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.

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196 replies
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  1. Mary Bruns
    Mary Bruns says:

    Point 5 is right on. There was a day when I was a child that hate is a word that should never be uttered or discussed. There is too much using of the world today even with siblings when they say “I hate my brother”. Its a terrible thing to say to anyone let alone a child.

  2. Susana Serer
    Susana Serer says:

    I can always my mum saying to me, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit”, and it’s true. In most cases it’s a thinly veiled personal attack – it saves people the trouble of having to be direct and confrontational. Sarcasm is underhanded and unpleasant.

  3. Being there
    Being there says:

    @ Kathy,
    Children can hate to their heart’s content; what that teacher doesn’t want is the use of the verb “hate” in class. There are a lot of other words that the dislike of their brother, broccoli, or whatever they hate.
    For some teachers, ‘hate’ is like a curse word, to be used only by adults.

  4. John Soares
    John Soares says:

    Thought-provoking post: thanks for helping my brain wake up this morning.

    I think there are times when getting bids is appropriate. For example, getting a new deck on your house: labor costs can vary by a factor of two, but frequently the quality of work is about the same.

  5. Soon to be on Mat Leave
    Soon to be on Mat Leave says:

    I think it’s interesting that so many people complain about paid/unpaid maternity leave. I chose to work for a big company with good benefits. Part of those benefits are 6 weeks of paid disability leave after having a child and then up to 6 months of unpaid leave after that. I chose to take about 5 months of leave before returning to my job. I chose to live in a good school district so that I don’t have to send my kids to private school. I could have chosen different things — to live in a city with poor schools, to be self-employed and have no benefits or leave, to go back to work after 6 weeks. Everything in life is a choice and a trade-off. I’m Canadian but chose to live in the US because of job opportunities. Therefore, I’ve traded off great maternity leave for job opportunities.

    As to those people who will never have children and feel maternity leave is unfair — it is my understanding that most companies in the US do not give paid leave – so that makes it slightly less unfair. My maternity leaves will set me back in my career, no doubt about that, so I suppose that’s just another of life’s choices. As for time off to persue what you love (when what you love is not children), find a company that allows sabaticals or unpaid leave for other reasons — again it’s all about choices.

  6. RA
    RA says:

    I totally disagree with #1. A lot of top performing comedians use sarcasm, especially the African American ones. I think it’s very funny.

  7. Anna
    Anna says:

    “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.”

    Sure. Lie. Why would we expect anything else from Ms. Trunk?

    And how does maternity leave apply to the self-employed? It doesn’t!

  8. rjan001
    rjan001 says:

    # 1: There is nothing more beautiful than sarcasm. That is definitely an overstatement but it should balance the moronic comment which says that sarcasm is the lowest form of humor. Now, whoever made that statement was desperately in need of a rectal broomstick extraction procedure.

    Sarcasm usually requires a quick wit, and the ability to extract the minutest points of weakness in a conversation. So it is quite unlikely that it is the lowest form of humor as some would like to call it.

  9. Rik
    Rik says:

    It is funny that you make lists of things you hate. I would almost say that i hate people who hate other people for what they do or say.
    But if i do it would be the same as your article. Maybe i don’t like what people do or say. As long as it does not effect my life who cares! I have my life you have your life. Be friends with the people you like and do not bother the others.

  10. Rob James
    Rob James says:

    You’re killing me on the whole pregnancy thing. As a manager of people I think it is beneficial for my whole team to know if a team member is expecting. Just like almost anything else that you deal with in the business world the ability to plan is diminished when you don’t know that something is coming. I agree that a woman does have a right to privacy on that issue but disagree that they should not let people know about it, unless they have reason to believe that they will mistreated due to the condition itself.

  11. Compost Bin Tumbler
    Compost Bin Tumbler says:

    I think maternity leave that is paid should be earned, like vacation days. The first 5 or so can be considered sick leave, but several weeks or so, should be considered vacation or personal days.

  12. Oscarl
    Oscarl says:

    Balance is part of life. Love and hate, pain and bliss, the sweet and the sour, one can’t exist without the other and you need to experience both to understand each one.

  13. Felix green
    Felix green says:

    you wrote, that you dislike sarcasm. Do you meand commercial sarcasm?
    What dou you think about sarcasm in your privat life?
    Are you never sarcastic or ironic at your friend circle?

  14. Pat
    Pat says:

    I agree about sarcasm. Many people will find it amusing, but only if they are not at the end of it. The victime of sarcasm will be left feeling small, but has no choice but to go along with the so called joke, especially if they are in company.

