WHEN THE DAYS BLUR TOGETHER

Not sure if it’s an age thing but lately it seems like my days are blurring together.  Maybe it’s a 40-something kind of bug…..Perhaps part of it is the volunteer overtime I’ve been completing or feeling a bit under the weather….but one day is merging into the next and either it’s workplace fatigue or in need of an extended vacation.

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Fatigue doesn’t usually come out of no-where. Lifestyle habits and underlying health issues usually are the culprit:

  • Medical causes – Can be an undiagnosed illness such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, arthritis, going through “the change”
  • Lifestyle- – Sleep deprivation, long work hours, partying too hard (as if!!!)
  • Emotional concerns and stress – Depression and grief are usually the culprit.  A stressful home life, family worries….

The solutions are simple (if you are willing to embrace change)

Eating a balanced diet, addressing any issues or concerns you have at work or at home is usually a good place to start.  Control your workload (if able)

It all begins with the first step ( sometimes the most challenging) and before you know it you’ll find yourself with more energy to enjoy the things you used to be able to do. Just remember to take time out for yourself. I should also practice what I preach.  Perhaps a nice vacation in the tropics, cool breezes, sandy beaches, and a glass of rum is the sure thing to turn my frown upside down.    😉

What it’s like being a federal employee

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A federal employee is an individual employed by the U.S. federal government. Employees receive positions and promotions based on “grades” that are obtained through work history, employment duration and other factors. Federal employees have the benefits of transferring to other federal positions when openings are available. (source)

Ever since I can remember I wanted to serve my country and I did both within the military and in the public sector.  Being the nerd that I sometimes can be….I knew the path I’d take would be a difficult one.  I had no connections, grew up in an obscure Mid-America little town, and came from a comfortable middle class life.

What made me succeed was perseverance and having a positive attitude, an inner fire that was also a fighter to go after the things I felt were important to me.  The military provided me a structured path, the discipline and fortitude to reach my goals.

College first then full-time employment.

It took a little while to get to where I am today, and I still see myself climbing the ladder of success one challenging rung at a time.

Naysayers think federal employees are lazy, not worth the pay all of us, including me, we dole out through taxes.

Trust me when I say the National Archives of Saint Louis is one agency where all employees, in some fashion or another, earn their pay.

Unless you are management, meetings are few and far between (excluding weekly team and core meetings)

  • Yes, things seem to run at a slower pace working for “The Man” perhaps it’s because we have to ensure all regulations and compliance are met.
  • It is like a private sector job, however unlike our counterpart, getting rid of a federal employee can be a monumental task (unless it be a moral transgression)
  • There are still high-schoolish cliquish behaviors. If you work for the feds (and even if you don’t) rise above that nonsense because gossip is childish and there’s simply no place for it within a professional work environment.
  • Despite some challenges, like in any workforce, the benefits are great and worth holding on to.

Anything and everything is possible as long as you believe it to be

I think there’s no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world.

Jack Lew

I deserve more pay!

I cannot even begin to dissect as to how I feel when it comes to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Is a raise needed?

Sure…..

but at $15 an hour no.

There are people who work in the federal government who make less than $15.00 an hour and do far more complicated work. I made less than that while serving on active duty.

I made less than that when starting out at my current agency.

I won’t even get into the rest of today’s military and what they do for their pay. Sure, we all need a cost of living raise. Inflation is a b!tch.

How about re-evaluating WHY it takes more $$$$$$ to obtain basic necessities and fix THAT???????????

My rant for the day started after reading the following article by Matt Walsh and the push for a $15 minimum wage:

 

Dear fast food workers,

It’s come to my attention that many of you, supposedly in 230 cities across the country, are walking out of your jobs today and protesting for $15 an hour. You earnestly believe — indeed, you’ve been led to this conclusion by pandering politicians and liberal pundits who possess neither the slightest grasp of the basic rules of economics nor even the faintest hint of integrity — that your entry level gig pushing buttons on a cash register at Taco Bell ought to earn you double the current federal minimum wage.

I’m aware, of course, that not all of you feel this way. Many of you might consider your position as Whopper Assembler to be rather a temporary situation, not a career path, and you plan on moving on and up not by holding a poster board with “Give me more money!” scrawled across it, but by working hard and being reliable. To be clear, I am not addressing the folks in this latter camp. They are doing what needs to be done, and I respect that.

Instead, I want to talk to those of you who actually consider yourselves entitled to close to a $29 thousand a year full time salary for doing a job that requires no skill, no expertise, and no education; those who think a fry cook ought to earn an entry level income similar to a dental assistant; those who insist the guy putting the lettuce on my Big Mac ought to make more than the Emergency Medical Technician who saves lives for a living; those who believe you should automatically be able to “live comfortably,” as if “comfort” is a human right.

