Monday, December 29, 2014

The Sociopath Amongst Us

What you are about to read is another post borrowed from ATR Alliance Facebook page. It is about the workplace Sociopath and/or Narcissist from on high that we must deal with every day.

These types aren't like when George W Bush said, "You are either with us or against us." No, these people are worse.

It's squashing all dissent ruthelessly and making those dissenters examples for others to scare the others into submission.

Independent thought or questioning is not allowed. Either by squashing all the thought and questioning punitively or by manipulation. Manipulating all facets of the work place to the point that anything and everything has to go through the Sociopath and/or Narcissist.

Manipulating others into thinking that they are part of the "inner circle." These types have no clue to how much they are being manipulated and how far up the ass of the Sociopath and/or Narcissist they reside for they have drank the Kool-Aid and have turned over their minds and acquiesced to working in fear.

But these are just the types the sociopath and/or narcissist wants. These "inner circle" types never see it coming. The day they fall out of favor with the Sociopath and/or Narcissist. It hits them like a ton of bricks and they are soon like a chicken running without it's head. Flailing for someone to help them when they themselves were the first to throw a colleague under the bus.

The Sociopath and/or Narcissist believes that only they have the answers, they have the knowledge, and they can control everything. They can't. Their head ain't any bigger than anyone else.

But yes, the Sociopath and/or Narcissist is not all they are cracked up to be. The swagger the evil, the lack of empathy shows how frightened they really are. Are scared they are. How insecure they are.

It's simple if the Sociopath and/or Narcissistis secure within themselves it would not act the way it does. It will show human emotion and empathy. It will not control all there is to control. It will think of others and want others to feel safe and do their jobs.

We here at SBSB present for you reading enjoyment, the workplace Sociopath and/or Narcissist juxtaposed with "Big Time," off the 1986 album  "So" by Peter Gabriel.

I'm on my way I'm making it, huh!
I've got to make it show yeah, hey!
So much larger than life
I'm gonna watch it growing

The most frightening and dangerous workplace bully of all. They are predators that have zero empathy for anything or anyone. They are completely without conscience. They do not process emotions they way you do and they do not understand your emotions. However, they are highly adept at manipulating the emotions of others in order to get them to do what they want.

The place where I come from is a small town
They think so small, they use small words
But not me, I'm smarter than that,
I worked it out
I'll be stretching my mouth to let those big words come right out
I've had enough, I'm getting out
to the city, the big big city
I'll be a big noise with all the big boys, so much stuff I will own
And I will pray to a big god, as I kneel in the big church

Sociopaths are often very intelligent, charming, even charismatic with powerful verbal skills of persuasion. If you are up against a sociopath you will not likely win. They are ruthless and relentless.

Big time, I'm on my way I'm making it, big time, oh yes
Big time, I've got to make it show yeah, big time
Big time, so much larger than life
Big time, I'm gonna watch it growing, big time
Ho ohh ohh, oh oh, ho ohh ohh, oh ohhh

They do not accept or care about the consequences of their actions. They gravitate to positions of authority and power and are able to attain executive levels of management. They will surround themselves with sycophants who have been put into their positions by this workplace bully. But because many of them are promoted because of their submission to the bully and lack the skills they should have they are forever beholden to the sociopath. He will then use that to get them do do the dirty work and engage in attacks against his target.

My parties have all the big names and I greet them with the widest smile
Tell them how my life is one big adventure
and always they're amazed when I show them 'round my house to my bed
I had it made like a mountain rage with a snow white pillow for my big fat head
And my heaven will be a big heaven, and I will walk through the front door

People are regarded as objects that serve a purpose. Once they are not able to serve a purpose for the sociopath they are discarded like yesterdays trash.

Big Time, I'm on my way I'm making it, big time, Huh!
Big time, I've got to make it show yeah, big time
Big time, so much larger than life
Big time, I'm gonna watch it growing, big time
Big time, my car is getting bigger Big time, my house is getting bigger
Big time, my eyes are getting bigger
and my mouth
Big time, my belly's getting bigger
Big time, and my bank account
Big time, look at my circumstance

It is a mistake to underestimate the lengths to which a sociopath will go, the deception they will engage in or how little you matter to them. If you are being stalked by a sociopath your best option is to get as far away from them and their influence as you can. In a word, they are "evil".

Be wary and careful out there.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Witch Hunts in the Schools

For those who do not know there is an ATR support page on Facebook known as the ATR Alliance (It is a closed group and you must request to join). If you are an ATR I suggest you sign up and get to know some of those in the same boat.

