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.

July 8, 2014

The American Dream & Happiness

Filed under: company interaction,Economy — alvb1227 @ 12:24 am
Tags: , , ,

I plugged in my headset at the gym today at lunch and listened to a section of Outnumbered on Fox News. The topic? A USA Today study that has determined a salary of $130,000 is required to live the “American dream.”

The discussion jumped around in an attempt to answer the question “why.” Topics included tax policy, student loans, social engineering, a lack of free markets, and housing prices. What really got my attention was when Harris Faulkner, a favorite of mine, tied in the concept of happiness, citing studies that once a person reaches a $70,000 salary, their level of happiness doesn’t change. She was able to turn the entire discussion to happiness and what makes an individual happy as far as their own personal American dream.

The discussion turned again to jobs and what makes a person happy in their work. A point was made that people often focus on their job as their source of income instead of a way of making themselves happy. This is a subject that has always fascinated, and frustrated, me.

In recent years, whenever this topic comes up, the standard answer is “just be happy you have a job.” Yes, I completely understand in this harsh economic market anyone who has a job should just be happy and keep quiet. However, year after year, as this rotten economy goes on, when are we as a society allowed to say “yes, I want to be happy in my work as well as make money?”

Think about it. A full time employee spends on average 40 to 45 hours a week (minimum) at their place of employment. That equates to approximately 25% of your time during the week (including sleeping hours) at your job. You generally spend more time with your co-workers than your family. Why shouldn’t we strive to be happy at work?

Now I  can go down a rabbit hole here and ask why employers choose to treat their employees poorly, especially in a bad economy, but I won’t.

I simply ask this – at what point in our working lives are we allowed to want more than just a salary?

January 18, 2014

My Reality on Reality Shows

I fully admit it – I generally don’t watch reality shows. I’ve never seen an episode of Survivor, American Idol, or any of the “Real Housewives” shows. And I certainly never watched Jersey Shore. I never understood the interest or attraction. Most of these shows seem like nothing but train wrecks. I don’t really care who the Kardashians are and the whole Honey Boo Boo thing is just plain scary. I do watch Duck Dynasty, American Pickers, American Restoration, and Pawn Stars. They are all about successful family businesses. I especially enjoy the love and faith expressed during Duck Dynasty and I always learn something interesting during American Pickers, American Restoration, and Pawn Stars. These are the few I find not a complete waste of time.

So I am sure I am late to this party, but I just learned Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s big claim to fame is that she was on Survivor. And she replaced a person who won Miss America.

This is the best that is out there to anchor a national morning program?

Now I’m going to sound like a cranky old woman…

When I was younger, if someone wanted to be famous they needed a skill. Be an actor. A ground-breaking researcher. An athlete. They needed to do…something.

Now? Make a fool of yourself on a television program. Make a sex tape. Let the entire world see what a train wreck your family is. Pow – you’re famous.

What are we teaching our children? That this is acceptable behavior? Go on a ridiculous reality show and become a millionaire.

Now being famous is the skill.

September 14, 2013

We are Still Jersey Strong

“I Feel Like I Want To Throw Up” ~Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey

Gov. Christie said pretty much what many of us were saying on Facebook on Thursday. As I watched the coverage of the Seaside fire on the WABC website, I felt physically ill. All the work those businesses did to come back after the unthinkable damage from Sandy – most of it literally went up in smoke. Over 400 firefighters reported to Seaside Park and Seaside Heights to fight this unbelievable 10-alarm fire. It is a true miracle no one was killed or seriously injured.

 The Carousel Arcade

The Carousel from The Carousel Arcade in Seaside. Sadly, it was destroyed in the fire. (from the Facebook page of The Carousel Arcade)

Anyone who lives in Jersey knows summer down the shore is a right of passage as a teenager. As couples get married and have children, they head down to walk the boardwalk with the next generation and that right of passage continues. My day down the shore would always end heading south down the boardwalk. After playing skee ball at Lucky Leo’s, I would make sure to have a cheese steak and lemonade at The Midway, I walk down and play the wheel at the Union Jack, continue down the boardwalk to ride the antique carousel, and enjoy an orange creme cone from Kohr’s. Maybe hit the raw bar under the Log Flume or hang out at The Saw Mill. Then on the way out I would hit Berkeley Sweet Shop to get salt water taffy for Grandma.

