Tag: wendy Coakley-Thompson

Weekend Rewind: Alphanista Career Q & A: Crazy Boss!

facebookBy Guest Blogger Wendy Coakley-Thompson

Q:  I logged on to Facebook a couple of weeks ago and noticed a friend request from my boss. This shocked the hell out of me. First of all, I don’t know how she found me there. But the request is troubling, because the woman is hell on heels. Think Miranda Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada – minus the talent and good looks. If she was consistently crazy, then I could get used to her. But this woman is like a box of chocolates; you truly don’t know what you’re going to get from one day to the next. This on top of the borderline racist things she’s said and done, like touching my hair on the sneak tip as if I wouldn’t notice. Or telling me she’s assigning me to projects strictly because both the client and I happen to be Black, like that would give her some kind of advantage.  I’ve prayed about it. I’ve tried to ignore her or treat her like I was raised right. I’ve even asked my friends for advice.

But those friends tell me that I can’t fight crazy with common sense. The only bright spot in my day is leaving her crazy ass and coming home to the safety of social networking. Now I have to see her hideous mug on Facebook. I’m afraid that if I don’t confirm her, I’ll be committing career suicide and exposing myself to a whole other level of insanity. I need this job. Plus crazy boss aside, I love my work. What should I do?

I think you already know the answer to your question.

If your boss is “hell on heels” in the reality of the cube farm, what makes you think she’ll be any less insane in cyberspace? Think of everything you put on your Facebook page. You’d be giving this woman license to pry into your life and spy on you. Don’t think employers don’t do it already. From Googling employees to running credit and background checks on them, employers find reasons to be all up in your life. You only have to type boss+Facebook+friend into your favorite search engine to find reasons why accepting this woman’s friend request is not a good idea. Why would you give the nails for your own coffin to someone who you characterize as a “crazy ass”?

So, what can you do? Door Number One: Accept the friend request anyway and invite this woman into your personal life – not recommended. Door Number Two: Decline the request, with a polite message that reads something like “Thanks, but I prefer to keep my work and private lives separate.” You take your chances with this ballsy move, but you have to weigh the possibility of incurring your boss’s wrath against safeguarding your personal life. Or, Door Number Three, just let the friend request sit there on your home page as ammunition for a possible lawsuit, should it come to that.

And from what you say about this woman, the possibility of litigation doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Either way, Alphanistas act decisively. If you choose Doors Two or Three and still lose your job, you’ll know that, like a true Alpha female who sticks to her guns, you went out on your feet – not on your knees.

Author Wendy Coakley-Thompson is the DC Publishing Industry Examiner at Examiner.com. Check her out at http://www.examiner.com/x-6658-DC-Publishing-Industry-Examiner.


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Make Lemonade Out Of Occupational Lemons

womancareer2By Guest Blogger  Wendy Coakley-Thompson

Some time ago, I wrote Five Alphanista Things to Do When You Get Laid Off.

The first comment I received on the piece came from The Hooker Chronicles, who said she tells people sensing a layoff to start their own businesses. According to Chronicles, “In the age of the Internet and social networking sites, this is the perfect opportunity to start networking with people.”

Apparently, The Hooker Chronicles is on to something. More and more of my friends who’ve been told not to let the doorknob hit them where the good Lord split them on the way out have decided to freelance  instead of taking yet another thankless corporate gig. Donald O. Graul Jr., Executive Director of American Independent Writers (AIW) here in DC, says that freelancing is a popular career move in this recession.

Why? Because both employers and freelancers get over like a fat rat. Employers can hire a freelancer without having to pay for pesky things like benefits and a workspace. On the flip side, freelancers can sign on only for work they want to do. It’s a win-win for everyone.

One person making lemonade out of occupational lemons is Rakia Clark. In January of this year, Kensington Books laid her off from her position as Editor.  Rather than cry in her Cosmopolitan, Clark launched her own web site and blog, got her business affairs in order, and hung out her proverbial shingle as a freelance editor and proposal writer. USA Today even documented Clark’s career change in its March 13 Money section.

