Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Career’

Dear “Ban Bossy” Friend,

ban-bossy-badge2

First, I want to you tell that I admire you. You are a strong role model for young girls and boys, and for me as well. I’m inspired by smart, hard-working people who have accomplished a great deal. I am sure that in your lifetime you have come up with thousands of great ideas. In my opinion, this is not one of them.

Here is what I know about your “Ban Bossy” campaign. You do not like the word “bossy”. You do not want people to use the word bossy, and you especially do not want people to call girls bossy. You have proven statistically that women make less money than men for the same jobs. You also say that women have less opportunities than men.

You want to create a better atmosphere for young girls. You want girls to be able to own their leadership skills and seek roles of power. You want that to be the norm, not the exception. You think that when girls are called bossy, that may shake their confidence. Being called that word may make girls question their leadership skills, and it may prevent them from becoming what they otherwise could be some day.

You tell us that you remember a teacher telling your friend she should not hang out with you, because you were too bossy. That hurt your feelings. You don’t want that to happen to any other young girls, so you inspired a large group of intelligent, accomplished and beautiful (Hi Beyonce) women to join you in your “Ban Bossy” campaign.

If your campaign succeeds, the word bossy will officially be out. We may call some girls things like, “works-together-impaired” instead (I made that up. Do you like it?), but we will not call them bossy.

Do I have that right? I don’t want to misunderstand you. If I have the facts right here, then I want to ask you something. Do we really need to make this a thing? Because I don’t think we need to make this a thing. This isn’t a real thing.

After reading what you had to say, I believe you have identified a real problem, but you’ve come up with the wrong solution. And, honestly, I don’t even think you’ve identified the problem correctly.

You say women make less than men. That’s the part of the problem that I think you have right. That stinks. I’m not lying. Thanks for addressing that, because someone should.

You also say women have less opportunity than men. That’s where we disagree. I know that I have optimistic DNA. I’m a half-full kind of girl, and I guess I’m glad for that. But, I just really wish I could meet you in person so that you could explain to me what you are talking about. I don’t understand.

You think women in the United States have less opportunities than men? They do? Where? Who? I am 42-years-old, and I have seen no evidence to support your theory. There’s no way I am going to believe it just because a bunch of influential people tell me I should. I’ve always preferred a more common sense approach; an approach based on what I know to be true.

I have only worked for strong, smart female bosses in my career. Every day I work with female Financial Analysts, CEO’s, Transplant Surgeons, Department Heads, and many other high profile positions that are held by women. Where is this alternate reality you describe? I don’t live there.

I would like it if you would please stop saying women have less opportunities than men. It hurts my girl ego. I know I don’t know you, but I’d also like to ask you a personal favor. Will you please not say that in front of my daughter? No one has ever told her that before, and I’d like to keep it that way.

What I’m going to say next may sound a little harsh, and I’m sorry for that. I know you’re really just trying to help. I am being honest. When you start talking about girls having less opportunities than boys, you sound like you’re feeling sorry for yourself. I rarely get annoyed, but when people feel sorry for themselves for no good reason, it’s nails on a chalkboard for me. Know what I mean?

I don’t want to feel sorry for myself, and I don’t want my daughter to either. Why would we? It’s always been my belief that we have every opportunity to accomplish whatever we’d like. All that is required is a willingness to learn, work hard, treat people well, and look out for the interests of others. Same is true for my sons. Now you are telling them otherwise.

The other part of your campaign that is troubling me is this problem you have with the word bossy. I’m sorry that teacher hurt your feelings when she called you bossy. She wasn’t being very nice. But, I’m still not on board with banning this word.

Bossy is a great word to call boys who are always trying to make the teams on the play ground; telling people what position they have to play in the outfield, and deciding who’s playing with whom.

Bossy is also a great word to describe girls who try to tell other kids who sits where, who can be friends with whom, and what game they’re going to play next. I guess you could say those kids are being obnoxious or overbearing, but bossy is shorter; easier to remember.

