Taking a Stand At Your Job

I wanted to talk about taking a stand at your job.

When it comes to the aforementioned topic of racism and other unethical injustice in the workplace like stealing, embezzlement, or any kind of harassment:

Being a whistle-blower might be called for.

My experience going to bat against a person who was rude and hostile to customers and coworkers alike cost me a promotion.

Garden-variety hostility–as despicable as it is when directed towards you or a customer–is no cause for going over your boss’s head to complain to a director.

It’s a sad reality of the workforce that’s been going on for decades that you and I are going to have to interact with sour lemon-heads at some of our jobs.

It’s been my experience that your supervisor just doesn’t care about this when it’s going on.

Everyone’s an adult in age and physical stature where you work.

Yet some coworkers will act like bullies in the schoolyard.

Tattling on them won’t change the situation to your benefit.

In fact your boss might know what’s going on and cover up for the coworker.

Early on in this blog I wrote three blog entries about questions you’ll be asked on a job interview.

Understand the intent the hiring manager has in asking these questions.

You should try to be able to figure out the company culture before you accept a job offer.

It’s not always possible to predict how your coworkers will act. Even when you’re introduced to a few of them on a second interview.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk about tactics I use to cope with a rude and hostile coworker.

Being an Ally at Work

The Brooklyn Public Library where I live issued a statement on its website aligning with Black Lives Matter.

The time is now to join the fight for equity and equality for everyone in America.

While I don’t like to reuse what I read in the Vault newsletters sent to my email I will talk about what I’ve read via Vault one more time.

The Vault newsletter is right-on. Owing to copyright Vault doesn’t allow you to print up their newsletter or cut-and-paste sentences from it.

I will use my own words and add my own insight to the newsletter on being an ally at work.

Kaila Kea-Lewis was interviewed. She is a career coach. She talked about what an ally is. She revealed her own experience with a microaggression.

Her advice is to actively listen before you speak to a Black person. To ask them directly how they think you can help them. To not make assumptions.

Kea-Lewis goes so far as telling Vault readers to denounce discrimination when they see it happening at work.

To uncover the truth when an employer makes a public statement standing in solidarity.

How have you seen your company act in reality? What real advocacy groups have they aligned with? Are they putting their money where their mouth is as the old expression goes?

I’ll end with the number-one takeaway of Kea-Lewis:

True allies are the ones who understand that the oppressed are the only ones who know the best about their situation.

Outsiders who claim to know more than those they’re fighting for have no idea the enormity and severity of systemic racism.

Be an Advocate is the bottom line. Use what you learn from your Black coworkers to take a stand and to help them succeed in the workplace.

Hiring Black Professionals

I took a stand at one of my jobs. To not break confidentiality, I will say only that my goal in speaking out was to see that justice was served. Being an activist cost me a promotion. And I wouldn’t hesitate to do this again when it matters.

I recommend that you subscribe to the Vault newsletter. The Vault website link will be given at the end of this article.

Not everything I read in the newsletter is news to me. Most of it I’ve heard before. What I find compelling is the recent Vault articles about current events. Such as how to be an ally against racism at your workplace.

One of the current newsletters talked about interviews with Black CEOs on how to hire more Black professionals.

First off–it is startling and upsetting to me when a person doesn’t take the time to find out a Black person’s name and use it in conversation. Referring to someone else as “the Black woman over there” to a person they’re talking to must stop.

You should be getting to know them just like everyone else at the event.

Vault solutions:

Have companies disclose diversity numbers.

Break their staff down by race ethnicity and gender.

Offer Black students more internships and mentor them.

Make company boards accountable for hitting diversity targets.

While this is done—increase Black representation on those boards.

Only do business with firms with Black representation.

In the next blog entry, I’ll talk about being an ally at work.

Vault website.

More compelling to me would be a Vault newsletter targeting the job candidates themselves. On how Black job seekers can get coveted positions. Not just how companies can hire them.

The Hidden Opportunity in the Pandemic

There is a silver lining in this cloud.

