A parent, yes, but not only that

November 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Every once in a while, life throws at you a moment that shifts your perspective as if someone has bumped your viewfinder, leaving you scrambling to refocus. These moments, by definition, happen when you least expect them. I had one while sitting in my hairdresser’s chair.

I was making conversation, as one does, with this woman who’d been cutting my hair for a few years, and she started rattling off the reasons she loved the location of her Brooklyn storefront shop. “I get all sorts of different kinds of customers,” she said. “Artists, writers, dancers, actresses, lawyers, businesswomen …”

When I replay this part in my mind, as I often do, I always pause for a split-second to prepare for what I was unprepared for at the time.

“… moms.” …

Don’t Call Me a Mom (Newsweek/Daily Beast)

No more Ms. Nice Guy

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Being a jerk paysFor years, I tried to be a very nice person at work—a dream colleague, a team player, the sort of woman who gave women a good name in the workplace. I thanked people. I apologized. I expressed concern. I took responsibility for making things right, even when I wasn’t the one who had made them go wrong. Then one day I looked up from my under-challenging, midlevel job and noticed that my boss, who was generally regarded as kind of a jerk, but a smart and talented one, never, ever thanked people. He never apologized. And he didn’t appear to give a rip about what was going on in the lives of anyone around him. He never took responsibility when things went wrong, preferring instead to label someone else the culprit and chew them out.

It suddenly occurred to me: he had gained responsibility, power and a big, cushy salary not despite the fact that he was a jerk, but because of it …

Why Being a Jerk at Work Pays (Newsweek/Daily Beast)

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