Tag Archives: advice

The Ladies Room

7 Unexpected Business Lessons I’ve Learned From Millennial WomenScreen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.22.25 AM

I am a VP and editorial director at a large media company. Now 56 years old, I follow with interest debates about whether women at my level do enough to mentor millennial women — a heated and sometimes fractious discourse that covers why they do or don’t, if they should or shouldn’t and so much more… Read more on Tue/Night >

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Shame on me

Anxiety, anger and discomfort are our teachers. They tell us what is unresolved, what makes us feel insecure. This is where we learn about what we need to work on or understand better. Resolve these things, be at peace with them, and that’s one less demon in your life. Easier said than done (what isn’t, really?), but even thinking about them is helpful.

For instance, I feel resentful when I feel taken advantage of but I like offering help on my own terms. This must confuse people: I offer to give and but when favors are requested I get all pissy pants. I also feel resentful when other people are prideful about their children, their accomplishments, their lives. Like, oh yeah, my life is better, my kids are better, my job is better. Why? Because I think my stuff isn’t actually good enough or because I fear losing it all or because I don’t like to brag, I tend toward self-deprecation, I value humility. Fair enough, but who made me the boss of what others do or don’t say? So here’s what I’m trying: to listen to them but also to listen all those insecure voices in my head. I say hello to those voices, ask them to settle down, breathe, tell them it’s OK, that they don’t have to have an opinion about others and their stuff. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

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Yesterday I was thinking about shame. I was feeling shame, because I had people over to watch the Oscars and I didn’t like the dish I made and I had to go to bed early and I woke up feeling tired, even sick, and I skipped my spin class and when I got to work I wanted to hide, to not talk to anyone, to find someplace to take a nap. Turns out many, many people stayed up late to watch the show, drank too much, felt like shit. So be it. It passed. But the thing to dig into is this: shame? Why shame? Instead of moving on so quickly, focus on the feeling — not the party or the dish but the feeling.

Last night, walking home from the train station, I felt better. I was thinking about what I call shadow traits. I think every “good” trait has a shadow side that represents that trait out of control. For me: I have a strong will, determination and completion energy — if I start something I need to finish it. I don’t like loose ends.

All good, except keep an eye on what’s in the shadows. Intractability (once I make a decision, I don’t like to change my mind). Inflexibility (I get stubborn and dug into my way, even when shown a better way). Same thing for punctuality, a near holy virtue in my mind. Its shadow: risk aversion, judgment about lateness, small-mindedness, even pettiness about a minute late here or there. Blameful of myself when I’m a minute or two late (shame, shame, shame).

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An Open Letter to Moms on Facebook With Above-Average Kids

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Dear Moms on Facebook With Above-Average Kids (hereafter referred to as MOF-WAACs),

Your children are unique in their accomplishments. They exceed in a wide range of sports: soccer, basketball, field hockey and then soccer again, but of the “travel team” variety. They are given baffling-to-me-and-perhaps-other-people-who-don’t-live-in-your-town awards like “regional,” “all-city” and “division champ” (I say choose one geographical designation and go with it, but I don’t live in your town.) They always get A’s, and you, as a MOF-WAAC, have never failed to photograph their report cards and upload them to Facebook with the hashtag #soproud. In fact, from their post-natal APGAR score (perfect 10s, scanned and uploaded) to their college diplomas (magna cum laude, ditto), they’ve done nothing but made you #soproud. One noteworthy example (and I’m not making this up): Your toddler photographed mid-defecation, straddling a low plastic toilet with the caption “First poop in a big-girl potty!” And the hashtag #poophappens. On this point I couldn’t agree more: Poop does happen. But ask yourselves, MOF-WAACs, do we need photos of it online?

Read more at: http://tuenight.com/2015/10/soproud-moms-on-facebook-we-need-to-talk/

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let’s have no more

Football metaphors in the workplace, OK guys?

Moving the chains (a good thing I found out)

Blocking and tackling

Calling an audible

Huddles (yew, no, we’re co-workers)

Third and goal; first and ten; fourth and ballgame, etc.

I don’t really know what you’re talking about, for starters. Also: seriously?

First and goal

First down and goal to go

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Explain doubt to me

… because at that moment I ceased to understand it.
In return I’ll tell you everything I know about love ~ Ann Patchett on when she knew she was meant to marry the man she had been uncertain about for so long.

A truer expression of love I myself have never read.

Read this book.

Read this book.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Other People 2015

Yesterday, I heard a tale about a mother who called her children on Jan. 1 with New Year’s greetings, along with helpful suggestions for resolutions for their consideration.

This was meant to be the punchline of a joke about meddling moms.

But I have been known to draft resolutions for others to adopt. For their sake but also mine, because I am so very inconvenienced by smokers who insist on congregating just outside my office building (resolution: why don’t you stop smoking) and the makers of pre-washed salad greens who mix in  those dark leaves that go bad instantly and make the whole bag smell horrible (resolution: why don’t you just stop doing that).

So maybe, to avoid become the punchline to a joke, I won’t offer helpful resolutions to my children, who are pretty perfect already. But for all others, here are ways you can become more generous, more efficient and so much more appreciated (by me) in 2015:

Bartenders: you will be perceived as more  generous if you pour a hearty 6 ounces of wine instead of sad-looking 4. Also, never serve a Bloody Mary without some sort of garni (aka a Naked Mary, blasphemous!). A whole stick full of olives, sausages and cheese hunks are preferred but at the very least shove in a celery stalk. I’m talking to you, Spinning Wheel restaurant.

Cashiers: when you hand me my change, don’t stack it onto the bill you have also handed me, making a tippy raft that I have to dismantle, holding up the whole line. Instant efficiency!

Cashiers, part two: explain to me why you suddenly all say “following guest?” when you want the next person in line to step up and pay. Why “following?” Why not “next?” Stop saying that.

Hulu Prime: be more like Netflix. Remember where I am in my show so when I return, I don’t have to figure it out on my own. And a word of warning: I broke up with my cable company because of commercials and yet you persist in showing them.

Hey Google (I think this is how you like to be addressed): Yes, I searched for that pair of shoes. But then I bought them. So that’s the very last ad you should be showing me, O.K.?

MetroNorth: Go to hell.

MetroNorth: over-bright, under-speedy and smelling, unforgiveably, like a bathroom.

MetroNorth: over-bright, under-speedy and smelling, unforgiveably, like a bathroom.

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$4,589,567

Took the first step toward retirement planning. Planner Jason estimates that I will need to save an additional* $21,514 per month for the next 12 years to meet my goal: retirement savings of $4,589,567.

Not helpful Planner Jason. Adding this to my list of Unhelpful Advice.

And pouring myself one of these.

Drink fewer of these

Drink fewer of these

*Additional assumes that I’m saving even $1 per month. Also not happening, Planner Jason.

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unhelpful advice

Drink fewer of these

Drink fewer of these

Too little, too late, too lame, too impossible.

You should really save your work (to someone whose computer just crashed).

You should really stop smoking (to all smokers, everywhere).

You should limit your alcohol consumption to 5 drinks or fewer per week (to me, for instance, from the CDC).

You should see a doctor about that (to the mentally unwell and people with icky rashes).

You should get your first serve in (to people who don’t from their passive-aggressive doubles partners).

You should learn to forgive and forget (to me, from me)

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