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Ahh…Goodbye Lottery Dreams…Until Next Time

So by now, reality has set in and we didn’t win the lottery. We can all go back to work and wait for the lottery to get big again before we start dreaming about what we would do if we were the one that won. Congratulations to those three who did. Bet you actually think your life won’t change. Unfortunately, because you live in a state that forces you to come forward and show the world who you are, you will be forced to change your life.

Seeing a picture of the couple from Tennessee that were the first to come forward, they didn’t look too happy. Of course that might have something to do with the fact that people were already giving them lists of things they “hope” they might give them out of the kindness of their hearts. This included an executive from their little Tennessee town, who instead of stopping at wishing the couple well at winning the lottery, caught a case of verbal diarrhea and proceeded to give them a list of things that the town could use, such as new fire equipment totaling in the millions. Of course he spoke of the fact that they were generous before, so that means he expects them to be generous with their winnings now. And if they aren’t, I’m sure he will proceed with the public shaming until they donate a substantial portion of their winnings.

Let’s hope that the remaining two winners are organizing their great escape. If it were me, and I had to come forward to prove to everyone that I won, I would wait until my escape plan was in place. Then I would have my press conference and that would be the one and only time you saw me. After that, I would use my winnings to disappear. There is no way that the winners, after going public, can ever live normally in public. Every place they go, they will be a target. If they think they can continue to work their regular jobs, they are kidding themselves. Comments will be made that they are millionaires now, so they should let people who really need a job have theirs. If they don’t they will be labeled as being selfish and greedy. Others will look for reasons for a confrontation and then sue because they were slighted in some way. They will either spend millions defending frivolous lawsuits or in payouts to people to make them go away. Eventually, their employer might ask them to leave quietly because they are just too much of a distraction.  They may want to stay in their nice little house, but they will have to arm themselves with the latest in expensive security systems that are monitored 24/7 because it will become a burglar’s paradise. Everyone will break in looking to steal the items that you purchased with your millions. Too bad your state just made you a target. I bet anonymity is looking good about now.

If they do anything, they should read what Mark Cuban said when asked if he had any advice for the next “billionaire” lottery winner. His advice, learn to say no and keep saying no to friends and family. Otherwise they will end up broke as so many have in the past. I’ll keep that in mind when I win….of course you won’t know I won because I live in a state that allows us to remain anonymous.


Work and Holiday Parties…I Don’t Go

I will admit that I am not a fan of holiday parties put on by work. I have always felt that the workplace holiday party is one that is organized by those people hoping to be seen by the bosses as going above and beyond. At times it has become heated and I’ve seen people push others out of the organizing until they are the only one that remains. Then they can say they did it all themselves and reap the praise they will get. Okay, fine, you need the validation that you are worth something to the organization. I would prefer that my organization saw my worth through my work.

The first year that our center was opened, the holiday party was held on-site with finger foods and a children’s choir singing holiday carols. Considering that people were not allowed to bring their significant others or children, this created a lot of hurt feelings. It also meant that there were no alcoholic beverages, which meant that most of the people exited as soon as they could and the resentment of giving up time after hours was rampant. Luckily, the party was on a Friday night and by Monday, most of the people had forgotten about it, but there are always those few people that will carry the grudge a little longer.

The next year, the party was moved off-site, which meant that those attending could drink alcohol. The people paying for the party decided to issue vouchers to each employee for two drinks. Now, for those employees that do not drink, this caused them to be singled out by those that do, and all sorts of comments ensued, which basically ended up with the non-drinkers feeling as if they were being bullied to give up their vouchers. To give some background, my first job after college was at a Level I trauma center. Within a few weeks of starting, I was called down to the Emergency Room. On my way there, I saw staff running with a stretcher to the operating room with a tiny body on the stretcher, people hanging off the sides while working on the patient, and lying next to her were the remains of her skull and brain matter. Her mom was drunk and didn’t strap her into her car seat. An image like that will stay with you forever. And it will impact your decision to drink or not in public. I choose not to drink. If I want something to drink, I wait until I am at home. That is my choice to do so. I don’t feel that I should have to explain why I don’t drink. Nor do I feel that someone who does drink needs to explain their reasons for doing so to me.

