On Managing:

 

Hello.

It’s been a while.
Sorry about that.

I’m currently developing opinions about managerial styles.
Because I seem to be collecting a basket full of basketcases.

Are you a manager?

Lean on in.

 

1. Do not belittle, demean, or otherwise abuse your staff. If the language you are using is not what *you* would want to hear addressed to *you* from your superior, do not use it with your staff.

2. Mind your tone. Many, many managers use accusative language instead of inquisitive. If you don’t like the way a staff member has done something, that’s fine–but just say it, don’t ask “why”, or “what were you thinking”–this type of language just frustrates your staff. “Why”? Because he or she was trying to get the project done, dammit.

3. Back. Off. Seriously, just back off. Lurking behind an employee’s chair is rude and unhelpful.

4. If you are a micromanager, own up to it. Expressing that something is your preference as opposed to it being the “best” or “right” drops everyone’s defenses, and you will be prone to far fewer eyerolls in the staff lounge (yes, we talk about you. yes, everyone knows when you lose your shit. if you think people don’t respect you, you are probably correct). Additionally, take the time to show your staff how you want a project done if you absolutely need to do so. It would be better for everyone concerned if you just let go of things a little, but if that’s asking too much, at least have the sense to train and explain.

5. Allow grace. Everyone has bad days. If you take the time to notice what’s going on in the lives of your staff, and to be kind to them, chances are you will be rewarded with employees who are willing to work harder for you.

6. It’s okay if you don’t understand tech. Acknowledge this, and trust your staff members who do.

7. Learn to listen. Interrupting is unfathomably rude, and muddles what people are trying to tell you.

8. Do you have employee evaluations? Great. Now get evaluations for managers as well–have your employees set *you* goals and see if you can meet them in a year. This should help remind you of how difficult it is to deal with constant criticism and little praise.

9. Tell staff members when they have done a job well. Even if it’s just a nicely composed email, or if they organized a cabinet–whatever they have done that is excellent, encourage it directly, with specific praise.

10. Answer questions. Telling employees to “look it up” is often singularly useless, particularly if your database of information is enormous.

11. Do not make your employees afraid to call other departments for help when they need to. That does not create a work environment of trust and mutual assistance.

12. Allow your staff to decorate their desks–it doesn’t actually matter if you don’t like their taste in Star Trek posters. Chances are they think your tacky “inspirational quotes” posters are awful. Be cool with the mutual awfulness (unless porn is involved. then definitely don’t allow that noise).

13. You are more high-strung than you think. You are not the clear communicator you believe you are. Your employees know when you are in a bad mood. We pay attention to *you* because you cut our paychecks. Please pay attention to *us* because we are working FOR you.

(You make us want to do this sometimes)
fishslap

 

14. Some employees are dicks. Sorry about that.
But? You have the ability to fire them. Some managers are dicks. Employees can’t fire them in return. Please keep this in mind when you’re feeling ragey.

15. Above all else? Be kind. Build loyalty in your staff with behavior that is rational and polite. If you are thoughtful, sincere, and kind, your employees will generally respond in the same way. Productivity generally goes up when people feel cared for.

 

Honestly,
I don’t know why any of these points need to be made.
Treat people the way you would want to be treated.

 

I’m pretty sure Christ said that.

And He’s had billions of people follow and obey Him for a couple of thousand years.

Pretty good management, oui?

Nudes:

 

My former and dear professor, Dr. Horner,
posted a painting on his Facebook homepage,
with this fascinating quote about reflection in art:

 

“I do not know why painted things have so much grace in the mirror. It is marvellous how every weakness in a painting is so manifestly deformed in a mirror…” Leon Battista Alberti, 1435, ‘Della Pittura’ (‘On Painting’)

 

"Woman Standing in Front of Mirror" - Christoffer Wilhem Eckerserg

 

And oh,
the sturm und drang that ensued over the nudity,
and how “I don’t want to see this on my Facebook feed!”
and “She’s not my wife! Therefore I cannot look upon her nakedness!”

It was all terribly overwrought,
and one person started making …nasty… cracks about the conservative protestors,
and the protestors got all self-righteous in response…
Just kinda…gross, all told.

