Many of us live harried, “always-on” lives as we juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. It’s reminiscent of the expression, “I’m running as fast as I can.” When we’re so busy trying to fit everything in, often we forget to stop and smell the roses. In the process, we tend to overlook and postpone what’s really important. Remember, living a full life means we need to plan family time—time to engage, create traditions and memories as well as share fun adventures. If we wait until “someday,” that day may never come. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of today. Participate in all life has to offer daily. Stay in the moment. Make the choices that will enable you to live the life you want with no regrets. You can do it!
Not infrequently, everyone, whether in personal or business situations, finds themselves facing potentially uncomfortable and untenable situations with peers, supervisors, subordinates, family, and friends. When the tendency is to avoid dealing with them, it’s commonly referred to as the “elephant in the room.” It means there is an obvious, obstacle, or challenge or that people are uncomfortable addressing. In many situations—personal or professional—the ‘elephant’ characterizes a pesky pachyderm that most of us cannot afford to disregard. Why? Because it:
• Distracts us from productive, creative work
• Delays our ability to move forward
• Drains our energy
• Damages the morale of everyone around us, ourselves included
• Doesn’t clean up after itself.
Avoidance in dealing with the elephant can prevent us from achieving the growth and success we strive to attain. Take a look around. Is there an elephant you need to address? Doing it sooner than later restores peace and tranquility to your life.
Revisiting the army base where I served in youth, back in 1954. Golan Heights, Israel. I served two years as a proud solider in the Israeli Air Force. Resilience comes from facing hardships and overcoming them.
Have you ever been in a conversation—fully aware that the person to whom you’re speaking—isn’t really listening? Typically, these poor listeners are narcissistic types who are not only poor listeners but are also in the same category as people who think they’re always right.
It makes sense. If I thought I was always right, I probably wouldn’t believe I had anything to learn. And, I’d probably feel compelled to share my wisdom with the world. This attitude, which is not only arrogant but dysfunctional as well, creates a negative reputation with others.
Ask yourself, how do you rate as a listener? It never hurts to give your perspective a check-up. Do you feel an urgency to prove yourself right more often than not? Or, do you have the need to monopolize conversations at the expense of others?
Dealing with the problem
In many cases, people who have a pathological need to be right at all times are insecure, and this character flaw is a symptom of it. Other times the person is simply egotistical and condescending. Either way, it’s best to accept that the person may never change and take note of some suggestions for dealing with these circumstances:
Ask questions. Since direct argumentation rarely works with these people, ask questions to learn what evidence supports the person’s posture on the subject. Find out why “the person is right.”
Stay levelheaded. Different dynamics dictate separate responses but, remember, there is little that warrants losing your composure. Don’t allow someone’s narcissistic ways to make you come unglued. Believe me, you’ll regret it.
Ignore it. I believe this is the wisest way to deal with people who are always right. The more time you spend with that person, the more time you waste on a problem that’s not really yours to solve.
Choose your battles. This option depends largely upon the relationship you have to the person who is always right. But, if it is your boss, you should choose your battles wisely. Why jeopardize your job security over a matter for which the outcome isn’t your responsibility?
Many women choose to stay at home to do the tough work of raising children when their little ones are young. It’s a hard job, to be sure, and I applaud women who make that choice consciously and with purpose.
There may come a time, though, when you are ready to step back into your career or begin one for the first time. It is not uncommon for women to be stay-at-home moms until their children begin school, for example, at which time they step back into the workforce. Others decide to start working outside of the home after their kids have grown and left the nest. Still others find themselves needing to go back to work due to financial reasons. However you arrive at this path, there are some strategies you should consider employing to make this transition a smooth one. After all, you may have been out of the game for quite some time and the rules may have changed on you!
First things first, you have to make some plans regarding the care of your children. If they are still too young to come home from school and be on their own, you will need to find a suitable arrangement. You can look into a nanny who will look after your children in your home or a daycare center where your children will go after school or all day if they are not yet in school. Or, you can rely on family members who live close by and are available. Do your research and interview candidates thoroughly or ask your friends for a recommendation.
You now need to focus on landing a job. It’s time to dust off that old résumé and give it a rework. Read up on current résumé guidelines so that yours looks fresh and provides the information employers want to see. You will have a gap in your employment history, obviously, so you will want to highlight your skills and qualifications more heavily than your job history.
You employed many skills as a stay-at-home mom. Multitasking, anyone? Think about how you organized, managed, and ran your household. Consider how you taught, problem solved, and committed fully when it came to your children. Determine what skills you developed in your role as a mother that will have great crossover applications in the career you are seeking. Highlight them on your résumé.
