For women on their way to becoming rulers of the known universe.

Month: February, 2013

Why Eating Alone At Your Desk Can Kill You…Professionally.


As often is the case, many young upstarts throw themselves into their new jobs with wild abandon. They work late and come in early. The raise their hands for crappy assignments (like fire marshal or baby shower party coordinator) and sit as close to power as is permitted during key meetings. What many also do is make a habit of eating at their desks. Above and beyond this will be their undoing.

Women especially pack lunches and eat at their desk, often muting their conference calls in order that the last bite of a pretzel or chip go undetected.

But I beg of you to put down your smelly tuna fish sandwich for good and get up and away from your office for lunch. The key reasons you must do this are the following:

Out of sight out of mind; often the first to be let go are those who work remotely and don’t have face time with their leadership or colleagues. Hiding in your cubicle lumps you into this same category as the faceless, nameless people who work from home. By eating at your desk you are squandering the advantage of face time.

If you aren’t out and about mingling with your peers and people from other departments you are most certainly not going to be in the know. Information does not always travel as you would expect, sometimes it’s that person in procurement who knows first about the development of a new department, perhaps one that you would like to be part of. So, get out there and hobnob.

If you are cramming food down your gullet in your cubicle how will anyone know about all of the exciting work that you’ve done! You must be out and about selling yourself and your accomplishments to anyone that will listen. If you expect your boss to sell your accomplishments, then friend, you aren’t as smart as I thought you were. Often times, managers are too busy selling themselves to worry about their minions, I know it ain’t right, but it’s true.

If you are hiding in your cubicle during the one hour that your boss’s peers are free, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!!!  If you didn’t know this, your boss’s peers are the ones who decide whether or not you get a promotion. You see, most companies have this thing called a calibration session where they all sit around and talk about the little people. It is during this session that they decided who gets a promotion and who doesn’t. If they have no idea who you are (because they’ve never seen you in the cafeteria) it won’t matter that you’ve saved the company millions with your new concept, you will be passed over in favor of that brown-nosing cad with whom they are familiar.

Finally, how can you profess to be a team player when by all appearances you eat like a lone wolf? The herd likes to travel in packs.  So take lunch with your fellow co-workers. Blow off some steam talking about how clueless your boss is or gossip about the upcoming reorganization. If you do, you will strengthen your relationships and that’s always a bonus.

So, put down that sandwich and get with the program, the one that will lead you closer to the success that you are working so hard to attain, but don’t do it alone at your desk for crying out loud! Now get out there, beyond the cubicle wall and leave your mark. Invest in your career during lunch time. At any rate, it beats eating tuna fish sandwiches.

Brandon Kelly is the author of “Why Women Are Their Own Worst Enemies!”Ajani Publishing. @BrandonNKelly, www.whywomenare.com, brandonkelly@whywomenare.com


Stay in Your Lane?!%

I am a Yankee. I am a feminist. I am a feminist Yankee, so it is no surprise that my 18-month tour of duty (if you will) in the South has been “interesting” to say the least. The people are super friendly, at least the ones in the city limits, given my background I don’t venture too far out of the city since a friend of mine who went to college here recommended that I “stay on the highway”. All in all, barring  one time that I did not stay the course and saw a back roads bar with an “Obamaque” banner out front during the election, all in all things have been normal. You may omit the time that my husband and I went camping and hit the local convenient store for supplies and were greeted kindly by the attendant, but had to literally close our mouth shut and withhold a snicker when a native fellow walked in behind us and was greeted by said attendant with a very loud and sonorous “Hello Booger!” That was a good time, but not the only time that I have been compelled to keep quiet. During that same camping trip (again, leaving the “stay on the highway” advise aside just that once) a camper stopped over to chat with us by our campfire. Roughly about ten minutes in he had shared his views on homosexuality and also how “black people are, ya know, different” and just before my feminist, Yankee mouth went off on said camper, my husband ever so astutely and may I say just damn well-timed asked what kind of holster the gentlemen was wearing. When asked, the camper raised his sweatshirt to reveal a handgun. Que? Yes, remember how my big ole feminist Yankee mouth was about to go off and rail and educate and put some small-minded country folk in his place? Yeah, I pretty much just changed the subject.

