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This blog is about the intersection of wife, mother, and employee.

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Bullying on the playground and in the workplace

Everyone wants to belong.  It is hard-wired into our genetic code for survival.

Facebook.  The well documented playground for many bullies, can also be a great place for people to share and connect with one another in a positive way.

I am shocked at the people who want to connect through the medium and sometimes suprised by those who have chosen for whatever reason not to connect.

We all receive facebook requests from people we don't feel the same connection that maybe they feel with us.  Yet, about a year ago I was stunned when a childhood bully (one of the lightweights) reached out on FB to be "friends".  That is not a word I would have ever associated with that person, but I passed it off as they must be suffering from some sort of memory issue.  Recently, I received an invite to be friends from someone who used to torture me.  Tease me, hit me, steal things and intentionally set out to hurt my feelings or make me look bad in front of others.

I see the same thing in the workplace.  There are bulllies who don't see the consequences of their actions.  They may not get confronted, but how many quiet brilliant people have left a company or an organization because management was unwilling to deal with (fire) a bully.  It seems so obvious from my vantage point and maybe things are more complicated than I can see.  That said, bullies in the work place kill employee morale, just in the same way playground bullies ruin children's self estem.

I found myself face to face (with a picture) of one of my tormentors and I was puzzled as to how our memories or experiences could be so different.  Is is like Lance Armstrong's everyone does it so it is ok defense?  Or maybe this person thinks I am still a doormat and they need a new one?

There is truth to whatever does not kill you makes you stronger.  For a few moments, I was that kid in the playground frightened stiff.  All of the pain and emotion rushed forward.  In that moment I committed to continue to be a stand for anti-bullying efforts and to prepare my child for when he encounters them in his life.  BECAUSE HE WILL.  As an adult I realize that everyone has demons.  We have to train our children to be kind to each other and embrace our differences.  The world will be a better place for it.

There are a few gems from my Catholic upbringing and treating others how you want to be treated "do unto others" that I try to embody.  I believe it makes me a better manager.  No one who has ever worked for me would claim I am 'soft".  I drive for results and hold high standards, but I strive to be fair.

Now, others may disagree on where the 'fair' line is, but being true to myself is the best litmus test I can find.  I was gullible then, I still believe in the good in people today.  Maybe it is a detriment and maybe it is a strength.  The jury will be out on that until I meet St. Peter and I get the official scorecard.  Until then I will continue to try my best. 

As for the bullies who have reached out to me.  I am not enlightened enough to forgive you yet.

To my working mother friends, please be a stand for those you love:

Bullies have to be chased out of our conference rooms as well as our playgrounds. 






Mother's Instinct

“That mother’s instinct kicked in,”[...] “You go after a mother’s kids and she’ll find herself capable of doing things she never thought she was capable of.”

The above quote was spoken by Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman and lifted from the AJC Article "Mother of two suprises intruder".

A Mother working from home with her twin 9 year olds heard the door-bell ring.  She instructed her kids to ignore it.  She feels unsafe and calls the police.  Suddenly she finds a man with a crowbar breaking in.  She takes her kids to a cawl space in her office.  She allows the intruder free reign in the house so long as he leaves her and her kids alone.  The intruder opens the door of the crawlspace and finds he is facing a .38 revolver (from the article it seems the woman was a registered gun owner).  The Mother unloads the revolver into the man's face and neck protecting her and her children.  They run to safety at a neighbor's house.

I do have the ability to work from home when necessary and I have opened the door when the bell was rung.  All of those stories were pleasant exchanges, but I will think twice before answering the door in the future.

On New Year's Eve my family watched BRAVE (the Disney * Pixar movie) for the first time. Spoiler alert... during the course of the movie the gentle, proper, and elegant Queen Elinor sees a larger than life, strong and angry bear go after her daughter.  This mild mannered woman (in bear form due to a spell) goes after the rabid bear and gets between him and her daughter.  This is definitely a david and goliath story.  I realize there is some movie magic going on, but as a mother I was moved. 

The BIG suprise for me was when my six year old son turned to his Daddy and said "that's my Mommy... that is what would happen to anyone who tries to hurt me."  What an amazing moment for me.  I am every bit the Momma Bear protecting her cub, but I had no idea how much the cub *knew* that.  Today, I wonder if the woman from Walton County's children know what a fierce protector they have in their Mother.

