Monday, December 18, 2017

You Can't Teach an Old Southern Dawg New Tricks

The sexual harassment scandals involving old white men in power just keep on coming.  Now we have Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson offering to sell the team now that an NFL investigation involving his workplace behavior is coming to light.  Not only is he accused of sexual misconduct but he is also accused of using racial slurs on at least on occasion.  And thanks to an investigative reporter with Sports Illustrated, we now know there were several payouts over the years, also known as "hush money."

When it was learned that the NFL was taking over the investigation that was initially started by the Panthers internal investigative team, Richardson immediately announced he would be selling the team at the end of the year.  How convenient for him.  His value has skyrocketed to over $1 billion since he first bought the team in the early 90's for a little over $200 million.

The sports world is stunned.  Say it ain't so Joe!  Oh, but it is and probably a lot more prevalent than we know.  Let's look at what we do know in this case.  Jerry Richardson is 81 years old, which means he was born in 1936 and he was raised in a tiny town known as Spring Hope, NC (outside of Fayetteville).  Heck, they were still lynching black folks so he grew up in that type of environment and the only exposure he had to blacks during that time period were as maids and other slave labor.

As Richardson was climbing the ladder of white male privilege, he became CEO of a company known as Flagstar, which just happened to own the Denny's chain, which had been sued by the Justice Department for refusing to serve black patrons.  In 1994, Flagstar agreed to pay more than $50 million to settle lawsuits filed by thousands of black customers around the country.  All under Richardson's helm.

Now I know there are people who will say that was a LONG time ago we should judge him on his merits now.  After all, he's got a black quarterback and a head coach who is of Puerto Rican descent.  Richardson had a chance to be a shining example of what it means to be an owner who values diversity but these allegations just goes to show you, you can't teach an old southern dawg new tricks.

Furthermore, here's what else we also know about Richardson.  When black NFL players were taking a knee over racial inequality, Richardson threatened to punish anyone on the team who participated and he made it clear that he didn't want to see any of his "boys" on the team wearing dreadlocks.

Publicly, Richardson presents himself a Traditionalist---a conservative Christian man who stands for moral values but behind the scenes we are learning about a different side.  Much like the "behind the scenes" comment made by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair when he said "We can't have inmates running the prison!"  While he swears he wasn't referring to the NFL players, they majority of people who heard about it took it that way.

We all know the NFL owners are the Good Ol' Boy Network and they pride themselves in being an exclusive white male privilege club.

How will scandal impact Richardson's legacy or will it have an affect at all?  We'll let the Football Hall of Fame committee tell us.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Social Media Tips for Baby Boomers

With the holiday season upon us, more and more people are looking for ways to connect with loved ones and old friends if they can't be with them in person. Social media sites like Facebook have seen an influx of baby boomers in recent years and with the holiday season here, more and more of us are looking for ways to connect with loved ones and old friends if we can't be with them in person.

While it's wonderful to use social media to make connections, it can have a downside. Here are holiday social media tips to keep you relatively safe:

1) Do not make public announcements about where you're going. No one needs to know you're leaving your home to go away to visit your children in another state. As a matter of fact, no one ever needs to know when you leave your home because that means it could be unattended and an open invitation to thieves.

2) Don't tell people where you are. On Twitter, people are known to post where they are while they're there. Once again, that's an open invitation to burglars.

3) Don't announce your shopping expenditures. Why brag that you've spent several hundred dollars on Christmas gifts this year? That's a signal that you HAVE money and could become a target for a robbery---or something far worse.

4) Advise your children and grandchildren not to go public with your business. While the family may be excited that you're coming to visit, it isn't necessary to put the information on their Facebook page or "tweet" about it. You don't know who they're connected to that might be interested in such information.

5) Finally, don't click on links from people you don't know. People may try to send you a holiday greeting in disguise---which could actually contain a nasty virus. You may be connected to the friend of a friend of a friend but if you don't know they personally, don't click on the link. Instead, just go their page and post a personal greeting and thank them for thinking of you. If they didn't post the link, you'll be doing them a huge favor.

By following these tips, baby boomers, their families and friends can enjoy the holidays and stay safe at the same time.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sexual Harassment Allegations isn't Breaking News

Now we can add Harvey Weinstein's name to the list of dirty, old, white, arrogant, privileged men who's accused to sexually harassing women. He has now joined the elite white male privileged club that also boasts names like 71-year-old Donald Trump, the late former Fox News executive Roger Ailes, and 67-year-old Bill O'Reilly Their abuse of power and their lack of respect for women doesn't shock me, as a black woman, because history tells us that's what white men have always done dating back to the years of slavery. The only difference now is that white women are the victims. They're speaking out and getting paid big time.  My great-grandmother, on the other hand, had no voice and would've probably been murdered if she spoke about it.

