Week 4 Journal

Alexandria Samuel
9 min readFeb 6, 2020

Week 4 Session One Assignment One

This assignment is a modern day example of the kind of compromising situation Odysseus put Neoptolemus in. As his mentor, Odysseus acted like CEO in using his power as a superior to persuade Neoptolemus to deceive the ailing Philoctetes. In this scenario, I would be like Neoptolemus, very hesitant to deceive someone because it goes against my nature, and would cause me aidos, but not just for myself but for that of my family. I would not want that bad reputation to follow me and shame my parents who raised me to be honest and fair. I would also worry about the future generations in my family who might have to worry about my reputation which might precede them, just like my mother’s (in this hypothetical situation) reputation proceeded me and allowed me to connect with this powerful CEO. The first question in this assignment is what emotions would I expect to feel? The options are as follows. I will put in bold the ones that I would expect to feel.

Happy and proud to have the favor of a highly successful businesswoman

sympathy with the idea that there are winners and losers in the world

Contempt for “losers”

Respect for “winners”

Fear of incurring your boss’ disdain if you don’t do what she asks

Fear of losing your position in the company

Shame at possibly being seen as a “loser”

Shame at the thought of not living up to your mom’s reputation

Panic and anxiety over how to handle this complicated situation

Confidence that you can carry out your boss’ request

Guilt over tricking someone who is innocent

Anxiety at the thought of having to mislead someone and possibly being caught

Excitement and pride at the thought of your company doing good philanthropic work with its profits

Envy for people in this world who have not been thrust into such scenarios

Self-pity that you do not deserve such a lot in life

Outrage toward your boss for asking you to take advantage of someone else

Surprise that your boss would try to manipulate you like this

I would expect to feel delighted that I had the favor a power businesswoman. Although I respect people who earn their wealth and are able to “win”, I do not have contempt at all for the so called “losers”. In fact, I think that often times people are not given the opportunity to be a “winner”. Winners often step on the necks of others so that nobody else might have a chance to win. I would fear making my boss mad because I would respect her and value the relationship she had with my mother. It would make it hard for me to disappoint her even though I knew what she was asking was wrong. I would feel anxious, but I probably would not panic about how to handle the situation. Even though I would not want to disappoint my boss, I would still be angry with her for putting me in such an awful position. I would feel like she was taking advantage of her relationship with my mother and her position as my superior.

I believe that it would be most difficult to manage the shame of being seen as a loser, the anxiety, and the outrage toward my boss. Pride is a huge deal to me. I know that it is not always the best choice, but it is often the base from which I operate. I care a lot about what people think of me, not so much about what I dress like or what restaurants I eat at, but about how hard I work and how good I am at what I do. I never want to be seen as someone who cannot get the job done. I would also struggle with the anxiety of not knowing what to do. I would overthink it and stress about it every day until it got handled. The outrage might overcome me because I would be furious that the CEO thought it was okay to do this to me. I would have to channel that rage and put it into trying to get myself out of the situation without being a disappointment and without hurting an innocent person.

I believe that it would be most easy to manage the rage I felt for my boss because of the respect that I would have for her. I would not feel entitled to tell her off like I might feel about someone else that tried to put me in a situation like this.

Question four asks how difficult certain responses would be. They are listed below and the answers bolded.

Agree to carry out your boss’ request and acquire the other woman’s project.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Refuse to carry out your boss’ request.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Talk your boss out of her request.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Denounce your boss to her face.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Report your boss to human resources or the police for possible corporate espionage.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Pretend to become friends with the woman who has the special project on her computer.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Pretend to hate your boss in front of the woman, in order to secure her loyalty.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Convince the woman to share her project with you, on the pretense that you will use it to start your own successful company.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Convince the woman that, even though your boss (whom she hates) had put you up to taking the project from her, you really do want to start a successful company with her.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

Attempt to start your own company, even though you know your boss would likely do everything in her power to ruin you.

very difficult difficult neutral easy very easy

I think it would be very difficult for me to agree to carry out my boss’ request, but if I did agree, I think I have the skills to do what she asked of me. I would feel awful about it, but I could get it done.

Week Four Session One Assignment Two

  1. Odysseus resembles Athena from the Odyssey in that he invokes this idea within his mentee that he must go on a journey in order to be a hero, that it is his destiny as the son of a great warrior to save someone. Like Athena, Odysseus gives his mentee guidance on exactly what to do in order to achieve the end goal. The instructions are specific.
  2. Neoptolemus argues to Odysseus that it is not of his nature to lie and be deceitful. He remembers his father, Achilles, whom they say was the same in nature. He agrees using these lines “Since I was ordered here to work with you, I am not eager to be called disloyal.”
  3. “I used disgraceful lies and sly deceit to catch a man.” “Yes. I got it in a shameful manner, and it’s not right for me to keep it.” “I made a mistake and lost my honour — I must try to get it back.” Dikaion is what prevents Neoptolemus from going through with the plan. He felt he must do what was just, and that by doing otherwise he felt “aidos” and dishonorable.

