A. Rest, confident that you've demonstrated the best of your abilities?
B. Consider how you might counter specific criticisms in order to redirect the focus to your better qualities?
C. Pray that you were the least of the screw-ups this week, and promise yourself that you will do better next round?
D. Resolve to be honest about your performance and that of your teammates, to keep your mouth shut as much as possible, and to demonstrate respect for everyone in the room?
E. Crawl into your creepy-crawly hole and think of Byzantine "arguments" that have nothing to do with the issue at hand, and everything to do with blaming your current teammates for your lifelong lack of popularity?
Answer Key: If you didn't register on the bell curve this week, either by being helpful and unnoticeable, or by rocking as the PM, let the others speak for you or pass you under the radar by choosing A. If you know you screwed up but that your past performance or specific skills make up for it, keep your mouth shut and only open it for applications of B. If you're forced to do C., make it count, and remember that this is a last-ditch strategy, not the way you should be playing the game. If you were on either outlying side of the bell curve on this task, you are going to have to speak. It's unavoidable. The Boardroom is, unfortunately, the only way your teammates can prejudice Trump against you for next week, so they're going to tear you down as much as they can even if you fucking rocked. Go with D., and if you must mention your "integrity," tie it to another quality to which Trump has responded well in the past: "loyalty," "teamwork," or "flexibility." (Not, we stress, "flexible integrity," however. Unless you are magic and can spin this.)
If your choice is E., let's chat. Life is not a debate. Life does not care if you've got it all figured out in your head, and the pieces as you see them might fit together or not, but life doesn't care. Get real with the facts and stop trying to argue it out. If you respond authentically, from a place of logic that doesn't frame everything in the reference of your insanity, you'll find that the need for "arguing" drastically lowers in frequency. There are all kinds of people that can go weeks, months, years, without having to initiate a single "debate" on the basics of life. Why do you think that is? Optional Essay: If your choice is E., then why aren't you happy? Is it possible that people actually exist when you're not in the room, or that their little rooms are filled with just as much shit and weirdness and pain as yours is? If you jump out of a plane without a parachute, no amount of rhetorical skill is going to stop your descent at thirty-two feet-per-second per second. Understand that there are rules of social interaction, an entire physics of people, that are similarly immutable, and devote yourself to learning them, not arguing them. The way you want things to be is rarely how they are going to be, without regard to how much you wish otherwise. At some point, we must realize there is no one watching: no authority that's going to even things out on your behalf because of what's "fair" according to your needs and wants. That's your responsibility, and if you don't assume it, all the resentment in the world isn't going to make anything better. I'm convinced that, next season, they're just going to have actual sociopaths, stabbing each other at night. That's the only way I could be more exasperated. Sorry about the lecture.