Friday, January 18, 2008

C.Y.I.N. The Sequel: When Keepin' It Real Goes Wronger

[Everybody's got a lil' I.N.]

Funny how real life sometimes imitates art. And if you consider this blog art (I know, it's a stretch), you'd be spooked at how my day played out.

Yesterday, I told you fine folks I was tied up with The Day Job, and dropped one on my favorite, most slept on posts of all-time, the apocalyptic Channelling Your Inner Nigga™ as an AB Rewind to fill the space here while I toiled the night away [||] in a 3rd rate hotel down by the river. If you still haven't read this thing, please do yourself a favor and peep it, leave a comment, then come back, because this post will go right over your head otherwise.

Anyways, I had the consummate "To C.Y.I.N., Or Not To C.Y.I.N.? That Is The Question" moment today. As I've told you guys, C.Y.I.N. is darn near an essential life skill if you're black, just like code switching, knowing the "new" electric slide, and knowing all the lyrics to "La Di Da Di". For the universe to maintain it's perfect balance, some mother******'s just need to be checked on the regulack. You can't permanently C.Y.I.N., you have to use it in controlled bursts when then the need arises. If you're always in C.Y.I.N. mode chances are you are, have been, or will be incarcerated. I don't make the rules folks, that's just how it beez.

While C.Y.I.N. is a must sometimes, it's not something you can really do on the job, especially not if you work in the ever-constrictive environment of Corporate America, and double especially if you're a guy like me whose job is billing customers exorbitant rates for blogging while on the clock hour upon hour of backbreaking work. Staying on good terms with the customer is just as important as the actual work itself. I say all this because I peeped some of the comments (thanks, BTW) dropped in the C.Y.I.N. post from yesterday, and there were some strange parallels to what I experienced today at work.

I will save you guys the boring particulars, but essentially, my customer completely crossed the line today by blatantly accusing me of not knowing a specific technical aspect of my job well enough. Essentially, this dude questioned my intelligence, which isn't offensive or rare in and of itself. After all, the rare black man in a hi-tech field is always going to have to justify his thug, just because it's natually assumed that you don't know what you're doing. A black man playing basketball? Not so much. It just comes with the territory.

So I didn't have nearly as much of a problem with him second guessing my skills as I had a problem with the way he did it: loudly, with his index finger wagging, in front of several other people. The tone of sarcasm and rank condescension was about 20 steps over the line.

To put it bluntly: if we were on the street, it's the kinda stuff that would have probably resulted in An Interracial Nigga Moment.

But when encountered with such an attack in a professional setting in which you need the keep billing and collecting, you can't afford a Nigga Moment, unless you have other ways of paying your mortgage. Whoopin' somebody's ass on G.P. is a noble concept, but AverageToddler can't eat G.P. Countrywide doesn't accept G.P. Pepco won't give me lights and heat on G.P. They want general principal, not general principle. And needless to say, you guys aren't buying nearly enough of those T-Shirts for me give 2 weeks notice and an accompanying two finger salute just yet (evar?). A million thanks for having my back on that one.

So, I was faced with The Ultimate Corporate Negro Dilemma: Suck it up and keep cashin' checks, or C.Y.I.N. and probably lost my job at least, and maybe catch a case at worst?

I won't bother telling you guys which route I chose, primarily because I'd like to know how you would have handled such a situation, have handled such a situation, or will handle such a situation if presented with the same set if circumstances. Trusty AverageCommenters Ginger, Carmen D, and EBW have weighted in already, but I'd like to hear from the rest of ya'll.

Question: Is it EVER okay to C.Y.I.N. in a corporate environment to put a mutha******* in check, or is that an instant trip to the unemployment line?

Weigh in early and often you-know-where.

For those of you who have no idea what the heck we're talking about, here's a dramatization of what can happen when you C.Y.I.N. in an inappropriate setting. You might know this as Dave Chappelle's When Keepin' It Real Goes Wrong. I know it as Maybe AB Shoulda Whooped Somebody Ass.

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