ANTI-MENTORSHIP: IV

September 6th, 14:30

When I began to read this hypothetical scenario, I thought Sandridge finally gave me something easy to work with. However, after reading the first paragraph and being told it’s a “dog-eat-dog” world, I already knew this would be a predicament. Between a somewhat delusional boss and my employment on the line, it would be odd for there not to exist a number of thoughts and emotions within me.

Although it is very tempting to fall into this woman’s trap and bask in the fantasies of having a secured spot in my mother’s old company and easily paving my way to the top, it’s a no from me. It would be shameful and an absolute hypocrisy for me to manipulate and exploit this woman, for in the previous scenario, I found that my utmost priority was to keep the current employees of my parents’ companies employed because they have bills to pay and mouths to feed, including their own. So, being that this mischievous plan would “leave the creator of the project likely unemployed and even a pariah in the field,” I would decline the offer. Hopefully, this doesn’t get me fired but, moreover, I would tell my boss that I believe my mother would be furious at me for partaking in such a scheme and that I would like to obtain my own rank that doesn’t include stealing someone else’s ideas.

  1. The first emotion that I expect myself to feel is the fear of incurring my boss’ disdain if I don’t do what she asks. People who have authority over you can make you feel a number of ways, especially when they’re condemning you. This fear also connects with the shame I would feel at possibly being seen as a “loser” because authoritative figures hold that power, if you let them, to make you feel “less.” Personally, I see it as “Well, this person in power, who is ‘above me,’ technically speaking, is saying I’m not doing a good job so it must be true.” This gives me anxiety because I want to please that person in any way I could so they don’t find a reason to punish, whether it be with a bad grade (teacher) or a condemnation (parent/boss). Also, of course I would fear losing my position in the company! This emotion also ties in with the shame at the thought of not living up to my mom’s reputation. I would not want to lose this job, especially because I feel obligated to continue the legacy of my [deceased] mother. Finally, it’s completely normal for me to feel panic and anxiety over how to handle this complicated situation at first. That is how I am with any complex or pressing situation but it all works out at the end. Whether the outcome is marvelous or daunting, the emotions are always temporary.
  2. The shame at the thought of not living up to my mom’s reputation is the foremost emotion that would be most difficult to manage. The company is now holding me to a certain degree because I have a legacy to uphold such as Telemachus in the Odyssey. Being happy and proud to have the favor of a highly successful businesswoman is the second , for it is very conflicting because, yes, I am favorable in the eyes of this well-respected woman, yet she is… fraudulent. To me, it’s a matter of “Is this the type of leadership I should be honored to have in my presence?” Lastly, the confidence that I can carry out my boss’ request is a pressing emotion since I don’t want to be viewed as a “loser,” especially not by my employer or my fellow employees. On the other hand, obtaining victory by manipulative means goes against my morals and hinders my better self.
  3. One of the easiest emotions to manage is the self-pity and that I do not “deserve such a lot in life.” Any time I find myself saying “Why me?” when placed in a horrible situation, such as a heartbreak or getting a bad grade, I always come to the conclusion that someone has or had it worse. “They overcame it” is what I repeatedly have to convince myself in order to conquer the situation. I almost become a mentor to myself, activating my mentality to be a go-getter. Secondly, being envious to those “who have not been thrust into such scenarios” would be foolish because everyone goes through their own circumstances that cause them to feel and cope in the best way they know how. This emotion would be the most suppressed one since I see no need to be pressed about someone else and their life, especially when I’m finding ways to handle my own. Lastly, being surprised that my boss would try to manipulate me like this is definitely manageable. She said it herself that “advantage is more important than justice… [at least sometimes].” In this very case, the exploitation of that unnamed employee is advantageous to her yet serves no justice in the end.
  4. Agreeing to carry out my boss’ request and acquire the other woman’s project is easy. Although it is an immoral plan, my boss has provided me with clear-cut steps and an end goal.
    Refusing to carry out my boss’ request is difficult, especially because she has already shown me the perks of being at the top, such as traveling the world and having a secure spot in the company. Also, if I do carry it out, my “future at the company will be uncertain,” which is scary.
    Talking my boss out of her request is very difficult because if she already instilled in her mind that this idea is brilliant. Therefore, it will be a daunting task to get her to switch positions.
    Denouncing my boss to her face is difficult since she essentially has me in the palm of her hand. At the snap of her finger, I could be fired!
    Reporting my boss to human resources or the police for possible corporate espionage is very difficult since she has “the best lawyers and public relations experts there are.” Also, there is not much evidence! It would just be a “he said, she said” debacle (“she said, she said,” in this case).
    Pretending to become friends with the woman who has the special project on her computer is easy, especially because my boss gave me directions on how to do the pretending.
    Pretending to hate my boss in front of the woman, in order to secure her loyalty, is also very easy for the same reason.
    Convincing the woman to share her project with me, on the pretense that I will use it to start my own successful company, is difficult.
    Convince the woman that, even though your boss (whom she hates) had put you up to taking the project from her, you really do want to start a successful company with her is easy.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Attempting to start my own company, even though I know my boss would likely do everything in her power to ruin me, is difficult, especially when it appears as if I have no one with me. However, I can get the woman to be on my side with that project!

