Friday, September 21, 2012

The Real Bully Problem

Bullying has been in the forefront of news and community movements for a couple of years now and I've always been on the fence about the best approach or solution to the problem. The focus over the past few years has been on stopping bullying but I'm not sure that's truly possible. I see too many adults participating in bullying for me to believe that these same adults can convince their children not to bully.

Adults certainly bully. We just don't call them bullies. We call him a jerk or we call her a bitch.

I have had several situations over the past year that I think would fall under bullying - rather, someone trying to bully. I've had a taller, larger male colleague step in very close towards me while trying to make his point in a heated discussion. While I was thinking "Hold up, is this dude stepping to me?", I had to suppress my "street" reaction and figure out how to navigate the situation like a professional. I put my hand up to stop him from getting any closer, said what I had to say, then walked out (which is basically my street reaction minus swears). Jokes aside, I had to set some boundaries to let this man know I was not going to tolerate certain behavior. And if he was going to talk to me in an aggressive way he wasn't going to be talking to me at all.

The work place can mirror the school playground. All of the players are there - the mean girls, the outcasts, the in crowd, the superstars and yes, the bullies. It never stops. When your parents told you things would be different when you got older, they lied. All this behavior carries into adulthood and the key things to know are how to navigate,  how to stand your ground, and how to give an intellectual smack down if you need to.

Now this isn't a cure all solution but I think it would help.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall Possibilities

This is my favorite time of year. I love the transition from summer to fall - the cool weather, the fall colors - I love it all. It's also the time of year that I start to get excited about possibilities. It's probably because growing up this was "back to school" time - the beginning of a new school year. It was the time to make declarations about how my life would be over the next nine months or so. I guess I just never grew out of that. I tend to make more plans and resolutions as fall arrives than I do at the promise of a new year. This fall I plan to move full steam ahead on the next phase of my life, my dream of opening an upscale plus-size clothing boutique. Today, I took one step closer to my dream!

Over the summer I was accepted into the Small Business Legal Clinic at Western New England University and today I had my first meeting with the team of law students that will help me with my business. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but I was greeted by two very sharp, very nice, and very knowledgeable third year law students. I left the meeting feeling overwhelmed initially. They raised a lot of legitimate concerns and gave me a lot to think about. I started to get a feeling of dread... could I really make this happen? Of course I can. That fleeting moment of doubt was soon replaced by sheer excitement. I'm ready to go! Yay for possibilities!