Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Devil Wannabe Wears Faux Prada By: Karen Pilarski

The Devil Wears Prada was a popular movie starring Anne Hathaway. She was a tad meek and a bit boorish looking. She had a back stabbing colleague and a cantankerous boss. I think the character and elements of the film are relatable to people in similar situations.  Everyone has had that job where they were basically peons. Who can forget that first job at a greasy fast food joint? The hungry and crabby customers and screaming children were encountered everyday. The pimply and gawky teenaged supervisor blamed and ridiculed. After work would be spent scrubbing off the maldorous smell of spoiled meat and soured ice cream. The first job is where dues were paid. So you thought.

Fast forward some years and countless crappy jobs. Degrees have been awarded and now you are in the bigger (slightly higher) leagues. I have a friend named Lilly who is amazing. She is creative, compassionate, organized and smart. Lilly tried to do all the right things to get noticed. She was passed up for a promotion for God knows what reason. She wasn’t boorish or meek. She had experience, a degree, ambition and drive. She had the misfortune to work under a tyrant. She is now fielding other job offers as I write this.
Just because a person has a degree doesn’t mean the sky opens and the dream job rains down from the heavens above. This reality kicks in after six months of looking for a higher paying job and not having any luck. What people want is for someone to provide guidance, understanding and last of all respect.
I recently started to network. I have had wonderful connections ask me about my writing and invite me for coffee. I even inspired a blog post! It seems people really feel for the novice. They understand the daunting journey of getting recognized and trying to get a foot in the door. That said, sometimes there is a bad networking connection.  I accidentally sent a request to network with someone that I didn’t know. Understandably she asked how I knew her. That should have been the end. Nope, she proceeded to critique my profile and offer unsolicited suggestions. While I’m open to suggestions, this one seemed a bit mean spirited. She didn’t even look at my profile closely to see her suggestions were there. That alone was disrespectful.  She then trivialized personal writing as “my struggles.”  Ouch. 

The point is all colleagues and especially supervisors should treat employees with respect and acknowledge them. You never know when the copy boy might become CEO of a large corporation or that secretary becomes the next Barbara Walters. You lived a mile in their shoes.  Show future leaders how to climb the success ladder. Don’t yank the ladder from under them.   

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dream Cheating for Dummies (I am that dummy) By: Karen Pilarski

Last night I watched Indecent Proposal and Fatal Attraction with my husband’s 21 year old god daughter.  We killed off a bottle of wine and made scandalous remarks about Robert Redford. Not sure if it was Redford’s intoxicating offer or the alcohol that wrecked havoc on my sleep. I had a crazy dream I kissed another man. To protect privacy and spare being ridiculed, I will call him ‘Redford.’  In real life I know Redford. Redford and I were in a building that was being repaired when suddenly smooching occurred. I casually invited him over to my place.  Some point in this dream my husband and I had a row and he went to work angry. Redford and I made plans for our torrid indiscretion.

As anyone who recalls their dreams knows, your home is mildly or wildly different. My husband and I lived in a townhouse. It was messy (that part is actually true) with garbage and boxes everywhere. There was cot with a sleeping bag. I thought if Redford asked I would just lie and say we had just moved in. I looked outside my window and noticed Redford sitting on the steps. Suddenly my mother-in-law pulls up! Way to destroy the impending tryst. My husband gets out of the car and looks at Redford. I uttered some unsavory words. I thought “why the hell is he home?” He wasn’t in his uniform which was strange. Poor Redford looked like he wanted to soil himself. My mother-in-law called the cops! A cop pulls up in an instant (which is pretty good for Milwaukee). My husband gets back into the car. I run downstairs and see the officer talking to Redford. The cop asks what is going on here. He said Redford explained he was over there to buy a refrigerator. I mouth “A fridge, seriously?”  The cop makes us go in the back of the squad car for an interrogation. Excuses are made to try to get out of the uncomfortable situation. The officer steps out of the car. He goes and talks to my husband. My mother-in-law and husband speed off into the night.

Redford and I are in the back of the squad car. We start kissing and I stop him. I say “I really have feelings for you but I can’t do this.” He agrees. I go back home alone (which sucks already).  I frantically call my husband but it goes right to voice mail. I call my mother-in-law and she is short with me. She tells me my husband quit his job. I was more aggravated that he quit his job then I was that I got busted for cheating. I spent the rest of the dream going through boxes in our place. The boxes had Redford’s stuff in them. There were family pictures, baby photos, mementos.  I woke up.

I told my husband about the dream and he just shook his head and laughed. This dream had some obvious points. One, everyone has trash and past baggage. Sometimes it is possible to gather other people's  baggage without even knowing it. The cop was apparently my conscious self telling me what I was doing was wrong. Should I be insulted “Redford” didn’t offer a million dollars for a night with me? I’ll save that one for another dream.  Memo to me, never watch movies about sex and drink. Finally, no bunnies were boiled in the making of this dream.