Women In Charge

Could we please stop pretending women are beyond the glass ceiling and acknowledge we’re allowed to play in a man’s world?

Women of Achievement are at the top and stay there because of male mentors. Whether it’s a promotion from Switchboard operator to Library Clerk or Administrative Assistant to Congressional Aide, promotions for women at all levels are mostly due to male mentors. They identify women they respect, see opportunities for their advancement and suggest to the higher powers they be promoted. When they get a favorable response they then suggest to the woman she apply for the job. Let’s face it, men are better networkers and do it all the time. They share what they are doing, when, where, etc. with their friends and get suggestions for their own advancements as well.

So the highest ranking woman editor in newspaper land in America got laid off. Where was her mentor? Did she go against his wishes or were there too many enemies to overcome? From the interviews on Charlie Rose’s show it sounded like she got sideways with the true decision makers. They usually get what they want . If Hillary Clinton goes for President it’ll be because Bill has it all lined up. It’s too early to tell on that one. Personally, other than the hallmark of being the first woman President of the United States, I have no idea why she would wish herself that much grief at this stage in her life. But that’s another story.

When trouble begins, the woman in charge is the last to know. Either her network has failed to support her or she knows but doesn’t believe it. I’ve seen both and both were fatal. Men are better about bringing their support group with them when they go from job to job. Whether it’s a secretary, administrative assistant, or press secretary (either gender for any of those jobs) the decision maker is sure their gate-keeper is loyal. Much like the characters on the TV show “Blue Bloods”, they respect the man who signs their check and makes sure he’s protected at all times.
Unfortunately, women are mostly too emotional when it comes to business decisions. There are some that have “ice in their blood”, but for the most part we’re just hard-wired differently. Men at the lower levels will pass along tidbits they hear in order to be loyal to their mentors. Women tend to be too afraid of losing their jobs if they get involved and may gossip about the subject with other workers, but rarely take it to their mentor. Those that do share their information understand that most decisions are usually made on the golf course, at the gym, or in the mens locker room. For their loyalty to their mentor they are protected in turn.

If you really look at the careers of some of the most successful women in America today, you’ll find at least one male mentor. Members of Congress, corporate CEO’s, and small business owners all share one common thread – male mentors. I’ve had several in my life, and I appreciate every one of them. They opened doors for me that I would have never even knocked on. And yes, I’ve gotten crosswise of one or two over the years and suffered the consequences, but it was a learning experience I wouldn’t replace. As for the previous highest ranking woman in the newspaper industry, I’m sorry your network failed you. I have no doubt there is some other male who is interested in making you a Woman in Charge.

Until next time –

Earth Day 2014 – Too Many People.

As we think about Mother Earth and celebrate “Earth Day” 2014, no discussion would be complete without including population levels. This is the only living planet in our galaxy and we are dependent upon it for our survival. Yes, life continues to get better in most of the world, even the poorer and underdeveloped countries, however, the shear number of people are the biggest threat to it’s survival.

As James Lovelock stated in his 2009 book “The Vanishing Face of Gaia”, “No voluntary human act can reduce our numbers fast enough even to slow climate change. Merely by existing, people and their dependent animals are responsible for more than ten times the greenhouse gas emissions of all the airline travel in the world.” And as quality of life improves on a global basis, the crisis gets worse.

The Earth has experienced many droughts over the millions of years of its existence. But there were far fewer humans, animals, and agriculture. Natural vegetation was free to regulate the climate. There was little asphalt or restricted water sources and humans moved around based on available water, weather, and food. Now we create everything we need and want, and little thought is given to consequences for those actions. We continue to have lawns when we don’t need them. We continue to allow companies to develope complex packaging for goods that protect them from theft yet fill the landfills with materials that take centuries to break down, if they ever do.

Continuing his discussion of population, Lovelock states “Human nature, the behavior that comes from the intelligence that evolution has given us, impairs our chances [of survival]. Our contemporary industrial civilization is hopelessly unfitted to survive on an overpopulated and underresourced planet, deluded by the thought that clever inventions and progress will provide the shoehorn that fits us into our imaginary niche. Global heating would not have happened but for the rapid expansion in numbers and wealth of humanity.”

