The Sophistaratchet’s Guide to Office Politics

What’s the main difference between Bobby and Kate from the ‘burbs, versus boys and girls from the hood?

The former mostly have corporate escalators, whilst the latter is left with corporate ladders.  (Think about it.)

Too often of times, marginalization of historically high levels keep certain groups in the lower rungs of industry.  Often this is due to under-resourced schools and communities – a hot topic not addressed here because this blog tends to mostly highlight tomfoolery (but please read more here instead).

However, there’s always one or two or three of us from the block who manage to graduate from NYU (or some boogie historically-black college) and gain access to the high life.  While we are proud bottom-to-the-toppers who work hard for the money, we would never be embarrassed to proudly proclaim where we’ve come from.

That’s because we’re SOPHISTARATCHET.

To some, sophistaratchetness can be a blessing.  People love us because we got “character”.  For instance, we can code switch like if-then(-else) (dropped a #NERDBAE bomb on ya bitches) which gives the office a fun yet productive vibe.

deGrasse Tyson 4 Token Sophistaratchet Nerd
deGrasse Tyson 4 Token Sophistaratchet Nerd

But some of us let our sophistaratchetness get out of hand.  Few things can stop an unanchored sophistaratchet from unleashing an unnecessary Cookie-Lyons-with-a-Broom ass whooping over messy K-cups left in the coffee machine (I HATE all of you that do that, though – seriously).   Unless you’re okay with losing the funding source for paying off your numerous Sallie Mae loans, you’ve got to learn to act right – know when to bring out the sophistaratch and when to lock it up in the cage.

Here are some tips – The Sophistaratchet’s Guide to Office Politics:

strictly for the hmpfs

  1. For HMPF situations.

“HMPF” stands for “how manly people female”.  That’s the best way I can explain situations that at least, in my experience, wanna make me pop off.  Those moments when you feel like that one insecure, passive-aggressive dude at work tryna stomp with the higher heels.  He goes on and on about how much better he is than you or anyone else at his job, yapping at the mouth on and on about this one and that one behind his/her back but never wants to step to NO ONE face to face.  SAY IT TO MY FACE, BOO BOO!  And don’t try to give me the silent treatment either or fail to invite me to vital meetings you know I’m supposed to be in.  Oh you in your feelings because I gave you slight eye pass one day?  Get it together LuPeter.


How to deal:  Unfortunately, George-ina is sometimes your boss or colleague you must work close with, so bridges can’t be burned with epic slays and side eyes.  You might just have to kill ’em with kindness.  Don’t roll yourself out like a doormat, but do go out of your way to put a sweet note on boo boo’s desk, or, during the few times that he addresses you as a person, respond in your ill-est debutante accent (“Why hello, just how does your day go?”).  While HMPF situations got the brothers mastering petty, they’ll miss the undertones of shade you throw with sideways compliments, which leaves you room to manipulate and shut them down at your leisure.

those stuntin like they beige

2. For black co-workers acting like you embarrassing the race.

If you start out as the cool sophistaratchet office buddy, some less sophistaratchet, Carlton Banks-esque co-workers might be jealous you get all the attention.  Suddenly their Harvard rowing crew has abandoned them for the next best, Black person they could find.  You’ve got to admit that’s pretty disloyal.  And that’s the kind of ish that splits the black community apart.  Nah, we got to stay in harmony like church choirs singing old hymns (Ain’t gonna let nobody turn us against each other).

How to deal:  So don’t immediately clown someone out because they try to slam you for your hood-like qualities. Remember that’s still your brother and sister in Dr. King.  Perhaps show them a little love by inviting out for drinks and lessons in swag.  It’ll be well worth it as you watch their sophistaratchet growth right before your eyes.

sophistaratchets against sexual harrassment

3. Cookies and the Jar

Me personally, as a single-desperate-to-mingle young female, I find myself too often meeting eligible bachelors at work.  MORE FRUSTRATING THAN PULLING YOUR SKIRT DOWN BEFORE SITTING ON THE SUBWAY TRAIN SEAT SO YOUR LEGS DON’T TOUCH THE NASTY, ONLY FOR THE TRAIN TO JOLT AND PUSH YOUR SKIN UP AGAINST IT ANYWAY.  I refuse to be The One everyone wonders how she got that corner office (or how she snuck up out from under the desk in dude’s corner office).  But I can understand why and how for some of us, the goods look too good not to touch.

How to deal:  Um, when I figure it out, I’ll let y’all know.  You’ve seen how I struggle in this area outside the office, and now you’re telling me that when I see a healthy, strong, educated man ripe for procreation I must turn my gaze away?

my dear where is my money?

Yes, Because: Sallie Mae.  She persistent, and don’t let her poise fool you – you need to pay her what you owe or else.  I hang this picture by my desk and fix my eyes on her and God to avoid locking lustful eyes with work crush bae no work bae_no no no. It’s also saved me a lot on class action lawsuits by switching to “I don’t do hugs, just high fives, sorry don’t know you that well.”

I could go on and on, but then it wouldn’t be too far-fetched for you to reach through and slam my face into the keyboard (I won’t/don’t take any offense).  Let me know what you think about these baseline practices for dealing with a white-collar ride-or-die role, or what you think should be added to the list.  Until then, keep tryna rein it in.

hold it in gurl


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