Bullies – Not Just Targeting Kids

I know I said I’d be writing Part 4 of my Nurturing series, but I have something else on my mind. Besides, part 4 is proving fairly difficult to write.

I want to talk about bullies.

stop bullying

bul·ly

1 [bool-ee]

noun

a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.

verb
to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.
______________
When we think about bullies, it usually brings to mind children on the bus or playground at school. More often these days, we hear it in the context of someone taking their own lives because they’ve been a victim of relentless bullying for whatever reason. Most of us don’t think about adults being bullied. We tend to think that by the time we become adults, we all know better.
Well that simply isn’t true. Twice over the past few weeks, someone I know has been the victim a bully. I don’t think this person would have ever put the “Bully” label on it, but that doesn’t change the fact they were being intimidated by an overbearing adult. This person essentially agreed to work for free because the Corporate Bully (CB) was unhappy. CB was not pleased with some work this person did. He had been given every opportunity to see progress along the way, but ignored all communication. Once he saw the work he was angry. After realizing his lack of communication was a big part of the problem, he decided to carry on with the work but changed the terms agreed upon by both parties at the beginning. In the end, the person I know is getting the super short end of the stick, but in order to keep peace and get it over with, he agreed to CB’s terms. That means long hours put in and very little compensation.
Just because a person is louder and more forceful than you are doesn’t mean you need to take it lying down. Stand your ground, be strong and fight for yourself. I don’t mean to physically fight, but don’t back down from your principles.
Also, the next time you’re on the phone with a company who has irritated you, or you’re in a super long line and the person running the register is super slow, take a few cleansing breaths and don’t take out your frustration on that person. Don’t be the jerk at the restaurant who treats the server like total trash. Don’t yell at the person making your coffee too slowly for your liking at the coffee shop. If you do act like that, guess what? You’re being a bully.
Being a bully doesn’t make you respected. It doesn’t make you cool or likeable or popular. It makes you a sad, sorry, hated person If you know someone that needs help with bullying, here’s your one stop shop for resources on the subject. StopBullying.gov I would also like to direct your attention to thetrevorproject.org and itgetsbetter.org If you know someone struggling with bullies because of their sexual orientation.

What The @#&%???

cuss

Apparently my kids are not perfect angels. Who knew???

Yesterday the landlord stopped me to tell me a neighbor has pointed my son out to her as a potty mouth. I guess when he’s playing outside away from my ears, he curses like a drunken sailor. He doesn’t bother to look around and see who he might be offending (including his little sister) but just lets it fly.

I’m NOT ok with that. We don’t cuss at our kids. We don’t use the really heavy hitting swear words around them very often. Sure, there are times some words get out, but we never drop the F-bomb.

I understand that kids start to flex their bad-word vocab when they’re in Jr. High and even before. I guess it makes them feel grown up and mature when they use that kind of language. It’s been a reoccurring topic around our home for the past few days as well. I try to make the older kids realize that adults don’t look at teens cussing and think, “Wow, they’re so mature!” More often than not, I look at the teens that are cussing with annoyance, and I get really ticked when they’re doing so loudly with no concern for others around them.

Anyhow, back to my son. He’s out there with little kids all around then doesn’t think twice about the words he’s using.

Then there’s my oldest daughter. She’s been caught trying to make her little sister say all sorts of bad words. The little one usually tells her straight out NO! That’s a bad word!

I remember back when I decided I’d be cool if I used those words, and to be honest, I still use them. I just try to be considerate and don’t cuss around people that are offended by it. My kids need to learn the same lesson as well. Have a little respect for those around you!

Do Not Cross

do not cross

In this day and age, it’s really easy to cross the line with our posts. Between blogs, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and so on, we have a lot of places to air our grievances. But should you?

The answer is a resounding, “NO!” If I feel I’ve been wronged, I might make mention of it over on twitter, but in no way, shape or form and I naming names. I’ll also skip the details and keep it as non-specific as possible. Most of the time I just let it slide.