It is all gone.

Just as all these businesses started to get back on their feet after Sandy, they are hit hard again.  How much can these business owners take?

Of course in Jersey’s typical dark humor, I heard people say we are being punished for allowing that nightmare of a television show “Jersey Shore” exist. There are some that wonder if it was intentionally set and it just got out of control.

No matter what, I think these business owners need time to take a breath, be allowed back into their location

Funtown Fire

Photo: WABC News

(they haven’t been allowed in yet), see what their options are, and consult with their families.

Michael Carbone, owner of The Beachcomber who had to be dragged out after trying to protect his place by fire fighters, is absolutely determined to rebuild. Others, may be too beaten down.No matter what they decide, they will definitely have the support of everyone who have made memories down the shore.

But you know what? We are Jersey Strong. And we’ll rally like we always do and we’ll be back.

October 26, 2011

OWS: Open the Way to Socialism

Filed under: Economy,government,Politics — alvb1227 @ 11:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

When I watch the coverage of Occupy Wall Street (also know as OWS), I hear things like “it isn’t fair.” “I am the 99 percent.” “Share the wealth.” OK, I’ve had it with OWS.

First, let’s all face it – life isn’t fair. Is it fair my mother-in-law died from breast cancer in her 50’s after leading a clean life? Is it fair my beloved Uncle Sonny died before he got to retire? Is it fair that people with zero scruples get ahead? No, of course not. Does it bug the bejesus out of me? Absolutely. But life isn’t fair. The sooner you learn that the better of you are.

Second, learn to rely on yourself. If you don’t think you can handle the bills of a fancy private college, then DON’T GO TO THAT COLLEGE. Don’t wait for someone (or the government) to rescue you. Do you know when I finished paying off my college loans? After I was married 10 years. I  moved home with my parents after I graduated college and left a year and a half later when I got married.

Don’t make your happiness reliant on someone’s else punishment or misery. The OWS crew wants to “punish” the “rich” because the protesters have it tough. If all you are doing is waiting for karma to come around to your satisfaction, you’ll be waiting a long damn time. Let’s think about this. They want to punish the rich and the wealthy and redistribute those funds to others. So why would someone want to succeed if all that will happen is the federal government will take that money and give it to someone they feel is more deserving? This will do nothing but create a sea of mediocrity. This is the very definition of socialism.

Finally, yes, the economy is different. Yes, you have to think out of the box. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, and the beloved late Steve Jobs everyone is praising as of late all made their own way. They weren’t born into wealth. They were creative. They looked for opportunities. They are examples of the greatness American can provide, regardless of their background.

OWS is really Open the Way to Socialism if you ask me.

March 27, 2011

Customer Service and Verizon

So, in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t done a post in a while. This is for good reason. Verizon left me without a phone or DSL for exactly one week. Now, I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but it is unfortunately just another round in the joy of being a Verizon customer.

About every eight months, we loose our phone and internet service. And every time it takes a week to get it resolved. The funny thing is that it is the same issue each time. I call, tell them it is a problem on the pole. They dispatch someone to come three or four days later. They check the house and the basement and determine that yes, it is a problem on the pole.  They dispatch a “splicer.” He doesn’t show for two or three days. I pitch a fit and then it is resolved right before the end of the day on a Friday or Saturday. The resolution (according to Verizon)? They needed to create a new splice. Big freakin’ shock.

Where we live we only have copper, so there is no Fios in our future. Here is the biggest joke. As I ask others about their service with companies like Comcast and Cablevision, they have similar thoughts I have about Verizon. “The service is great, but their customer service sucks.”

Customer Service. Let’s think about this term. Service to and for the customer. These large companies call it “customer service” and have “customer service departments,” but do they really care? Honestly, I doubt it.

I remember as a kid, my mother going to East Orange to the “phone company” (in the good ‘ol days of Ma Bell) to pay a bill, resolve an issue or exchange a piece of equipment. You know the people who worked there and they knew you. They were your  neighbors and members of the community. Now? You have no idea where you are calling and more than half the time, it is on the other side of the world.

Small businesses understand that a big part of their business’ success directly relates to their service to the customer. As small businesses become major companies, customer service seems to fall by the wayside.

Companies like Orvis, LL Bean, Starbucks and Cabela’s are a few exceptions that come to mind. These companies never forgot what customer service is all about. Why? They have a passion for what they do and that passion shines through each and every day to their customers.

