I Have a Gripe

March 8, 2016

International Women’s Day -Whatever

So this morning when I logged into Facebook, I was welcomed with the following graphic:

intl-womens-day

<insert eye roll here>

I think days like this are completely bogus. And I’m sure I am going to annoy many of my fellow femme fatales. Let me explain why…

First, I don’t need a day to “celebrate” myself. You should value yourself every day. Second, you are lumping me in to a class that require special treatment and quotas. I hate quotas. I shouldn’t get something (a promotion, raise, job etc.) just because I am a woman. I should get something because I deserve it. You are insinuating that I need the help of someone else to make things happen. All it does is create animosity within a workplace.

I’ve worked in male-dominated fields my entire career. I expected nothing but what I deserve. If I didn’t get something, I would go in and fight for it. I never expected anything to be handed to me just because I am a woman. Have I worked harder than my male counterparts in some cases? Yes. Have I dealt with men who felt I didn’t belong there? Yes. Did I care? Absolutely not. I worked hard and let that speak for me.

Let me give you an example.

I worked on a help desk – generally a male-dominated field. One of my counterparts (a man) had obvious issues with me being a woman (the only woman at the time) in the group. I dealt with it for awhile. When I got sick of him, I didn’t complain to HR or cry discrimination. I cornered him and told him “welcome to America, you’re going to work with women – deal with it.” You know what? He came around and we wound up being great partners at the office. I stood up to him and I think he respected it.

That’s exactly what I’ve always done.

Here’s another example. While still working in IT, I used to support publishing processes. I loved it. I was good at it. Others knew it. Except for one male manager. He was known for not being very forward thinking when it came to women in roles of authority. Now, I wasn’t a manager, but I did have some level of authority. Again, I worked hard. I proved I knew what I was doing and had the knowledge to get the job done. One day when there was an issue he said to me “they should listen to you – you know better than anyone.”

Wow. Just wow. I won the guy over. I proved I knew my stuff. And that compliment from him meant more than he ever realized. And I didn’t need someone wagging their finger at him telling him to be fair. I did it on my own.

So what exactly is my point?

If a company has a boss, manager, etc. that has an issue with women, eventually he will be dealt with. He’ll have a hard time finding people to work for him. He’ll get his. Quotas don’t work with this guy. He’ll just resent them and make it even more difficult for those that are part of his team.

Some say “we need days like this for young girls.” I say absolutely not.

Again, what are we teaching them? Because you are a girl you should expect preferential treatment? No. Tough it out. Work hard. Prove yourself and be confident. Don’t rely on a quota – in college; in the workplace; in life.

So what should we as women do? Encourage each other. Support each other. Celebrate success and acknowledge failure. Personally, I have had more issues with women stabbing me in the back at the office than men. Men are good at the game. They help each other out. Generally women are so focused on getting ahead they don’t care who they step on or stab to get there. You want to know why men think women in the office are bitchy? That’s why.

And if you have kids? Don’t expect even more handed to you. You want to know what really grinds my gears – women who expect not only preferential treatment because they are a woman, but preferential treatment because they have kids. The built-in excuse. Can’t work late? Kids. Can’t take on an extra project? Kids. Then especially don’t complain when you get passed over for a raise or promotion. People used to tell me “well you don’t have kids, so you don’t know.” You’re right. I don’t have kids. I made that decision with my husband a long time ago. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have special circumstances. My answer used to be “well my grandmother is sick – should I wheel her in here like you do your kids?” Prepare for children. Yes, things happen, but it shouldn’t be an automatic excuse for everything. You want to be treated special because you are a woman and mother? Then don’t expect me to applaud you when you get something you don’t deserve because of a quota.

Can you tell I hate quotas?

Now are there situations when female-related issues need special attention? Yes. For example, insurance companies should cover reconstructive surgery for women with breast cancer. They should also, as they are now required to, allow women time in the hospital after childbirth. Both men and women should be allowed time home after childbirth. Beyond that? I can’t think of anything else, but I’m sure I’m missing something important along similar lines.

So my advice is simple. Be tough. Be strong. Be a woman. But don’t expect to be treated differently just because you are a woman.

October 6, 2013

The Capitol Shooting & Deadly Force

This week there was an incident with a woman who was shot and killed by law enforcement after ramming the White House gates with her car and hitting a Secret Service officer.

After the fact of course, all the second guessing began. Did law enforcement need to fire on the vehicle? Did they know there was an infant in the car? If they did feel the need to fire, why didn’t they shoot out the tires?

The family of the woman came out and said that she was suffering from postpartum psychosis and they felt law enforcement didn’t have to shoot.

As always, there are three sides to every story; one side, the other side, and the truth.

While I am sorry this woman had mental and emotional issues, I must stand¬† behind law enforcement. These men and women put their lives on the line every day. Law enforcement in DC have an even more difficult job as they not only have to protect civilians, but Capitol landmarks, politicians, and more. They need to make split second decisions. This woman had already crashed a White House gate and rammed into a Secret Service officer, sending him onto her windshield. Another police officer was injured during a chase down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol. While she did not have a firearm, her car at that point was a deadly weapon. Did they know there was an infant in the vehicle? I don’t know. But she put her child in that vehicle and drove from Connecticut to DC that day.

I have never had a child and never suffered from postpartum psychosis. I am obviously not a doctor, so I really don’t understand all that encompasses this condition. I understand the woman’s family defending her situation and feeling the police should’ve done more to preserve her life. And I am sorry this woman lost her life.