The Harvey Weinstein scandal broke when an article by the New York Times in October detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him.  Actress Rose McGowan was the first to come out publicly followed by Ashley Judd and a host of others.  So, once again, I am supposed to be outraged and disgusted by the actions of these white, arrogant, privileged, dirty, old, white men. When the news of all of the settlements Fox News had made on behalf of Bill O'Reilly white women were up in arms raising all kinds of hell about his male privilege and why Fox News kept it quiet for so long.  Now with the Weinstein scandal I am supposed to stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims and say "enough is enough." I get that and I am glad these women decided to come forward but I also wonder why the voices of minority women have never been heard in a similar situation.

Sexual harassment against women on the job has been going on for a VERY LONG time.  This really isn't anything new.  It's just that women now feel they have more of a voice to come out an publicly denounce the perpetrators using various media platforms, which are all very willing to "break the story."  

But, like with everything else, there are always two sides to a story.  There are women who actually use their sexuality to get to the top.  You can be shocked and appalled to be reading this but it's the truth.  
Now, don't get this twisted.  I am not saying any of the female accusers did anything to aggravate whatever situation they found themselves in.  Sexism, like racism, should never be tolerated in the workplace. But I can tell you, first-hand, that I do know of white women who used their "feminine wiles" to get a man's attention at work.  I was there.  I was a witness. This one particular young lady, fresh out of college, always wore provocative clothing in the newsroom and flaunted her best assets in our New Director's face every chance she got.  And yes, she did get a promotion. The same goes with Weinstein who reportedly promised to advance their careers in return for sexual favors. 

According to a Center for Work-Life study, conducted some years ago, 37 percent of the women questioned said the sexual affair they had resulted in a career boost. In a blog post written by Samantha Brick she said, "The truth is, I’d much rather work for a man than a woman. I’ve always dressed with the express intention to please and gratify my male bosses in the workplace. If I had a choice of how to spend my ideal lunch hour, it’s a no-brainer. Each and every time I’d choose to flirt over lunch with a male superior rather than engage in mindless gossip with the girls..."

So yes, there are women out here who intentionally turn on the sex appeal and they flirt with a goal in mind.  As Samantha pointed out, "I learned very early on in my career how to clock within seconds who the important male was in any room and pandered to him accordingly. And it paid off."

So the Samantha's of the world have made it hard for those women who are truly trying to advance based on their own merit, talents and expertise.  And as long as there are Samantha's on the job, there will be dirty, old, arrogant, white, privileged men abusing their power.

So that brings us back to Harvey Weinstein, who comes from that dirty, old, arrogant, white male privilege fraternity.  So now he's lost ALL of his Hollywood privileges, while he claims to seek help for his "sickness."  But is he really gone?  That remains to be seen.  

I am reminded of Anita Hill and what she was subjected to by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  Humiliating, degrading and broadcast on prime time TV for the world to see.  What did she get out of it?  Perhaps, a chance to let everyone know who this man was that Congress was so gung ho about.  What did he get?  A lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.  Oh, but wait a minute.  She was a black woman and Thomas was supported by the dirty, old, arrogant, white privileged men of the republican party.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Millennials and Digital Dating Abuse

As the mother of a Millennial, I became concerned when I read the results of the annual Truth About Abuse Survey conducted by Mary Kay.  Yes, I'm talking about the same Mary Kay Company that created an empire by making women of all ages look beautiful and developed many entrepreneurs who show off their financial success with their trademark pink cars.

The survey implies there is a new epidemic spreading among our young people and it's called Digital Dating Abuse.  So exactly what is this type of abuse?  According to The Women's Freedom Center website, Digital Dating Abuse is "a form of verbal and/or emotional abuse, which can include unwanted repeated calls or text messages, pressure to send nude or private pictures or videos, and the use of social media networking sites to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a girlfriend/boyfriend.

Some of the signs of digital dating abuse include a boyfriend or girlfriend who:
  • Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with on Facebook or other sites
  • Sends you negative, unwanted, insulting or even threatening email, Facebook messages, tweets or other online messages
  • Uses social media sites to keep constant tabs on you and constantly criticizing you
  •   Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.  
  • According to the Mary Kay survey, 1 in 4 young people say they have personally experienced digital dating abuse.  So if you are a parent reading this, that means your adult daughter could very well be a victim or the young adult of one of your friends. 
  • 69 percent of young people believe their peer group is more likely to tolerate abusive behavior online than in person.
  • 60 percent say they would not tell a parent or guardian if they were experiencing digital dating abuse.
  • 76 percent of college students say they have been victims of abuse, compared to 61 percent of high school students.
The 2017 survey is part of Mary Kay's Don't Look Away campaign which works to educate the public on recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship.  