How much money is wasted by big businesses managing customer complains and screw-ups? Companies like Verizon should consider taking a page or two from the playbooks of Cabela’s and the like. Ultimately, they would have better customer loyalty and a more satisfied customer base.

March 12, 2011

Letter from Roger Goodell – Shameful

Filed under: Economy,General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 4:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has appealed directly to the fans by emailing out a letter to everyone on their mailing list. I received this email and I was outraged.

I sent Mr. Goodell the following response:

Dear Mr. Goodell,
I received your email to the fans of the NFL and wanted to express my outrage for everyone involved.

In today’s economy people are out of work, barely hanging on to their homes and truly struggling. And what is happening here? Both sides are fighting over how to split up the billions made by the NFL. I think it is important to remember it is the fans who pay the outrageous ticket prices and purchase over-priced jerseys. In my opinion, all involved are incredibly selfish and insensitive.

The players make millions doing exactly what they want to do. Add to that the endless opportunities for product endorsements and the potential for television analyst jobs after their playing career has ended.

The owners spend more and more on mega-stadiums and expect the fans to pay, often in the minimum triple-digits, for tickets. Add to that the cost of parking, some food and a souvenir of some type, and you can could be looking at a thousand-dollar day for a family to see a game.

Meanwhile, the NFL, and you specifically Mr. Goodell, sent out a letter to the fans of the NFL saying “First and foremost it is your passion for the game that drives us all, and we will not lose sight of this as we continue to work for a deal that works for everyone.” Well, I would have to say sir, the fans are last on the list of all those involved.

I would like to remind you all of the ramifications of the last lock-out. It took a long time to win back the fans of the NFL. If it happens again in the midst of so many struggling to make ends meet, the NFL will suffer more now than the last time. It will appear just as it seems to me – millionaires fighting over billions.

Shame on all of you,

Do I think he will see or read this? I highly doubt it. However, the NFL, the players union and the owners need to understand exactly what is at stake if the season goes to a lock-out and doesn’t happen. As usual, many who make millions, even if they are self-made, have forgotten what “normal” day-to-day life is all about. Honestly, I doubt they really care.

December 28, 2010

Philly’s Wussy-Bowl

Filed under: General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 9:17 pm
Tags: , ,

I have to agree with Pennsylvania’s Governor Ed Rendell, we are a nation of wussies.

For the first time since the 1940’s, a football game will be played on Tuesday night. This is due to the blizzard that occurred up and down the eastern seaboard over the weekend.

Now, I hate the cold. I would NEVER go to a game in this type of weather, however, this is what football is all about. We all remember watching the old NFL films of “the frozen tundra.” This is classic football. What about now you ask? Now we are a feel-good, everybody wins/nobody loses kind of society. This is about more than a football game. This speaks to our society as a whole.

You may think I am over-reacting, but I think not. As I seem to be saying it a lot lately, we need to “man-up” as a country. We can start with the simple things. Like having guys who make a boat load of money actually play football in the snow. Vince Lombardi must be spinning in his grave.

November 3, 2010

2010 Election Wrap-Up

Well, the 2010 elections are thankfully over. Robo calls will stop invading our homes and those ridiculous commercials will finally go away. However, before everyone starts to look at the 2012 election, I thought I would do a “wrap-up” of the elections that took place yesterday…of course in my own personal opinion.

The Good…
First off, I am thrilled that Nancy Pelosi will no longer be holding the gavel. I’m sorry, when I look in her eyes, you can just hear the Loony Tunes theme. She is seriously a few fries short of a happy meal. I think Ohio Rep. John Boehner will do a good job, as it is presumed he will be the Speaker of the House, but as I am sure all those who were elected last night, he needs to proceed with caution and know that all of America will be watching.

I am personally very pleased that my Representative, Rodney Frelinghuysen defeated his two opponents to claim a ninth consecutive term in the 11th Congressional District. While he is an incumbent, I believe he has done an admirable job representing his constituents. No matter who I have ever asked about his, regardless of party affiliation, they all say the same thing about Rep. Frelinghuysen; he works incredibly hard to represent his district and makes sure he says in touch with everyone who takes the time to write, call or email.

