Thursday, October 19, 2017

Six Ways To Say No To Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

As recent revelations about Harvey Weinstein show, sexual harassment in the workplace thrives on silence and secrecy. Once sexual harassment is held up to the light of day and victims come forward, it becomes almost impossible for the harasser to continue his or her inappropriate and hurtful behavior.
Victims have two strong weapons: a willingness to speak up loudly and firmly, and a willingness to disclose what is going on to those who can take action. Here are six ways to foil workplace sexual harassment and to hold perpetrators accountable.
1) Educate Yourself
Know your rights. Every company has an employee handbook that defines the procedure to follow if you feel you have been sexually harassed.
2) Stand Tall
Whenever someone by words or actions does something that makes you feel uncomfortable, draw yourself up, look them in the eye and say in a firm voice (louder than you would normally speak): "Please don't do that. I don't like it." If they laugh or say something like "I was only joking," say directly, "It's not funny to me. Stop. I don't like it." Your distress should be made crystal clear.
3) Honor Your Feelings
Don't assume that you are overreacting or being oversensitive. Stand firmly behind your convictions. Many people find this difficult because they want to be liked by everybody. If a person who makes you uncomfortable does not like you, so what? Your happiness and well being are far more important than being liked by unlikeable individuals.
4) Show and Tell
A co-worker may do something that could be innocuous, but it still makes you uncomfortable. For example, if a co-worker suggests you get together for a drink after work and you prefer not to, you can respond by saying: "What a great idea, I think we should all go out together; let me see what Mary and Tom are doing later." This kind of response diffuses a potentially private and unwanted intimate encounter and makes it into an innocent social event.
If the individual really wants to have some company to wind down after work, including other people will be fine. If the person wants to get you in a potentially sexual setting, they will be put off by the public nature of the situation.
5) Keep the Baby, Throw Out the Bath Water
Sometimes a situation is ambiguous. For example, a boss may want to talk to you about a promotion, but suggests meeting after hours to do so. You are uncomfortable with meeting after work, but most certainly want to discuss a possible promotion. Rather than dismissing the entire situation as unwanted, keep what is worthwhile and appropriate, in this case, discussing the promotion and changing what is inappropriate, the after-hours meeting: "Yes, I'm very interested in discussing a promotion, and I'm available anytime between 9:00 and 5:00 here at the office."
Your boss will either get the hint and respect your preferences, or will not, in which case the situation is no longer ambiguous.
6) Document and Report
It is in your best interest to report any incident of sexual harassment immediately. If you are not sure if something constitutes sexual harassment, err on the side of caution -- report it. Write a brief description of what happened, by and to whom, name of witnesses if any, where the harassment took place, the date and the time. Whenever you report inappropriate behavior, do so in writing even if written documentation is not required by company policy. Keep a copy of the complaint for yourself.
You have the right to work in a sexual harassment-free environment. Respect that right and use the above techniques to help others respect it as well.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Secret to Successful Resolutions: Have Fun!

Remember those New Year’s resolutions you made 10 months ago? Chances are that for most part, you: a) don’t remember them b) wish you didn’t remember them c) regret making them d) are feeling guilty about not living up to them. If you are among the blessed few who actually accomplish all their New Year’s Resolutions, in which case I’m jealous, you don’t need to keep reading this post.

But for the rest of us, here’s the thing: those resolutions, and any other goals you set for yourself along the way, are much more easily and successfully accomplished when you actually enjoy what it takes to get there. An extensive study of a number of different goals, such as getting healthier (exercising & eating ‘healthy’), weight loss, and improved study habits, showed that when people enjoyed the process required to achieve their goals, they stuck with it. Whereas when people, for example, exercised for the sake of better health, but didn’t enjoy the treadmill/whatever else they chose as their method of getting there, guess what? Within about two months, all those good resolutions went down the drain.

Which is terrific news! Because now you don’t need to feel guilty about not succeeding with your New Year’s resolutions or other goals, you simply need to revamp how you go about them.

Certainly, knowing what your desired end result is matters hugely to goal setting. It actually is the goal: losing ten pounds, or firming up that tummy, or getting fit enough to run around after your kids/grandkids, or learning a new language or how to play the guitar (no, not air-guitar!). But having a desired end in mind just isn’t enough to give you the persistence it takes to get there. Not for most of us, anyway. You gotta make it fun!

The secret to fitness, for me, is dance. You can’t pay me enough to get me to jog, cycle or tennis my way into fitness, much less to NordicTrack or go Elliptical--despite all the infomercials that promise it will only take me 20 minutes a day to look like the fabulous models demonstrating the equipment (not even in my dreams!). However, give me a chance to contort myself into ridiculous positions at a ballet barre, jump (attempt to), turn (oy) and leap (sort of) across a dance floor, and I’m there! And I positively revel in the studies that reveal how much dance does for my brain as it shapes up my body.

Choose how you intend to get there as carefully as you choose your goal itself. Make sure you choose your method with having fun in mind. So maybe when it comes to weight loss, for example, enroll a buddy, or your S.O. or whoever else you can corral, sorry--encourage, to join you and make it a game! An adventure in finding the most delicious low-fat low-cal low-carb recipes on earth. Whatever floats your boat.

With that, your chances of accomplishing your goal are excellent. Then, happy and proud, you can announce to yourself and the world at large, “I did it!” Way to go.