Parents BEWARE! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Impact of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Did you know more than 70 percent of employers say they have been adversely impacted by prescription drugs, while less than 20 percent say they are extremely prepared to deal with prescription drug abuse.  These are some of the findings based on research conducted by the National safety Council. 

As I reported in my previous blog post, nearly one million people spent $50,000 or more on prescription drugs in 2016.  The National Safety Council says a whopping 75 percent of people struggling with a substance abuse problem are in the workforce.  A frightening thought!

While a large majority of companies have adopted smoke-free policies over the years, the NSC study says 81 percent lack a comprehensive drug-free workplace policy.  More than 70 percent of employers believe prescription drug "misuse" is a disease but 65 percent believe it is grounds for termination. 

Drug addicted employees, no doubt, can have an impact on an employer's bottom line.  As a matter of fact, 7 out of 10 employers say they have felt some effect of prescription drug abuse.  Incidents experienced as a result of prescription drug usage include:

  • Absenteeism 
  • Impaired or decreased job performance
  • Borrowing or selling prescription drugs on the job

Employees who abuse prescription drugs are two to five times more likely to take unexcused absences, be late for work, be injured or violent, quit or be fired within the first year of their employment. 

Although this has nothing to do with the NSC study I wanted to add some statistics from 2015 provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation:

  • Opioid overdose deaths by whites:  27,056
  • Blacks:  2,741
  • Hispanics:  2,507
Perhaps the fact that over 90 percent of people addicted and dying from prescription drug abuse are white is why Trump is preparing to sign an executive order calling it a National Emergency.  That's what covering his base is about.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Are Opioids the New Normal?


That was the average cost nearly one million people spent on prescription drugs in 2016.  ($50,000 is more than a lot of people make in a year).  Between 2014 and 2016, the number of people with annual medication costs of $50,000 or greater increased by 35 percent.  Also in 2016,  two out of every one million Americans (total population 323.1 million) had pharmacy costs of at least $1 million.  These are some of the statistics gathered by Express Scripts in their research.

Taking prescription drugs appears to be the new normal in today's society.  Opioids, which include prescriptions painkillers and drugs like heroin and fentanyl, now kills more than one hundred Americans a day. 

On an average day in the U.S.

  • More than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed
  •  3900 people initiate non-medical use of prescription opioids
  • 580 people initiate heroin use
  • There were more than 20,000 deaths from prescription painkillers in 2015.
  • In Ohio alone, there were over 4000 deaths in 2016)
  • In 2015, more than 120 thousand young people between the ages of 12-17 were addicted to prescription painkillers. 
In all fairness, it should be noted that not everyone taking prescription drugs is or becomes addicted. There are plenty of people who take their medication as needed and when they heal from their injury or surgery, they stop taking them.  But the sad fact is more and more people are using prescription drugs illegally and there are doctors who are willing to feed their habit.

It should come as no surprise that baby boomers lead the way by accounting for nearly half of all annual pharmacy costs of $50,000 or more.  Millennials, on the other hand, account for just 10 percent of pharmacy costs.

So who's paying the cost for this new normal?  According to research by Express Scripts, Employers, insurers and government payers covered 98 percent or more of the costs for people whose prescription costs reached or exceeded $50,000 or more.  Some Employers pay a heavier price with an addicted employee through repeated absences or just not showing up for work at all.  That, of course, results in a higher turnover rate for the Company.

And let's not forget the families of those who are addicted.  Their costs are, often-times, life changing because of the emotional drama, ongoing medical expenses and even funerals to prepare for. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Baby Boomers and Millennials Differ on the Confederate Statues Removal

According to a recent survey conducted by Valient Market Research, more millennials want to see the confederate statues removed than do baby boomers.  These results are not surprising to me because I do believe millennials are more progressive thinkers while a large number of baby boomers have become more conservative and stale-minded as they age.  (Not me, of course).

As the Valient Poll reflects, 39 percent of Generation Y said they thought the statues should be removed, 30 percent said no, 20 percent were unsure and 11 percent had no opinion.  Meanwhile, 56 percent of baby boomers said they were opposed to the removal, along with 60 percent of people 72-years-old and older.

As for the breakdown within the various ethnic groups, it should come as no surprise that more than half of Blacks are in favor of the removal, compared to just 30 percent of whites.  What I did find rather shocking was the fact that 56 percent of Native Americans said they were not in favor of their removal.  That was even higher than the 49 percent of whites who said they against it.  

As a veteran journalist, I am often skeptical of many surveys because I always question whether they truly represent the MAJORITY of public opinion.  In this case, only 1000 people were surveyed online.  That certainly does not reflect the over 300 million people in the U.S. and if you only have 10 blacks taking the survey, only 6 would have to say they oppose the statue removals to make it reflect over 50 percent.  