Week Four Session Two Assignment One

  1. My parents repeatedly told me “be a leader, not a follower”. If they ever saw me doing something solely because someone else was doing it, they would stop me and ask me why? They would reassure me that I am great as my own person. They never tried to mentor me in to any specific leadership role, but they made sure that I was independent in my thinking which ensured that I knew how to lead when it was my turn to do so. When I got to high school, my basketball coach mentored me to become leader on my team as a freshman. He put me in the starting line up even though I was not comfortable with it. He also offered training sessions outside of normal practice so that I could develop my skills. He saw that I was capable of being a leader on the team, even as a freshman, so he mentored me with words of encouragement and also criticism when I needed it. He often hit me with the aidos of not living up to what I was capable of being. Most recently, my friend who is the president of an organization on campus asked me to be on her executive board. I refused. However, she saw something in me and said that she needed me to help her. When I was not sure of how to do my job, she gave me tips. Now that I am in the position and I know how to do it, she tells me that I am doing well and she likes that I am on the board with her. She still gives guidance on how she wants the job done and through doing this, I have learned how easy it is to take on a new role if you ask for help and believe in your abilities.
  2. My parents wanted me to be the best I could be. I never had to figure out their motives because their my parents and it has been clear from the jump that they just wanted the best for me. My coach saw me as one of his daughters. His own daughter was a few years ahead of me in school and she also played basketball. He saw what the other coaches did to her by not encouraging her and helping to make her better, so he took me under his wing so that I could have a better chance than she did. My friend, who is the president of the organization wanted me to be on the board because she trusted me and wanted me around. Her vision for the board was to have a group of close friends. She hand picked each of us and though working together, we became close.
  3. In high school I had a friend whose boyfriend broke up with her. A few months later, he tried to talk to me. She was older than me and I looked up to her. So I told her what was happening and she suggested that I play nice with him and get him to like me, then I dump him. I told her that I would not do that. I did not feel comfortable with that. For one, I didn’t think he deserved that and secondly, I didn’t think it was my responsibility to carry out her revenge.
  4. In 2015, my great aunt passed away from cancer. Our family surrounded her in the weeks leading up to her death. She was in and out of consciousness and it was painful to watch. I reacted with fear because I didn’t want to lose her and I felt so terrible that she was in so much pain.

Session Two Assignment Two

I feel like I need to become a leader that creates things that I wish I had. For example, when thinking of the type of leader I want to become, I think about Serena Williams. Williams leads by example. She became a leader by simply being herself and being the best that she can be. In doing this, she inspired young women all over the world. Serena made people that normally paid no attention to tennis, start to pay attention. She inspired a generation of young black girls to pick up a racket and become tennis superstars in their own right. When I look at Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, and Sloane Stephens, I think about what a beautiful thing it is that Serena became the example she did not see, and in doing so inspired a whole generation. Now the new generation has several examples of what they can be. I want to become the leader that is an example for young women of what they can become. Once I am established, I want to use my influence to create programs for young women to develop their skills and become even better than I am. In order to do this, I need to cultivate confidence and overcome self-doubt. Too often, I think about my potential, about the great things I can accomplish, and then I ask myself a “what if?” question followed by a negative outcome. I need to cultivate confidence and fix my mental process. I need to repetitively follow the “what if” question with a positive and optimistic outcome. I want my mentor to be in my ear about being positive. I need reassurance. I need my mentor to consistently encourage me. I want to be reminded of how great I can be. In fact, I need my mentor to become upset with me if I start to doubt myself. In order to prepare for this, I need to set specific goals. I need to figure out what exactly I want to accomplish and who it is that I need and do not need in striving to reach those goals. In order to find a mentor, I will continue interning and networking. To protect myself from the “anti-mentoring” that Neoptolemus received, I will have my mentors screened by my family and by other people who have already mentored me and haven’t led me astray. I think that if they get the green light from people that I know have my back and know the type of person I need to mentor me, then I can avoid falling victim to “anti-mentoring”. For example, my mother knew my kindergarten teacher was right for me because she would scold me, but then hug me after. My mother knew that I needed someone loving, but who was not afraid to put me in check.



Alexandria Samuel

Junior PR Major, African American Studies Minor