  15. russ
    russ says:

    Yes, sarcasm can be seen as being negative. Too much sarcasm will turn people off, but once in awhile can be very funny. Use with caution and sparingly for sure…

  16. Zelma Field
    Zelma Field says:

    sarcasm… i dont think if this is any thing bad in showing sarcasm to people who need it as if a patient needs medicine. but if we use sarcasm just to show your baseless hates on the basis of your personal dislikes then you have the reasons to hate it

  17. David
    David says:

    Regarding # 1 – sarcasm – I agree.

    Too many people don’t realize the affect this type of mentality has on themselves. To have a mindset that is ‘bent’ on belittling others is non-productive, to say the least. I feel it’s better to focus attention on helping and encouraging others whenever possible.

  18. Pro Dental Arts
    Pro Dental Arts says:

    I’m going to have to disagree on #1

    Sarcasm can be funny instead of hateful, for example, when used by comedians. It can definitely be annoying in real life situations though.

  19. cheyzkiegirl
    cheyzkiegirl says:

    to # 1:
    Sarcasm as critical comments may be expressed in an ironic way such as saying “don’t work too hard” to a lazy worker. The use of irony introduces an element of humour which may make the criticism seem more polite and less aggressive, but understanding the subtlety of this usage requires second-order interpretation of the speaker’s intentions. This sophisticated understanding is lacking in some people with brain damage, dementia and autism,and this perception has been located by MRI in the right parahippocampal gyrus.

  20. R. S.
    R. S. says:

    Sarcasm should be like a good hot sauce. Used sparingly, it can really spice things up, but it’s all-too-often used merely to denigrate others, which likely says more about the person using it. When focused upon irony rather than contempt, sarcasm ain’t all that bad. :)

  21. Ian
    Ian says:

    For #3, Maternity leave,

    Taking paid maternity leave is definitely a right for pregnant women, and they have every rights to decide whether to come back work full-time or not after giving birth. As an employer myself, I fully respect the decision and the benevolence of a mother.

  22. Erin
    Erin says:

    J and others – maternity leave in the United States is actually almost never maternity leave. This is a common misconception. The typical woman at a white-collar job gets 12 weeks “maternity leave” by 1. using up most or all of her sick and vacation time then 2. getting maybe 6 weeks paid short-term disability, which they have often paid for partially via paycheck deduction and 3. taking the remaining time unpaid through FMLA. Which only applies if you have been at a company over a year and the company has more than 100 employees. Details vary but this is pretty typical.

    So it’s not true that you as a “non-breeder” are not entitled to this. You also have sick and vacation time. You also would have short-term disability to use should you have surgery or some sort of medical event. You would also get FMLA time if you needed it for your own, your spouse’s, your parents, medical care, etc.

    I agree that it is often a good idea to avoid breaking news of pregnancy as long as you can, because of negative career results. And people, once you are showing there are still several months till you have the baby so it’s not like your manager wouldn’t still have time to prepare.

  23. Jane Frank
    Jane Frank says:

    I use sarcasm a lot at the moment. I love living with my mother-in-law because a trusted lovely friend has lost, (oops so sorry I’ll pay it back), 1.5 million dollars of our investment money. He never invested, just spent it. Scam from the start, 6 year scam at that. We have met another 40 “terribly happy” investors that trusted him too!
    As for getting bids, it’s normally the smooth oily talkers who get paid more because they talk their way into it. I believe in getting bids and checking out their work.
    When people start to say “oh you’ve put on a bit of weight” that’s when I tell them I’m pregnant and not pigging out.
    As for number 4, our lovely trusted friend should be known as a*****e……

  24. reyziel123
    reyziel123 says:

    About Sarcasm
    If you can’t say it yourself why not enjoy the things that others have said? That’s right, there is no reason not to enjoy what others who are better than you have said. Their observations about the world and it’s people are laid bare for anyone to enjoy.

  25. Matthew Payne
    Matthew Payne says:

    I agree with most of your points. Sarcasm is the worst though. We live in a society that loves sarcasm and is all for it. Sometimes I am even guilty of it myself. However I think sarcasm is how our society has learned to respond to stress and therefore people feel that they have to be sarcastic to deal with their stress. Oh well live in and learn.

  26. Daniel James
    Daniel James says:

    As with most of the previous comments, I agree, Sarcasm is hugely off-putting and, as an employer now, it is something which immediately flags up any potential future conflicts with candidates.

  27. Apryl
    Apryl says:

    Hey Penelope,
    Love your blog! Especially this post! I can totally relate to ‘never mention your pregnant if your not showing’ comment. I had to go looking for jobs when I first got pregnant with my now 2 year old son, and let me tell you, I was horrified at having to tell my interviewers I was preggo. So, I just didn’t. I didn’t say a word, yes I felt like I was lying in some way, but in the end, I got the job I wanted, and when I started, I told my employer. She kind of had a look on her face like, ‘darn….I probably wouldn’t have hired you if I knew.’…but she did hire me, so she was stuck with me now! And you are right about the project dying off kind of thing. The job I was hired for didn’t really ‘take off’ until after I had the baby and quit. (yes I ended up quitting and am now a stay at home mom) haha…so I guess employers DO have a right to want to steer clear of the preggies, but at the same time, the preggies are under no obligation for disclosure!
    Thanks for writing this post and putting a smile on my face!