I am a baby boomer who grew up in the Midwestern part of the United States so I never gave much thought to the whites in the South and their continued loyalty to the Confederacy.  But having lived here for more than 30 now, I have become very politically aware of the fear and hatred some Blacks feel towards the confederate flag and the statues of their so-called fallen heroes who did their best to divide the nation by seceding from the Union over the issue of slavery.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 1297 confederate statutes in the top 10 states of Virginia, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida.  Meanwhile, Oregon, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota and Minnesota are the ONLY states that don't have any at all.

I really didn't have an opinion about the confederate statues until I saw the events of a Unite the Right play out in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017 that ended with the tragic death of a young woman named Heather Heyer.  While I truly believe everyone should celebrate their heritage, I also believe the neo-nazis and white supremacists have turned their misguided, warped sense of pride into a very divisive racial issue. Perhaps Washington should consider a Museum for the Confederacy but they do not deserve to be publicly displayed as an example of great leaders who fought and died for the DEMOCRACY of this nation.

Do you see anybody in Germany protesting for the right to erect neo-nazi statues in Germany?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How Long Will You Have to Work Before You Can Retire?

The news is not looking good if you take stock in a new survey regarding retirement.  According to research conducted by GoBankingRates.Com, 1 in 5 Americans fear they may never be able to stop working because there won't be enough money to live on.  Although the survey doesn't address why these fears exist, is is safe to say lower wage-paying jobs and fewer job opportunities are having a significant impact.  What should also be duly noted here is the fact that, because of a tight job market, you may find Millennials and older adults competing for the same jobs.

Baby Boomers, between the ages of 55-64 reflect the largest group that is skeptical of being able to leave the workforce at retirement age (27 percent), followed by Generation Y (25 percent) and Millennials (20 percent).

In addition to retirement woes, those surveyed are also worried about:

1)  Living paycheck to paycheck

2)  Living in debt forever

3)  Losing their jobs

4)  Losing all of their money in the stock market

5) Never being able to afford a home

6) Always having a low credit score

When it comes to gender, more women than men fear living from paycheck to paycheck, while more men are worried they will never be able to retire.  Both men and women say their least fear is always having a low credit score.

If you break it down by region, it appears people living in the South have the greatest fears of never being able to retire and always living from paycheck to paycheck----in comparison to people in the Northeast whose biggest fear is living in debt forever.

What are some of your biggest financial fears as you age?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Donald Trump and the Deplorable Rich Misfits

When whites mistreat or stab black people in the back, it's not surprising but when they do it to each other, you have to believe the world might be coming to an end.

Donald Trump leaves everyone, except his deplorable base, shaking their heads day in and day out with the way he treats the white men he CHOSE to surround him during this debacle of a presidency.

Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus were both pushed out of their White House roles by Trump's newest pit bull, Anthony Scaramucci who has vowed his undying loyalty and commitment to the leader of the deplorables.

Now we all know, much has been said about the people who voted to put Donald Trump in the White House.  The media, and the so-called "expert" political analysts had to back track and admit they got it wrong (all but CNN's Don Lemon who, on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, did declare Trump could very well win).

I do believe Trump's victory was a surprise to him and I also believe he was fully aware of Russia's meddling and was prepared to use it AGAINST Hillary had she won instead.  I also believe there were people who weren't happy with the policies of the Obama Administration and others were simply exercising their right to be racist at the ballot box.  Those people came out in droves.  According to Pew Research, 67 percent of uneducated whites voted for Trump compared to 61 percent in 2012.  They have since become known as The Deplorables---a name Hillary referenced in talking about the behavior of his supporters at his campaign rallies  The name has since taken on a new life with thousands of people jumping on the bandwagon to identify themselves as one of them while they continue to stand by their "deplorable" president.  There was a DeploraBall as a part of the Inauguration activities and a Facebook group created to pump out all the #FAKE NEWS it can.

But here's another telling statistic according to Pew:  Trump won whites WITH a college degree by a margin of 49 to 45 percent over Clinton.  Now why is this important?  It is because too much attention has been paid to the uneducated, poor white trash who came out of the Hills and Rural America to have their voices heard.  But college educated whites were making a statement too.  They preferred Trump over Hillary for whatever reason.  But let me take it one step further.  What about the folks making $200K or more?  Not all of them are college educated.  They were the silent among us.  I call them the Deplorable Rich Misfits.  Yes, they're the dissenters who disguised themselves as someone else with their money.   They probably weren't ever polled and, if they were, they probably didn't tell the truth about who they would be voting for.  Listen, the more money people make, the more likelihood they voted for Trump especially if they are white men---and as I always believe, white women married to wealthy white men will do as they're told to hang on to the lifestyle they've become accustomed to. Another point is the fact that whites over the age of 65 preferred Trump over Hillary by a margin of 53 to 45 percent.

