Some days it feels more apparent than usual that I grew up differently than a lot of my colleagues. I realize that, often, the discord that I experience is because I live by a different set of rules than many of my non-Barrio collaborators. I realize that sometimes I have interactions that leave me shaking my head and asking, “What the fuck is going on here?” I used to let myself be convinced that these interactions happened because of some naivete that I had that would eventually be mentored away. I realize now that much of this discord is the result of cultural differences and, realizing that there is a subset of us that grew up hood, I would like to declare February 9th “Barrio Rules Day” so that we can educate our non-hood compatriots as to how we expect things to go down.
Below are some appropriate hood rules, as illustrated with scenes from my new favorite TV show.
1. Know our relationship and don’t trifle with it.
Before we begin an interaction or collaboration, we need to come to terms. I will agree to the things I will do for you and you will agree to the things you will do for me. We’ll negotiate and we’ll shake hands. Then we need to stick to those terms. I don’t want to find myself trifling in stuff I did not agree to do and I expect that you’re going to keep up your end of an arrangement. Messing with my science is like messing with my emotions.
2. I’m getting paid upfront. There is no credit and there is no charity.
When we negotiate, I am going to tell you how I expect to be paid. Effort support, the promise of a new collaboration, mentorship support, authorship, all of the above. There is a limit to my charity and I am out of time to do things simply to help. I am also not trying to hear that I am doing things for “experience” or “professional development.” I am already grown and developed.
3. Handle your shit (AKA, Don’t make me get off the porch, ese).
If you agree to deliver something, deliver it. I don’t want to hear about how hard it was to do, or what you had to do in order to make it happen. I don’t care if you need to beg, borrow, or steal to make it happen. If you promised to deliver, make it happen. Don’t make me handle it for you or wonder whether you’re going to deliver. At least, if continuing to deliver is important..
4. Don’t mess with my shit.
Alternatively, if I agree to do something for you, don’t mess with it and don’t worry about it’s getting done. I’ll tell you the appropriate amount of detail as to how it will be done, but don’t trifle with how the task will be executed. I will handle my shit and deliver as promised. I also promise that the shit that I bring will be thoroughly good.
5. Do not get into my personal shit.
We’re professionals and my life is off limits. My family, my personal relationships. Off limits. We might eventually become friends, but being cordial and professional and being friends are different things. Don’t take liberties with things that are none of your damned business until I initiate that level of relationship. Alternatively. if we have been friendly in the past, don’t assume that I won’t call you on your professional bullshit or conflate that with anything personal. Business is business.
6. My prospects are not free and you will not lay (metaphorical, or otherwise) hands on them.
I am protective of the people in my group. I might have shit to say at them, but I expect them to be treated with respect by others. I will defend them against outsiders without question. Earrings may be taken off and elbows may be thrown.
7A. Don’t turn rat (AKA snitches get stitches)
If you are dissatisfied with me, or feel I have wronged you in some way, I don’t want to hear that you aired your grievances to someone else. If we have beef, it’s between us. No one else is privy to my motivations or has an understanding of my psyche other than me. No one else can fix our beef. I’m not trying to hear that you were afraid to come to me or that you didn’t know how I’d react. If I find out about things from an uninvolved third party, I can guarantee you’ll be afraid of how I’ll react. If you are the third party, your only response should be, ‘I don’t get involved in her shit. Take it up with her.” That is, if you care to live another day.
7B. Don’t come if I didn’t send for you (h/t @dnlee5)
If me and someone else are beefing, do not bring your third party self in as peacemaker unless you have been sent for. I will handle my own.
8. Retaliation is legit (AKA, don’t start none, won’t be none)
I have a high tolerance for stage-appropriate ignorance, given that I have been the beneficiary of some good mentoring in my career. But, grown people should know better. I don’t have much tolerance for returned sabotage or malfeasance, but I have a good memory for wrong doing and I will cut people off if their trifling interferes with my work.
9. Do not test my hood (o como tiro la chancla).
I am here to do my job. I have a little patience for having to fit in, but do not test my tolerance or my hood.
(My sincerest head nod to fellow barrio homies @drrubidium, @dnlee5, @lalsox, and @chemtacular for their legit contributions)