Compliment Sandwich, Bitch.

In which we talk about the jerks who don’t know how to give constructive criticism.

The compliment sandwich

I really love the way you offer suggestions for improvement, but…

When you’re dealing with people, I don’t give a damn whether you’ve got an MBA or a GED. You know what matters to me?

How you TREAT people. Yes, how you treat me is a significant factor, but I also look at how you treat others. How you talk about others. What you write in e-mail. Everything you say to or about people shows me the kind of person that you are. And if you’re being a douche nozzle, you should probably take this to heart.

I didn’t attend a fancy business school, but I did learn that the best way to deliver criticism is with a spoonful of sugar.

Mary Poppins is my homie.

If you’re going to tell a writer that their work could use a little cleaning up, I recommend the compliment sandwich.

How to dish out a compliment sandwich

What you’ll need:

  • Examples of excellent work, planning, organization, strategy or anything else that could warrant a proverbial pat on the back
  • The problem, issue, criticism that needs to be discussed
  • Proof and/or examples of the problem
  • A solution to the problem (if there is one)
  • The right words to eloquently phrase the problem, the solution, and the pat on the back so that you don’t come off as a dick
  • Someone to check your grammar and spelling (this is optional but highly recommended if you’re sending criticism via e-mail).

Step 1: Whether you’re writing an e-mail or confronting the offender in person, it’s best to ensure that you know exactly what you’re going to say. Words are powerful. If you’re not sure of your phrasing, consult with other people. This is essential.

Step 2: Deliver compliment #1. This is one of the easiest parts. “You’re doing a great job here (Elaborate. Get them on Team You).” or “I really appreciated how you handled project A, B, or C.” or my favorite, “I know you’re working really hard on this…”

Step 3: Transition into the constructive criticism. This should be seamless from compliment to “here’s something I’ve/we’ve noticed.”

Step 4: Deliver criticism. Make sure that you use NICE language. The words, “suck,” “shit,” “crap,” “awful,” “terrible,” “worst,” and any other derivative of these offensive words should be avoided at all costs. Stick with words like: “improve,” “adjust,” “modify,” “change,” and “expectations.”

Step 5: Offer that solution. If you genuinely don’t have a solution, give them TIME to come up with a solution. If you couldn’t think of one in the time it took you to plan this, they certainly aren’t going to have a solution on the spot, especially if they’re feeling attacked.

Step 6: Bring it right back to another compliment. Positive reinforcement works wonders. The whip? Not so much. “Thank you.” “I know you can do this.” “You’ve got a lot of great ideas, let’s implement them.” If you can’t think of 2 compliments, you’ve got a whole different problem on your hands, and I can’t help you. But if you can, then be nice to your people. Duh?

You have so much potential, so I know that you CAN make this compliment sandwich thing work.

See what I did there?

someecards.com - Your grammatically incorrect e-mail was much appreciated. For reference, though,

Have you experienced a peer or someone in your place of employment who didn’t have a nice thing to say, ever? How did you handle it? Do you believe in the compliment sandwich? How do you deliver constructive criticism?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Was a BOSSY Little Girl…and I’m OKAY With That.

Shit’s about to get real here, people. I have a confession.

I’m about to admit something that makes me feel shameful. And weird. And like I really am not allowed to say this on the internet.

I’m afraid I’m about to get some hate mail up in here. And that terrifies me. A lot.

But I’m going to do it.

I’m going to admit…

That I am not a feminist.

The reason I feel so ashamed to admit this is that I feel like I SHOULD be a feminist.

I’m a lady. I’m a hard-working, strong, competitive lady. I have a job. I have a life. I have confidence. I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am. I know what I want and I say what I feel.

Except when it comes to admitting that I. Am. Not. A. Feminist.

Because I’m afraid of what the world will think.

It’s hard not to identify as a feminist. Because everyone’s a feminist these days. Except me. Sure, I care about women and equality. But I don’t think that’s what feminism stands for right now. What I see is feminism attempting to squash men and be their superior, not their equal. And I can’t get behind that. So no, I am not a feminist. I’m a humanist. I believe in the rights of every single person on this planet. And the ability for every single person to have opportunities. Because THAT is what we should be about.

