She’s a B—-

“She’s a bitch.”

Those were the exact words from someone trying to hire me (or more accurately, trying to pressure me into taking a job).  We were discussing how not everyone on the hiring committee had been on board with hiring me (again, did I mention this was before I took the job?) and he told me that a committee member had said, “I don’t know what it is about her, but something feels off.  It will probably come out – good or bad – within the next year.”  The manager then went on to tell me this had happened before with another candidate and sure enough, the truth came out about a year later.

What shocking truth surfaced you ask?  (FYI, I didn’t ask.  I didn’t have to because he couldn’t wait to tell me.)  “She’s a bitch.  Nobody wants to help her, nobody wants to work with her, and a senior manager remarked, ‘we probably should have fired her once or twice by now, but she’s a top performer’ so she’s still here.”

With those words, you’ve just told me everything I need to know about the company.  I’m now wondering, if I took this job, what would you say about me when I wasn’t around?  If I were aggressive and relentless in pursuing my goals, would I too be labeled a bitch?  Why would I even want to come work for the company if one of its employees thinks it’s OK to have that conversation with me?  Why would I want to work for an organization that excuses bad behavior because the person produces results?  If this is true (and at this point, I’m not sure what I believe) has anyone in upper management considered what this level of toxicity is doing to the company?  Does anyone even care?

Now, this is not about disrespecting women, even if it appears there is some of that going on here.  It’s not about playing the victim.  I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing women and men – and some real duds.  I’ve been part of networking groups for women (that I have since quit), I’ve faced my share of discrimination and harassment (and never reported it because really – there are much more creative ways of handling it) and I’ve gotten into a social media argument with one very passionate woman who resorted to name-calling simply because I was defending an article written by a man.  I’m not objecting because a woman was labeled a bitch.  After all, I’ve been called worse.

I’m objecting because this anecdote tells me more about the company values than you probably intended.  I’m objecting because you seem to think it’s OK to excuse bad behavior if it gets results.  I’m objecting because you actually think it’s OK to tell me this story, that somehow it will persuade me to come work for the company.  Most of all, I’m objecting because if I take this job, I will be subjecting myself to this toxic environment on a daily basis.  And I value myself too much to do so.

So, thanks, but no thanks.  I respectfully decline your less than generous offer.



Saying Thank You

It’s Thanksgiving eve.  This is not a post about what I am grateful for this holiday.

Don’t get me wrong; I am thankful for many things – good health, loving family, great friends, happy dogs, a nice roof over my head…the list goes on.  This just isn’t that type of post.

It’s about saying thank you – or not.  In fact, I almost can’t believe I’m writing this.  Almost.

I used to own a retail business.  Prospective customers often had questions about our services and part of my job was to field phone calls about our offerings.  What surprised me most about these calls is that after getting their questions answered, more than a few callers would hang up without saying anything.  No goodbye, no thank you, not even an OK – the caller would simply hang up.

This goes against everything I learned in my childhood.  And I cannot imagine that anyone would consider this professional or acceptable behavior in any situation.  To me, it’s the equivalent of finishing your sentence, turning around and walking away.

Would you do that?  I wouldn’t.  Even if were angry, I would say something like, “sorry, I can’t talk about this right now” before leaving.

Has this ever happened to you?  What are your thoughts on this – is it acceptable behavior, or not?  Please leave a comment – I’m really curious.

Thank you for reading  – and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Waiting for Someday

For far too long, I’ve been waiting for someday.

Someday, I will figure out what to do.
Someday, I will have the courage to do what I really want to do.
Someday, I will live the life that I’ve always dreamed of.  I will have a family. I will have a successful career.  I will write a book, lose 10 pounds, travel the world, volunteer to help others.
Someday, my life will be perfect.

And then it hits me.  I’ve been waiting on a day of the week that will never get here.  Someday has become my favorite day of the week, and it doesn’t even exist.  Meanwhile, I’ve been frittering away the days – the real days – for a long time.

That’s when I realized something else, too.  I’ve waited on things that have been in front of me all along.  I’ve even done some of those things.

Suddenly, I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  And, I want to wake up and see what is already in front of me.  I have a family.  If I want to add to it, then there are ways to do so. If I want a successful career, I just need to pick a direction and go. I’ve written so much over the last few years that there is a book in there somewhere.  I only need to sit down and make sense of it.  If I want to lose 10 pounds, I can eat cleaner, exercise more and make it a priority of my life.  If I want to travel, I can sit down, figure out where I want to go, and leave.  And, if I do not feel like I’m doing enough to help others, I can do more with the group I am already involved in, or find another group.  The possibilities are endless.  And I’m the only thing standing in my way.

I’ve let two things stop me from achieving what I really want:  fear and should.  I shouldn’t write a book, because that’s not a career.  And yet, I read a lot of books, so somebody is making a living writing.  I should have a career that others understand.  I can be a consultant, or a gas scheduler, or something that requires me to get up and go to a job.  That makes sense.  Most people do that.  That’s what I should do, right?

Says who?  And why do I care what they think?  Who are they anyway?

They are people who mean well.  They want me to be secure so I don’t have to struggle.  Or they are people who would be threatened by my success and don’t want me to try, because that would force them to take another look at themselves.  Or they simply don’t understand what I’m trying to do, because it is an unconventional path.

Again, why do I care?  Fear.  Because at some level, I care what others think of me.  I don’t want to fail, because I don’t want to disappoint my loved ones.  And, I don’t want to give the haters another reason to gloat.  Because what if they’re right, and I’m not good at what I want to do?

But what if they’re wrong?  What if I can do what I want and be successful?  Don’t I owe it to myself to do what I think is right?  I’ve done it before.  Against the odds, I was accepted into one of the country’s top business schools.  I started a business that appealed to such a small audience, it should have failed in the first two years.  Instead, I have left a legacy that helps a small but extremely loyal client base.

It’s time to stop existing and start living.  It’s time to start doing what I want to do, what I believe I should do, not what others think I should do.  Because at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to live with the decisions I make.

It’s about to get real.

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