Recently, I was the focus of a fairly nasty status update. This update turned into a series of off topic comments that just got downright ugly. I’m sure I wasn’t meant to see it, but when it’s out there for the world to see, is it any surprise I did? My mind immediately raced and I wanted to post my own comment, write a rebuttal status update of my own, something, ANYTHING to have my side heard. But what exactly would that accomplish? Nothing. And so I said nothing. Whatever I wanted to say 1) most likely wouldn’t even be seen by the one person I wanted to see it, and 2) wouldn’t change anyone’s mind anyway. Some things are better left unsaid.

Sometimes you just have to let it go.

We must never forget that the internet is a public place. Think before you post. Ask yourself if this is something you’d say to every single person you come across during your day? Would you stand in the middle of Yankee Stadium during the World Series and say it into a microphone for millions of people to hear? If not, then maybe it’s not a good idea to post that status update. Our words have consequences.

And by God, if you have no place talking about something that doesn’t even concern you, then don’t.

For the record, these are things I have to work on as well. I’m not perfect and I’m absolutely guilty of crossing the line. I know this. But I try my best to think about the fact that anyone can access things I say. I have my failures, but I press on and try to do better.

Bad Customer Service

apathy

I might have mentioned here that we don’t really go to many local establishments. Mostly chains. I don’t know why bit this is all across the board, from where we shop to where we eat. However there’s a local restaurant (that’s actually branched out to 3 locations) that has been a local favorite for years. Unfortunately they seem to have lost something in the customer service department.

Jason, Jess, Christian and I went to our favorite Italian place, Lascari’s, on New Year’s Eve. Once we were seated, which didn’t take all that long, the wait for our server felt eternal. The wait for our food was even longer. However, we kept in mind that it was New Year’s Eve, and our server mentioned the kitchen was short staffed. I thought that was understandable, so I didn’t complain.

But last night. Oh my gosh! My aunt, Jess and I went there for dinner. We were debating between eating there or ordering in. She checked the wait time. It was Saturday night around 5 p.m. and was told the wait for a table was only about 10 minutes. We decided it would be faster to just go in and have a meal. Big mistake.

First, the wait wasn’t actually 10 minutes, but closer to 20. Ok it was a Saturday and of course there would be a wait. When we were seated, a very outgoing and charming guy came over and said he’d be our server. Let’s call him Julius because that’s his name. So Julius seemed to be very enamored with my gorgeous aunt and I was all but invisible. Lovely. We ordered water for us and milk for Jessalyn. Jess took a drink and all of a sudden her straw seemed to explode and milk flew all over the place. I checked out the straw and saw a hole in it. I took the straw from my water and placed it in her cup. Julius wandered over to flirt with my aunt some more and asked if Jess preferred to drink from a grown up straw. I assured him no, hers had a hole. So he brought her a new one, but didn’t give me a replacement straw for my water. At this point my aunt ordered a cappuccino only to be told they were out of espresso beans.

After waiting what felt like an eternity (mostly because I was trying to entertain and 3.5 year old) he came to the table to let us know our “food should be out in no less than 3 or 4 minutes.” Did you catch that because I did. No LESS than 3 or 4 minutes. We joked about it after he left the table. Turns out he didn’t misspeak after all. It was good 15 minutes before the food finally came. In the mean time, Jess had crawled under the table and found a stray tomato from someone else’s dinner. I put it on the edge of the table where it sat the entire time we were there. Another thing that sat there was a puddle of milk from the straw explosion and my useless glass of water. Jess had put her holey, milky straw into my water glass. So now my water is all cloudy and nasty looking. I put it on the edge of the table so he could see it was no longer drinkable, but he NEVER asked if I would like a new one.

Ok, so the food comes and about 2 seconds into it he asked my aunt how her food was. Again, I’m invisible.

We had quite a bit left over. Jess’s pasta, my aunt’s pasta and half of my sandwich. He asked my aunt if we’d be needing 2 boxes. I looked at him and said 3 please. He looked totally perplexed. I pointed out Jess’s food, my aunts food and then my sandwich. “Oh. Uhhhh ok” and off he went. A few minutes later the guy who boxes up food came over and started packaging everything up. They have a policy where they pack it up for you, but they never actually touch your food. If you have a sandwich, they ask you to put it on the paper to be wrapped. First, he didn’t bring the paper, he was just going to be tossing my sandwich into a box. Second, he straight picked up my sandwich with his bare hands and plunked it in the box.