 

SOURCE (read more here)

 

WHAT does it take to be a great leader?

“No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better.”

― Jim Yong Kim

First, practice a bit of humility thrown in some charisma and then add a little bit of humor.

 

 

Being a good leader means acknowledging when you’ve made a mistake, taking ownership of it and learning from the feedback you received from your fellow peers.

 

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Hyprocrisy at its finest

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hy·poc·ri·sy
hiˈpäkrisē/
noun
noun: hypocrisy; plural noun: hypocrisies
The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
What I can never understand is how people can go around acting in a certain manner but God forbid if you did the exact same thing there’s hell to pay.

I’ve seen various relationships affected by this so-called “double standard” from family, marriages, friendships and yes, even coworkers.

If said individuals cannot get a grip on themselves then it’s best to either discover the root of the problem (if possible) and if solve it.

 
HOW they can justify their behavior and yet criticize you for doing the same is beyond my mental and emotional capacity.

If said person continues to be a toxic element in your life the best (and at least for me…most L.O.G.I.C.A.L. solution is to simply get rid of them by leaving or if forced to interact (such as with a coworker) do so as sparingly as possible–if only to to simply preserve your own precarious sanity.  :)

(Un)Professionalism in the workplace

We all have to deal with irate coworkers, rude, obnoxious…ill-mannered for 8 hours plus a day. We see these people more than we see our own family and friends!!

Tell me, HOW is it that some of these individuals were able to land a job? They go around intimidating others, using foul language and whatnot.  Perplexes me to the hilt!

And it’s management’s fault to allow this type of behavior to continue.

Is there fear some type of discrimination suit will follow? And why is that? If you are able to document such unsavory behavior at the onset with time, dates, individuals involved, counseling statements (get the picture) there SHOULD be a way to rectify the situation.

Just seems to me from what I’ve heard and seen by others that people are afraid to call others to the carpet (so to speak) and get to the bottom of such nonsense. I personally have no time to deal with childish foolishness. Whatever personal problems you have outside of the agency KEEP THEM THERE!

If you hate your job that much FIND SOMETHING ELSE!

Trust me, there are hundreds of individuals who would more than readily take over your position and do an even BETTER job if they are just given the chance!

According to USATODAY, there are 5 common unprofessional workplace behaviors we need to be aware of:

1. Your wild and crazy night

So last night you went out and had the time of your life. You and a group of a dozen of your friends went out on the town, went to all the best bars and night clubs, and you met the most amazing girl (or guy.) You woke up at your friend’s house just in time for work, barely able to remember what happened for the latter half of the evening.

That’s your business. But it’s probably not something you should share with the rest of the office. Sure, it’s great to share some superfluous information about yourself with your colleagues — maybe tell them about your obsession with the TV show America’s Next Top Model. But talking about drinking or a crazy night out with co-workers may be asking for trouble, and it’s best to leave that out of the office.

2. Mr. or Ms. Defensive

In business, not every comment directed your way is going to be positive. Constructive criticism is vitally necessary for any office to run smoothly. Having too thin of a skin, and being unable to handle any type of criticism is unprofessional, but it’s often viewed more as a personality trait than a behavior. “Oh, Joe is just really sensitive about his work” or “Jane really does her best, but she gets upset when someone thinks her work is lacking.”

Why? Aside from the sheer fact that we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, Field Law discusses the changing dynamics of the healthcare system and an employee’s need to maintain a currency of professional knowledge. Although the publication refers specifically to the healthcare system, this would really apply in any business system. When employees don’t maintain knowledge in their field, we hear those “this is how we did it when I was trained 10 years ago” responses. Failure to maintain such current knowledge, or seek assistance where needed, may result in a level of insecurity or defensiveness on the part of an employee.

3. Being non-responsive

What do you do when you don’t like the contents of an email? What if it warrants a reply? Ignore it? Ignoring communications is yet another unprofessional behavior. Just about everyone is busy (not just you), and ignoring a problem will not make it go away.

If you make a commitment to a customer, subordinate, your boss, or a co-worker, do you keep that promise? Breaking promises or making promises that you cannot keep falls under this category as well. Be direct and straightforward.

4. Laziness

No one is at 100% all of the time, and you’re going to have those days where you only have about 75% of your energy available for the day. However, the important thing is to give your best every day, no matter what, even if your best is a little tired on Mondays. “If you collect 100 percent of your paycheck, you owe 100 percent work effort,” reads a Compete Outside the Box publication.