Last year, at BlogHer, I couldn’t sit through Cheryl Sandberg’s chat. I just. Couldn’t. Because she didn’t make me feel empowered. She made me feel like I should stomp on the hearts of men until they hear me roar. I walked out.

And I felt judged for walking out. And for not joining the “Lean In” buzz or the “Bossy” buzz. That’s how feminism makes me feel: Judged.

I thought that after a few weeks, the buzz would die down. I thought after a few weeks, I wouldn’t have to hear about how little girls should NEVER be called bossy.

I was wrong.

Months later, here I am…boldly stating that I was bossy. Because there is a campaign to #banbossy. You can’t BAN a word in the English language. You can’t STOP people from using it. And you certainly can’t REPLACE it with a word that is NOT its equal. Especially when being bossy is something that is real. And yes, it’s got a negative connotation…but it probably should. Because above all else, being bossy is not an attractive quality in a man, woman or child.

I was bossy. I sometimes still AM bossy. And that does NOT mean I have executive leadership skills. That means I have a flaw that I need to focus on bettering.

Of course, because I am bossy, does not mean that I lack executive leadership skills. I have them despite my occasional bossytude. My executive leadership skills come from my ability to LISTEN to others. To take ADVICE. And to work WITH others in a TEAM setting and not DEMAND that they do as I say.

My executive leadership skills landed me as president of the Lombard Jaycees in 2010. I wasn't a beloved president by all, but I tried my hardest to be the best leader that I could. And I had to really work past my bossytude. (This was my last event as president...and I really wanted to post my pretty dress again.)

My executive leadership skills landed me a gig as president of the Lombard Jaycees in 2010. I wasn’t a beloved president by everyone, but I tried my hardest to be the best leader that I could. And I had to really work past my bossytude. (This was my last event as president with my board of directors…and also, I really wanted to post my pretty dress again.)

I was a bossy little girl. I wanted everything done my way. I didn’t listen to reason. Or logic. Or my mother. I wanted what I wanted and I didn’t want to think about anything other than the word, “yes.” I wanted to play Barbie or the Game of Life or watch the Zombie movie (Night of the Comet. It’s on YouTube. Look it up. You’re welcome. Sort of) or watch Labrynth. And I did not want to listen to anyone else.

My poor brother received the brunt of my bossyness. I made him play Barbie. And a game I invented called “Little Things” where we had to get all of our little toys out into the hallway and match them up in like a cage match type thing. I was a strange child.

I can still sometimes be bossy. Like when I tell Brian that he should fold my laundry. (And then he doesn’t, because he shouldn’t, because that’s MY laundry.) Or when I tell my mom that she should cook something in a way that I cook it, and not the way she has cooked it for the last 30 years. (And then she doesn’t, because she shouldn’t, because it’s HER cooking.) Or when I tell my co-workers that they should do something my way. (And then they don’t, because they shouldn’t, because it’s THEIR work.)

But this is something that I’M working through. I have some OCD tendencies. That makes me meticulous, but it also means that I have to actively take note when my OCD tendencies are making me bossy. Instead, I try to give others a chance to voice their opinions and speak up. THAT is what a leader is SUPPOSED to do. Sure, I’m not perfect and I mess up sometimes, but that’s MY goal. To be a true leader.

And I know bossy little boys. And I know boys who grew up into bossy men. And that’s not leadership. It’s not attractive. It’s not desirable. I have a partner who listens when I talk, who voices his opinion and expects me to give him the same courtesy in return.

So I’m going to try to forget I saw anything about this #banbossy campaign, but if you’re down with it, I won’t judge you. Please don’t judge me.

I’m confessing with Kat from Vodka and Soda (mostly because I’m really thirsty after all that ranting!) with #HumpdayConfessions. Now THAT’S a hashtag I can stand behind. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Hate Having to Apologize for Being Crazy

I’ll admit it. I have OCD tendencies. There are some things that I need done a certain way, and if they aren’t done…panic attack central.

CLUTTERED DESK

One of those things is the bagging of the groceries. I need to bag my own groceries. I need them bagged a particular way that makes sense to me…by me.

Trader Joes? They’re totally cool with it, but I still have to explain myself.  Jewel? They know me and I’m pretty sure they make fun of me when I leave.

(You know, on that note, it’s actually funny to think about some of the stories I used to tell about regulars at my service jobs…and how I’ve likely become one of the stories… the crazy lady that won’t let anyone touch her groceries.)

