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When Co-workers Hand You Lemons….

Is it really THAT easy to make lemonade?

It’s a rainy Saturday here in Alexandria, VA. There are three very professional men from Well Home working in my house right now to make it more green and energy efficient. Well Homehttp://www.wellhome.com has been wonderful. I don’t want to digress however I do want to give them a decent plug in this blog. From being extremely responsive to walking us through every step of the process with sufficient data from credible resources to back up their project plans to a pretty reasonable cost….I’m satisfied. And all the while I’m thinking to myself…. if these guys can get along great together to complete this work on time within budget while keeping us happy, why couldn’t a bunch of women?

Do I have you confused yet?

I’m referring to a meeting with a group of women I participated in earlier this week (Thursday) regarding our command’s telework policy for civilians and military. The purpose was to discuss with our policy expert what the policy currently states, where the future of this perk may be headed, share some best-practices of other commands within the Department of Navy, and discuss where our hiccups are at. Little did I know that it was going to be a dig at the young twenty-something as the discussion wouldn’t allow her to say anything, when I was able to speak I was met with rolling eyes or just ignored, then I became the example to made where one of the ladies decided to make an analogy referring to me as “not doing my homework and being clueless” and comparing this likeness to our leaders today. When I challenged this woman and explained to her that her words were striking a defense response from me and was she prepared to go that route, the other woman chimed in that she didn’t think it was offensive. WHAT?!!!

Then I thought back to the NGG Summit where I remembered that good innovative ideas are most always met with criticism and that everyone has challenges with making their voices heard. So here was my situation.

Was it what I was saying that caused this reaction? Was it the generation I represented? Was it how I was saying what I said? Or was it simply to whom I was saying it to?

I’m not sure. But I do know that no matter the situation I am ever in when I disagree with a co-worker or simply do not see their point of view, there is a level of professionalism and CLASS that everyone must exude. But I must say, I have never felt so small in this command as I did during this meeting. And with every experience I have, I know I take something from it. And from this experience, I will take that feeling that I had and remember it when I disagree with someone. I’ll remember what it felt to be ignored, shot down, and ridiculed. And I’ll remember that I didn’t like feeling that way so I will not make someone else feel that way.

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Henry Brown

Suspect that the less than ideal situation you found yourself in had very little to do with generational and or gender issues but a great deal to do with the very common leadership trait(s): “Don’t confuse me with the facts” and “newbies cannot have the great knowledge that I have gained over the years in this position

The latter COULD be confused with a generational issue but I have had it expressed to me, by people actually younger than me, in an environment where the supervisor/manager had been on the project for much longer than I

Nichole Henley

It’s amazing how much blogging helps me to get over instances such as the above. Writing has mad healing affects!!

And thanks for the support—-it’s always reassuring to know that it could be a billion things that sparked this uncomfortable meeting, not just me.

Cheryl Wahlheim

Interesting. I remember a few years ago when I put down a young woman in our company, “oh you don’t have any experience with that”. She came right back at me saying, I have a house payment, I pay taxes, I have a college degree, etc. It really pulled me up and made me think about how I do treat younger people. I try to use the Golden Rule, especially now that I am on the other side and people sometimes disrespect me because I am “too old” to understand.