If a teacher or other children tell my daughter she is being bossy, I assume that means my daughter is not being perceptive. She is not reading the situation well and her success in her relationships is being hindered by her selfish instinct for immediate gratification and to have her own way. Those are not the characteristics of a tremendous leader. Those are the characteristics of a really sucky boss! She is acting BOSSY. I’m okay with that word.

If a teacher tells a girl student that she is acting bossy, I don’t think the girl’s future seat in the Senate is in jeopardy. There are tons of reasons a young woman can decide to not pursue a position of power.

I had every intention of being a successful career person when I was in college. I was sure that my career would always be my highest priority. I scoffed at women with lesser (as I defined it then) ambitions. Then I held our first born son. I distinctly remember looking into his eyes when he was a few weeks old, and immediately altering my life plans. My priorities shifted. That doesn’t happen to all women, but it happens to some. It happened to me. I’m pretty sure I would be ruler of the free world right now, if that wouldn’t have happened. Dang it, Eddie!!!

Do you think I sound sexist? Do you think I shouldn’t say what I just did because I’m implying child birth affects mothers differently than fathers? Hmmm…I’ll have to think about that. I always want to hear people out. If I’m sexist, I’ll own it.

What I think I am is a realist. I love my children intensely, but I don’t love them more than my husband loves them. I don’t know why he never once considered staying home for eight years to be with our pre schoolers, but he didn’t. I did. I jumped at the chance. It was one of the best decisions we ever made.

I know a growing number of dads are making the same decision, but they’re still outnumbered by moms. Taking almost a decade off will impact your career. It will. And it isn’t like when you step back into your career, it’s neat and clean. You can’t leave the kids behind. Those suckers are attached for life.

Kids take up huge amounts of brain space in their moms’ heads. It’s hard to remember that you meant to be a CEO when you’re trying to remember to pick up birthday treats and schedule everyone’s dentist appointments. My feminist friends may shudder, but I’m not going to make stuff up, just because it sounds better. I’m telling the truth.

I’m telling you all this that you never wanted to know about my personal life to say that I think the problem you define is complicated. There are more male CEO’s and more males in congress than women because sometimes life is complicated, especially for women. Some women NEVER get side tracked from their careers, but a lot of us do. A lot of us are just fine with that too. We choose other opportunities. At no time did being called bossy influence MOST women’s trajectory. I feel pretty sure about that.

You remember being called bossy, right? Did it alter your course? You are extremely successful and have a lot of power.

I’d be so behind your campaign if I thought we lived in a part of the world where men felt superior, just because they’re men. Believe me, I would. I know that reality exists for some women and girls. It haunts me. Those men are, sometimes I just feel like a swear word is appropriate. I’ll just say that those men are a word that starts with “d” and ends with “bags”. (I’m sorry, Mom, but they are.)

If my daughter and I lived in a world where men tried to dictate our choices, if men tried to tell us to wear a sheet over our faces, or that we couldn’t go out in public without them, I’d be rising up, baby. I’d be rising up. I’m talking full scale rebellion, guns-a-blazing, karate chop to the necks of all the men around me, poison their pancakes type of rebellion. If that were my reality, I’d be telling my daughter to NEVER accept that nonsense as truth.

We don’t live there though. We live here. We live here, in an awesome place where my daughter can consider hundreds of options for her future. She can decide what she wants to do some day, and she can do it as long as she is willing to work hard enough to get there. She is the only person who can limit her potential. (Sure. God can change the course of things any moment He chooses, but that’s a point for another day.) That’s what I have told her. That’s what I’ll keep telling her.

I will also tell all my children not to be bossy. If I see any of them trying to tell people where they need to go, what they need to do and wear, I’m going to tell them to stop. I’m going to say, “Children, quit being such little bossy boss bossaounds.”

If my daughter tries to tell me I can’t use the word bossy, because she is a girl, and her teachers said some smart women say that word discourages girls from becoming great leaders. I’m going to tell her that is a campaign for a made up problem. That problem is not real. I’ll say stop feeling sorry for yourself. Accept responsibility. Be nice to people. Work hard towards whatever it is you’d like to achieve. You have every opportunity to get there.

And THAT is what I wanted to say. I hope I don’t sound too bossy.

