I want to express real practical philosophy. We should be willing to use techniques taught by various sources, no matter how unconventional it might seem. By being open to techniques from cults, religions, miscreants and the like, we may find an obscure technique or talent that garners the desired result.
This story is one of psychological manipulation. I was the manipulator and the one I turned to do my bidding, an office tyrant. Such manipulation is not done with direct force, rather it is through discrete and delicate work.
Posing as a friend, I worked as a spy (as Robert Greene has taught).1
First and foremost this is a self centered work. One is seeking to remedy a problem with an imposing figure in their life… a boss… family… friends…
Second, this work seeks to embrace conflict. A battlefield is identified. Some characters on this battlefield will be enemy combatants. Others will be colleagues and some will be neutral parties. By identifying the interplay between these individuals, one can establish the proper strategies (and change them as necessary).
We ask: Who is neutral and might have information on our enemy? Who is a colleague might be willing to create a front against an isolated foe?
Third, the psychology used is sinister. While this tactic can be used to better someone, I care not. You can try and use this to win over a foe in order to build their self esteem, or you could hold the tyrant at bay by controlling their will.
We will present ourselves one way, when we are quite another. This is done in order to gain the confidence of the enemy. This is the work of a spy. As such, we can not get caught up in emotional reaction. Be impartial, save for yourself, which you would hold as your clear end result.
The battlefield was a job at a technology company. I held this position in the mid 2000’s. Having been out of work for awhile, I was desperate for a new position. This led me to a giant tech company ruled by insanity.
My first month on the job I saw the total brutality of the environment. My manager was insane, as was his boss, and his boss and so on. This tyrant manager played the role of true villain. He screamed at his employees and enjoyed humiliating his workers in front of other team members.
He wasn’t alone in the role of villain, his own boss treated him the same way – yelling and humiliating him. Once our manager’s boss humiliated him so bad he broke down to tears. This management style all flowed from one source, the CEO.
I met the CEO one night. I was working late, it must have been around 10PM and I heard someone in the bathroom screaming their head off. They screamed, “you stupid, cunt face mother fucker. I’ll fuck you up bitch!”
When the door flew open, a wild eyed figure emerged from the restroom, cellphone in hand. He looked like someone off the street. He wore some tattered knit vest and carried the appearance of someone who hadn’t showered in weeks. Our eyes met (as my desk was 10 feet from the restroom) and he didn’t say a word. He spoke with this pure hateful glare, as though he was challenging me. He stared at me until I looked away.
Inquiring to my co-workers on who that crazy, disheveled nut was, they blurted out, “that’s the CEO.”
This was my battlefield. With the exception of one or two individuals, I began to see this raw emotional weakness in the management.
The Tyrant Manager
As an example of his abuse, my first week on the job, my manager called me into a meeting room. He was going to test me. He had a laptop there and asked me to verify various stability issues with some test servers replicating live environments.
Each time I began my work to do what he asked, he would stop me part way through and then scream something at me.
“FORGET IT. NOW TELL ME ABOUT THE CPU AND MEMORY. BY THE WAY, WE’RE BLEEDING $20,000 A MINUTE.”
His words were spat so angrily that literal spit was hitting me on the face and hands. He’d often have someone to watch the process, so they could laugh about it later.
My manager was as much a victim as we all were. He was once yelled at by his boss (in front of us) to such a degree that he broke down in tears. This place was a living hell. Or was it a land of opportunity?
Step 1: The Study
I studied the manager. Befriending some of his co-workers that he got along with, I would inquire to his personal life. They gave me information that allowed me to take control.
Observing my target, I noticed he took many smoke breaks. His stress level necessitated a smoke break every two hours. He also had a chronic malady, he was an asthmatic.
Also observed was his emotional states. The grunts and the glares, it all exuded the feeling of an unstable mind.
Each morning he walked off the elevator, up to my cubical, scowling at me with some angry comment:
“WHAT’s YOUR STATUS,” “ARE YOU BUSY,” “I NEED YOU TO WORK THROUGH LUNCH.”
Rather than avoid this (like most did), I decided to use his morning dialogue to my advantage. I knew he would look over my desk each morning, so if I left a prop that would get his attention, he was certain to discover it.
Step II: The Props
One doesn’t just walk up to someone and build affinity.
If you’re facing a hostile enemy, it’s very hard to win them over in conversation. A more effective method is construct a situation where the target thinks they discovered respectable things about you. The key here is, the target thinks they discovered this, when in fact you planted the idea yourself.
My study of the tyrant boss gave me all I needed. He was a smoker, with asthma. I too had asthma, so all I needed were some cigarettes.
I bought a pack of Marlboro Red’s.
I placed the Marlboro Red pack on my desk in plain site. The red and white box was bright enough to catch attention of a casual observer.
Besides the cigarette prop, I added my asthma inhaler, resting it artistically atop the cigarettes.
Step III: Mirroring – Use Hatred when you can
Robert Greene (and others) refer to a method of imitation for psychological gain, as mirroring. The idea behind mirroring, is to acquire an emotional detachment, just observing the target.
If the target is angry, and you come off as happy, the target will not relate to you at all.
HOWEVER, if the target is angry and you appear to be angry as well (angry at something you both hate), then you build an instant affinity.
Going back to Step II, I had set up my props and awaited the tyrant. Briskly walking up to my desk he began his morning hostility.
He was in mid sentence when his eyes caught hold of the cigarettes (and inhaler) on my desk. INSTANTLY he shifted from anger to respect.
“Dude, you smoke?! Dude… you have asthma…?” The tone in his voice was like he found his best friend. He even joked with me for the first time, “you know you shouldn’t smoke if you have asthma… just kidding,” he whispered (as though telling me a secret), “I have asthma too and I smoke…”
I decided to invoke Step III at this point. In total pretense, I acted as though I was under great stress. I moved my hands more erratically and expressed frustration of a project I was working on.
“Woah. You’re too stressed. When’s the last time you took a break?”
This tyrant never allowed us to take breaks. He once yelled at someone who went to lunch, screaming “I needed you and you’re feeding your fucking face?” But now he’s walking me out to the back patio to smoke with him.
Co-workers began to notice I was the preferred favorite. Even when I made blatant mistakes (such as accidentally erasing another co-workers work), he would laugh it off with pride. He called my mistakes “ballsy,” rather than condemning my errors.
He began lauding praises of me to his superiors. With him on my side, no one rose against me. He was one of the most aggressive workers in the company.
He padded my hours (adding an extra 10 hours a week to my paycheck – which added overtime bonuses) and extended my 3 month contract to a 12 month contract. He even attempted to role me over as a full time employee (I refused).
Even after I left that job, when I was needing work again, I reached out to him and picked up another job with him at a different company. This guy even invited me to his wedding and various family events.
I got access to his personal life to such a degree, that I think I may have been his closest, if not best friend. All I did to get there, was to play a role and use several props.
This wasn’t a one shot deal. This requires work. You have to have energy reserves to put on a fake personality each day. You need to be in the moment, the present moment, to not get caught off guard if something goes wrong.
While there’s a cost to one’s power reserves, the result can be very rewarding.