Unwanted Flirtation In The Office: Do You Pick Your Battles Or Report It?

When I did temporary work, I had the opportunity to work in difference offices and see how the dynamics vary from place to place. There were times when I noticed office flirtation, not necessarily wanted. Usually in most instances, people will just choose to brush them off because of the drama that will come of the situation. How far would you allow unwanted flirtation in the office to occur? Sometimes its best to take one for the team just to keep security in your job but what exactly is enough for you to take further action?

Most of the time the unwanted attention comes from men, let’s be honest. If there are any guys reading this right now and it’s happened to you, please share your story because it actually is a rarity. It could be anything from an inappropriate comment to a blatant stare at something they just shouldn’t be looking at. You have those people that are just so bold in their positions that they do and say what they please knowing that you won’t say anything because at the end of the say it will only make your job more difficult not theirs.

Not that anyone deserves any type of badgering on the job but you do have some people that just ask for it. Everyone is entitled to wear whatever they what, but when you decide to wear things in the office space that can take away from the job at hand, you kind of bring it upon yourself. If you want to wear things that show everything God gave you, that’s all fine and good but remember the consequences you take when doing such; you may have things said to you that you necessarily didn’t bargain for. It could be anything from a skirt that’s too tight to a shirt that shows every muscle and six pack. There is a thing called office etiquette.

Also, some people just don’t have the resistant as a human being to understand when things aren’t appropriate. That person could be tired with the situation they go home to everyday and are just looking to find a thrill in their regular lives. Individuals like to stir up controversy in order to redirect the issues they have within themselves and others.  They also like to see how far they can push the envelope with you, knowing that you probably won’t take it to another level because of the consequences that could come from it.

At end of the day no one deserves to have anything unwanted done to them. We, as human beings, should respect such wishes and treat others the way we would want to be treated. We come to work to make money, and sometimes actually get a rewarding experience from it, not entertain foolishness.

So where do you draw the line? Can you handle the sly remarks, stares, and comments? Does a simple touch that you know could have been avoided put you over the edge? Where is the line between harmless annoyance and flat out badgering?

The Workforce Totem Pole: What’s Your Breaking Point?

In this economy, most of us are working in  a place that is other than our career choice. Besides the fact that it isn’t our chosen profession, most of us didn’t find ourselves off the bat having much influence in the work office. There is that period of time where you feel things and people out in order to see where you want your niche to be. Now that you have settled into the environment and have become more involved you still have individuals that feel entitled to make sure you know that you are “beneath” them.

What do you do about the people who like to swing their weight around? Truth of the matter is, those individuals were once in the same position that you were but for some reason they feel as though because they have moved up on the totem pole they are entitled to treat you that way because of the hierarchy. Little things like grab a file here, make a copy of something that is on my desk with the copier in my office, or ask you to get someone for them when that person is in the office next to them makes you question when have we gotten to the age where we can do simple things ourselves. Is it anyone’s responsibly to budget a program and also wipe your boss’ butt at the same time? What about co-workers that feel entitled to try to let you know how things work in the office so you won’t change any of the things they are use to?

Co-workers that don’t like change are usually the ones that have been at that office for several years. They have probably moved around in the office somewhat, therefore being familiar with numerous peoples jobs including yours. When they see you doing something different that directly or indirectly affects them, they are going to try to “offer you advice” about how you should handle your job. At the end of the day, years after you have found a new job, they will still be at their same place, offering “advice” to the next unsuspecting person coming along.

How do you get your point across that you are no ones’ slave without loosing your job? How do you hold on to you’re self-respect without putting yourself in jeopardy?

Should Your 9-5 Go Past 9-5?

It happens every now and again. Sometimes the things that you are trying to get done at work just doesn’t get completed between the hours of 9am-5pm, so you decide to bring things home to make it a little easier the next day for you. Have you noticed that everyone commuting on the train or driving to work have multiple bags with them? It’s probably full of work papers that they took home to complete. When does the work ever stop?

I see it with my boss and other upper level executives. They carry papers, documents, or files online home in order to complete them quicker. Should we have to sacrifice our free time away from work to do work? Sometimes your job requires sacrifice beyond regular working hours but I never want to get to the point where I can’t take a vacation or find myself coming in on the weekends in order to get things done. It’s called MY TIME, and I don’t get paid overtime for that.

Granted all the things that you do at your job makes a difference in whatever aspect it is regardless of how much you think it really makes a difference, but our own personal lives matter just as much. I never want to loose that because at the end of the day jobs can change constantly but you only have ONE life to live.