 

And here is what I don’t understand about some of my fellow Christians:

If something bothers you,
or moves you towards temptation,
or leads your mind and body towards sin,
avoid it.
Don’t do it.
If it crops up on a friend’s blog, facebook page, or newsfeed,
remove yourself from the situation.

If you are in a close relationship with said friend,
talk to them about it.
Maybe they can censor their posts so that you will not see them
(I already do this for several of my more conservative friends).

But if you are in the position of being a “weaker brethren”,
understand that the onus is on YOU to take charge of your own weaknesses.
You cannot expect everyone around you–if they are not close to you–to know that drinking or nudity in art or yoga or strong language or or dancing or certain movies or amillenialism causes you to stumble.

If you need to,
remove yourself from the situation.

Be nice about it,
and you will find that most folks are far more willing to be sensitive to your needs.

 

On the converse side,
it is difficult to be understanding of a friend who isn’t
comfortable with something.
I am, frankly, terrible at this.

Partially,
it’s a push-back against the prudish behavior that I grew up with.
Partially,
it’s a push-back against my own uncomfortableness with my body.
Often,
I am just unaware that someone might be uncomfortable
with what I’m saying or doing
(Really! I’m usually oblivious! And I’m trying to be better with this, I promise).
It is my responsibility to pay attention to the people I love
and to respond to their needs,
regardless of my personal opinion or belief.

And?

That goes both ways.

As Christians,
we are called to have compassion on each other.
We are called to submit to each other in love.

Teetotalers need to play nice with Wine-drinkers.
Wine-drinkers need to play nice with Teetotalers.

Both ways.
Ambivalence.
Compassion.

 

But getting back to that particular painting…
I believe there is value in celebrating the human form–
even in this fallen, broken state.
I love beautiful nudity in art,
and I believe it is wonderful
(and this painting is absolutely breathtaking.
Look at the light, the shadow, how natural her gesture is,
how the painter let us see a tiny, sunlit moment…it is glorious).

I also believe that it can be abused–
that art can be titillating instead of sublime.
And that those lines are very, very fuzzy.

The intention of the artist matters–
the approach of the viewer matters.

But I do not believe that it is acceptable for a Christian
to blindly suppose that their own particular struggles
should be the burden of all Christians,
nor is it okay to make a sin where there is simply…
struggle.

 

Life is hard enough.
Vive l’Grace of Christ,
and also:

Don’t fight with strangers.
It’s bad form.

The Vendor/Client Relationship:

 

I saw this at my old job a few years ago,
but it still rings true:

 

 

The first (and only) rule?
 

Clients. Are. Crazy.

Advice from a Wedding Coordinator:

 

The Care and Keeping of a Wedding Guest

 

A Wedding Guest is a unique creature.
You and your partner have culled your guest list down to the few,
the proud, the relatives who don’t have access to your embarrassing baby pictures.

Most guests understand small budgets.
Most guests won’t be offended by cracker and cheese plates from Costco,
nor will most guests be offended by a cake and punch only reception.

All guests need a few things, however, to maintain that lack of offense:

 

1) Seats for the ceremony. If this is impossible, for whatever reason, have your officiant cut the ceremony down to 15 minutes maximum.

2) Comfortable temperature.

a) Outdoor ceremonies HAVE TO HAVE SHADE. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you put your guests in the sun, no matter how pleasant the day is, they will be hot, they will be squinting, they will get sweat on their nice clothes, and they will be grouchy. One memorable event I attended had the guests facing into the sun as it set because the bride thought that sunsets were romantic…

In Palm Springs. In 100 degree heat.

Please don’t do this to your guests.

b) Outdoor receptions must have heaters after the sun goes down. You may only need one or two, but if there is no place for guests to get warm, they will leave.

c) If you are going to have dancing indoors, please have fans and/or air conditioning. And crank those bastards up. Everyone will dance longer if they can cool down in between rocking it on the floor. And you really don’t want to get pit stains on The Dress, do you? 🙂

(Addendum to the Temperature Clause: If you are having an outdoor wedding, and the ground is soft, please let guests know so they can wear appropriate shoes.)

3) Water, water, water, water. Have a lot of it. Have it easily accessible at all times. If you don’t have a waitstaff, ask a relative or a friend to be specifically in charge of this.

4) It is normal for guests who are flying in to rent a hotel room.
Please let them do this if they wish.