Moments later Julius came over, dropped the check and said have a good night. Not, I’ll take this when you’re ready. You pay at the table! They’re lucky she had cash because he had no intentions in coming back to the table. He also didn’t ask if anyone wanted dessert, but my aunt fully intended to get tiramisu to go.

The more I thought about the crap service, the more irritated I became. I ended up going to their website and sending a nice long account of just how poor our service had been. I also mentioned that it was once one of our favorite local eateries, but we have no plans to return there any time soon.

I’m not one of those people that actually complains to a company, but this is out of hand. The past two time I’ve been, I’ve had completely crappy service and that’s not acceptable. If they want me to spend money in their place, they need to step up their game. Oh well, I won’t know if they do because I’m not going back got for quite a while.

You know, with the way people are trying to spend their money more wisely, and going out to dinner is more of a luxory than it once was, you’d think the staff would recognize this and make sure to take care of their customers. If someone’s going to be spending their money on going out to eat, wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to make sure they had a pleasant visit and will think of your establishment when they go out again?

When Your Husband Is Unemployed – A SAHM’s Perspective

now_hiring1

I don’t want to assume everyone knows what SAHM actually means. It means Stay At Home Mom. Meaning I don’t go to work and earn an income.

As of this week, my husband will be out of work for 5 weeks. Our only income at this point is unemployment. And believe me when I tell you I’m not AT ALL confident that we’ll be getting those checks much longer. The California economy is in the toilet right now. Yesterday it was announced that because CA lawmakers couldn’t come to an agreement about the state budget, they will be laying off 20,000 state employees. How much longer before the state says, sorry, there’s just no money to give the tens of thousands of unemployed people in our state alone?

CNN reports that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued 10,000 layoff notices Tuesday, affecting a wide spectrum of

state agencies and employees, in an effort to deal with the budget crisis, a spokesman said.

Another 10,000 layoff notices might be sent Wednesday, the spokesman said. All the layoffs would take effect July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Anyhow, we’re a one income family. We’ve obviously cut out all unnecessary spending to try and make that final paycheck and unemployment money carry us through. A problem I’m starting to see is that Jason is now competing for the same jobs with ousted CEO’s and people that were much higher on the food chain than he’s ever had to compete with before. People who used to make six figure incomes are now having to settle for lesser jobs just to be employed. This means taking jobs that Jason, and others like him are well qualified for, but can’t get because someone who had once never dreamed of taking “that” job, are now forced to do so, just so they can stay afloat.

One of my biggest frustrations comes from the recruiters. Wait wait wait! I’m not going to slam recruiters here so if you’re a recruiter keep reading, please.

I’m glad that he gets calls and emails from recruiters telling him about job opportunities. While none of these opportunities have panned out, it’s nice to know people are looking at Jason’s resume and think he’d be a great candidate form Company X. Where I find myself the most frustrated is when they call, tell you about an “opportunity” and send you the job description, then ask you to let them know if you’re interested or not. So Jason does just that. He reads it over, sometimes sends it to me, and then replies back with yes, I’m interested. Over and over that’s it. There’s never any kind of follow up saying, thanks for the interest, the position has been filled. Thanks for the interest, but Company X doesn’t feel you’re qualified. Thanks for your interest, but we’ve just hired some other poor unemployed sap that’s getting paid $50k less than he’s really worth.

Jason even had a face to face interview with a recruiter who was acting as a screener for the company that was hiring. Jason left the preinterview feeling really good and hopeful. The recruiter flat out told him he was a shoo-in. Guess what? That was the end of it. Jason emailed the recruiter and I’m not really sure what came of that.

Look, if you’re a recruiter and you’ve stumbled upon this post, please take this to heart. Don’t tell someone they’re a shoo-in and NOT FOLLOW UP. Ok, so he didn’t get it, please send an email saying as much. There’s nothing harder for both of us than having my husband’s hopes lifted by a recruiter with yet another “opportunity” only to never ever hear back from that person again. Just send a simple, I’m sorry but you’re not the guy.