Surely, there are still some things that don't add up.  How could Hillary win the popular vote by nearly 3 million and lose the electoral vote?  It's happened 5 times in all (the first three all in the 1800's)--with the most recent being in 2000 when George W. Bush stole---I mean won the electoral vote, while losing the popular vote by 540,000 to Al Gore.  There was something about malfunctioning voter machines and people being turned away from the polls.

As a veteran journalist, I believe Trump won because the exit polls simply didn't do a very good job at polling and he had a lot of help from the silent majority known as the Deplorable Rich Misfits---consisting primarily of rich old white men, who are rallying around him looking for his favor.

I'm just waiting to see where the ax will fall next.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Baby Boomer Parents of Millennials Need to Stop Enabling Them

A recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates more than two million millennials between the ages of 25-34 are still living at home with their parents and 1 in 4 is doing so at the expense of the baby boomers who raised them.  They're not working or going to school---they're just kickin' it with mom and dad--and, perhaps, waiting for their big break into the world of employment.  Or perhaps they're just waiting for mom and dad to die so they can gain their inheritance.

The study also reflects the fact that most of those who work at home have a high school diploma or less and may also be adding another mouth for their parents to feed with their own child or live-in mate.

Half of those living at home are white and the majority are male. How ironic especially since the unemployment rate is 9.7 for blacks (between 25-34) and 4.2 for whites in the same age group.

"Almost 9 in 10 young people who were living in their parents' home a year ago are still living their today, making it the most stable living arrangement for young adults," the report said.  "In 2005 the majority of young people lived independently in their own household, which was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states.  By 2015---just a decade later---only six states had a majority of young people living independently.

The Census Bureau study makes no reference to the circumstances that cause millennials to live at home but one can certainly make a case for the economic challenges they face as well as the after shock of the most recent Recession.

Whatever the case may be, parents must continue to encourage their Millennial adult children to leave nest and stop enabling them so they can fly on their own.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Moms of Millennials are Worried about their Failure to Launch

With Mother's Day just around the corner, a new survey has come out suggesting being a "helicopter parent" may have back-fired.  For the record, a helicopter parent is defined as "a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children." 

Parents, who spent years hovering over every aspect of the lives of their now-grown millennials, are now seeing the results of their actions.  According to a survey of 1000 mothers, conducted by the NHP Foundation, 63 percent said they don't believe their adult children are fully prepared to live on their own.  Only 30 percent of moms said their millennial offspring who live with them are actively looking for other places to live and less than half (41 percent) say their kids pay rent.  The good news from the survey indicates 65 percent of the millennials, who still live at home with their parents, are employed.

So what's driving mom's concerns?  The survey says a whopping 90 percent are concerned about rising housing costs but only a third of the moms said they would co-sign a loan for their children and 24 percent would help subsidize rent or a mortgage.  Nearly 36 percent said they are prepared to help their adult children financially in any way.  Add to this the fact that nearly 40 percent of moms in the survey said they have no confidence that the Trump administration will make affordable housing a priority.

Although this survey expresses the fears and concerns of moms of millennials, there is another telling piece to this.  Parents of millennials must point the fingers at themselves for creating children who don't feel prepared to take on adult responsibilities.  Indiana University psychologist Chris Meno says, "When children aren't given the space to struggle through things on their own, they don't learn to problem-solve very well. They don't learn to be confident in their own abilities, and it can affect their self-esteem. The other problem with never having to struggle is that you never experience failure and can develop an overwhelming fear of failure and of disappointing others. Both the low self-confidence and the fear of failure can lead to depression or anxiety."

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, Founder of, says "Engaged parenting has many benefits for a child, such as increasing feelings of love and acceptance, building self-confidence, and providing guidance and opportunities to grow. The problem is that, once parenting becomes governed by fear and decisions based on what might happen, it is hard to keep in mind all the things kids learn when we are not right next to them or guiding each step."

Failure and challenges teach kids new skills, and, most important, teach kids that they can handle failure and challenges. 

Perhaps these moms are feeling what it's like to reap what you sow.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Survey Says Black Students Do Better With Black Teachers DUH

OK, here we go again with another survey.  This one, conducted at Johns Hopkins University, says black students---especially those who come from low-income families---tend to fare better in school when they are taught by a black teacher.