I have many friends and family members in law enforcement and I can say with confidence that police do not use their weapons lightly. It is not something they look forward to doing and understand the ramifications of using their weapon. Did they know she didn’t have a weapon? No idea, but I doubt it. Again, the moment she sent a Secret Service officer flying, she used her car as a deadly weapon.

I will always give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt. Period.

I ask the questions to those second-guessing law enforcement, did you know if that woman had firearms in that vehicle? Did you know if her car was loaded with explosives and could’ve been a terrorist attempting to take advantage of the government shutdown? What would you have done if you had a weapon and had a car coming towards you at full speed?

It is important that law enforcement review every situation and determine if anything could be learned from the response. However, when an officer is put in that situation, all their training kicks in and they will do what they feel is the right thing to keep the area safe and protected.

Just like no one knew what was going through that woman’s mind, no one knew what was going through the minds of law enforcement on a second-by-second basis in a fluid situation in one of the toughest places to protect in the country.

February 25, 2010

My Health Care Summit Review

Well, my eye hasn’t stopped twitching yet, but I want to get this down while my thoughts were fresh. I spent a large portion of the day watching and listening to the health care summit and wanted to provide my two cents, since Washington had their say. Last I checked, it is our opinions that count much more than the opinions of those in Washington.

I believe some type of reform is needed. However, I disagree with the direction this process is taking. So, as I give my review of today’s proceeding, I am going to provide my suggestions on what I think should be done.

First off, I hate the term “entitlement.” No one is “entitled” to anything. You work for what you get. Is life fair? Absolutely not. There are people we all know that we think, “man, they’ve got it easy,” regardless of whatever situation they may have. However, in this life, you pretty much pay your own way. For someone to think they are entitled to something is offensive and ludicrous. Despite what many parents are teaching their kids, not everyone is a winner.

Do I want everyone to have access to health care? Definitely. Should I have to pay for it? Absolutely not.¬† If someone is in a low-income situation, then they should be able to purchase a health care plan on a sliding scale. If someone doesn’t have a vested interest, which yes includes a financial interest, then they have no incentive to take an active role in anything, including their health care.

I believe that people should be allowed to purchase health care on their own across state lines in an effort to foster competition. Just like I can purchase car insurance from anywhere, I should be able to buy health insurance from anywhere.

I believe in tort reform. Period. There are a lot of legitimate medical malpractice occurrences and those doctors should be punished and that individual should receive financial support to help with ongoing medical costs related to the medical mistake they suffered. However, there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits which cause doctors to order more tests to make sure they are completely covered. Perhaps a rotating board of doctors, private citizens, attorneys, and insurance representatives should review “questionable” or “borderline” lawsuits to see if they warrant moving forward. Maybe if a lawsuit that goes through the legal system that is ultimately considered frivolous, the attorney should be forced to pay all related court costs in an effort to make ambulance-chasing attorneys think twice before taking a case that isn’t warranted.

I have to say I didn’t like the tone most of the time. I found it to be contemptuous, disrespectful and at times downright rude. The exchange between the President and Senator McCain was shameful. I often wonder if the President honestly knows that he got the job and isn’t campaigning anymore. By the way, you should look at whomever is speaking with you. Don’t talk “at” or “over” each other just because you don’t like what is being said. These are things we are taught in kindergarten. Some of these lawmakers need to be reminded of these simple courtesies.

As different people spoke, many channels put up graphics about who they were, the state they represent and when they were elected. I saw dates like 1950, 1970 and so on. Why are these people still there? I really think there should be term limits in Congress, but that’s a post for another day.

I agree we need more primary care physicians. They should be the coordinator of one’s health care. Due to the amount of loans many young doctors graduate with, however, many choose to go into lucrative specialties. If the federal government wants to “throw money at the problem,” how about providing loan payback assistance for doctors who become primary care physicians and serve their local communities? By developing long-term relationships with their primary care doctors, ultimately people will be healthier because they won’t wait until a serious problem occurs to seek medical assistance.

I found something Congressman Rangel said very interesting. He said “for many of us, this will be our last year here.” I found this to be very telling. Are they worried about their constituents or their political future? As I sent email messages two my two Senators and Representative, we are all watching what they do, how they vote and there will be consequences for their actions if they do not do what we voted them in to office to do instead of what is politically expedient.

I did not care for the President’s closing remarks. Personally, I often find they way he speaks to be similar to the way a mother lectures a four-year-old. When he “put it in terms people can understand” and used a credit card analogy, I took that to mean he thinks the majority of Americans are too stupid to understand this issue. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have found the American people to be extremely well informed on this issue, very articulate regarding what they oppose and why they oppose it and (unlike most of Congress) have actually read the proposed legislation and ask intelligent questions.

I truly hope this wasn’t just political theater and something useful will come of it. Unfortunately, my cynicism tells me this was another waste of time and the backroom deals will continue. We’ll just all have to continue to watch and see.

November 25, 2009

First the Breasts…Now the Cervix

First, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality wants to change the requirements for mammography screening, now the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has suggested women begin pap smears later in life and have them less often.

The new recommendations report a woman should begin cervical cancer screenings at age 21, regardless of sexual history. Furthermore, pap smears should only occur every two years between ages 21 and 29. They are again attempting to avoid false positives, spare us poor little women such mental trauma and unnecessary exams and treatments.

Obviously, I am not in favor of these changes. Just like the suggested mammography screening changes, they are playing the percentages. My question is how many deaths due to lack of screening are acceptable? How many mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, grandmothers, nieces, granddaughters and friends are OK to loose? Just let us all know and we’ll leave you alone until then.

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