And if you are a recruiter that stumbled upon this blog post, thank you for what you do. Thank you for helping people find jobs they otherwise wouldn’t find without your help. All I’m asking is that you remember the people you’re trying to help are worried sick about their future and that of their families. Please, just send a follow up if they didn’t qualify. That’s all I’m asking for. That’s all anyone wants. They just want to know, and not wonder for days. Just write up a little script or something that kicks off a rejection email. We all just want to hear something, anything.

I Wish…

wish

I haven’t had much blogging inspiration lately. I guess that’s kind of a hard thing to come by when nothing changes. Every day is the same thing. There’s no kissing the husband goodbye in the morning as he’s off to work. There’s no anticipating his arrival after a long day. Every day it’s the same. Wake up. Take care of household chores. Go in the room and see Jason at his desk doing what he can to get a job. Feeling suffocated by the lack of space here a lot of the time. Trying to make Jess understand she can’t be in there bothering her daddy all the time. That’s a hard one that she doesn’t understand. He’s home so why can’t he play with her all day?

Well here’s what’s been on my mind lately. A big ol’ wish list.

I wish someone would hire my super amazing, talented and hardworking husband

I wish I didn’t have to wonder if we’ll be able to make rent next month

I wish I had more food in the house

More than that, I wish we could go to an actual sit down restaurant for dinner.

I wish someone would serve ME for once.

I wish I had a dishwasher.

I just wish things could go back to the way they’re supposed to be. I don’t want my days to be weighed down by worry anymore. Not this financial worry anyway. I’d rather worry about the little things that don’t matter so much. Things like, what should I make for dinner, not how the heck am I going to put something together with what we have because I’m not sure I can afford to get more groceries.

I wish I didn’t feel like I’m going to implode, or burst into tears all the time, or completely go off on my poor unsuspecting family for no reason.

So, here’s to hoping that something good comes along soon and I can go back to complaining about the small insignificant things like where I’m going to go for dinner or which craft items i’ll be buying simply because I can and I want to.

Sucker Punched

unlucky2

I wish I could start this with something like, “I’m a positive person by nature,” but that’s not exactly the case. That’s not to say I see everything in a negative light, I see things for what they are most of the time. I’ve never looked at the past year and said it was particularly great or particularly bad. I’ve never looked at the upcoming year and said it would be a great one, or a bad one.

And then on January 1 this year, I was having a really horrible day. Most of it stemmed from having the older kids home for so long since they were on winter break. Caitlin is 14 and Christian is 12. They do not get along. At. All. It’s really rare when they do. Most of the time when they’re together, there’s tension in the room. I often have to break up fights or try and stop the nit-picking before it turns into a war.

I’d gone off by myself for a little while to purchase some books, and as I was leaving the bookstore, I got a phone call from Caitlin complaining about her brother being “annoying and stupid” or something. I lost it. I really lost it. I couldn’t even leave for an hour without getting a phone call from one of them complaining about their sibling? In the end, I said something pretty mean and Caitlin hung up on me. I didn’t go home right away because I needed to calm the heck down, but when I did, I was pretty much done with my entire family that day.

I didn’t really talk to any of them, Jason and Jess included. I even thought to myself if this is how 2009 was going to be, I was going back to bed until 2010. Of course I didn’t believe that one bad day would indicate a bad year coming.

Now? I’m not so sure. We’re 15 days in and things haven’t gotten much better. So far we’ve dealt with difficult kids (more than usual is seems), and a very uncomfortable child support/custody issue ripe with a lot of tension.

And then the sucker punch. For the second time in 6 months my husband was laid off. The first time back in August was scary. However, he was only out of work for 5 weeks. He also received a fairly decent severance package. This time, we’re not in as good of a position. He’d only been with this company for 3.5 months. Apparently the economy caused them to trim the fat, tighten the belt. I don’t know that I’m able to say anything else, so I guess I’ll leave it at that. It’s really unfortunate that the last person hired means first person out when layoff’s happen. There’s not anything that could have been done. It wasn’t because he’s a poor employee or slacking off. There’s just nothing that can be done. No way to save yourself when a company decides they need to save costs and you’re the lowest guy on the totem poll.

I’m hoping and praying that we’ve maxed out our trials for 2009. Maybe we can get the majority of the bad crap over with before February 1 and the rest of the year will be a dream. A good dream instead of the nightmare it’s shaping up to be.