Can’t keep it up? Lower your standards girl.

Can’t keep it up? Lower your standards girl.

Life is so busy and stressful. How is a gal to keep up with it all? We don’t keep up though do we? Whether you are running a home and a career, or whatever, it is all about choosing your priorities. We make 100 decisions a day about what matters and what doesn’t. The people who struggle the most with getting things done, or being productive are the ones that put equal weight on important things as they do totally unimportant things. I know people who are forever drowning in tasks or plans that bog down with little fiddly crap. I picture these folks like big barnacled swamp monsters dragging seaweed along behind them as they try to move forward and just pick up more and more detritus as they go through life. Here are some signs that you might need to drop some of those high standards: You make yourself late for something because you can’t leave the house with dirty dishes in the sink or because you spent too long looking for something or tidying You shriek at your family or husband because you just can’t finish the house or the chores or whatever because you are doing it all yourself and you think they haven’t done a good enough job You have missed deadlines at school or work because you got sucked into formatting problems in a document.  You feel anxious a lot because there is just too much you have rolling around in your head that you can’t possibly get done. I am willing to bet that all the noise in your brain is pretty distracting isn’t it? I am totally with you on this. Speaking from experience, I have had to work on this aspect. Asking yourself what you can stop doing to make some room is harder than taking on new things. This is true at home and at work. Try these tricks: Decide to be on time for something, and leave the dishes in the sink. One of two things will happen, you will come home to dishes, or somebody will have done them.  When your kids or partner or co-worker is doing something, don’t worry about it. Let them do it and don’t get all over their shit for it. Just be ok with it. Try that.  Look at all of the things you do for others and ask yourself if you are really helping them, and if it is something you should let them do on their own? I know of MANY women who travel for work or whatever, and precook meals for their husbands and children. Seriously are you trying to incapacitate them from surviving in the world?  Pick...
Crying at work, is it ever ok?  No it is not okay.

Crying at work, is it ever ok? No it is not okay.

The topic of tears in the workplace is so touchy. We all know a crier and have had to deal with them from time to time. I have had staff members, peers and bosses crying big fat tears in front of me at work. Sometimes they were crying out of frustration with job related stuff, sometimes it was about a personal thing. Often it was me who made them cry by telling them something they didn’t want to hear. So why is it that people cry at work? First it is mostly women. The only guys who cry at work are the ones who just got fired after years of three martini lunches and then they get a boss like me. Those guys cry, but other than them, it is usually the ladies. There are certain workplaces where no crying happens ever for any reason. I can’t imagine the person running the bulldozer on a road crew has an emotional reaction to the scuff in his bucket shovel. Police officers probably don’t cry much in front of each other. The women officers in particular don’t dare to cry. Besides, they don’t have to cry, they have guns. Angry women with guns need shed no tears. Mechanics, pilots, hockey players, none of those guys work in emotionally sensitive environments. It might surprise you to realize that likely everybody who sees you cry at work checks off you on their list as “crier”. That means you are one ugly cry from a worse label: “unstable”, which is a career killer. Every time I have sat through tears across a desk from me the same thing happens. The person snotting and bawling crumples a Kleenex to their nose and says: “I can’t believe I am crying at work!”. Really? because likely it isn’t the first time. The best thing you can do of course is not cry at work. Most managers, particularly males will either be mortified and uncomfortable, or they will assume you are being manipulative. The ones with Mommy issues will get turned on by it… but that is a whole other article. Because this is an advice article, I am not just going to tell you not to do it. If you could stop yourself you wouldn’t be reading this. I will tell you that prevention is the key. If you have a really good idea of what can trigger tears then you can prepare yourself a bit better. For instance, if you can’t handle feedback, and you are going into a performance review this might be a time to do some advance preparation and self talk. When faced with the actual moment, here are some things you might...
Moms with jobs and those that stay home – the disdain that dares not speak its name

Moms with jobs and those that stay home – the disdain that dares not speak its name