If you offer a private home for those guests to stay in, basic consideration for their needs must be met: A bed or a *comfortable* couch to sleep on, sufficient blankets for those beds; towels and washcloths, shampoo and soap for showers; and basic breakfast foods must be provided. If you have pets, make sure no one has allergies. Additionally, said home should be clean and welcoming.

Remember that out of town guests don’t necessarily know where to get food quickly and easily–avoid inconveniencing people who have dropped hundreds of dollars on plane tickets to get to your wedding.

5) A word about family members or friends who are coming in to help before the wedding:

They are guests, too, and should be treated with courtesy. Remember that if you didn’t have their assistance, you would be paying a great deal of money for the services they are giving you out of love. Express your gratitude often and publicly…even if Aunt Ida is a loud-mouthed, opinionated blowhard. She set up your tables and took out the garbage after your reception. Smile and act grateful–you can bitch about her later.

6) Apologize when things (inevitably) don’t go as planned–even if you weren’t responsible. Someone will end up covering for you–driving out to the grocery store to buy another cake because yours fell into the dirt; pulling flowers from a neighbor’s yard at three in the morning because your florist didn’t adequately prepare the flowers for the ceremony, etc, etc.

If you take the first step of apologizing, people will be *much* more willing to continue covering for you.

7) Try to greet and thank every guest individually. Think of the weddings you’ve attended, and how nice it was to know that the bride and groom took the time to thank you for coming–it’s just a good gesture.

8 ) Favors aren’t necessary, but they are like the individual thanks above–a good gesture. Especially if the favor in question is tasty.

9) If you don’t have a lot of experience with planning events, parties, or haven’t been an integral part of making a wedding happen, please find someone who has this experience, ask for their help, and act on their advice. Your wedding vision may be beautiful, romantic, and meaningful to you and your partner, but if it means making your guests uncomfortable, you will need to adapt that vision.

10) Adapting your vision for the comfort and love of your guests does not mean you won’t get the wedding of your dreams. Keep your guests informed, demonstrate your gratitude, provide shade and water, and your wedding will be remembered with joy.

Don’t Cook the Pinterest Yet!!!

 

I forgot two VERY SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES in the ingredient list:

1 3/4 cup of Christian-ese
2 Keep Calm and Carry On posters,
neatly shredded into unpalatable irony
and/or trite sayings.

Do not neglect the addition of these two ingredients,
or NO ONE WILL EVER REPIN YOU EVER AGAIN
IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.

 

A perfect Venn Diagram illustration, right here, folks.

Pinterest:

 

A Recipe:

 

5 heaping cups of Maudlin Sentimentality
3 tablespoons of Bad Mommy Poetry
1 teaspoon of Oh God If Only I Could Wear That
2 pints of Are You Sure You Want that Cookie

Mix ingredients thoroughly with a pinch of poor grammar,
and bake at 350 degrees of Celebrity Gushing.

Remove from oven, and frost with enough
This is the Coolest Thing/Idea I Have Ever Encountered on the Internet
to mask everything else.

 

Tada!

You’ve just signed up for Pinterest!

 

…Which doesn’t mean that I can stop pinning.

 

MINE.

 

‘coz I can’t.

Cut open glowstick. Dump in jar. Swirl. Revel in own radness.

 

I want to do this for a wedding SO BADLY I COULD DIE.

 

This may be a sickness.

Follow Me!

Food? Shoes?

 

My body has one of two primary reactions when it gets depressed:

1) It wants to eat everything in the world
(mostly gummi bears),
 
Or

2) It wants to buy shoes.

The truly terrible issue at hand is that July has been hella’spensive,
and consequently, I can’t really justify the shopping.

I also managed to lose a teensy bit of weight,
and I don’t want to jeopardize that by going on a calorie binge.
(No Sense of Proportion Girl, at your service)

So,
what do YOU do to fight the Black Dog
when money is tight and you don’t want your belt to do the same?

 

Help me out, kids,
‘coz this shit is looking reaaaally appealing right now:

 

OMFZeus!

 

I love everything about this shoe. ......I might make out with it.

 

LOOK AT THIS SHOE. BASK IN THE GLORY, PET.

 

Got to try these on. Almost "accidentally" walked out with them. Oopsie.

 

Shop 'till you drop into a bag of overpriced shiny pretty things made by a blue-haired gay guy. Because that will make everything better.

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