September 9th, 21:30

Sophocles’ Philoctetes was an interesting piece! I usually get so scared and annoyed when I have to read ancient literature because the language can get so confusing. However, this translation was perfect and actually kept me entertained with laughs and shocks. Just to reiterate, Sophocles’ Philoctetes, produced in 409 BC, is a play that is centered on Philoctetes, an injured Greek warrior abandoned on Lemnos, and Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles. Neoptolemus has been “mentored” by Odysseus to capture Philoctetes’ bow and arrows, which never miss and always bring death, in order to win the Trojan War.

  1. Odysseus resembles the mentor figure of Athena from the Odyssey in a number of ways, even though the end goals of these two mentors are astonishingly distinct. First, Odysseus gives Neoptolemus specific instructions on how to manipulate Philoctetes into giving him the bow. In the Odyssey, Athena gives Telemachus directives on how to grow into an adult, which included condemning the suitors in an assembly and creating royal ties. The commands are given by Odysseus in one lengthy speech, found in lines 65 to 103. Moreover, just like Athena built Telemachus a team of sailors and rounded up people that would help him on his psychological and physical journey as a leader, there exists a chorus that accompanies Neoptolemus. Although it is not made clear that Odysseus provided these sailors for Neoptolemus’ ship, I’m certain that they were not let on board without his approval. Similarly to Telemachus’ sailors, Neoptolemus’ chorus is there to “always to keep [their] eyes alert
    above all to what’s best for [him]” as stated in lines 185 to 186. Another resemblance exists in encouragement. Athena encourages Telemachus to do a number of things because they are prudent acts, beneficial to the future. Odysseus encourages Neoptolemus as well; however, while Neoptolemus realizes the wrong in this scheme, Odysseus tries to encourage him through manipulation, saying “these words of [Neoptolemus] and what [he] plan[s] to do are most imprudent” in line 1605. He works against his mentee instead of finding common ground. Finally, the most significant resemblance is the comparison of fathers. Athena shames Telemachus in a constructive way, saying that Odysseus, his father, had great potential and did magnificent things, which means that Telemachus can do the same. She’s controlling the story of Odysseus while Odysseus is controlling the story of Achilles! When Neoptolemus begins to challenge Odysseus’ plan on two occasions, notice the king say “son of Achilles, what are you saying?” in line 1593 and “you noble father’s son, when I was young, I had a quiet tongue as well” in line 116. It seems like the king wants to constantly remind him of what “potential” he harbors in his bloodline whenever he’s being defiant in order to carry the plan through.
  2. Neoptolemus stands firm in his morals and values when initially resisting Odysseus’ mentorship. He explains to the king that “it is not [his] nature to do anything based on deceit.” Neoptolemus then goes on to compare himself to Achilles, his father, stating that people have said he was “just the same.” Another form of resistance is the line of questioning that Neoptolemus makes up. He is completely on the fence about the structure and strategies of Odysseus’ plan, asking him the benefits of capturing this man, “why not persuade him?,” and “why deceit?” However, he eventually agrees because Odyseeus says Neoptolemus will get himself “a name for shrewdness and nobility” by doing orchestrating this scheme.
  3. I believe there are two essential reasons as to why Neoptolemus ultimately doesn’t go through with the plan. As I mentioned before, he had doubts from the jump. He questioned the king and was uncertain if he should truly go about this with mockery and deceit. That is exactly why, in line 1608, Neoptolemus tells Odysseus that he “made a mistake and lost [his] honour — [he] must try to get [the bow] back” to its rightful owner, Philoctetes. This also lends to the more significant reason, eleos. Being a man with morality and pity, Neoptolemus couldn’t help but to do the right thing after seeing the excruciating pain, hearing the piercing screams, and witnessing the helpless drags that Philoctetes endures on a daily basis.