The study involved about 100 thousand black students from North Carolina who entered third through fifth grade between 2001 and 2005.  According to Nicholas Papageorge, the caucasian Johns Hopkins University economist who co-authored the study, when black students were taught by black teachers they demonstrated higher test scores and less likely to become a drop out statistic.  He also found that race played a profound role in how teachers judged a student’s abilities. “When a black teacher and a white teacher looked at the same black student, the white teacher was about 40 percent less likely to predict the student would finish high school.”  And I’m willing to bet she/he would be less likely to encourage the black student to do better—instead setting that black male student up for failure and the pipeline to prison.  

No disrespect to Papageorge, but this is the overwhelming sentiment in the black community and has been for MANY years.  We KNOW the significance and impact a black teacher has on the life of a black student who may or may not be struggling. There’s something called the identity factor.  It’s a well known fact that children, as well as adults, relate better to people and things they feel most comfortable with.  Black children have black mothers (for the most part) and other relatives.  In many instances, the black teachers they interact with remind them of their mothers, aunties or even grandmas and, as any black child will tell you, you WILL respect them---even when you don’t like what they do.  And back in the day we all know if that teacher threatened to call your parents, you were doomed.

The late NASA Astronaut Ronald McNair is a wonderful example of a man who succeeded despite all the odds set up against him.  He was raised in the segregated South (South Carolina), went to all-black schools (including college) and was all the while being encouraged and motivated by his black teachers. Most black teachers understand the black child experience and can be more nurturing because of their own experiences growing up.  

As a mother and grandmother, I made it a point to see that my daughter and grandson had a black teacher influence in their lives because they deserve a chance to succeed and be appreciated for who they are and very few white teachers know what that means for our kids.

Perhaps this study would have more merit for me if the researchers did a comparison study on black baby boomers versus black millennials.  That might shed some light on differences in attitudes, since millennials are supposed to be the most diverse generation compared to baby boomers---many of whom were just starting to benefit from the Civil Rights movement.  Perhaps there is a not only a racial gap but also a generational divide when it comes to education.

And I didn't get one dime for my expert opinion. Ha!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Millennials Baby Boomers and the Battle for Jobs

Ever since the Social Security program was created in 1935, we have come to accept 65 as the age of retirement.  Back in the day, most people looked forward to it after grinding it out for 30 or 40 years and, most often, with the SAME employer.

But the times---they are a changin'.  Inflation, the Stock Market Crash, depleted 401Ks, along with living healthier lives has made the word "retirement" a bad thing to say, especially for baby boomers like me who expect to work many, many years past 65. On top of that, you have retirees in their 70s and 80s who are jumping back in the workforce in an effort to supplement what they're not getting from Social Security.

So what's the problem with that, you ask? Well, from my viewpoint there's nothing wrong with that, however, millennials might think otherwise.  They represent a changing of the guard in today's job market with their energy, eagerness, creativity and tech savviness.  As a matter of fact, "more than one-in-three American workers today are millennials, surpassing baby boomers in 2014.  By 2025, they are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce."  What this means is, if baby boomers want to stay in the workforce past retirement, they are going to have to battle it out with their younger counterparts.  Retirees, trying to re-enter the job market, are going to find themselves chasing entry-level jobs like those they held over a half century ago.

Then you have employers who must decide who is the best candidate for the job.  Some older workers believe they will favor millennials because they want to make sure their investments in hiring and training will pay off for years to come.  They also don't want to pay for experience.  They would rather hire someone with the ability to do the job for less money than to pay top dollar to a more experienced older employee.  But what some employers fail to realize is millennials are known as the job-hopping generation so if they're not happy, they don't have any problem walking away. Baby boomers, on the other hand, will more likely stay and be miserable in order to collect a paycheck.

"Let the battle begin!"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Millennials Don't Need Blind Deaf and Dumb Managers

Having a "voice" in the workplace has always been important but it seems to be more important than ever since millennials have arrived on the scene.  Among other things, they have been described as the job-hopping generation which, in essence means, if they're not happy with the way things are going they have no problem walking away.  (I imagine they will re-think that as we move through the next couple of years).

Since returning to the workforce and finding myself surrounded by millennials, I am discovering just how bright, talented and innovative some of them are.  But I am also seeing managers who fail to recognize what they bring to the table.  This is especially true of some baby boomer managers who want to prove how much they are in charge and make their subordinates feel totally inferior. But sooner or later these baby boomer managers will be replaced so it would be in their best interest to work to help develop the young minds and build on their initial employment enthusiasm.

This is what Millennials don't need from baby boomer managers:

Don't be BLIND:  Managers should not ignore their gifts and talents.  Don't act as if you don't see the work they're doing and for pete's sake, acknowledge their very presence.  Managers should know every employee by their first names and speak to them daily.  When employees feel a connection to management, statistics say they will perform better and that helps increase the Company's bottom line. They are also more likely to stay with the Company to consider it as a career move.

