Professionalism: Combating snakes in the grass at work

Last year, I was working in the worst work environment known to man. I am sure of it. I was working with a band of snakes that all seemed to work together to purge out light and selfishly climb the corporate ladder. What made matters worse was this environment was a school of which the aim should have been to teach and enlightened children. To teach and enlighten was my charged, yet the snakes in the grass around me had other plans. Those plans almost wreaked my spiritual peace and faith in education, but God.

snake-noun|a treacherous or deceitful person.


My face wrinkles at this the thought of this here testimony because it causes me to remember and recall the pain, and confusion I felt in the past. When I graduated from college, I had quickly received what I thought would be my dream job. I was excited. I was excited to finally be able to work with children and put into practice what I had learned in school and during internships. I was especially excited because this particular school allowed me to teach black history in the mist of my English instruction. I was hype. I was excited about building community with my co-workers and explore life as a young adult. I was excited about learning how to navigate in the professional world. I was soon hit with reality. I soon learned the true ways of the world are much more gory than I had anticipated.

Things began peaceful. Yet, as the school year went by I started to notice with my third eye the slick comments from my co-workers. I started to notice non-stop gossip coming from my principal and co-workers. The gossip was about my principal and co-workers. The way these folks talked to and about each other was pretty sad. I easily resigned participation. I simply released myself from the work place gossip. I began to stay to myself which is my normal behavior. I am reclusive. I like to be and work alone.  The snakes did not like that.

As the school year continued, my relationship with students and parents continued to build. My lesson plans and classroom management skills also grew. My principal saw in me a great leader, and soon began to pile on more work. I thought, “I’m a champ. I can handle this.” The snakes did not like it. First, the snakes worked hard to complain about the lack of work and behavior done by another light warrior and my only ally in the land of snakes. She was a minister coincidentally–idk how I keep growing good relationships with ministers, and spiritual practitioners, but I digress. The snakes had started telling my principal, she was rarely around, false truths about what my ally was and was not doing until she finally decided she was being overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, and now insulted. She quit. I was left alone and became the new target. So the lies about me told to my principal began. I soon became “untrustworthy and mean”, for I chose not to congregate with the gossiping Gabby’s and chatty Patty’s. When I made new allies, the snakes started to lie on them as well. It was sick. I became a threat because I loved myself,  I was good at my job, loved by my students, and for a moment I was respected by my leader. Self-love, light, and good performance, I soon learned, are major threats for people who are unsure of themselves, lack confidence, skill, and ability. So the snakes deceitfully lied and created false stories about my behavior when my principal was not around. Too easily, I quickly planned my escape from the land of the snakes. It’s funny though, I just caught wind that these people still talk negatively about me quite often, and I don’t even work there anymore—my impact must have been greater than I thought, but I digress (again).

Break it down, B:

During that experience, I soon learned that everyone is not your friend. I also felt bad for my co-workers because I knew their treacherous behavior to climb to the top by making others look bad in order to look good to bosses would ultimately result in some real effed up karma. I remember going to my mother’s house many times damn near broken. I told my mother what was going on, and her response was well.. “They talked about Jesus too”. I thought damn, I’m not trying to get crucified out here in these streets”, but in a sense I was. I stood for love, light, truth, justice, and joy, but everyone–even those who look like you will not agree with your values. They will not understand it, so they will feel fearful and threatened by the light inside you of which is unfamiliar to them. Fear causes people to become jealous and envious. Envy leads to horrible actions, and this cycle happens all the time in capitalist-corporate American. When you represent the unknown, you immediately become a target for destruction. But, do not let them bitter folks get you down. Keep your head up high, follow your heart and purpose, be kind unless you are physically threatened, stay away from the gossip, be true to yourself, don’t let toxic people in your space if you can help it, and be honest when the opportunity permits. Unfortunately, snakes are everyone.

How to spot a snake:

  1. If you look fast, and you find them grimacing at something good you’ve done, you know that’s a snake. The eyes tell it all.
  2. Gossip, betrayal, lies…those are good markers for snakes and toxic people.
  3. If they touch your hair, dress, or stockings–this all happened–without permission they are envious–that’s a snake. Handle yourself accordingly.
  4. If they tell you someone was talking negatively about you, that’s a snake,  not your friend, for they were pretty comfortable hearing bad talk about you. More than likely, they cannot stand you either.
  5. I’m sure there are more..comment the clues I missed below.


  1. Snakes are everywhere.
  2. It is best not to assimilate to negative behavior.
  3. Always stay true to yourself.

Say: I will stay true.

Pay homage:

“And oh my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it, and hold it up.”

–Baby Suggs (From Toni Morrison’s Beloved)

Be light. Work your talents. Together we can spark a light pandemic.