Top Five Biggest Office Distractions

To combat the stereotype of lazy black folks, I’m a advocate for office productivity, I am on time (for the most part), I get my work done, you know, all the good stuff. However, sometimes office distractions are apart of every typical 9-5 job, hence the time of this post. Here are my top five biggest office distractions:

  1. Blogs– with the exception of maybe Facebook and CNN, the majority of my online time is spent surfing blog sites. While I try to keep my online presence at a minimum at work, I can’t help but to visit Young, Black and Fabulous to see what’s the latest on my favorite celebrities or the fashion articles at Fashion Bomb Daily.
  2. GChat– gchat or ‘google messenger’ is the Messiah of office distractions. Gone are the days of AIM, GChat is the best way to chat to friends without having to pull out the cell and you can check your e-mails all at the same time.
  3. Facebook- this item is debatable since I strongly believe Facebook will become another defunct social networking site in the next five years. That is, unless it comes up with more innovative features, (Myspace anyone?). Nevertheless, in the meantime people still rely on Facebook to connect or reconnect with friends, find out the latest gossip, check to see who’s with who, who was wearing what and to ‘facebook stalk’- don’t act brand new, you know you do it too.
  4. E-mail Chains-What starts off as a simple forwarded e-mail sent to inspire, uplift and brighten your day can easily turn into a e-mail conversation with the entire recipient list. The worst part? When you think you have ended the thread by not responding and that ONE co-worker continues with the thread 10 minutes later with some off topic sidenote…ARGGGHHHH!!!
  5. Chatty Co-Workers-Everyone has that one co-worker that loves to talk. Even when you make it clear that it’s a) lunchtime b) your phone is ringing c) or you have so much work to catch up on, they still continue to go on as if they don’t get the message. Typically, these are the folks who never seem to have their work done and know it, but still walk around as if they have nothing on their plate.

So I’m curious of your biggest office distractions, please share. They may become useful to me in my downtimes…

Are You Marketing Yourself the Right Way?

I attended a conference not too long ago and one of the Facilitators made a comment that stuck with me. She said:

 You are the CEO of You, Inc.”

Hmmmm, interesting.

"You sure that's enough Ciroc for you playboy??? Get that Berry flavor too."

How good are you in the world of self-promoting? How well are you selling yourself? One thing I hate, but love at the same time about Diddy is this guy is the KING of self-promoting. He could sell Ciroc to a Nun and sign her to Bad Boy if he really wanted to. He knows how to promote himself and his brand. As for me, the idea of self-promoting was only useful during interviews or networking events, but after attending the conference, I realized that I should start self-promoting at all times. In general, there is a notion that doing too much talking about ourselves is egotistical, self-serving and annoying. If you can remember a post that I wrote not too long ago, I wrote about those people who network at any given moment and I questioned if there is a time and place for networking. The people whom I spoke of are the greatest self-promoters, and guess what? THEY GET AHEAD!  They may take the aggressive approach, but they are effective, I mean after all, someone will take notice.

So how can I improve at self-promoting, you ask?  Well, for starters, speak up! Another interesting tidbit from the conference that I learned is that many of us, especially women, tend to talk very softly, whether in meetings or in conversations with others. While I recommend first that you know what the hell you are talking about, speaking up make others take notice and pay attention and hopefully what you say earns you respect from your comrades. Secondly, if you’re the CEO of “You, Inc.,” you must promote your accomplishments, just like any CEO would of their own business.  Are you skilled at something or have experience in a particular field? Offer your help on projects in the office. This is called selling your services, and while you may not get compensated at that moment, it will pay off eventually.  Someone will remember how you stepped up to the plate. Basically, think of yourself as a brand. Are you selling the right attitude, your skills, and your accomplishments effectively?

**GUEST POST:**Why Do Women Give Up Their Dreams For Successful Men?

Today’s guest post comes from Samantha from Richmond, Virginia.  If you’re interested in guest writing for CT, send all entries to coffytalk@gmail.com. Entries should be one page or less.

The other day I saw a photo of Ludacris and his girlfriend on a blog.  The caption read “Rapper, Ludacris, and his girlfriend, Eudoxie, former med school student.”  It kind of struck me that that’s the third or fourth time that I have seen her titled that way: “Luda’s girlfriend, former med student.” I kept wondering, Why is she a ‘former’ med school student (FMSS)? I say, let’s just call it what a spade a spade; she got title #2 , FMSS, to continue being title #1, Ludacris’ girlfriend.  And since no one asked me what I think, I will gladly give my opinion on it: that’s just disgusting!  She’s not even a wife or even a fiancé; she’s just some famous dude’s gf/FMSS.  This woman worked hard in school her entire life, at least 16 years, and then she just drops out of medical school for a guy, a very rich, famous guy, but nonetheless some guy. What a cliché?!

I always wonder if these “former” women planned this all along.  I remember a girl in high school telling me she always knew she would be a stay at home mom, (SAHM)—please note, I went to a private high school, generally attended by the Governor’s children and costs $17K per year.  I asked her, “If that’s the case then why go to college and waste even more of your parents’ money?”  She felt college was a good place to meet men and with a college education she would be able to better help her future children with their homework or serve on the board of some organization.  The sad thing was five or six other girls said they had the same exact plans for themselves.  **Shrug** This still sounded like a waste of money to me then, and it still does now.  