Don't Be DEAF:  Millennials may not articulate their thoughts and ideas in the same way baby boomers do but they should at least be given the opportunity to do so. Their innovative ideas could sprout forth a new product or help save the Company money.  If you refuse to listen to them, you will also miss the opportunity to make yourself look good for hiring such a smart young person.

Don't Be DUMB:  According to a CareerBuilder Poll, 58 percent of managers received NO training before starting the job and if you couple that with a lack of people skills, the workplace is set up for disaster.  You have to show you care about your employees---that doesn't mean "baby" them but you shouldn't be oblivious to them.  One of the worst mistakes some managers make is allowing their egos to get the best of them. Author, Darryl Rosen says, "Help others feel understood by turning down the volume of your ego and turning up the volume of your listening."  

As contributor Travis Bradberry says, "If managers want their best people (millennials) to stay they need to think carefully about how they treat them."

And there's absolutely nothing dumb about that.

What Millennials Can Learn from Baby Boomers in the Workplace

Despite popular belief, baby boomers and millennials can work together and they can teach each other a thing or two in the process.

When I returned to the workforce after a seven year hiatus I must admit I went into culture shock over the the fact that there were so many young faces with new attitudes, a different outlook on work ethic and a totally different dress code.  

Being the teacher and coach that I am, I have seized every opportunity to offer wisdom and guidance to those millennials who have been open to receive it---while keeping in mind that how you deliver a message is just as important, if not more important, as what you actually say.  

So what can millennials learn from boomers on the job?

1)  How to Navigate Workplace Politics: I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely despise the politics that goes on at the office.  I have never had the kiss ass mentality but I do know you are looked at in a more favorable light if you find more things to agree with your manager on than to constantly be the antagonist.  I believe many millennials would like to see hierarchy dismantled but the reality is it still exists and always will to some extent.

There is a protocol to follow.  You can't just go into the CEO's office for a chit chat or pull up a chair to discuss an idea you know will help the Company's bottom line.  There is a chain of command for that.  The problem arises if your manager doesn't like you or feels threatened by you.  That will hold you back. However, learning how to win over your manager will open a few more doors.  We can show you how to do that.

2)  Developing Your Soft Skills:  What we, as boomers, may lack in technology skills, we certainly make up for in people/soft skills.  We do know how to communicate effectively face-to-face and that skill has led to promotions or better paying jobs for us.  We have also learned how to develop transferable long-term career goals, such as problem-solving, communication, negotiation and leadership.

We can certainly create value in a young co-worker’s career life by helping them develop in those areas.  Of course, they will be more receptive to your assistance by the way you approach them.  Dictating or mandating anything will get you ignored.

3)  You are not entitled to anything: Unless your daddy is the CEO of the Company, you are not just going to get hired and become a manager or executive.  Once again, there is a hierarchy and promotions process.  Some baby boomers can tell you they waited for years to move up the ladder and, for some, it was no easy climb.

According to the article, 8 Career Practices Millennials Can Learn from Baby Boomers:  "The biggest complaint about millennial careerists? A sense of entitlement. No matter your age, let us be clear — no one owes you anything. You do not deserve accolades and merit badges for following the rules. Life is not Scout Camp. Adjust accordingly."

In order for baby boomers to demonstrate leadership we must be determined to make millennials better as a result of our presence and make sure our impact lasts in our absence.

You can read more in my new book:  The Baby Boomer/Millennial Divide:  Making it Work at Work available on Amazon.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Kellyanne Conway is a Disgrace to Baby Boomer Women

By now most of us have seen the picture of Kellyanne Conway making herself at home in the White House with a room full of educated black men and women who happen to be the Presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the country.

Yes, I was outraged but I also felt a sense of sadness for this 50-year-old woman who thought, in her mind, that it was okay to behave in that manner.  After all, she's supposed to be a lawyer who should have a strong sense of professionalism about her.  I was disappointed that she couldn't see how her actions would be perceived---even if she didn't personally care.  There are a lot of people I come in contact with and although I may not like them, I do know my behavior will reflect a lot about who I am or who they perceive me to be.  So with that being said, perhaps #45 isn't the only one who needs some mental health counseling.

I wanted to share what one Washington Post reader had to say when he saw the picture:

"Is this how professional women you know sit, kneeling on the couch with their legs open?  
You visit your lawyer and she sits like this? Her assistant sits like this? Kneeling, knees apart?  
You visit your doctor and the nurse sits like this? Skirt above her knees, kneeling , legs apart? The doctor sits like this?  
You go into you bosses office and she's sitting like this, kneeling in her chair, knees open?  
You go to see your kid's teacher or principal and she kneels in her chair with her skirt above her knees, knees apart?  
If so, congratulations : please feel free to notice nothing undignified here. It's all okay -- so do not speak badly of any woman who acts like a slob this way. Not any fat woman, not any black woman, not any woman. 
If this okay for so-called and Conway -- it is perfectly fine for any woman. No snickering, please. 
Just like it is fine for any famous female to grab the crotch of any man she feels like."