Anyway, I have lost count of the number of people who thought it was perfectly acceptable to call out those of us who don’t drink in meetings and other events to “be a team player’ and give our drink vouchers to those that could use them. Let me see, what they are saying is that the two drink per person limit isn’t enough for them and they want to drink more. So, if I were to give them my vouchers, I would essentially be aiding them in possibly getting drunk and if they chose to drive, then I could be putting the public at risk. No, that isn’t something that I want to be a part of. And honestly, how many of us really want to see our co-workers getting s@%t faced drunk and acting like a fool? I would rather not know anyone that I work with that way. It’s bad enough that we have to hear the after party stories at work the week following the party.

So this year, the bullying about attending or not attending the holiday parties started even before Thanksgiving, with the first email that went out to RSVP if you were attending. I, like many others, deleted the email. Several more emails followed as the date of the first party got closer. Delete, delete, delete. Then came the email demand a reply with a yes or no to the party. I took this to mean that they were not getting very many “yes” responses. Several of my co-workers responded in one email, all listing their names and a “no” next to each. Which opened the door to questions on why aren’t you going and being encouraged to attend the party, but “you don’t have to drink.” Ahh, and there it was. The reason they want you at the party. Unless you attend, you won’t get a drink voucher and they won’t be able to get them from you. Yep, that just makes me feel all warm and welcoming by my co-workers. Nope, it makes me feel used, which is why I stayed home.

Judging Someone From a Glance

I try not to judge anyone and I don’t like when people judge me. Recently, while in my weekly meeting with my department manager, she mentioned that I appeared stressed. I asked why she thought so and she replied, “When I walked past your desk, you looked stressed.” So let me understand. My boss walks past my desk and makes a judgement call that I “looked stressed.” Now my office has glass windows on two sides. They are approximately four feet wide, so to walk past and look in would take about 5 seconds (if you walk slow) or about 2 seconds (if you walk fast). And from that quick glance at me, she judged me and found me stressed. I immediately wanted to ask if she judged me every time she walked past and if she went around telling others that I was stressed. Or if I had the right to judge her every time I walked past her office.

I admit I was rather stressed at being told I look stressed. I began to wonder, did I look frustrated after being on hold with an insurance company for over twenty minutes and listening to the same message over and over and over again until I could repeat it word for word? Did I look happy when a patient told me something nice and it brightened my day? Or when I told something nice to a patient and they smiled? And what exactly does a frustrated face or a stressed face look like? I found myself worrying about what my face looked like throughout the day.

I just don’t understand the need for anyone, be it a boss, coworker or friend to feel the need to judge someone negatively based on a 5 second glance. As I walked back to my office, I couldn’t help looking at my coworkers. I felt like telling them to make sure they keep their happy face on or they might be judged. I think the reason that it bothers me so much is that I don’t like being judged. I mean no one does, but when you’re at work, no one should feel the need to make assumptions about someone based upon a tiny moment in time.

But I know everyone does it. I saw my husband for the first time and thought, “Wow, he looks handsome.” It made me want to learn more about him. I didn’t think, “Wow, he’s obviously military, he might be dangerous.” We see a stranger on the street or in traffic next to us and we pass judgments. If they are laughing, they are happy or if they are crying, they are sad. I think it is different because they are strangers and we don’t approach them. We don’t know them and what we think, in those few seconds, won’t have any impact on their lives because they won’t know they were being judged. At work, it is different. Someone’s judgement, if passed around the office, can cause real problems.

I guess my question is, why is it the negative impression that gets passed on? We just received a Quality of Life survey at work and one of the questions was if our boss/manager praises you for a job well done. My response was obviously not since they are too focused on judging people negatively. Of course that wasn’t one of the answers I could check off. There are a lot of positives that someone can tell you and that should be the focus.

So the next time someone tells me I look, fill in the blank, my reply will be, “I don’t understand why people feel the need to judge someone based on a few seconds in passing. I really hope you don’t do that. Can you imagine how someone might be judging you?”

Maybe that will make them stop and think…and hopefully say something positive.

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