So what are we doing to reduce our impact on Mother Earth? Little to nothing. The number of families with 3-5 children outweigh those that have none. China’s “one child policy” has been altered because they won’t have the man-power to care for all their elderly if they don’t increase their numbers. And rape and incest are culturally “okay” in far too many eastern countries (and yes, the US as well) to curb the flow of poverty and male dominance leaving women little choice but to give birth to large numbers of children, with the number of survivals increasing with aide and medicine.

I’ve had two children, they each have one child. What my grandchildren will do is still unknown as they are busy getting an education and deciding what they want to be when they grow up. I hope they know they can break the cycle of the expectation of getting married and having children. If they choose the path of parenthood, I hope one of the partners is the stay-at-home caregiver and the other the breadwinner. Whichever role they choose is not terrible important. What is, is two parents who help each other raise their child, and provide guidance and love that allows them to grow into a person that feels loved, has value, and is not a “burden” on Mother Earth, but a blessing.

I have to agree with Lovelocks observation – “our gravest dangers are not from climate change itself, but indirectly from starvation, competition for space and resources, and war.” We’ve started down that path this year, more than ever. Drought in California , war in the east and Russia, and declining water resources have just begun to impact our quality of life. I’m grateful to have “enough”, I wish the same for all of you. And if you have more than “enough”, I hope you’ll pare yourself back to a standard of living that is sustainable and use the balance to educate women that they have a choice to have children or not.

Until next time.

 

Change and Eschatology

The word for this week is transformation.  Change, alter, convert – there’s lots of opportunity to sacrifice your attachment to the past and move forward.  But change is a four letter world for many.  But no change is change as the world marches on without us.  At some point, the “new age” moves on and we choose to stay behind.
Generation after generation face the same choice.  Tracy and I aren’t there yet, we’re still excited by new ways to do things and new products to create and sell,  but my mother is. Teaching her how to play Bridge on her computer 30 years ago was a challenge.  When I finally got her set up she, as always, took it from there.  She upgraded to a better machine, went on-line and eventually figured out she could play live  on-line.
She’s not much into e-mail, but when my stepdad passed away it was a god sent!  After the services and we left she e-mailed me many, many times a day; then 3 times, twice, once a day then once a week.  Slowly she found her way to change her life.  She sold her home and moved into a semi-independent living facility that she chose.  She upgraded her machine again, bought a cell phone and even bought a Kindle.  She’s an avid reader, but soon the cell phone and kindle went by the wayside.  She keeps the Cell phone in the car in case of emergency, but the Kindle sits on the shelf.
She’s changed a lot over the years, but she pretty much ignores the drama in today’s world.  The next “new age” is in the throws of forming.  By 2015 the world will have settled out (or blown itself up) there will be new leadership in the U.S. and time will march on.  Eschatology, another new age, my 90 year old mother will probably nod, smile, pet her dog Joey and go back to her hard-cover books.  She likes it that way.

Control or Leadership?

Control

  • – to exercise authoritative or dominating influence over
  • – to have power over
  • – to direct the behavior of

Leadership

  • a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”

In psychology, Control Freak is a slang term that refers to a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done – usually those with Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.  Judith Orloff, MD,in her new book “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life”  describes it as a person “who feels out of control and tends to become controllers.  Deep down, they’re afraid of falling apart, so they micromanage to bind anxiety”.  You can read her blog post at Psychology Today.

Compare that to the definition of leadership and the key word becomes accomplishment. Unless control is your ultimate goal and not  problem resolution, I guess you could say thats leadership. I don’t believe most Americans believe that. I believe they want leadership from their members of Congress and the US Senate, but most of all from President Obama.  Years of standing at a podium lecturing on legal issues and topics of the day have left him believing his title as Commander In Chief does not require compromise, discussion, or accomplishments.  All he seems to understand at this point is “a red line in the sand”.  Add  535 Members of Congress and the Senate and you get a recipe for the very disfuction we’re living through now.  Control – not leadership.

After 11 years of working in a Congressional office I know first hand the difference between control and leadership.  For instance, a CBS reporter asked Senate Pres. Reid if he has walked across the building or made any attempt to communicate with House Speaker Boehner.  His answer after he hemmed and hawwed for over a minute, with a smile was “I have done what I was asked to do”.  That is control not leadership.

