Monday, April 13, 2015

Every good word helps the cause

Women's issues in the workplace might be improving but at a snail's pace.
The Federal Reserve Bank of NY looked at the last 10 years and determined that women still earn less than men (duh) and take harder hits when the economy is in a downturn. A few more interesting examples can be sourced via this article:
We're still encouraged to dress 'gender neutral' so as not to draw attention to the fact we're women (not that I condone sequins or clubwear at work). We earn less. We feel awkward stating a pull between child/elder care and working hours. We are not strong in numbers in the sciences or tech industries like we could be. And we're still often expected to take the meeting minutes and organize the office outings ….
From Madonna teaching us that showing a bra strap is just fine in the 80s … to Patricia Arquette calling for wage equality as she received her Oscar this year… to simply asking if one of our male peers would mind taking the minutes… every effort counts when a movement is still trying to build momentum decades after it started. Heck, it's not even been a century since we were allowed to vote!

Monday, March 30, 2015

i need a password for my passwords

For fun, I added up how many passwords I have across my work and personal spaces. 32. All different lengths with different requirements. None of them with my son or pet's name. Some with capital letters and some are meaningless strings of number/letters.

I bet you have even more.

I panicked on Saturday when I could not remember my son's phone number. Or the code to get to my phone messages. (which is eerily similar to the code for my grocery account) I opened a letter with my new business VISA which told me to use the code for my old VISA which I don't think I ever received. To top it all off, Skype wanted my account name which is not my email address and thus I had to cancel a call with a mentoree while I tried to reset the (locked) account.

This could all be part of my aging brain simply... aging. Or it could be that I'm in password overload. If I had a real brass key for every password, my belt would sag to the ground with the weight of the large rings of keys that would dangle - possible tipping me to one side unless I evened out the load around my whole belt (which would probably drag my pants to the ground).

I know there's a point to passwords. I'm not convinced there's a point to having so many in all their glorious variations. I have a password 'vault' now that keeps them for me... unless I'm on a different machine .. or logged on under a different email address...

Remember when passwords were associated with 'spies?' Or used as a safety word when one partner was ready to leave the party? (Say "carrots" and I'll still go fetch my coat) Having a password used to feel slightly sexy and grown up. Now it just feels like a spelling/number test that I will fail every third time and fear like a pop quiz. Gone are the days when we put our social insurance number on forms for anyone to see. Gone are the days when we knew our personal phone messages were not so important that they had to be guarded like secrets. It's not necessarily bad that those days are gone but cyber-security still needs to evolve to feel less like we're getting locked out of our own information and more like we are able to file it away in a sensible fashion?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Worst & best moments @work

The other day, I was telling the story of sitting under a corporate boardroom table... crying... because in my quest that day to be a great employee, I had dragged my four-year-old (at that time) half-dressed into a January winter's day, his little socked feet dangling an inch into the snow drifts (I'm short; he was long). He was screaming he didn't want to go to day care and I was trying to be at work for 8am on the dot as per instructions.

I made it in by 8:10 and my manager was furious. Even though I was a salaried employee and never missed a deadline, she took it personally that I could not be at the office the second she arrived. She pulled me aside that day and told me to "get my priorities straight."

I did. I don't work there any more :-)

It's amazing how much clarity comes from a bad moment - the kind that sticks with you. Priorities become clear. Choices are made. Mistakes are not repeated.

Fast forward to a great moment... I was being awarded for outstanding effort... a big cake, lots of my peers, and some speeches. I was moved to tears. I can't remember what I did that garnered me that award but I remember the cake. I truly wish someone had said something to enable a moment of clarity like I had under the boardroom table so I could repeat that winning formula instead of feeling "appreciated" immensely but unsure exactly why.

Maybe the worst moments give us the clearest feedback. Maybe the best moments are just supposed to be celebrations and nothing more.

If we think back on our best and worst work moments with our mentors & mentorees, maybe we'll see the point is not to understand why that particular moment occured - but that it was pivitol in making new choices for new moments. Meanwhile, I take care now to be specific in my praise and critique and hope I never send anyone under a table.