I wonder if Luda’s gf, FMSS, was one of these girls…16 years of hard work, just to give it up when you meet the guy, who seems to fit your bill, spends enough money on you, or at least puts it down like you imagine your Mr. Him would.  Would she really have gone that far with her education and more importantly, wasted all of that money if that’s all she planned for herself all along? What if she never met anyone and actually had to—gasp—work for a living and start her grueling residency because she hadn’t met her sexually satisfying, famous and generous financier yet.

For the ones who actually are those girls, the “former…”, there should be a major in college just for them: future SAHM.  It would be interdisciplinary, so they could be well-rounded individuals.   It should include classes like cooking, finding your own hobby, how to throw the best dinner parties, or most importantly how to get that man to put a ring on it.  They should also be rewarded, not penalized if they leave school early because they get pregnant and/or engaged.  Personally, I think it’s good to just put it out there what your real goals are from the beginning.

Just to be clear, being a SAHM is an amazing thing to do, if that is what you really want for yourself.  I still think there is a difference between people who are SAHMs and people who pretend to want all of these professional goals for themselves until they actually meet Mr. Him.  My own sister is a transitioning SAHM, current wife, current A student, and soon to be nurse.  She’s a transitioning former SAHM, because she thought putting in her own hard work and pursuing her own dreams would a better example for her children.  On that same note, I can’t help but wonder what those “former…” women can tell their own kids if they want drop out of school to follow a lover around the world or join the three-legged circus or whatever. Plus, it is always good to have your own life outside of your relationship with a man.  One of my best friend’s told me one reason she wouldn’t get married right now is because she wants both she and her man to be well established before moving to that level.  Both my sister and my friend are lucky to be with men who support them and want them to pursue their own goals, while building lives together.  Those guys are out there. That’s why Neyo and Jamie Foxx had those hit song’s, “Ms. Independent” and “Cause She Got Her Own.”

One radio contest recently was looking for RVA’s biggest Power Couple. Now that is a caption that I want! RVAs biggest Power Couple. Personally, I prefer the Jay-Z and Beyonce marriage model: they both have really big egos and they walk together like that because they both can back it up. So for me, I will keep my Anthropology degree. Because my caption, with whomever my Mr. Him will be, will always read, “Very attractive, intelligent man who runs shit and, of course, puts it down in bed, and me, the even more beautiful, intelligent head bitch that you know is running shit too!”

So where are the guys who like these FMSS type of women? What are they like?  When they are in college should they major in finance and minor in breadwinner?  That way their captions will always have them as the headliner and the one making the moves, like Ludacris always reads in his.  Obviously, he is one of those guys that likes the women, who regardless of how intelligent they are could have just majored in SAHM and saved money.  Is that why celebrities say they want to date “normal” women? So they can do pursue their own dreams, while someone else follows them around.  So I have to wonder do these guys even respect these women, the “former…” women?   Seriously though, do they see them as equals? Or are these women just additions to their own lengthy caption?

Do You Have Toxic Relationships?

Recently in a church service, a minister started to touch upon the topic of toxic relationships. Toxic relationships are bonds you have between people that aren’t good for you and eventually create a toxicity within yourself. Now a toxic relationship doesn’t have to be just romantic relationships; this can be relationships between family, friends, and in the workplace. How do we identify whether a relationship is toxic to ourselves and the things we want to accomplish? Let’s take a look a different types of toxic relationships.

Toxic boyfriend/girlfriend. This person has to be your center of attention. Their need to be your center of attention literally brings you into their bubble, leaving everything associated with your identify behind. All of a sudden you’re not hanging out with your friends anymore. People start to see a change in you. The family reunions that you are never absent from start to become few and far in between with your attendance. Soon, it’s just you and that person, and your ambitions start to become contingent upon that person. You start to think that you can’t do any better than this person; that he or she is the best you will ever do and you have to hold on to dear life for this person. Your dreams are no longer yours but the dreams of another.

Toxic friends. Toxic friends are those friends that aren’t on board with the progression of your aspirations and goals. They never seem to be happy about the things you are doing. Their lives tend to always revolve around drama; therefore bringing the drama into your life. They never have anything pleasant to say or talk about. Although you try to comfort and support them, your help never seems to be enough; and your concern for them overshadows you’re own objectives.

Toxic family members. The families members that can never be happy with anything you are doing; matter of fact they encourage you to just settle with where you are at now. Some are  jealous that you are accomplishing more things that they will ever in life causing personal resentment and jealousy. This resentment in turn makes you feel some type of way because at the end of the day they are your family; and it hurts the most when you experience negative  opinions from them.

Toxic co-workers. Co-workers that are constantly looking for you to confide in and gossip. They tell you these things about other people in the office which in turn changes your own personal perspective about the individual. This change of opinion can hinder you’re own personal advancement. Also, this person is probably not the most approachable person in the office meaning if you are associated with that person, others will shy away. Understand the dynamics in the office and where that person seems to fall.

Any of the relationships sound familiar? All of these types of relationships can hinder you’re own personal growth and advancement.

Any other types of toxic relationships you can identify? Let’s hear them!

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