Anyway…it sucks. That I have to apologize for being crazy. Every. Single. Time.

Let me repeat that.

I have to apologize for having something wrong with my brain. The same something that probably makes me a creative genius. I digress.

Yesterday, Brian and I went to a Fresh Market…and I was almost refused my request. The girl started bagging my stuff and I said, I NEED to bag my own groceries. And she told me no. She told me she couldn’t. And I told her, that she HAD to. At which point, I have to tell her that I’m OCD and I’ll have a panic attack. And she argued with me. ARGUED!

“Well, the owner is here and we have to do it.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but I’m crazy, and you can tell them that I wouldn’t let you.”

“But…”

“PLEASE.”

“Okay…”

And then when she was done ringing me up, she tried again.

“Can I at least bag some of your groceries?”

“No. I’m SORRY. I’m really really really sorry.”

Seriously. I get it. You have rules that you have to follow. But you make exceptions for people. You have to. Because if you don’t…I don’t care that you carry my favorite cheeses or a plethora of fruits and vegetables that make me joyful. Don’t. Care. You let me bag my own groceries, dammit. And don’t make me apologize more than once.

This rant has been brought to you by my very patient boyfriend. Who puts up with my incessant need to bag my own groceries.

Everyone’s got a little bit of crazy in them…what’s your brand of crazy?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Monday Memories: Dress Code Discrimination?

I read about this controversial dress code from Delightfully Ludicrous and I just knew that a rant had to happen.

So I thought I could make it more fun by offering you my very own dress code story and incorporating it into Monday Memories.

Monday Memories

So today, friends, Monday Memories is all about dress codes.

First and foremost, I want to state for the record that it’s a sad sad state of things when the dress code of a child in kindergarten is considered compromised. The fact that it needs to exist at all? Baffling.

I got in trouble in grade school for wearing a tee-shirt featuring Spuds McKenzie, because it represented beer.

But never in a million years would my mother have let me out of the house in a freaking push up bra at 7. Or a thong. A freakin’ thong. I see younger and younger girls at Victoria’s Secret every time I stop in. (Which is a lot, because I have an obsession. And it’s not with their underwear. Yoga pants. Yoga crops. Yoga leggings. Yoga shorts.) But these little girls are buying thongs.

I STILL don’t like thongs.

So back to dress codes. After watching the news clip of the little girl who got in trouble for wearing a hello kitty outfit with a skort and tights (for the skort being “too short”), I was appalled. And annoyed. Because school administrators are very picky about who has to turn their shirts inside out, who has to wear their gym clothes, who has to be sent home. I feel like they may have discriminated against this girl. Not necessarily because of her race, but for anything. Maybe the school didn’t like the way her mother dressed. Maybe the school admins didn’t like the mother. I don’t know, but I don’t like it.

It happened to me once in high school. Because I was the chubby girl. Now in high school, I wasn’t fat. But I was bigger than a lot of the other girls. One of my favorite go-to warm-weather clothing items (when I wasn’t wearing pajamas to school-which I did a lot) was a tube top and overall shorts. I know. Classy. But I liked it. I thought I looked nice. My mom thought I looked nice. The overalls had straps that fit the school’s dress code criteria and lots of girls dressed that way. It wasn’t revealing. At all.

But one day I got pulled to the side by an administrator who politely informed me that it was gym shirt or get sent home. I had a sweatshirt in my locker that I was able to throw over my outfit (though I was sweltering) and I made it through the day. She was discriminating against me, because I was the chubby girl with boobs. She basically told me it was because girls with chests shouldn’t wear clothing like I was wearing. There wasn’t even cleavage showing (well, not any more than the skinny girls showed, anyways).

dress code discrimination

This was not the set in question. This was actually MORE revealing than the one that got me in trouble. I wore this on the last week of school as a “Fuck You” to the administrator who called me out the first time. Guess what? No one said a word. So they pick and choose their battles.

I was pissed, but I survived. And fortunately so will the little girl in her Hello Kitty cuteness. Let’s just hope she doesn’t start shopping and A&F or Victoria’s Secret for bras and thongs next year when she’s 7.

Go visit Lily at It’s a Dome Life for more dress code memories!

So what about you guys? Ever felt like someone in charge was calling you out because you were different?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!