Filter Messages for Your Own Peace of Mind

An interesting piece from our resident guest writer, Tim looking at what we read and our reactions.

You know it takes something that gets me angry to make me write a piece for Bob? You didn’t? Gosh! I’d better tell you that, then!

For reasons I have never quite understood, I’m a member of LinkedIn. I’ve kept the membership, probably against my better judgement, since I retired. I only joined it in the foolish, and unfounded, hope that it might prove to be career enhancing. Ah well, hope, they say, springs eternal.


I received this deeply insightful piece via LinkedIn in my email the other day. I can quote it under the terms of Fair Use, despite it’s being a copyright piece, because I am using it for educational purposes! It said:

Many of the same social dynamics that governed your school cafeteria also exist at work; popular employees are more likely to get hired, promoted and earn larger salaries, writes UNC Chapel Hill psychology professor Mitch Prinstein. But some forms of popularity are healthier, and more productive, than others. Prinstein warns against status-seeking behavior, which is geared toward gaining social power and attention and often leads to loneliness and relationship problems. Instead, it’s more beneficial to work on your likeability, which involves making others feel valued. Those with high levels of likeability are less likely to experience problems with addiction, anxiety and depression.


I read it and thought little more about it, though I didn’t exactly agree with it when I read it. I looked at the spelling and the term ‘High School’ and I dismissed it as psychobabble from the USA. After coming back to it today, I dug deeper and read the full article.

I am likeable enough, sociable enough, eschewed status in the multiple offices in which my jobs insisted I worked, but I don’t recall ever being promoted, earning a larger salary. I made it, in my latter years of employment, to be a first level manager, the disposable grade. However, recent news has made me see red, both over the news and over this piece.


I’d like you to think of bullies you have known at work.


I know I was bullied by the evil bitch from hell during my final employment, but I won’t give her the satisfaction of seeing this article when she searches for her name. I’m sure she does that often!

Now look at:

  • Weinstein
  • Trump
  • Spacey
  • Sugar
  • Maxwell – you do remember the Dud Czech, I hope?

You may want to add to that list yourself as I just pulled them out of the air. Some are in the current news, one is long dead. I know none of them personally, but their reputation has carried all before them. Some are involved in scandals involving their, or someone else’s, genitalia.


Some are, simply, renowned bullies. Some are both.


How do you see making yourself likeable as a way to promotion with this lot? Well, with a couple of them, there does seem to be one way, but in a way that demeans you and allows them to use you and then spit you out like used chewing gum.

And if the big boss is a decent boss instead, what then? Does she promote on likeability?

Really good managers promote on the ability to get the job done and to exceed expectations. It doesn’t hurt if you’re likeable, too. But, if you’re good enough, it doesn’t hinder if you’re introverted and a loner.

I’ve watched many deeply unpleasant people stand on other people to get to the top, steal their ideas, steal their thanks, then stab them in the back for good measure.


Weird, isn’t it, that you, the nice one, are the one being shoulder-charged aside by the office hippopotamus, the one who can eat cabbages whole!


If, like me, you read the High School thing with a bit of thought you’ll see there are some similarities. We, the likeable ones, are the kids who sit at the Nice Kids table at lunch, and who get our lunch trays knocked out of our hands every day by the bullies.


So filter those articles you read. Look at the advice given in them, and question it, then question it again.


Once you’re sure you understand it accept or reject it with a good heart. This advice, the piece I’m quoting? Consider whose good it was written for. There’s everything good with being likeable. It does reduce stress. And if it helps you reach your goals, learn to be properly likeable.

Otherwise, I’d much rather you were yourself.

To find out more about 13-year-old Tim, his older self has published Queer Me! Halfway between Flying and Crying.


About the author
Managing Director / Counsellor at Anglia Counselling Ltd | 07747042899 | [email protected] | Business Website

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).