Shamming is the act of intentionally avoiding work. Many people place more effort into shamming than they would have to place into simply doing their jobs correctly. For instance, say a cashier has to run back and forth between sitting down in the break room and his register every time a customer comes into the line. He makes 20 trips back and forth, just to get away from his line for a combined total of 12 minutes, while his boss is in the back of the store, unable to see that he’s “shamming.” If the cashier just stayed at his register, he could have placed much less effort into simply standing there waiting for customers.

5. He said, she said

Gossip is a notoriously problematic concern within the workplace. Jane and Joe were talking behind Sue’s back. “She’s so lazy, why did she get the promotion,” one coworker may say about another Or: “Did you hear his wife left him?” the office big mouth says to a group of workers. This type of behavior is not only unprofessional, it causes conflicts and deters collaborative efforts among teams.

Along the same lines, blaming others for your mistakes is also unprofessional. “I wanted to do it the right way, but Joe told me that it was supposed to be done this way.” Taking responsibility for yourself and your actions is a mark of a professional.

(source)


 

Passive-aggressiveness seems to be a common trait.  If an individual doesn’t like your answer, or doesn’t like you…..don’t expect any action, any time soon. And I group that with laziness.  Don’t get me started on THAT one!   :(

I also hear about a lot of office gossip and I for one refuse to partake.  Am here to work, not make someone else’s life miserable.

And don’t get me started on the very personal conversations I’ve overheard through the years. Keep that stuff to yourself or outside of the office.

The solution is really quite simple…clean up your act or leave.

 

Not that difficult.

A Bittersweet Ending

With over 11 “good years” in service I will close a long bittersweet chapter in my life. I am saying goodbye to the military. Various personal reasons abound, suffice to say it’s time to let go.

The Army helped mold me into the woman I am today. Good or bad this unique American sub-culture gave me insight, better perspectives, discipline, and adventure throughout various times of my life.

I know I’ll miss it, the unique friendships, the regimental ways (some not all lol) and wearing the uniform. I still have my dress blues and will pass those on down to my grandchildren (when I get them).

Don’t know how I’ll truly feel once “it’s over.” I received my honorable discharge and will officially be out September 17th. I wish my unit the best, especially now that their current deployment rotation is over and anything at this point is possible.

 

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The Fog

Not sure how many people out there saw the movie but as soon as the fog rolled in after 6am when my early butt gets to work, had to take this picture of our parking lot:

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GLOSSOPHOBIA

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Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general.[1] The word glossophobia comes from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread. Many people only have this fear, while others may also have social phobia or social anxiety disorder. (source)

NEVER been a fan of this.  I can remember in 1st grade when I began competing in spelling bees (and doing quite well I might add) and the stage fright I would experience each and every time. Then it went on with our elementary Christmas plays, on to giving classes over soldier’s common task skills for the Army. Just not my thing.

Perhaps it has hampered my success considering I am more of a “behind the scenes” type of person. I would make the perfect researcher/scholar in that I love delving into facts….presenting them is another story. However, I also understand that in order to achieve certain goals in mind, I need to step out of my comfort zone and grab this bull by the horns.

There are many wonderful organizations out there for those of us who suffer this type of social anxiety. Here is a listing of just a few:

Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is perhaps the most well-known public speaking organization in the world. TI boasts nearly 300,000 members in 116 countries around the globe. Their meetings, which occur at least monthly in every chapter, are not led by a teacher or trainer. Instead, members make presentations and evaluate one another on their speaking skills. Members are often asked to give short impromptu speeches. Exercises like this prepare speakers to field questions from audiences and potential clients. TI is a respected speaking organization and can provide great networking opportunities. TI does not base memberships on prior speaking qualification. Rather, TI is open to anyone who wishes to improve their public speaking skills and is willing to spend the time and effort to do so. It is an ideal organization for individuals new to public speaking. TI is also an excellent organization for business and community leaders who do not wish to speak professionally but must speak in the capacity of their jobs.

 

Rotary International & Rotary Clubs

The Rotary Club is widely known as a philanthropic organization which brings together business people and community leaders. Members of the Club, known as Rotarians, usually hold weekly meetings. The meetings are social events and also provide a time to plan and implement the Club’s service goals. The Rotary Club also helps members hone their public speaking skills. Rotarians enjoy representing their Club in their communities and so practice short speeches to explain their goals, projects, and service ethic. Generally, a Rotary Club meeting features a speech by a member. The speeches often relate to events and issues in the community, service the member has performed in the community or abroad, or business issues. Rotarians engage in open dialogue after speeches, which helps speakers further hone their audience relation skills. Rotary Clubs are also a great place to network.

