahead. Sad but true. How many more generations will it last?

  40. Cooper
    Cooper says:

    Bowser is definitely a character you hate especially when you can’t beat him. I was going to throw some sarcasm in here but your blog has already changed my comment here so I must commend you for that Penelope.

  41. Shira
    Shira says:

    I have a question. Don’t you think it can harm a woman if she hides her pregnancy till the last minute? Get her on the boss’s ‘wrong side’?
    Most employers would appreciate knowing about a pregnancy as soon as possible, in order to make arrangements, etc. I worry that not telling a boss could boomerang later.
    As for all the posters who believe everyone deserves ‘maternity leave’ – I think most societies deem it crucial that women have babies. Those societies who want working women to reproduce must budget for maternity leave. It has nothing to do with discriminating against one group or another; it has everything to do with society propagating itself.

  42. Sylvia
    Sylvia says:

    The sarcasm point seems to have caught fire, so I’m posting a link to a short, relevant article in Psychology Today:

    Here’s an excerpt, for those short on time:

    So why do wisecrackers keep their bons mots coming at the risk of alienating others? Though they may not be aware of it, sarcasm is their means of indirectly expressing aggression toward others and insecurity about themselves. Wrapping their thoughts in a joke shields them from the vulnerability that comes with directly putting one’s opinions out there. “Sarcastic people protect themselves by only letting the world see a superficial part of who they are,” says Steven Stosny, a Washington, D.C.-based therapist and anger specialist. “They’re very into impression management.”
    (Field Guide: Sarcastic Masters. July 1, 2007)

    PS I am willing to bet that a great many sarcastic people come from homes where they are taught to repress negative feelings like hate. Penelope is helping reverse the trend by communicating with her kids, and encouraging them to acknowledge a range of emotions, and giving them a safe place to express them (i.e. to her).

  43. Charlotte Mathes
    Charlotte Mathes says:

    Sarcasm hurts. When I was a young woman, I really thought I was cute and funny using my wit at someone else’s expense. When reading a self-help book,I did an exercise on the use of sarcasm and was completely shocked and ashamed with what I learned. I try not to use it at all, now, but sometimes my evil twin comes out and does the poison tongue thing. Thank you for telling it like it is!

  44. Holly
    Holly says:

    If I was ‘thin-skinned’, my husband and I would never have lasted. He is one of eight in a family born of Irish descent. The sarcasm is rampant!

    Heck–Jay Leno’s entire monologue is sarcasm. People–try to ‘lighten up’ and not take yourselves too seriously. That is the point; nobody’s perfect!

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