The hidden opportunity in the pandemic is that today people are aware of how their actions impact others.

At least the pandemic has been the perfect time to act as caring conscious citizens to halt the spread of COVID-19.

The aim as I see it is to extrapolate from this experience key things we’ve learned about ourselves and our capacity for empathy as well as resilience.

In tandem with Black Lives Matter.

It’s my hope that today marks the start of a change for the better.

A day arriving when the old power structure is dismantled. When everyone treats each other as equals with a stake in our democracy.

In the coming blog entries I’ll talk about current events as they relate to having a career.

I will also start to talk about my own experience in the workplace. Culled from information in my career guide Working Assets which my goal is to publish next June.

Returning to Work During the Pandemic

I have returned to my job.

For 6 hours every day I must wear a face covering there. I can only take it off when I’m eating lunch at my temporary desk in a room by myself.

Coworkers maintain 6 feet of distance between each other. Everyone must wear a face covering.

My covering of choice is a big bandanna. I wear a different-color bandanna each day. At the end of the week I wash them in the machine.

This is because I’m not keen to clog a landfill with single-use disposable masks.

Your employer must adhere to safety protocols if they expect you to return to work.

You have every right to expect that these measures will be in effect.

Even though it’s hard to breathe I wear the bandanna 6 hours a day. I look like a gunslinger in the Old Wild West. I coordinate the color of the bandanna with the clothes I’m wearing.

The coronavirus is out to infect whoever it can. The outbreak is on the rise in some states in the U.S. We are not out of the woods. We’re in the thick of this forest.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a real health threat.

I have not been infected. I plan to keep it that way. By staying indoors through early June and wearing a face covering / bandanna I have remained illness-free.

Wearing a face covering is a sign of respect for other people. The message is: “I respect you and you respect me.”

The world has changed. We are all of us more connected than ever. It’s time to protect and respect each other.

When you go back to work wear a face covering. Maintain 6 feet of distance between you and your coworkers. Each lunch away from other people.

Expect that your employer will follow safety protocols. You can band together with your coworkers to file a grievance should the company you work for be jeopardizing your health.

Again: the coronavirus will try to infect everyone. Take the precautions and be diligent in adhering to them.

Listen to or watch or read the latest medical information from a reputable media source.

Life has changed so quickly in such a short time. Six months have gone by. The year is halfway over.

It can seem like the COVID-19 outbreak is here to stay forever. No–it will end. Not soon. Yet it will end.

Be patient. Wear a face covering. There’s a silver lining in this cloud and I’ll talk about this next.

Forgiving Yourself and Others

This coming week I’ll return to talking about careers with a focus on living through the pandemic.

For the last blog entry of the current week I want to talk about something no one else has talked about:

Forgiving yourself and others.

I think too that each of us needs to forgive the pandemic for disrupting our lives. The outbreak isn’t a real person yet it has damaged a lot of us.

Anxiety and depression were on the rise when people were forced indoors for months on end seemingly without end.

Individuals who work the 12 Steps in addiction recovery are supposed in one of the Steps to make amends and ask for forgiveness.

My contention is that even though a person might not have an addiction you can benefit from taking an inventory of your actions. And asking for forgiveness if you feel something you did harmed another person.

Living through the lingering COVID-19 outbreak I think is the perfect time to engage in a self-improvement project like this.

It’s because in our lifetime none of us has ever had to cope with a setback as challenging and severe as the pandemic.

This is the perfect time to forgive yourself and others.

How many of us can say we’ve been doing everything we’re supposed to do every day of the week?

We are human beings not machines. And sometimes the best of us break down.

Forgiveness is called for. To forgive is to heal.

Planning Each Week

In recovery as in life nothing is guaranteed.

Having a setback is often the only predictable outcome.

You might be rolling along and then something happens to change everything.

I’ve learned after living indoors for over four months that not everything in life can be controlled.

A person can choose their response. How you respond is within your control.