One of the last permissible forms of prejudice (besides fat haters) in our society, seems to be the chasm between Moms who give up working and stay home with the kids, and those who go to jobs every day. It is a conversation prone to instant flairs of temper and is right up there with politics and religion… you just don’t air your view because you either stay home and raise kids, or you go to work. (You part timers are just faking at both by the way, so we aren’t talking about you at all today). When the two solitudes meet, it can be uncomfortable.  I have seen it happen, and have done it myself. You meet a cool new potential Mom friend and when the conversation turns to “what do you do?” the stay at home Mom steels her little self and says something to the effect that she has chosen to stay home with her kids. When she is facing down the barrel of a turbo career mom, she knows what is coming. There is that momentary pause when career mom quickly slaps on her politeness filters, her eyes glaze over and she mutters something noncommittal and immediately starts scanning the room for her fast way out. The decision to work through your mothering years, or to stay home is fraught with issues. It comes as a total surprise to people that neither choice is actually very fulfilling. Seriously, it bites to be home with your kids and be just smart enough to watch your brain turn into a freakin’ cupcake because you have made so many of them. It also rips your heart out to come barreling into the kids’ school on heels in a suit carrying their forgotten lunch, and you can’t remember which door is your kid’s class. It just gets worse when the principal makes you sign in because they don’t know who you are. I am a career Mom. I have been the primary breadwinner in a high stress job all my life. I have a great marriage, and good family support and am pulling off this whole “having it all” shit. Oh, and I have shockingly low standards for almost everything to do with my home life, so that may be the magic formula. To be very truthful,  I don’t buy into the bullshit that your kids have to suffer if you work, they don’t. Raising kids who know that you worship them is actually possible, and doesn’t require being there waiting for them to come home from school. Even if you are out earning dough and don’t attend every lame assed recital they have your kids can turn out...
Such liars – we say “I can’t” when we really mean “I don’t want to”

Such liars – we say “I can’t” when we really mean “I don’t want to”

There is a secret language of women. We turn down invitations to gatherings with thin excuses rather than saying we just don’t want to go to. We say we can’t make it and then we elaborate on all the things we have to do that night would keep us from going to that wedding shower or whatever. In reality, we just don’t want to go. It might be because the invitation or the people are lame and uninteresting, or that is the night we planned to eat a giant bag of jalapeno chips and resent having our plans derailed. When it comes to “I can’t” there are even more serious lies we spin. We say that we wish our husbands would be more engaged with us, but we can’t seem to get the message across. We whinge about our kids not eating their vegetables and we can’t seem to make them. We want more from our lives, but can’t get it. We can’t deal with mean bosses, we can’t get to the gym and we can’t seem to get a haircut we like. The reality is probably that we just don’t want to. Many womens’ lives are just one big list of “Have to” and we start to get pretty resentful. We pucker up our girl parts to punish our husbands, and eat, and gossip and make right old bitches of ourselves. What we really want to do is get in our cars and keep driving… let somebody else take the kids to soccer. But we don’t, we just lie and find ways to make excuses. How crazy would I look if I actually said to my friend “No sorry, the thought of joining you at a hot yoga class makes me want to book a quick root canal to avoid it”. Why don’t we talk about what we just don’t want? Instead, we say “Oh I can’t, junior has a tuba tuning class” or some other lame shit. Mainly we do this because we are trained to be nice and get along and not hurt people’s feelings. So we lie, because in some alternate etiquette universe, that is the morally superior option. What would happen if you actually said these words to your husband: “Honey, although I pretend it is ok that you have grown hair in places I didn’t think was possible, and you are probably the most hideous thing I have ever seen naked,  I will tolerate all that. What I will no longer tolerate is you sitting around in your 20 year old tighty whities scratching your balls while I do the dinner dishes”.  And what would happen if you said it, and really meant...
Job Interview tips – even when you don’t have a chance, you might have a chance.

Job Interview tips – even when you don’t have a chance, you might have a chance.

It is a tough slog out there in the job hunting world at the moment. People smarter, faster and more connected than you are after the same job you are. They likely have more qualifications and a slick resume. So how do you claw your way to the top of the short list? Don’t screw up your interview. I get to sit in the boss seat and have interviewed a whole bunch of people, and I remember a lot of them. Often it is because of how spectacularly badly they interviewed. You can find 100 people who will tell you how to prepare to interview, how to do your resume, what volunteerism makes you look wonderful, and if that is what you want, this isn’t the list for you. This is a simple guide on how to get through your interview without making some of the major mistakes. If I have to tell you to dress for the level you are trying to get hired into, and it is a surprise to you, then stop reading now and go away… I smell burger flipping in your future. Show up on time, come prepared, smile and make eye contact. Even if you are a passive aggressive introvert interviewing for a job in the basement archives, you still need to impress somebody who is in a leadership position. Newsflash: people who are leaders aren’t usually socially awkward and weird, and don’t like people who are. Here are the things I have seen in interviews that have made me hit the button triggering the trap door under the candidate sending them to the moat for crocodile lunchtime. Be ready to tell your story. When asked about how you handled something difficult or whatever, don’t talk in vague terms, tell your story. Don’t be evasive, I am often smarter than my candidates, if you don’t know something, say so and don’t make me dig for the truth. Never talk smack about your former employer, we have all heard that before, but just don’t. Practice a polite and balanced way to explain why you left. For example: The new boss was a sociopath, and fired most of our asses and we were happy to leave. Translates to: There was a change in management and between the new direction and downsizing, I wanted to seek out better opportunities. It is honest, but not inappropriate. Don’t ramble. You aren’t that interesting and I probably had you figured out in the first three minutes anyway. Get to the point. Don’t miss the interviewers signals. If you watch where they are going with the questions, you can usually tell how you are doing. If they sound perfunctory, they...