Clark is so successful that her biggest challenge is finding the time to do all of the work that constantly falls into her lap. Also, rather than feel the isolation that some people who freelance experience, Clark says that her fellow freelancers have not only welcomed her, they pass work her way from time to time.

Clark and others like her show that it’s what you make of adversity that determines your level of success.  As the old slogan goes – lemonade, that cool, refreshing drink!

Author Wendy Coakley-Thompson is the DC Publishing Industry Examiner at Examiner.com. Check her out at http://www.examiner.com/x-6658-DC-Publishing-Industry-Examiner.

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5 Alphanista Things to Do When You Get Laid Off

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By Guest Blogger, Author Wendy Coakley-Thompson

In two decades in the workplace, I’ve been laid off three times – coincidentally when there was a President Bush in office.

It’s not so bad at first. You experience jubilation at sleeping in and watching all the Oprah you can stand. Then, worry sets in, along with sleeplessness… and the realization that you’ve watched all the Oprah you can stand. Being laid off sucks.

If you’ve recently lost your job, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, as of March of this year, the unemployment rate rose to 8.5%. Since December of 2007, like magician David Copperfield just went POOF, 5.1 million jobs disappeared!  Lately, it seems like people who haven’t been laid off are the anomaly. If you’re among the 5.1 million, listen up. Here’s what worked for me when I found myself out of a job:

1.    Freak out. Allow yourself to feel badly and act out – within reason, of course. You’ve experienced a devastating loss; accept the freak-out as part of the grieving process. Trust me; the freak-out is coming anyway. You might as well get it over with now, on your own terms, so that you can focus on what you have to do.

2.    Assess Your Resources. Whether it’s time, money, contacts, etc., see what type and amount of these resources you have at your disposal. This will drive how long you allow for your freak-out and how much time you have to get to Step #5.

3.    Re-examine your career goals. The last time I was laid off, I used that time to ask myself what exactly I wanted to do with my life. Maybe you want to be an actor instead of a nurse, or a teacher… or an instructional designer. Use this time to find out. If you still want to be a lineman for the county, that’s fine too.

4.    Connect with family and friends. Oprah just aired a show on Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones, where more people over the age of 100 tend to live than anywhere else on the planet. One thing centenarians in all five blue zones have in common is their strong interpersonal networks. Back to you. The worst thing you can do at this time is to shut people out. You mightn’t live to be 100, but strengthening your interpersonal connections keeps your mind off your own problems and lessens your stress and worry.

5.    Plan your attack on the job market. Now that you’ve gone through Steps #1-4 and done the up-front work, you are ready for your strategic assault on the classifieds, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, USAJobs.gov, headhunters, and your connections in the workplace. Having a healthy mindset increases your likelihood of scattering your precious seeds only on the fertile ground of employers who are ready for you.

Of course, for some, this might not be a linear process. But it’s what worked for this Alphanista. The chances are good that it might work for you too.
Good luck!

Author Wendy Coakley-Thompson is the DC Publishing Industry Examiner at Examiner.com. Check her out at http://www.examiner.com/x-6658-DC-Publishing-Industry-Examiner.

Weekend Rewind: Ten Reasons Why This Alphanista Won’t be a Cougar

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Loved this classic.  Enjoy!
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By Guest Blogger, Author Wendy Coakley-Thompson

Vivica Fox is hosting a new show called “The Cougar,” in which an older woman lives with twenty hot young guys, eyeing them like life’s a smorgasbord, and she’s one hungry Swede.

I was intrigued.

After all, I wrote a book, What You Won’t Do For Love, in which the main character falls for a younger guy.  I get it. Sometimes, you got to get your swerve on. If you want someone to knock it out, then maybe a tadpole is what you need.  Men that age are at their sexual peak, and rutting all night is what they do best. But life has taught me some lessons.  I’m looking for someone older.  Because, in head-to-head combat, older men make the grade. Here’s why:

1.    Older men think size is relative.  Whether it’s my plus-size figure or a somewhat smaller appendage, older men usually know how to compensate for each so we both get ours.