The National Speakers Association

Unlike Toastmasters International and the Rotary Club, The National Speakers Association is exclusively for individuals who make a fee for speaking publicly or individuals who aspire to speak publicly as a profession. In addition to offering support and advice to public speakers, the NSA also offers entrepreneurial coaching. Learning how to effectively manage the business side of a speaking career is very important. The Academy for Professional Speaking is a special NSA program which helps speakers with serious skill make the leap to speaking for pay. The Academy combines distance learning with face-to-face classes over the course of a year. Every Academy culminates in a one-day institute that also serves as the opening for the NSA’s yearly conference.

The American Motivational Speakers Bureau

Also known as the American Speakers Bureau, this organization is similar to the NSA in that it offers benefits and services for tested professional speakers. The AMSB maintains an extensive listing of motivational speakers and their areas of specialty. Many of the speakers they represent are celebrities with strong backgrounds in public speaking. They provide consultation services to clients seeking speakers, meaning that they match professional speakers with a variety of paid speaking opportunities. In order to become listed with the AMSB, you will have to send in an extensive application that includes a sample of your speech program, references, professional live recordings of your speeches, and other pertinent information. Though becoming listed as an AMSB speaker can be time consuming, it is certainly worthwhile in terms of engagement opportunities.

Joining Speaking Organizations to Increase Skill & Entrepreneurship

Both experienced public speakers and those who are just beginning to hone their skills benefit from joining speaking organizations. These organizations help all speakers improve their presentations and gain the business acumen and confidence to succeed in the world of public speaking. These groups also help speakers understand what they need to do in order to gain an audience. No matter what your speaking level, practicing your presentations will always help you improve and can help you identify new topics and areas of interest you may be able to speak about.

(source)

Venting is a new hobby

iStock-000001624654XSmallThere is so much negativity in the world and our local/national news takes the cake when it comes to spewing forth toxic information.  With that being said, all of us who have a 9 to 5er are “used” to dealing with negativity whether that be co-workers or our bosses.

It is unconscionable dealing with certain individuals who think it’s there God-given right spreading either rumors or putting down fellow team mates.  What gives these people the right to either ridicule or spread lies about the work ethnic of others?

If you are not part of their “crowd” then God forbid if you step out of line…though the same favorites who do the exact same thing (and worse) always smell like a rose.

If you are unsure whether or not your boss has issues check this info out and leave me a comment about your own horror stories:

7 Signs of a Dysfunctional Boss

The game has rules, but the rules keep changing. It’s a relatively common but insidious game I call “chaos and control.” If they sense you becoming disloyal, too comfortable, or too powerful, they’ll want to knock you off the pedestal they’ve put you on. By bringing you down, it boosts their position relative to yours. One day you’re the golden boy, a trusted advisor who can do no wrong. The next day you’re a bumbling idiot.

Major focus on minutiae. One Fortune 500 CEO was obsessed with my clothes and appearance. He wasn’t alone in that peculiarity; it’s a sign of a controlling person. And whatever details get their maniacal attention, whatever the object of their obsessive compulsion, it’s really just a way to distract their brains from facing their own sadness, fear or depression. That’s why it’s often triggered by stress and bad news.

A “man of the people.” I just saw “The Last King of Scotland” about Uganda’s former President Idi Amin last week and nearly fell off my chair at how common that particular mantra is among dysfunctional leaders. In reality, they thrive on attention and adoration from the masses to feed their deep-seated insecurity but are rarely capable of any true emotional connection with others.

Hypersensitive and vindictive when rejected. Everything’s about them — you’re just a tiny little asteroid revolving around their planet-sized ego. Anything you do that they perceive as rejection, even if you’re just not letting them be the center of attention, is a personal affront. There will be repercussions. Some are direct, bullying or verbally abusive; others are more subtle, underhanded or passive-aggressive.

Failure is not an option. They’re always pointing fingers, making excuses, and blaming others because they can never really be wrong in their own eyes. They will say they’re not perfect, that they make mistakes, but you’ll never get them to admit to one in real time. To do so would potentially fracture that fragile facade of being special and Godlike. Deep inside, they’re really frightened children, which is why the pretense is so critical to maintain.

Loves distraction, hates surprises. They revel in the tiniest distraction. They can be entertained or even entertain themselves with surprisingly silly diversions. Anything to take them away from the depressing reality of boring, mundane, day-to-day life that mere mortals must endure. But surprise them with serious news, especially bad news in front of others, and you’re in big, big trouble.

Sees conspiracy everywhere. Since the world revolves around them, they see conspiracy in coincidence and deep meaning in incidental remarks. That’s why they so often overreact or even panic over what appears to be nothing. Little things become life-threatening. Why? Even though it’s stressful for them, it also affirms their self-importance and makes them feel big. Grandiosity is often a response to depression.