September 10th, 22:00

  1. One person that I view as a mentor in my life is Steffi Jean-Jacques, my sister. She pushes me to be a leader of my own life and take control of it. I recall senior year when I was struggling and just wanted merely the lowest passing grade, she said I can do better. When I would give attitude to my mother, she shamed me and made it known that I’m greater than that. Now that I’ve gone away to college, Steffi’s chances to activate “menos” are minimal now. However, she’s an esquire and knows how hard college is, which is why she periodically calls to check up on me and to remind me that I can do this. The second person is Savannah, the captain of my old STEP team. As I stated in my previous journal, “a coach teaches you the game while a mentor speaks you through it.” Being that this was the first time on any type of dance team, Savannah always said I have to “stomp louder” or “flex my muscles harder.” She didn’t only teach me step-by-step but gave me instructions and advice on how to channel all of my energy into the dance and sharpen each movement. Lastly, my mother, Celida Jean-Jacques, has been a mentor to me in the way she knows how. Since she wants me to continue on a pre-med path and to become a doctor, she often refers to me as “Dr. Odette.” When she’s unable to buy something, she’ll say, and I’m paraphrasing a bit, “I can’t wait until you’re a doctor and can buy me this and so much more.” I never viewed it as “mentorship,” but she does her best to keep me focused on this very track and makes sure that I don’t defer from it.
  2. All three of these ladies had one common motive for mentoring me: reaching my full potential. However, the motives begin to differ when I ask myself “Was/Is the mentoring for my benefit or theirs?” In Savannah’s case, figuring out her motive was pretty simple. She just wanted the best stepper out of me so that I, along with the other steppers, would perform in spectacular unison at the annual talent show. It was a win-win situation because we looked good stepping, which made Savannah more reputable. With Steffi, I believe that her motive is purely altruistic. She just wants to see me succeed while being happy. Steffi never projects her own wishes and dreams onto me nor mentions anything about the money I’ll make doing this certain profession; rather, she just guides me through it all with words of encourage. However, in my mother’s case, I see a bit of anti-mentorship. Mom does always know best and it is, without a doubt, known that the demand for doctors is ever-lasting. However, whenever I try to look into other fields, I’m “not making a good decision.” My mother does resemble Odysseus’ anti-mentorship by being close-minded about this subject.
  3. I do not believe I have been mentored into doing something morally questionable such as stealing a prized possession from a sick, ill-fated man (poor Philoctetes), but I have been talked into stealing. In high school, I had this one friend that would go anywhere, CVS, Forever 21, the corner store, and just steal! She said “they don’t care” or “they don’t look at the cameras,” which was true, sadly. Even though I stole candies and coffee with her, I look back and realize that that was weird. She did it every day and I should’ve just told her to take it easy before she got caught (which she did).
  4. There is one single time that I will never forget. At my grandmother’s funeral, my father was giving his eulogy. I knew my dad wouldn’t cry in front of the attendees because he was this strong, towering, “macho” man. However, at the end of the piece, his voice cracked in such a crystal clear way that I instantly felt his pain and began to cry, pitying him. This proximity made me realize, at just fourteen years of age, that we all harbor pain. It is just up to the individual when they want to reveal it in the face of others. Another time was during a breakup with my ex-boyfriend, “Rico.” Prior to the breakup, I always isolated myself after we argued, not responding to any of his texts or answering the phone calls. I had poor communication skills and he practically begged me to stop in order for our relationship to work. When the tables turned, I was miserable. We broke up and he didn’t reach out for days, weeks. I felt desolate, rejected. I then reached out to him, saying that I now understand what he felt throughout the whole relationship and that I’m sorry. Don’t get it twisted, though. I soon realized that I do not need a man in order to keep my physical, mental, and spiritual health alive! Lastly, I once felt my mother’s sadness. My father was mocking my mother about the school she attended and her education. He laughed at the fact that she was proud to have attended the local school in her hometown back in Haiti, for not many kids get this chance. The conversation was in their language, Haitian-Creole, so I didn’t understand what was happening and asked my mother to translate. As she was doing so, she began to sob, “he is such a mean soul, sometimes.” Instantly, I hugged her because one, I can relate (my father has a tendency to degrade), and two, she’s my mother. She’s supposed to be the superwoman of my dreams and to watch her cry so unexpectedly was heartwrenching.

My plan was comprised of so many demands since I am unsure of what I want my career path to consist of! I noticed that and in order to prevent myself from falling prey to “anti-mentorship,” I must do some soul-searching first.

When you have so much burden on you, it’s easiest to place some of that burden on some of that burden on someone else such as a mentor. However, my baggage is mine to claim. Therefore, the single revision that I must do to my plan is lift some weight of my mentor, for I asked him to “try his best to follow my tendencies” and “take time to analyze these tendencies in order to give advice on how I can better utilize them in certain aspects of my life.” I, myself, need to analyze my strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes so that my mentor, or any one for that matter, doesn’t project their identity onto me.

September 11th, 10:00

Talking with my leadership workout partners finally allowed some stress to be relieved, for I have been pulling all-nighters all week and it seems as if my purpose is to live for school.

In our discussion this week, we talked about what leadership behaviors we exhibited both in and out of class, and which behaviors we need to engage in more in order to be more successful in schoolwork, relationships, and conversation. For example, I went to step practice on Wednesday and had the greatest game face on, since I was the best stepper in my freshman year of high school. Yet, I did so horribly! I messed up all throughout. Still, I stayed until the end even though I was so embarrassed and wanted to sob in my bed. Although it was a short talk, we agreed to come back with more content for the next set of journals!

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Odette Jean-Jacques

Odette Jean-Jacques

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