The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 11, 2014

Watercooler: 'Jokes' on men? Still not funny

Some responses to a recent column on inappropriate workplace comments.

Reader 1: The points raised in your column are serious, but it is also important to acknowledge the constant (often incorrect) negativity directed at men. My other male friends and I (in my early 30s) regularly hear female colleagues talking about how "all" men are "evil" and "sexist pigs." This is often in workplaces where preference points are awarded to non-male employees, which may increase the sense of entitlement of non-male employees. How would you recommend men handle discriminatory and sexist language?

A: It's tempting to just copy and paste my suggested response from the earlier column, when the demeaning comments were from men about women: "Wow" or "Really?" — followed by a complaint to HR if it continues.

But what if you were to follow up with: "Where did that come from? Did something happen?" Maybe there's a work situation that needs to be examined. Or maybe it's unrelated to work, in which case a good-natured "Oh, thank goodness — I thought it was something I'd done" might encourage them to vent their spleen off the clock.

Why the follow-up? Because the power dynamic in your case is more nuanced than in the previous reader's. Where you hear entitlement, I hear frustration (maybe something to do with being assumed to be diversity trophies?). Where you see all the power tilted in "non-males' " favor, I see two sexes balanced over a rolling fulcrum where each thinks the other's in control. In this scenario, it takes only a subtle shift to establish balance — or demolish it.

Reader 2: Some years ago, a female colleague at our private organization passed around a sex-toy catalog. She and some other women found it funny when we men weren't amused. Our boss just rolled her eyes and said, "Typical of her!"

Text Only
  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

  • The Color of Money: Beware of loan-modification scammers

    There are some good things going on in the economy these days. Just like temperatures across the country, the stock market has been hot lately. The economy added 288,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent. Yet there are still plenty of Americans who need financial help, especially with their mortgages.

    July 14, 2014

Business Video