Your Friend,

Miki Smith

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10 Signs You May be Too Nice:

When I was a teenager a lot of girls liked guys with swagger; guys who always had just the right thing to say at just the right time. I didn’t. I liked the boys who were nice.

One spring weekend before my freshman year of college I was at party with Scott. We were not dating. This party was at a typical, worked over apartment complex designed for poor college kids. We were outside at this party, and there were some little kids running around. These kids must have lived in an apartment somewhere else in this complex. They looked a little down on their luck.

It was evident that this party was not an appropriate place for these kids to play; whoever was in charge of supervising them was doing a poor job. Some of the college kids at the party were annoyed, and started being a little mean to those little kids.

Scott was not annoyed. Scott was so nice to those little kids. I remember watching him as he engaged them in conversation. He asked them about school and what they liked to do. Then the kids asked him to play, which, of course, he did. He ran around with them outside, playing tag and probably giving them the best fun they’d had in a while. Yeah. That is the weekend I decided I might be in love.

One of the biggest reasons I fell for Scott was because he was so nice. I’d like to think he felt the same way about me. We really like nice. But, do you know what can happen when you put nice with nice? You get too nice. Too nice might be better than too mean, but, still, you CAN be too nice.

From experience, I can tell you that there are signs to watch for whether you are being too nice. You can read about these signs below, unless you don’t want to, then, of course, you don’t have to. I wasn’t trying to sound bossy. I’m sorry If I did. You can read whatever you want. I’m not in charge of you. You don’t have to listen to me:

You lie. This is actually more my deal than Scott’s. If he has bad news for you, he’ll avoid saying anything. Not me. I’ll lie. If you just missed every single note in the solo you sang, and you ask me how you did, I will tell you that you sang beautifully. If you have a horrible perm and half your hair fell out, and you ask me how it looks, I will tell you that it looks great. I was thinking about doing the same thing with my hair. If you served me a dinner that tastes like poop casserole, and you ask if I liked it, I will tell you it was delicious. You must give me the recipe. If what you need is the ugly truth, you’d better ask someone else.

You believe lies. Some people don’t just lie to be nice. Some people make up big, strange lies about things that never happened. Or, they do bad things when no one is looking, and then they lie and say they didn’t. Nice people believe those lies. It can take nice people years and years to figure out that someone is lying.

Do you know what a sociopath is? One thing a sociopath does is they tell lies more than they tell the truth. They make up lies for no reason at all, and they believe their own lies. It is proven that sociopaths seek out people who are too nice. It will take a person who is too nice a really long time to figure out that some people just lie for fun.

Your dog is in charge. When I do my Saturday cleaning, I usually mop the kitchen floor and strip the bedding. Except if our dog is taking a nap. If our little dog is lounging comfortably on our bed, or sprawled on the kitchen rug, that’s too bad for me. I wait until he decides to go somewhere else. it seems kind of mean to make such a cute little dog move when all he wants is a nap, doesn’t it?

cavalier

You eat cold food, or bad food, or raw food. This one goes in Scott’s corner. If you are a server at a restaurant and you serve Scott a cold hamburger or hot lemonade, he won’t complain; he won’t ask you to take it back; he’ll leave you a big tip.

You buy a time share condo. Almost. We go to Branson, Missouri on spring break most years with my parents. Every year, my parents take one for the team. They subject themselves to a time share sales pitch to earn our family free tickets to this awesome amusement park. Scott and I didn’t think that was fair of us to make them do that every year. Last year we said we would go instead. My parents were adamantly against this idea, especially my Dad. He told us we didn’t know what we were getting into, and that, frankly, we were just too nice to make it out alive.

Well, he was almost right. Scott and I went into this thing looking like baby kittens to a hungry pack of wolves. We started out with this giant group of people. Almost all of them were released eventually, except us.

We own a small home, we have had a lot of doctor bills, and we have absolutely NO business even talking about buying a time share. But these guys really wanted us to buy one. So, it’s worth considering, right? Plus, they could make a nice commission, and that would be good for their families. They told us that if we really valued family time, a time-share was in our children’s best interest. See how they care about us?

