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The "Lazy" frame

Hello guys,

one frame that is often being used against me is the "lazy" frame. It's also the one that people defend against the most. At work, being productive and hard-working is valued. So there is a one-upping game constantly going on about: "who's the lazy one?".

This morning at the end of the nightshift: my colleague kept insisting when I wanted to go faster: "So you can go to bed" (it was not the case, it was about moving forward) or "With this cold weather, you will feel good under the blanket" and more of the same. I defended against a couple of these but now I'll defend against all now that I know her game. It's dangerous as she could cement this frame.

Now, that I'm aware of it, I also have to be careful not to tell my (not so well intentioned colleagues) that I'm happy there's not too much work. At the hospital we are so overworked that I'm happy when we have a normal level of activity, like most other people in other fields/industries. However, for the reasons above, people will use this opportunity to frame me as the "lazy one". We are overworked, undertrained and it's stupid. But since it's the dominant frame, people accept it and don't challenge it. It's the norm.

BTW, she's the one who got the specialist position. A true power-player.

Any similar experience?

I can resonate with this experience from another environment.
I served in the military for a while a long time ago.
There were nightshifts and stand-by modes where you can be woken up in the night.

The hierarchical nature means that commanders like to pull power moves and you have little room to manoeuvre.
The training is also very bad.

All this resulted in an environment of everyone wanting to do as little as possible and acting busy.
People also like to act in an authoritative manner.
Authoritative because, if they can task people to do things, they can act busy and do less themselves.

Like what John shares, acting busy is the norm.
Even though everyone knows that everyone else tries to avoid responsibility and tasks.

Him: Could you help me to do this? (He does not actually want to do this task but wants another person to cover for him)

Another Person: I am preparing this at the moment.
It is a priority.
Could you handle this yourself or ask someone else to help you?

Yeah, the lazy frame is a dangerous one.

Some lower-level employees sometimes take pride and/or joke in skirting work, coming late, or going early.

Terrible political move, of course.

Starting a discussion about overwork can be done, but for the risk John mentions it's best if you approach it after you have a good reputation established -for example, for someone who gets his job done, and who is effective-.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks for your answers, guys.

This discussion is never going to happen because of bad management. It's so bad that they don't even know it's bad. It's real ignorance: not knowing you don't know.

I think my supervisors know I'm getting the job done and I'm effective. I think that's why my peers try to social climb on me in trying to push me in the "lazy" ditch. Like during medical studies, they will pretend not to have studied to influence you not to study while they were working twice as hard.

They're trying to get you to sleep: "hey man, just relax" and to frame themselves as supervisors.

Also in this environment, many people have a Stockholm syndrome. So they will reflexively defend their masters, even though they're being mistreated. That is because most of them have no other reference points or no better option. So they think that's how it's supposed to be and are afraid to lose what they have. And as we are not only employees but in training, we better shut our mouth if we hope to get trained.

Quote from John Freeman on February 14, 2021, 3:50 pm

Like during medical studies, they will pretend not to have studied to influence you not to study while they were working twice as hard.

They're trying to get you to sleep: "hey man, just relax" and to frame themselves as supervisors.

Very Machiavellian game.

I think there are two forces at play:

  1. Lowering expectations to cope with possible failure: so if they fail, they can say "I'm good, it's just I haven't studied much"
  2. Machiavellian approach against the competition: leading others to "take it easy", work less hard. Very common, partially subconscious game, that we can find in many other fields
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 14, 2021, 4:03 pm

Very Machiavellian game.

I think there are two forces at play:

  1. Lowering expectations to cope with possible failure: so if they fail, they can say "I'm good, it's just I haven't studied much"
  2. Machiavellian approach against the competition: leading others to "take it easy", work less hard. Very common, partially subconscious game, that we can find in many other fields

I agree. I was naive enough to fall for it many times. That is what I'm also learning since 6 months. It's that many failures of mine from work, to friendship to dating were because I lacked social skills and awareness of power dynamics. It stings a little bit, but it is true. I had good social skills but my power dynamics awareness was so low that I could not benefit from it. And the naive mindset is particularly detrimental.

That's what I also realized: in competitive fields where you are selected during University: cognitive skills are only part of it. Many people around me are machiavellian: that's how they succeeded: understand what the teacher wants, who has the relevant information, etc. These are all social skills.

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I faced this issue as well back in university!
Now I shake my head back at my naiveness with anger.
With the growth mindset from Lucio and John, I do feel good about my progress.

I made friends but did not realise their dark, competitive side.
The Machiavellianism behind their games when it comes to competing for the degree.
They know how to smile and give good emotions.

There was one guy I remembered typed on our study group:

Him: No more studying for the rest of the day : )

I think he probably spent the rest of the day studying. : )

They went even further and distracted me from my study plans.
Like they instilled seeds of doubt about my study techniques.

Him: Hey man Matthew, I think your approach is not really optimal.
You spend too much time understanding the concepts but not enough time practising.

I was confused initially because part of that makes sense.
Then I realised it's all crap because, like power dynamics, you should get an outline and revise the concepts as you practise.

When I was young, I wanted to work at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.
So we may have crossed paths, John. : )
Though Switzerland is pretty huge.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Interesting, interesting.

LOL, loved that part of "no more spending", followed by "I think he spent the rest of the day studying" :D.

A similar manipulative approach can be found in sexual competition, like the now (in)famous:

Who needs a man

Such a double manipulation there, the woman who says that pretends and may even gain some points and status within feminist circles for caring for other women, and wanting the best for them (yeah, sure).

To stay on topic, the lazy frame can be used the same way, when people try to pass "not caring" for cool:

Ahaha you're still working on that rpeort.
The boss isn't even gonna look at it, who cares about the report!

The new frame is that "rebel" and "who cares" is good.
And if people buy into that, the manipulator gains a competitive advantage.

 

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Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from John Freeman on February 14, 2021, 3:50 pm

This discussion is never going to happen because of bad management. It's so bad that they don't even know it's bad. It's real ignorance: not knowing you don't know.

Also, not something I'd even want to try in your case of rotating in different locations.

The risk to approach issues with non-open minded bosses is to be branded as "that new guy who comes here and thinks he can change the world".

We talked about on "how to give feedback" to superiors in some good past threads, and came up with the strategy of being very careful about it, and share far more compliments than ideas for improvement.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on February 14, 2021, 5:58 pm

Such a double manipulation there, the woman who says that pretends and may even gain some points and status within feminist circles for caring for other women, and wanting the best for them (yeah, sure).

LOL

To stay on topic, the lazy frame can be used the same way, when people try to pass "not caring" for cool:

Ahaha you're still working on that rpeort.
The boss isn't even gonna look at it, who cares about the report!

The new frame is that "rebel" and "who cares" is good.
And if people buy into that, the manipulator gains a competitive advantage.

Yes, I had been had by this one as well: "it's not important" from a supervisor, etc. And then I'm in front of all my colleagues and I have to answer for my responsibility. But now I know better. I come prepared. That's the problem with the naive mindset: you believe that people have your best interest in mind. And that is a dangerous mindset.

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