My own Mother, (also named Eleanor) told me when I was a little girl that the saying "Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned" is misleading.  The really scary women are those protecting their children.... seems she was right.







Excess, Exercise, and Extra Hours

In the holiday season we all eat a few more treats.  Ok, maybe not everyone, but most of us!

I am a devote of the Glowing Green Smoothie, thanks to a former co-worker, but the rest of my meals are not as healthy and I have a very big sweet tooth!

Proud of the fact that I work out consistently year after year, with breaks only due to severe illness or injury, I feel healthy.  Then I spend a day with my young child.

He moves all day and trying to keep up with his idea of fun activity (battling with fake swords, playing Kinect, or just running around the yard) shows me just how out of shape I am.

The corporate work world is still.  Not a lot of movement - even on days when I am "running around a lot".  That means running to a meeting sitting there for an hour and then going to the next meeting and sitting for an hour, then sitting doing email......see a patten?

Even those of us who try to eat right (most of the time) and exercise are ignoring the fact that we sit so many hours of the day.  The irony that I am sitting here BLOGGING about this is not lost on me, btw.

I have friends who have timers on their iphones that tell them to get up and stretch.  (I used to giggle to myself when they would get up from a meeting and move around.)  Others who schedule a "lap" around the building to keep from getting stiff might be on to something.   I think I would like the treadmill desks if that ever came to EMC I would love to try it.  In the mean time, I think I found a New Years Resolution and that is to simply move more.

Luckily I have great friends at the office who might be willing to walk around for part of our conversations in the office and I have a little one at home who will always be willing to play a physical game with me.

Happy Holidays!  I wish you good health in 2013!!


Email from a Co-Worker, Massacre 5 miles from their home

I had today off from work, but I have been known to check my email and open it when it comes from someone who would do the same for me.

While leaving the post office, where it cost more to send the presents than to buy them, but that is another post....I checked my email and saw a note and a link to a story about trouble at an elementary school.

The elementary school attacked today where 26 people lost their lives is 5 miles from his house, where he works.  His kids go to school one town over. As co-workers send warm thoughts and eleoquent replies I stood in a stunned silence.  HOW? WHY? Is this another act of terror?

I rushed home to get near to a television.  I watched for an inexplicably long time as they told me nothing very much reminded me of the numbness I felt on Sept 11, 2001.  Watching in horror as the death toll climbed from 8 to 20 children.  September 11th was worse for many reasons.  In the tower attacks you could see the horror unfolding and the numbers of people were so much higher. 

That said, I have not been able to take a full breath since this story broke.  Babies were killed today.  Little lives snuffed out for no reason.  This senseless act will stay with us all forever. 

Those mothers and fathers who dropped their kids off at schooltoday, just like we did.  Going about the hustle and bustle of work and preparations for Christmas, just like we did.  Only their lives will never be the same.  In a much smaller way, neither will ours.

My heart breaks for those families.  The pain they must be feeling is beyond my comprehension.  For my friend who originally sent me the link,  I am sorry I could not think of anything profound to say.  I hope that by some miracle you, your family, and community find some way to heal from this tragedy.

To everyone reading this note, please take time today to tell those you love how you feel.  Life is short. 

God Bless Us Everyone.....


Work Week Stress and Christmas

Just the thought of the holidays even in the heat of summer can send my heart racing.  Where I work and the job I hold makes December a very busy time of year.  Having a young child while further stresses my attempts to maintain some semblance of a social life.  I do my best to manage the manageable.   Target to have all (at least 90%) of my shopping done before December 1st and usually check the Christmas card list off over the Thanksgiving 4 day weekend.

If I worked 24x7 I still could not accomplish everything I wish to get done.  December is always a balance of pushing myself and forgiving myself.  The demands of my job most certainly do not end at 5pm.  I am responsible for deliverables around the world (hence the 24 x7 comment).

This upcoming week schedule makes me restless to think about it.  I have 3 events that I am supposed to attend simultaneously on Wednesday night for example.  Do I do the wifely event, the work event (or the other work event) or the kid focused activity.

My time management skills are above average, but I don’t think I can plan myself out of this situation.  My intention is to work in a focused manner and try to resist the urge to multi-task (aka doing everything badly simultaneously).  The toughest part of this upcoming week will be forgiving myself for what does not get done and making the best of the short tempers all around me.

(I will report back how it goes).

I wish to all of you a stress free holiday season!