My mama used to say you can take a person out of the trailer park  but you can't always take the trailer park out of a person---even with a law degree.


Friday, February 17, 2017

How Old is Too Old to Be a Leader?

As a Baby Boomer, I have the mindset that you're never too old to set new goals and accomplish your dreams.  You know what they say, "Age is nothing but a number," and "Live your life and forget your age."  

Well Donald Trump is changing my attitude about how old is too old to do certain things--in this case TOO OLD to be President of the United States.  This man was born in 1946, making him a part of the first way of the baby boomer generation.  The year he was born, Jim Crow laws were in full effect. One month after his birth, two black couples were murdered by the KKK in Monroe, GA.  It is interesting to note that in 1927, Trump's father, Fred, was reportedly arrested during a KKK riot in Queens, NY.  Exactly what role he played is unclear although #45 vehemently denies his father had any ties to the Klan back then. (Washington Post article)

The point I'm trying to make here is growing older doesn't always make you wiser.  Many older people get stuck in their ways and in their past.  Some become senile.  Some are resistant to change--always referring back to the 'good ol' days' and wanting to 'Make America Great Again!'

#45 is a 70-year-old man who grew up in a golden bubble, where he was immune to the struggles of everyday Americans---especially minorities and immigrants.  The world he lives in has little tolerance for those who truly need a helping hand.  Yes, he vowed to take care of his supporter base but since he has no real connection to or understanding of them, he is going to rely heavily on white nationalist Stephen K. Bannon (age 63) to guide him along. And if I may say so, Bannon looks like he truly came out of rural white America. 

The behavior of #45 makes one question if he is mentally all there.  Some psychiatrists have actually come out and said he exhibits signs of mental illness.  Perhaps, he is on the road to dementia, since his own father developed Alzheimer's late in his life.   His temperamental behavior at press briefings leads me to believe he's just cantankerous, which is an adjective to describe old people.  

Whatever the case might be, he is too old to be in office and, personally, I think it's time to revisit a portion of the Constitution:

    Age and Citizenship requirements - US Constitution, Article II, Section 1

  • No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
LIMIT the age you're able to run to 60.

Monday, February 13, 2017

When an Ex Dies

We got news today that my ex-husband died. My daughter called, overwhelmed with grief, to let me know. He apparently died alone and had been dead for a few days before his body was discovered.  I wasn't quite sure how to process the news since we haven't been on speaking terms in several years. And even though we lived in the same city our paths never crossed.  So tell me, how is an ex-wife supposed to feel when her ex-husband dies? 

Sure, we had some great times during our 17 years together.  We were the married "buppies" before the word became a trend.  We lived and loved hard. But living fast and free got old after awhile.  Our marriage did not end well.  It took me a long time to get over his adultery and other lies. I had to move on and, thankfully, I did.  

So right now, I'm just not sure how I should feel.  I know that the death of someone with whom you have had a difficult relationship can be harder to deal with, and the grief reaction more complex.  

Over the next several days, perhaps months, I will reflect on the good times we shared.  I will go through old photo albums and remember the fun family trips we took. Then I will also be reminded of why I left him and then I will return to the present---to the true love I now have.

Every man's life ends the same way.  It is only the details of how he LIVED and how he died that distinguishes him from another ~Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Blame Everything on the Millennials

Poor Millennials.  Everything that's wrong with the world can be attributed to them.

Just the other day I was watching a clip of a press conference with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver who said he was considering shortening the length of the NBA games because of the short attention spans of Gen Y. He said, "Obviously people, particularly Millennials, have increasingly short attention spans, so it's something as a business we need to pay attention to."  

So the Commisioner is just now recognizing that NBA games are too long because Millennials may find other things to entertain them rather than sit through a game where a time out or fouls given in the last two minutes ends up stretching into another 20 minute of playing time?  And while you're at it Commissioner, why not consider reducing the number of games from 82 to 75?

But a short attention span isn't the only criticism given to Millennials.  They're also blamed for a fall in new housing sales.   One report sites the fact that more and more young people are choosing to stay at home with their parents or rent a trendy loft.  Perhaps that might be because their salaries aren't adequate for such an investment.

Oh, and let's also blame them for being the job-hopping generation and the fact that employers have to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to replace them.  Could it be that employers haven't figured out what they need to do in order to retain them?  I could write an entire book about that subject---and guess what, I DID!

You can get your copy of: The Baby Boomer/Millennial Divide:  Making it Work at Work on Amazon.