One thing I myself have noticed over the year and a half of being rubberized is that most of those I have served time with are outliers. Heck, not even just from the Rubber Room, those I call some of my dearest friends and confidants in across the DOE are outliers and proudly so.

These people are smart, dedicated, demanding, independent, and worse to many administrators, honest. But instead of being seen in a positive light by our colleagues we are seen as something that must be rid of. Something that must be shunned. Something that must be ignored. Something that is berated behind our backs. Something that must be stopped at all costs. Notice the something is used instead of someone. These people looking down their noses and from behind our backs do not see "someONE," they see "someTHING."

Some people only feel good in being part of the problem and part of the mob. The lack of independent thought and independent guidance is what leads these people to be part of this mob mentality amongst adults in our schools. Hold your head above the crowd and see how fast you are taken down.

So I was reading this posting on the ATR FB page about bullies in the work place. We have all had our share of those in the DOE, some more than others. Those that turn their backs to you. Those that are your "pals" to your face yet would not think for a second to do you in. Those that are so bereft of any ethics or morals that they will just shove a knife in your back in a heartbeat.

But the worst are those that you genuinely have gone to bat for and when you need them to step up to the plate for you they run away feigning they ever knew you or were close to you. Yeah, really. Those are the worse. Those are the ones who don't wish to ruin their cred with the correct school clique.

But back to this posting. It really hits home for me. It is a witch hunt out there. What makes it worse is that we expect it to come from administrators, we don't expect it to come from those who we consider friends and colleagues.

I'm re-posting the blog post and  juxtaposing it with lyrics from 1981's "Witch Hunt (Part III of the Fear Trilogy)" off of "Moving Pictures" by the band Rush. Seems so appropriate.

The night is black
Without a moon
The air is thick and still
The vigilantes gather on
The lonely torch lit hill

What Is Mobbing? - The office disease

The hallmark of mobbing behavior is an initial unresolved conflict that is preventing the targeted person from accomplishing his or her job in the most effective way.

The targeted person tries with good intent to resolve the situation in a constructive way, never realizing that the people he or she is dealing with have already decided to get rid of him or her, which is "revealed in attacks of various sorts: humiliation, ridicule, stigmatization, ostracism, exclusion and isolation.".

Features distorted in the flickering light
The faces are twisted and grotesque
Silent and stern in the sweltering night
The mob moves like demons possessed
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
Confident their ways are best

This leads the targeted person to suffer "self-doubt," "…confusion, tension, anger and depression." Id. These unresolved conflicts intensify and are magnified until the targeted person is suffering severe emotional distress. The more the targeted person attempts to find recourse the more those who are doing the mobbing create reasons why the issue cannot be resolved. Because those doing the mobbing have no intention of resolving the conflict, the conflict escalates until it is virtually unmanageable.

The targeted person becomes very ill or depressed, work suffers and it is only a matter of time before the targeted person is terminated, resigns or retires. The expulsion of the targeted person was predetermined by those doing the mobbing from the very start and there was nothing the targeted person could have done to resolve the issue (therein lies the "crazy-making").

People new to handling power, and who are insecure and incompetent when it comes to wielding it, will apparently target the talented and dedicated for mobbing. Learn to spot and stop it whenever it rears its ugly head.

The righteous rise
With burning eyes
Of hatred and ill-will
Madmen fed on fear and lies
To beat and burn and kill

Checklist of mobbing indicators

Sociologist Kenneth Westhues devised the following list of mobbing indicators, with indicator number 12 probably being the most important:

- By standard criteria of job performance, the target is at least average, probably above average.
- Rumors and gossip circulate about the target's misdeeds: "Did you hear what she did last week?"
- The target is not invited to meetings or voted onto committees, is excluded or excludes self.
- Collective focus on a critical incident that "shows what kind of man he really is".
- Shared conviction that the target needs some kind of formal punishment, "to be taught a lesson".
- Unusual timing of the decision to punish, e.g., apart from the annual performance review.
- Emotion-laden, defamatory rhetoric about the target in oral and written communications.
- Formal expressions of collective negative sentiment toward the target, e.g., a vote of censure, signatures on a petition, meeting to discuss what to do about the target.
- High value on secrecy, confidentiality, and collegial solidarity among the mobbers.
- Loss of diversity of argument, so that it becomes dangerous to "speak up for" or defend the target.
- The adding up of the target's real or imagined venial sins to make a mortal sin that cries for action.
- The target is seen as personally abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities; stigmatizing, exclusionary labels are applied.
- Disregard of established procedures, as mobbers take matters into their own hands.
- Resistance to independent, outside review of sanctions imposed on the target.
- Outraged response to any appeals for outside help the target may make.
- Mobbers' fear of violence from target, target’s fear of violence from mobbers, or both.