(@BrandonNKelly, http://www.WhyWomenAre.com)

Beyond those events, I have learned to accept the dominant role that religion plays in the day to day life of the South, the dearth of restaurants and the fact that besides the City of Charlotte, this State went Red in the last election. I have forgiven all of these things save for one comment that was made to me in the state run liquor store. My husband and I were there to buy spirits for a party we were throwing.  At the checkout counter the older, fatherly clerk carded me and was being very complementary about my looks- to- age ratio, albeit in a very respectful way which did not get as much as an eyebrow raise from my husband. After my husband paid I went – almost instinctively – for the bag while he was wrapping his receipt around his credit card, at which time the clerk raised his hands and said, “no, you’re in the South now, stay in your lane” and proceeded to hand the bag to my husband. “Stay in your Lane?” I thought. I mean, I am totally fine with dudes holding the door open for me and I even like it when my husband pulls out the chair for me when we are in nicer restaurants, but to be discouraged from carrying my own flippin bag out of a store? I am all about the grand gesture, trust me when I tell you that I LUV gestures, but if we dissect this whole stay in your lane business was the clerk really throwing a veiled warning my way?  Was his fatherly demeanor really a mask for some old school business? I wonder now if I should have even been in the liquor store?! What his commentary has done is show me that perhaps, albeit a random event, that people are out there every day in the South and also perhaps elsewhere encouraging people to stay in their lanes. By not having more examples of women in leadership roles is that not a subliminal message that we need to stay in our domestic lanes and bag out of the “game”? Think of the ways that you have been encouraged to avoid a certain path and by so doing made to take another one. What is a woman’s lane?  Is it pink? Is it slower or faster than a man’s lane? Are their extra lanes for women with kids vs. those without? Do the cars have cameras which monitor our choices and progress? Can men drive in our lanes if they want? Can we drive in theirs? What happens when we do? Do clerks in liquor stores mask their disgust when we veer out of our lanes and might they call the cops on us if we appear to be repeat offenders? Can we pull off the road completely and walk or ride our bikes? When I think of lanes I think of only one, the fast one, the one where I blow past the people who are holding me up, the mini vans or the absent minded cell phone talker behind the wheel.

(@BrandonNKelly, http://www.WhyWomenAre.com)

If I am to stay in my line, rest assured it will be a lane that I define and create for myself. As a woman of color, and according to the National Geographic Genographic test (41% Sub Saharan, 22%Mediteranean, 22% Northern European, 3%South African and 11% Southwest Asian) to be exact – my lane is not one easily defined. I am a woman, I am a married woman, I do not particularly like authority, I do not particularly like Michael Buble, for I find him to be a sterile facsimile of the real thing, Sinatra, who is one of many dead musicians I listen to regularly.  So what precisely is my lane? I vote democratic, but had considered John McCain before he embraced his crazy and lost his own voice. What is my lane exactly? And for that matter what is anyone else’s? To hell with it all I say. Let’s eliminate lanes, like in India where my husband tells me the concept of lanes is really more a guideline than a formality. But without lanes where would we be? Like the plight of the transsexuals, to occupy both lanes. I think it would be a beautiful dilemma being everything. In the same way that an adopted child can imagine fantasy birth parents, ones with majestic wings who can fly or at the very least pay bills, as opposed to the more stolid reality. To transcend a definition, to bypass your lane altogether, that must be something. Becoming your own America, settling the new land, tabula rasa, making it what you want. But don’t forget that there are always natives in a new land. Baked inside of us there is a path, there is a path for madness, there is a path for greatness and there is a path that will lead some off of the road altogether. In some there are silent voices within that signal beyond the lanes a predetermined outcome; a marker for cancer, a marker for madness. But how to bypass what lies beneath? Might it be far easier to block what lies outside just beyond ourselves? What is the road to transcendence? Is it the Autobahn where there are no speed limits? Is it forgoing that DNA test, the potential sheet of black ice that may or may not be in your path, the right way to go? Or should you choose instead to wait idle at the wheel for signs of a thumb tremble to begin in your fifties, a harbinger of the tsunami to come. Is it conditioning out and away from your true tendencies with discipline? Is it letting your husband take the bag of spirits from the fatherly clerk’s well-intentioned hands? This is what we all must determine. The lanes are really only a guideline, know that you can go wherever you want no matter who tells you to stay in your lane, know that you are behind the wheel, you are in control, as much as any of us can be while on the road.

@BrandonNKelly, http://www.WhyWomenAre.com

Lane Image