So what was he asked to do and by whom?  One can only surmise it must be the head of the Democrats, President Obama.  Control is more important than accomplishments for the good of the people.   Directing the outcome has priority over resolution

.In United States history, the degree to which the President’s political party has control over the House of Representatives and Senate often determines his political strength – such as the ability to pass sponsored legislation, ratify treaties, and have Cabinet members and judges approved.  Moreover, it appears to have a strong effect on presidential popularity and historical ranking, especially in conjunction with years served and number of elections won.

With control over the Senate and 2 years with the House you would expect to see more accomplishments by this administration than there are.  And if POTUS spent 1/3 of the time he spends running around the country campaigning for one issue or another working with ALL members of congress he might learn how to lead so that others would follow!  I’m afraid he always gets out so far out in front he leaves himself open to get his tail end kicked – and the country with it.  How was President Clinton able to accomplish a great deal for our country without total control – he knew what leadership required.

At this rate, nothing is going to get resolved anytime soon unless Senator Reid and President Obama figure out what Leadership is.  They might look to Speaker Boehner for help.  You may not like what he’s doing, but he is leading.  So, maybe Michael Reagan is right – just wait.  By the first of the year the American people will recognize that Speaker Boehner is the only leader and they’ll be willing to follow.  You can read his article here.

PS.    Congressman DeFazio just sent via Facebook a list of agencies currently open.  Here it is:

Passports
Visas
Citizenship and Immigration Services
Veterans’ benefits and services
Active duty military members and families benefits and services
Customs and Border Protection
Patents and Trademarks
Social Security applications and appeals
IRS extensions, payments
Transportation Security Administration
Student Loans
FEMA
Overseas travel
Affordable Care Act implementation
Federal retirement services, disability claims
Workers compensation (federal)
Postal Service
Small business disaster assistance
Military Academies
Unemployment benefits

Kenichi Wins AGT 2013

Another season of Americas Got Talent (#AGT) ends and the “The Voice” steps up to take its place next week.  The winner?  Kenichi Ebina, a talented visionary whose skills appealed to the young adults who vote.  Kenichi earned the votes of those that vote in today’s technical world.  Via online, phone and twitter, they chose a dynamic family man to award $1,000,000 to and have his own show in Las Vegas in October.

If you visit his Face book page you can feel the energy from this deserving individual, who we happened to vote for.  But we didn’t expect today’s voters to do the same.  Tracy and I talk about how our opinion is no longer the majority.  As older, conservative, and personally responsible seniors watch from our small mom and pop retail store and marvel at the choices today’s shoppers make.  We have to stay current in order to sell jewelry, photography and giftware in this resort community of 700 people who depend on tourists for their sales.  We continually adapt to the every-changing market and tastes of the current generation.  As we get closer to retiring from full-time retail, we appreciate the internet and what it provides.  But we cringe at the impersonalization of the world because of it.  It breeds a lack a respect for other people and their property (which we see here more and more).

That’s one of the nice things about the judges on AGT, their respect for each other and the contestants.  Occasionally they make some pretty harsh judgments, but for the most part act with dignity and understand that “kindness matters”.  They do have a playful side that is fun to see, but they are very thoughtful in their comments, and sometimes that wouldn’t be easy.

So if Kenichi was the best, what was wrong with the other five finalists?

In my opinion, for Cami, Forte, and Jimmie Rose it was the choice of music.  Their music in their final performances didn’t give me goose bumps.  They were nicely done and had lots of emotion, but they didn’t speak to me or to the audiences.  Forte was the biggest surprise, I thought they would be second because of their commanding voices and wonderful harmony.  But they chose another opera when it should have been “Over the Rainbow” or something like that.  And Jimmie Rose should have capitalized on his Country Western voice and style by singing a classic, but he didn’t.  No goose bumps there either.

Collins Key is a one trick pony, albeit a nice one.  Young and capable, if he stays with it he might get a gig here and there because it is a wonderful trick he pulls off every time.

And then there’s the comedian Taylor Williamson.  A very funny guy, with a cute face, quirky personality and pretty good lines, but they weren’t great.  And as Howard Sterns always says, “at this point in the competition they need to be great”.  It’s all like writing a story – you have to wow them at the beginning to get their attention, play your story along and then wow them at the end.

Kenichi Ebina did just that.  With the dropped head routine as his starting act, he slowly worked his way to the finale with a show of 8+ actors – all him.  He wove a wonderful story, gave us bits and pieces about his life, and kept us coming back for more.  Nicely written, Kenichi.

Congratulations!!!!!