They say there are strangers who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
That those who know what's best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves

Psychological and health effects to the victim of mobbing in the workplace
Victims of workplace mobbing frequently suffer from: adjustment disorders, somatic symptoms (e.g., headaches or irritable bowel syndrome), Post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression.

In mobbing targets with PTSD, Leymann notes that the "mental effects were fully comparable with PTSD from war or prison camp experiences. Some patients may develop alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders. Family relationships routinely suffer. Some targets may even develop brief psychotic episodes, generally with paranoid symptoms. Leymann estimated that 15% of suicides in Sweden could be directly attributed to workplace mobbing.

Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand... 

Degrees of mobbing

First degree: Victim manages to resist, escapes at an early stage, or is fully rehabilitated in the original workplace or elsewhere.

Second degree: Victim cannot resist or escape immediately and suffers temporary or prolonged mental and/or physical disability and has difficulty reentering the workforce.

Third degree: Victim is unable to reenter the workforce and suffers serious, long-lasting mental or physical disability.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wingnut Right and New York Post Hypocrisy

I know I haven't blogged much this month and there are reasons I don't wish to get into right now. One reason is I have had a bad case of writer's block. Still have it so I am just going to not worry about form in this blog post just worry about emptying my mind of my thoughts. Streaming my consciousness so to speak.

I support the police. I have come across a lot of cops that are jerks and a lot that are good people. That is the same in all walks of life. Some people suck, some don't.

What happened in Bed-Stuy was completely FUBAR. BUT! De Blasio did not egg the protestors on nor is he anti-cop. But he has every right to inform his son of the perils he faces. He is a father first and a mayor second.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley was mentally ill! Should we blame JD Salinger for the death of John Lennnon? Should Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese be blamed for John Hinckley shooting Ronald Reagan?

What is happening across New York City right now is crazy. It is insane. And it is being fueled by the wingnut Right and the New York Post.

Eric Garner should be alive right now. Watching the video one wonders why 4 cops could not take Garner down in a way other than he was. Garner was not a danger to anyone. A NYPD inspector once told me that best cop is one who does not let a situation get out of hand. Garner's situation got out of hand.

Four cops could not control the situation and Garner at the same time? Why go for the neck? Take him down low. If that had happened we would not be having all this tsuris right now.

That being said the blind, unadulterated, kissing of the police officers by the New York Post and the wingnut Right is getting pretty disgusting. Worse, they seem to be poo-pooing the way African-Americans feel and react to the perception (And if it is their perception then something must be real. To those of the Right and the Post, deal with it!) of racist behaviors by cops while at the same time championing education of the civil rights issue of all time.

But God forbid if a teacher so much as did something wrong and the Post and the wingnut Right (And crazy Governor Andy in Albany) would be calling for that teacher's keyster.

Or worse, what would they say if that teacher had been charged in the past with misconduct in several past instances, like... Officer Pantaleo? 
...was the subject of two civil rights lawsuits in 2013 where plaintiffs accused Pantaleo of falsely arresting them and abusing them. In one of the cases, Pantaleo and other officers ordered two black men to strip naked on the street for a search and the charges against the men were dismissed.
Where there is smoke there is usually fire. Speaking of fire how long will it take to terminate Officer Pantaelo? Faster than a teacher? Will the Post and the wingnuts of the Right be calling for a speedier process to fire cops? To keep bad cops off the job? To do away with due process? A way to better evaluate cops? To be sure that cops that are hired are from the highest 1/3 of their college class?


Oh, but the argument always will be that it is all about the children. But what about Eric Garner's children? What about the children of all the unarmed African-American's shot by the police? Are they not affected? Aren't all the African-American children not affected by NYPD in some sort of negative way?

Yet we aren't not hearing about charter precincts or busting up the NYCPBA or the monopoly that the NYPD has over policing or more stringent and punitive measures to evaluate cops and other inane stuff that we as teachers have been subject to for the last 12 years.

It ain't going to happen for several reasons. One, the rank and file of the NYPD is mostly male. Two, no one is afraid of the UFT and Mike Mulgrew. And third, they just haven't gotten to the uniformed services yet, but they will when they are done with us.

