Town Talk Features

The Honest Truth: 12.4.19

holiday and workplace woes

On top of some other big transitions this year, my dog died recently. I’m not feeling much holiday cheer, but I feel like I’ll be letting my kids down if I don’t do all of the usual Christmas traditions. How do I gear up for happy holidays?

jill: Can you give yourself a little grace and time to grieve? Here’s a permission slip to keep it simple. You’re not committing to low-key holidays for the rest of your life. But this year, let your people know there isn’t much fuel in your tank.

beth: One of the many reasons we love dogs is because they live in the moment. This year, as you gear up for the holidays, take a lesson from your furry friend. A dog would never engage in the commercial insanity that has now become our holiday season. You’d never catch your lab licking 200 holiday card envelopes or stressing over seating charts. Accept this parting gift from your beloved: Ignore the unimportant and focus on the few traditions that truly matter to you and your kids.

There are some mean girls in my office at work who seem to go out of their way to be cliquey and put me down. How do I handle this?

beth: First, let’s call it what it is. They’re not ‘mean girls.’ They’re bullies. If you aspire to move up the ladder and beyond these women, then ignore them and rise above the petty office politics. You can do this by focusing on your work and building other relationships. That said, if their antics are getting in the way of your career advancement, you will need to take a stand and let them know that their behavior is not acceptable.

jill: The advice our kids get for dealing with bullies in school can be great in the workplace, too. Mustering confidence when you reply to these putdowns is pretty important. Bullies gain power if you cower. So, try to use clear, unemotional, direct language when you respond. An example: “Is that meant to be helpful? If so, help me understand how.” Other people’s compulsion to be cliquey or exclusive always comes from their own insecurities. I wish more people could understand that being kind and inclusive and treating each other with respect feels so much better in the long run.