  28. Aurelia
    Aurelia says:

    Wow. We wouldn’t get on at all.

    In my experience, people who don’t “get” sarcasm are neither very intelligent nor very fun to talk to.

  29. Julie Encabo
    Julie Encabo says:

    Anyways, being sarcastic really depends on what we do and what we want to achieve.. they can also help us develop something from it depending on the people who told us that.

  30. Jonha
    Jonha says:

    Hi Penelope,

    I like it every time you feed our curiosity by telling us the answer (for those who are curious). I think it’s very interesting.
    Though I do not always agree with what you say, I always marvel at how you present things and make your ideas like-able. You are such a gem Pen!


  31. Dustin
    Dustin says:

    Sarcasm does reveal insecurities, and all people have insecurities. Sometimes using sarcasm enables people to be more open about and express their insecurities. That dialogue is important. Positive thinking is important too, however some people relate more easily to sarcastic humor than “looking on the bright side”. People experience hardships and disappointments in life, and sometimes negative humor can satisfy a natural need to vent and also create an opporunity to communicate about real problems. I disagree with your claim that people use sarcasm to be funny, I think it is more commonly used as a way to highlight unpopular truths in the typically superficial setting of the everyday conversation. Certainly there are limits to the effectiveness of sarcasm, and I agree that its disparaging nature can be offensive and set a negative tone. Thank you for the blog entry, I enjoyed reading your list.

  32. Jim
    Jim says:

    The fourth item on the list, pseudonyms, is the one that bugs me the most. Have you ever been in a conversation when you thought you understood what they meant , and later found out the word in that particular setting had a completely different meaning. When making a first impression its important to understand the lingo. I found the best way to avoid this issue is simply to restate what they said, and ask them if thats what they mean.

  33. mark
    mark says:

    you dont have to be sarcastic either. i believe you lack time praising God. just try to submit yourself one sunday to God. If you do it with all your heart then hatred will gone. Peace and mercy reign.

  34. Daniel N. Brown
    Daniel N. Brown says:

    Love what you said about sarcasm being negative, and being poor man's humor. Never thought of it that way, but so true!

    You’re right, people who use sarcasm think they’re being funny, but comedy is about timing. Again… so true! Appreciate the clarification and your insight! Keep up the great work!

  35. David
    David says:

    I especially enjoyed the “lack of hate” point – it’s true we live in a world where sometimes, being gray and tempered is the delight of people who’re afraid to have an opinion or confront. I say there’s nothing bad in going over to the dark side once in awhile – knowing what you hate helps you know what you love better.

    Today I squared in on one of my personal pet peeves, “pessimism”. Check it out when you have time.

  36. Tela
    Tela says:

    A professor I had long ago opened up one of her communication lectures with a lesson I never forgot. “The root definition of sarcasm is ‘to rip flesh’ Use it accordingly.” I made an effort right then to avoid sarcasm whenever possible. I’m glad I did. It’s often misused and a cheap hit – but I do love Jon Stewart. He has a pass.

    As for a pen name…I have mixed feelings when it comes to internet posts. When an unpopular opinion can make you a target, or 5 minutes on google can give anyone your life history – I view it as a security measure. I’m proud of and stand by my statements – but not knowing who is reading my posts makes me wary of giving away too much personal information. Plus my real (very uncommon) last name connects me to a spiritual leader in my community. Our opinions often differ. I don’t post anything I wouldn’t say in person nor have I ever backed away from explaining myself…but sometimes it’s just not worth it for either of us to point out the connection. Like what I say, hate what I say, but don’t tell my father on me! I’m well past the age where he’s responsible for my actions.

    Flip side — Read comments on any popular news story. The hate that spews from some keyboards is devistating at times. The internet allows for so much, but would people really respond the same way if they knew their employers, co-workers, friends, family would call them on it?

  37. reem
    reem says:

    No need to hate/envy the breeders: Several companies provide unpaid sabbaticals for employees. You can check out Fortune 500 Best Companies to Work for, to get more information.

  38. Acai
    Acai says:

    I was fine with this until the last point. I work as a moderator and support person for an online game. (Yes, this is a real job, no, it is not what you expect when you hear about it.) Our moderation staff use handles that are seperate from our play accounts. This is not the way a lot of moderation is handled, for instance on Xbox Live, where the moderators play on the same handles.

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