And sometimes how you respond isn’t always healthy.

The goal as I see it becomes to forgive yourself dust yourself off and get back up and try again the next day.

This is why in my estimation it’s not helpful to try to plan what’s going to happen five years from now.

Danica Patrick the race car driver in her fitness book Pretty Intense tells readers to do one healthy thing. Then do the next healthy thing. And one healthy thing after that. And so on.

This is how I’m planning my life while living through the COVID-19 outbreak which hasn’t gone away.

Breaking down my goals into weekly segments. Doing one thing in one day to manage this pandemic with its corresponding setbacks.

I call this the “one thing/one day” tactic.

To compartmentalize activities this way makes it easier to live through the uncertainty and unpredictability of what’s going on.

In two weeks I return to my job. I’d like to talk in here about the nature of returning to a job while the outbreak is still in effect.

Benefit of Having a Routine

The number-one benefit of establishing a routine is to feel like you have control over what’s happening in your life.

Ever the trouper that I am it wasn’t until this month that I understood exactly how hard it’s been for me to live under quarantine.

What helped was having a consistent routine all along since my job shut down in March:

I exercised every week for one or two days each week with only a few weeks of not exercising.

I cooked my own dinners 5x per week throughout the last four months.

Having a routine gives a person stability.

A lot of things aren’t under our control. “Let Go–and Let Life” is my motto for accepting what I can’t change.

It hit me only recently that my old routine wasn’t working pre-pandemic. Post-pandemic I was given the hidden opportunity to make changes I might not have made before.

Having to “put out fires” and respond to repeated “emergencies” is no way to live our lives.

By establishing a routine we take back control over what happens in any given week.

Inside of the unpredictability of the COVID-19 outbreak is indeed a silver lining for all of us:

The ability to reclaim our power as individuals living our lives.

My book-publishing goals have been put on hold. Yet inside of this dashed dream I take joy in keeping the 3 blogs.

My intention is that readers can learn from my insight and observations.

Hope is called for. Optimism is called for.

A better day lies ahead. I firmly believe this.

Step 4 – Persevere

I’ve started Step 4 of the 90-day action plan. This is the Persevere step.

For going on four months I was forced indoors because of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City.

New York State went from having the highest number of cases to having the lowest infection rate as of today.

My goal had been to use my paycheck to buy food. Which I was able to do for the duration of Step 3 Perspire.

Living indoors I wasn’t tempted to buy things impulsively that I didn’t need.

Today and in the coming four weeks this is when I’m supposed to use tactics to persevere in maintaining this goal.

After I publish Working Assets my goal is to publish a personal finance book for peers.

To feel like you have control over the direction of your life is imperative. To have control over what you choose to spend money on is the first step in gaining economic freedom.

A shift in behavior can create a corresponding mental shift. And two goals can co-exist at once. Like my goal of cooking my own dinners 5x per week and creating on Sunday a routine for the coming week.

By relaying in this blog my progress with my own goals I strive to empower readers to tackle their own objectives.

To create lasting change you and I need to be able to maintain the new behavior for the long-term.

I will talk in the next blog entry about the number-one benefit of establishing a routine in a time like this pandemic and beyond.

Creating a Weekly Routine

I find that imposing a structure to each week is a way to feel like you’re in control.

Creating a routine on Sunday for the coming week is my strategy for getting through the pandemic and beyond.

Automating recurring tasks can help.

I have my groceries delivered the same day every week. I budget in a set amount to spend on this food delivery so that the cost doesn’t fluctuate.

As I might have talked about before in here and in my Flourish blog it’s imperative to take care of your mental and physical health in a time like the pandemic.

The outbreak is still in effect in most cities and towns in America.

If you ask me this is the perfect time to create a routine.

I recommend the Julie Morgenstern book Time Management from the Inside Out 2nd Edition. She gives readers ideas for breaking each day into time zones.

In the coming blog entries I”m going to talk about setting up a weekly routine in more detail.

In August I would like to return to career topics.