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?


Is It That I’m Bougie, Or People Need To Do Better?

Maybe it’s just me. I guess I’m wrong that I like the finer things in life and I refuse to settle for anything less than that. I don’t want to go to every hole in the wall and I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck. I want to be more than just street smart but educated also. I tend to talk differently than my peers or act a certain way that’s not identifiable with my culture at times. Does this make me bougie?

Sometimes I think people are quick to call others bougie when in all actuality, they just need to do better with their lives. Let’s face it, they’re hating! They see someone in the position they want to be so they try to bring them down to their level. Just because someone doesn’t tolerate the same things you do doesn’t make them any less of who they are.

We all have those family members that just can’t seem to get ahead in life. Matter of fact, they probably could but choose to stay where they are and just aren’t proactive. They see you doing well with all your nice things so they try to hit you up for money, a car ride, a place to crash (live) etc knowing that as a family member you have their back. As soon as you no longer want to be a personal ATM, they think you getting all “bougie” on them by not wanting to help because you got so much to go around. In reality, they just need to be trying to get to where they want to be.

Don’t get me wrong, there really are some bougie people among us. They are so high on their horse that they can’t see anyone that’s not on their level. Anything lower is just unacceptable. You know I just had a thought about Janet Jackson’s role in For Colored Girls. If you’ve seen that then you know what I’m talking about. That fits the characterization I’m trying to portray here.

Bougie seems to have different interpretations that vary through different social and class levels.

What does bougie mean to you?

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?

When The Degree Is Not Enough..

I know I’m not the only young adult that has dealt with this issue. You get your degree and it’s the happiest day of your life. You’re ready to start your career doing what you love so you begin applying for jobs and enjoy life. A few months roll by and you start to get discouraged. You start to wonder why things aren’t progressing as fast as you would like to, and it makes you wonder: why isn’t my degree enough? Clearly the economy has given everyone the middle finger, and I can say personally myself I’m not where I want to be because of it.

Do you feel lied to by your parents or any grownups that told you “you can be anything when you grow up when you put your mind to it?”  I felt the same way when I was sitting around with no job and no insurance.  At the same time I will still probably tell my kids the same thing because it instills determination.  Most of my friends or people I have known have not followed the same career aspirations that they began with. I feel like when we are young we say the normal things such as doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. because that is all we see; we don’t see the depth of those positions. When it’s time to make that decision we suddenly realize that that is not what we want to do anymore, then it becomes a struggle for identity.
So what do we do when our degrees don’t seem like enough? Every experience that I have had since I graduated has turned me into the person I am today. All of the interviews, rejections, temp jobs have set me up to be ready for just about anything that comes my way. Of course I still encounter things on my job from foolish people that still surprise me, but hey, I’m just getting started and it’s all a learning experience for us. I may not be career wise where I want to be, but I’m definitely heading in the right direction. Also, sometimes it helps to just fight for what you want. If you have everything given to you so easily, then the experience will never be truly gratifying.

Taking a little “wise” fairy dust from TeasTer, my advice to my generation would be to keep fighting for our place in this society. They might be trying to stick with older people that have experience, but they are also looking for the new fresh minds of young adults. Get as much education as you can, but never think that will take the place of experience. We are supposed to be smarter than the generation before us, so let’s start acting like it.

Have your experiences been the same?

Office Politics: It’s not for the Faint of Heart

We’ve all dealt with it. He said, she said. She’s flirting around with him too much or he’s putting the moves on her when he knows he has a wife. She thinks that she can tell me what to do when she’s not even a higher level than me, or he likes to create drama between women in group projects.  As young people entering the workforce or having a good few years into the game, office politics play an important role in the way you interact with your co-workers. Even though rumors and such shouldn’t count in your abilities as a worker, it is always in the minds of people when they evaluate you or ask you to take on special things if they hear you like to talk about people. My advice:  steer clear from it, run for your life from certain people who gravitate to gossip! Things can get ugly when you involve yourself with things that have nothing to do with you. I’ve devised a few keys points and red flags to look out for in order to stay away from gossip/drama and when someone is trying to drag you into gossip/drama.

1.  Choose your office friends wisely. Someone will try to be your friend, but they may not want you as a friend, if you know what I mean. Some people like to keep their enemies or competition closer than their real friends just to see what you are about. Feel a person out before you decide to let them know more about you. If they start out off the bat talking about people or asking you if you notice something about someone, take a few steps back and evaluate that person some more. If they are real quick to ask you a lot of personal things about yourself, be careful because they may try to use it against you.

2. Automatically zone out any conversation that starts with, “Now this conversation stays between me and you….” chances are that person is about to tell you something that you DON’T want to hear. Trust me, every time I’ve had someone say that to me and it was  something that had nothing to do with me and I didn’t want to hear about it. Your best bet is to just ignore what the person is saying and don’t give your opinion in any way about the situation. Shake your head; say mmhh, whatever you got to do to get away from that person ASAP.

3. Stay away from the cliques in the office. My advice would be just to play nice with all of them because if one doesn’t like you, you will already be the target of everyone else in that group. I’ve seen it happen before and it’s not right to get ganged on by people that you don’t even have a problem with.

4. If a person always seems to have drama in their life outside of work, they’re going to bring that same mentality into the office. I absolutely hate people that bring their attitude from outside into the work place. It’s very unproductive and it can cause unnecessary issues. I know we are all victim to acting that way, but there are some people that really take it to a high degree.

5. The people that think try to help you all the time and then use it against you to get information out of you because they seem to think that you “owe” them. These are the tricky, but worse people in the office. They think that just because they do things for you or try to help you out, you owe them by telling them any information you know about a person or situation.

Let’s face it, everyone gossips to some degree but the hardcore ones you can definitely identify with these points. It’s best to stay away from those people but never let your avoidance be perceived as being weak; its all picking your battles and honestly its probably something that isn’t worth your time.   There are the few, the few people in the office that are genuine and can become a good friend that opens doors for you that you couldn’t have yourself. That’s what makes the whole experience worthwhile. We all have to deal with it, and at the end of the day, you’re there to make money, not to be anyone else’s entertainment.

-T.L.C. (and yes these are my initials)

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