Oh one more thing. Can Sharpton just go very far away? Please?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keeping it Dark. An Allegory.

The first Genesis album I bought (Actually wasn't an album, it was a cassette) was 1981's Abacab. In fact I think it was their last decent album, barring a few songs from 1983's self-titled album Genesis.

In my opinion this was the last of Genesis as a full fledged prog rock band. From this point forward they had become bubble gum pop and we had to suffer seeing Phil Collins' face everywhere.

But one song on this album I really dig. It hits home and it might for you. It's "Keep it Dark," even though "Me and Sarah Jane" still sends chills up my spine.

"Keep it Dark" tells of a man abducted  by aliens sees a beautiful world and returns to earth and as Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks said in 2007;
 "the idea was that this character had to pretend that he'd just been robbed by people and that's why he'd disappeared for a few weeks, and in fact what had happened [was] he'd been taken up in a spaceship and gone to this fantastic world where everything was wonderful and beautiful and everything..."

This man had to lie. He saw no evil, heard no evil, and spoketh no evil. 

Watch and listen in an allegorical sort of way.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Subdivisions Then and Now

The Crack Team had lots to talk about at the SBSB retreat at the Interlaken Inn in Lakeville CT last weekend. The Crack Team has decided to take a break from blogging about education and wishes to blog about the more mundane and happy things that encompass our life here on planet Earth.

This move is only temporary and we hope you will stay as a reader of the blog as we post things that are important, joyful, fun, and life affirming to The Crack Team.

So what better way to start off a new beginning than to share the greatest band ever (RUSH) with their greatest song ever (SUBDIVISIONS), with a live performance from 2013 and the official video from 1982.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Yes, it is true. I am making my FOURTH appearance tomorrow morning on the Bob Marrone Show
at approximately 6:20 AM.

Last week I only had one segment, but this week we plan to delve into the BREAKING NEWS today at my 3020-a hearing.

Again, there are several ways you can listen. On your radio dial at 1230 AM, but the range is about a 20 mile circle of White Plains.

Also, WFAS streams live, is on iHeart Radio, or download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store for your mobile device. I know some who downloaded the app and were able to listen while driving in from very far away.

For the social media aficionados, check out WFAS on Facebook, Twitter, and Bob Marrone is on Twitter as well.

And don't forget, the call in # is 914-693-5700. Don't be shy!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rubber Room Yoga

This story comes from the files of "you can't make this shit up!"

The SBSB news team has learned of one of the most heinous stories of Rubber Room skullduggery ever!

A gym teacher who is currently time in the RR for, are you ready for this? Having the students in gym doing yoga.

I'll wait while you compose yourself from either laughing, crying, or just frozen in wonderment.

OK, got yourself composed?

A young gym teacher (What a shock, someone not over 40 is in the RR) was doing yoga with his class (At press time we do not know the grade of this class). Yoga has many advantages, what can be the harm of yoga? Isn't this great this gym teacher introducing such a wonderful art, exercise of the mind and body to the students of the Bronx?

Even better the teacher having a student in a wheelchair saw to it that the student would not be left out. He adapted, he differentiated, the lesson so the the student in the wheelchair could do upper body exercises so not to be left out.

At the end of the period the teacher decided to entertain the students by performing a hand stand. That, pardon the pun, was his downfall.

Apparently the principal felt that the student in the wheel chair felt bad he couldn't do a handstand and got charges 3020a charges filed against the teacher and off he was shipped to Fordham Plaza.

But it gets weirder.

The teacher, who is not assigned any work to do at Fordham Plaza other than to sit in the cafeteria, decided to make the most of his doing nothing. He resorted to doing some yoga breathing exercises. Sadly this irked someone, OSI was called in, and a letter was put in his file.

It is getting crazy out there. In fact The Crack Team is starting to miss the Bloomberg/Klein days.

But worse, where is the UFT in all this? Where is the UFT in the constant abuse of teachers?

Nowhere, but doing everything to keep those in power at 52 Broadway in power.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Today's WFAS Audio

I guess Monday's are bad for me on WFAS I learned the hard way. I am usually on Tuesday's, but this week I had to appear today and, well.... could have used more time.

I got there promptly at 6:35 AM but I guess they had something schedule in the 7 AM hour so I got about 25 minutes in.

Again, a big thanks to Bob Marrone and Scott for welcoming me and continuing to have me on.

My wife said today's appearance was the best and I believe it is. I think Bob is seeing what is being done to schools in this state. I got some good points and some good zingers.

Here are the links for your listening enjoyment of today's show.