The whole thing was ugly. Scott and I would take turns playing good cop, bad cop. But, in reality, what you had was good cop, good cop, and those guys knew it. We wasted most of the day there. We told them that we really appreciated all their time and hard work, but we never make quick decisions. When they finally realized they weren’t getting our money, they told us to leave. I’m so glad we didn’t buy a condominium just to be nice.

time share

You want everyone in the world to be happy. If they are not, you are sure that is on you. If someone seems quiet, or grouchy, you rack your brain trying to think about what you may have done to offend this person. True, you don’t know them. True, you’ve never spoken with them. But there most be something, or they wouldn’t be acting that way.

You feel sorry for the bad guy. Sure. You always feel sorry for the main character. You want to the main character to be saved, and the bad guy to get caught and be punished. Until he is. Then, you start feeling a little sorry for the bad guy. Because he’s being punished. Just like he deserves. It’s hard to live like this.

You put your life in danger to avoid the risk of being rude. In my career, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with people from other countries. I love it. One time I was working with this joyful, generous and intelligent little man from very far away. I drove him around one day and we took care of various tasks related to his citizenship here. The next time we met he said, “This time, I drive. I practice. You see, I very good.”

He was good. He was very good at driving in to oncoming traffic, ignoring stop signs, and driving dangerously beyond the speed limit. I tried instructing him, but the language barrier was a problem. Especially, since in my intense state of terror I was just blurting out nonsense, in a language he didn’t understand. I guess it wasn’t my time to go.

It was so scary that once we ran our errand, I got back in the passenger’s seat and let him drive me home. I thought if he didn’t think I felt safe, that might hurt his feelings.

You won’t end a conversation. This one goes to Scott. I am perfectly capable of saying, “Well, I’d better go, I have to get dinner started, the kids need my help with homework, or the house is on fire.”

Scott can’t do that. If he is outside and our elderly neighbors are bending his ear, he will let that house burn. While he is talking he will break in to a cold sweat thinking about all the things that he should be doing, and he will let the children play with knives. What Scott won’t do, is tell that nice neighbor that he’d better be on his way. That wouldn’t be very nice.

Little old lady (1)

You have the smartest come backs. In bed at night. When it’s too late. Remember those sociopaths we were talking about? When I worked for a different company one of my biggest clients was a sociopath. That’s fun. He was an awful human being, and I don’t mind saying it. Can you just let me get out some of the frustration now that I couldn’t release then? Thanks. Here it goes: He was cruel to the people who worked for him. He lied more than he told the truth. He was unfaithful to his family. He was completely and totally inappropriate to women. He was disgusting.

I would lie in bed at night thinking of the most clever, witty and even scathing ways to put him in his place. Then I’d see him, and not say anything at all.

This therapy session feels good. Let me tell you more. I will tell you that this guy grossly abused drugs, alcohol and food. I might have felt sorry for him, except he was just so mean. I will also tell you about the times I had to sit with him while he drew out our meetings much longer than necessary. Instead of getting to the point and taking care of the business I had with him, he’d sit on his cell phone, screaming at people on the other end while I watched. He liked an audience.

All the while he was screaming he would be jamming huge handfuls of Lucky Charms in to his mouth, so many Lucky Charms that crumbs would be all over his face, and many of them would land on his big, huge belly. It was a horror show.

Can’t you think of just a hundred clever things to say to this guy right now? Like, I should have said, “Treating people poorly will not help you in life. It will hurt you. You’re focusing on all the wrong things, and your letting your family down. Plus, you’re making very irresponsible nutritional choices, and it sure wouldn’t hurt to consider starting some kind of fitness program!”

He would have felt THAT right between the jelly rolls. Check…and mate, fine sir. You just got served.

Wow. That just got a little real. I’m sorry if that made you uncomfortable.

See how bad I am?

Being nice is awesome. I love it when people are nice. But, you really can be too nice. I see little flashes of too much niceness in my kids sometimes. I want them to recognize it early, so maybe they can know when a backbone is required. Once they do, I hope they teach their parents.

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