Once you have a polished résumé you have to start looking. Begin with your network of friends, former employers, and family. Nothing beats a referral, especially when you are going to be competing against applicants with a steady work history and potentially more experience than you. Having a firsthand recommendation is a great way to overcome your employment gap and not have your application and résumé overlooked.
Moving back into the workforce can be an exciting yet scary time for mothers. Just remember that you have a great deal to offer and you will find a job that is a great fit for you and your family. Happy hunting!
-Dr. Erica Miller
Since 1983, when Jerry and I opened the first office of my practice, we have had the distinct honor of being an employer to many people. We consider ourselves to be good employers. In addition to competitive pay, we offer medical benefits to our full-time counselors and allowances for gas and car upkeep.
I believe that you have to treat your employees right and compensate them well. If you don’t, they will leave you—and they should! After all, this is America, the land of the free . . . the land of opportunity. No one during my 30 years of being an employer has ever left because of poor working conditions or less pay than their counterparts at other agencies. We are proud of this fact and know that it is because of the way we view our relationship with our employees.
We want to take care of our people fairly and equitably so that they will be happy in their jobs and stay. High turnover is bad for any business so we minimize it by doing what we think is right by them: taking care of them financially and giving them opportunities for professional growth.
Though we do our best to live up to our employees’ expectations, we won’t be held hostage by anyone. This is a two-way relationship and both sides have a set of responsibilities to the other. My mantra is this: “If you are unhappy, if you do not think you are getting paid enough, then find another job. You owe it to yourself. I will give you a going away party.”
There are more than 150 million people in the U.S. workforce, which makes for a huge group of people who are either employees or employers. Many are both! Each group would do well to bear in mind these simple truths about the relationship between employee and employer. Do right by your employees or risk losing them. Be happy with your employment or seek other opportunities. It really is that simple.
Some would argue that times are different now given current unemployment rates in our country. I don’t think that poor economic conditions should be an excuse for an employer to lower their standards, though I am sure many have taken advantage of the situation and done just that. It’s much harder to find other opportunities if you are unhappy as an employee right now too. But I still believe that each party should think long term and do the right thing for their employees and for themselves.
Are you happy in your current job? Are you doing what you need to do to keep your employees satisfied? How have economic conditions impacted the relationship between you and your employer or employees? Share your thoughts.
-Dr. Erica Miller
As a working mother, I know the challenges of balancing work and home life. However, dual-career couples can do very well and prosper if they can learn to delegate, ask for help, share obligations and stay focused and organized. Find the...
I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have gotten myself into a bit of trouble with someone else for being direct. I learned to be this way from the Israelis. They choose to be direct rather than popular. I loved that about them and it became my way as well.
If a woman asks me how she looks in a particular outfit or dress, I am going to tell her what I think. I won’t be rude about it, but I will be honest. If, for instance, the woman’s dress looks a little tight or the color is wrong, I’m going to say so if asked. This is where sharing my candid opinions sometimes makes me unpopular. There is nothing phony about me. It is just the way I am. If being a straight shooter gets me into trouble once in a while, so be it.
Despite the obvious drawbacks of being direct, like hurt feelings, there are some benefits to be enjoyed on both a personal and a professional level to being someone who says what you mean.
People come to appreciate directness over time. Being known as someone who gets right to it in a real and honest way helps people feel confident in my responses. There is never any second-guessing me. People who know me know that they can trust in what I’ve told them the first time around as my best advice, spoken from the heart. They know that I am going to say what I really think, even if it stings a little.
Being able to speak honestly and directly about tough subjects has served me very well in my professional life as a counselor. I would not be doing my patients any justice by sidestepping the truth. We have to meet problems head-on, and there is nothing to be gained from dancing around it.
Being direct helps establish trust between people. If you need an honest opinion, would you rather ask the person who tells you what you want to hear or the person who tells you the truth? If you become the person who is known for telling it like it is, people will trust your word and come to you as a trusted advisor.
I’m certainly not advocating a disregard for people’s feelings. No, we must always be diplomatic when dealing with others, especially professionally. But I am advocating for frank and straightforward communication. It shows honesty, respect, and sincerity. These are all traits worth working on.
What do you think? Do you prefer that people communicate candidly with you or do you prefer that they add a little sugarcoating when answering your questions? What approach do you take at home? At work? If you have two different approaches, why?
-Dr. Erica Miller