2.    Older men don’t have baby mama drama. Chances are, if you’re seeing an older man with kids, they’re grown and outside the sphere of some vindictive baby mama who can ruin your plans, because she’s mad at something your man did or didn’t do before you even showed up.

3.    Older men have seen some things. Even the densest older man has had life experiences that gave him some wisdom that he can share. He’s had problems that are bigger than losing at Madden 09.

4.    Older men have been places. Odds are older men have left the country at some point.  And Canada doesn’t count; it’s still North America. I want a man who doesn’t think I’m talking about Jamaica when I mention that my family’s from the Bahamas.

5.    Older men have their own place. Any older man who’s still living in his mama’s basement at his age is just pathetic, and I wouldn’t be with him.

6.    Older men can navigate a woman’s body. Older men tend to have experience on their side. I shouldn’t have to give a man a Mapquest printout and a flashlight for him to find the clitoris.

7.    Older men take their time. Because they can’t do much fast anymore, you get quality over quantity – Ruth’s Chris over Mickey D’s. In bed and everywhere else…

8.    Older men have a more cultured palate. They tend to appreciate the finer things in life. For some younger men, the only culture they get comes from Dannon.

9.    Older men have their own stuff. I’ll quote the comic A.J. Johnson: “It’s not that we want a man with money. We just don’t want to have to lend him any of ours.” ‘Nuff said.

10.    Older men appreciate your accomplishments. Secure older men have the good sense to recognize that your achievements complement what they bring to the table.

For all these reasons, I won’t be taking on the cougar mantle anytime soon.  Unless, of course, I find a younger man who meets my strict standards. Then it’s on!

For more on our guest blogger, youc an visit her blog The Fiendish Plots of Dr. Wendy Coakley-Thompson at http://wendycoakley-thompson.blogspot.com, on MySpace, and on Facebook.

The Negro Consultant and the Movie “Good Hair”

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By Guest Blogger  Wendy Coakley-Thompson

Chris Rock put us black women on blast with his new movie, Good Hair.

As you know, in the flick, he dishes about black women and all the ways that we try to tame their hair. In characteristic Chris Rock style, he explores, among other things, weaves, hair shows, and chemical relaxers – aka, “the creamy crack.”

During a lull on the job recently, I was talking to a white co-worker about Good Hair. Well, folks, when you’re part of a diversity posse in this age of Obama, sometimes you find yourself in the role of the Negro Consultant. The conversation shifted, and this co-worker, genuinely curious, suddenly asked me why black women get so mad when white people ask them questions about their hair. I chose to see that as a teachable moment. Hell, I’d rather that she’d asked me about my hair than just presumptuously reach out and touch it, like the crazy boss that I’d told you about. You remember…the one who sent her black subordinate a Facebook request?

Plus my co-worker was right. Why should we black women assume that white people would know anything about perms, or braids, or especially about sewing tracks for weaves? One black comedian talking about Madam C.J. Walker, the black woman who invented a special straightening comb, asked who else but a sistah would have done it?  Still, if you can believe this, some black folks are mad at Chris Rock. One of my Examiner colleagues reported that the Internet is abuzz with folks accusing Chris Rock of presenting black women as shallow self-haters.

Unbelievable.

Personally, I ain’t mad at Chris Rock. In fact, I’m pleased. Because of him informing while entertaining, I may not get questions about how I wash my dreadlocks (umm… lather, rinse, repeat. Duh!). Or if I wash my dreadlocks (emphatically, yes, I do!). I’m thankful that Chris Rock is dispelling myths and revealing secrets about us.

Anybody who lightens my load as the Negro Consultant can get my twelve bucks at the movies any time.

Author Wendy Coakley-Thompson is the DC Publishing Industry Examiner at Examiner.com. Check her out at http://www.examiner.com/x-6658-DC-Publishing-Industry-Examiner.