I can’t believe this had to even be a question on the ballot, but only in NJ. New Jersey voters approved a ballot measure to prohibit the state from diverting money from its unemployment-benefits fund, after governors and lawmakers took $4.6 billion from it between 1992 and 2006 to plug budget gaps. So basically, they are now forced to follow the law. Imagine that.

In the governor’s races, I would like to congratulate Rep. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, a Republican, who has become the state’s first female governor as well as Tea Party-backed South Carolina Republican, state Rep. Nikki Haley, who was elected to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, also her state’s first female governor. I am also very pleased that Republican Jon Kasich, a former chairman of the House Budget Committee, defeated Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. I think these are great choices for their respective states that will help begin to move their states forward.

I am also very happy to see that Marco Rubio won in Florida. In my opinion, he truly represents “the American dream.” He started from meager beginnings, the son of immigrants who fled Cuba. He never forgot his roots, which to me, is incredibly important. I would definitely keep an eye on this guy. He is bound to do great things for our country.

The Bad and the Ugly…

First off, I can’t believe Senator Reid from Nevada, Representative Rangel from Harlem and Rep. Barney Frank of the fourth district of Massachusetts  won back their seats. I have to tell you, if those districts and states continue to go down in a giant ball of flames, I have absolutely no sympathy for their constituency. They get what they deserve.

I really don’t see Jerry Brown doing a lot for California to help pull them out of the rut they are in. I hope I am wrong, but I am sadly, not very hopeful. I am equally disappointed that Barbara “Call me Senator” Boxer was re-elected. This woman is incredibly smug and way too liberal for my tastes.

Speaking of California, I have to say I am sorry they voted down Prop 19. Now, for the record, I am not this major pot-head some believe, but let’s face it, one of the real reasons marijuana is illegal is because William Randolph Hearst owned major forests and wanted to make sure they were used for paper manufacturing. For those who use pot, if it is taxed and controlled like a business, it would generate funds for California, which are definitely needed, and the marijuana would be of higher quality because it would be grown in a controlled manner, thus avoiding potential purity issues. I hope they give this another try in the future.

It is About “We the People…”

Ultimately, I hope those who were elected to office last night remember one thing; it is about “we the people,” and not “we the politicians.” I am reminded of a scene in an 80’s Goldie Hawn movie “Protocol.” We will be watching you all…like a hawk.

October 21, 2010

NPR Shows Their True Colors

On Wednesday, 10-year commentator at NPR (National Public Radio), Juan Williams, was terminated from NPR due to comments said on “The O’Reilly Factor” the previous evening.

Now I will say I disagree with close to 90 percent of what Mr. Williams says, however, to me, this shows NPR’s true colors. In my humble opinion, NPR is a left-leaning media outlet. Now I would normally not have a problem with that, however, NPR is funded by our tax dollars. This, is a problem to me.

According to statements from NPR today, his termination had more to do with a history of comments giving his opinion as opposed to reporting on news, which clashes with their focus on hard news and his most recent comments were somewhat like the straw that broke the camel’s back. They are now backtracking slightly regarding how they handled the situation. NPR CEO Vivian Schiller just released this statement: “I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark.”

Fox News Analysts have come to Mr. Williams’ defense, including former Governor Mike Huckabee who has said he will no longer accept interviews on NPR.

Now we all know that if Fox News fired a pundit that is left-leaning due to comments said on another station, the uproar would be huge. There is a political correctness that has taken over this country that is not only shameful, but dangerous. I, for one, will not be a part of it.

I personally agree with Mr. Williams’ thoughts. I have been on a plane only once since 9-11 and I was so nervous and upset about it, I wrote out a will-like document on a legal pad and needed a tranquilizer from my doctor just to get on the plane. If I see someone who has not really assimilated to the American culture getting on a plane, and yes, this includes Muslims in traditional garb, you are damn right I am going to notice. To me, this is no different from me being more aware when I am getting on an elevator and there are several men and no women. What does that make me? Anti-men? Just like Mr. Williams, I also agree that we need to move past that fear and there are a number of steps that need to happen to get to that point, on both sides.

So I say shame on NPR for their ridiculous decision. I will be personally writing NPR and my Congressman regarding their ongoing support to the radio station. I will also be writing Fox News to applaud them for supporting him and should expand his “Wednesdays with Juan” segment into a full show. I encourage everyone who reads this to do the same.

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