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Marbles, Magnets, and Music

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like Line Rider Mountain King meets Biisuke Ball’s Big Adventure

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pfctdayelise
6 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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Moira Donegan on why she started the Shitty Media Men list

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essential reading

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pfctdayelise
6 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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Signal partners with Microsoft to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype

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Skype displaying a Private Conversation acceptance screen.

In collaboration with Signal, Microsoft is introducing a Private Conversations feature in Skype, powered by Signal Protocol.

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pfctdayelise
6 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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acdha
9 days ago
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Washington, DC

update: I have a weird patchwork of responsibilities and feel unqualified for anything else

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Remember the letter-writer who didn’t feel qualified to find a new job? Here’s the update.

Last year, I wrote in saying that I felt unqualified to search for a new job because my nonprofit job of several years had so many unrelated responsibilities, many of which I’d had to learn on the fly. I kept seeing job postings which assumed that a person at my level of experience in any one of those responsibilities would know x y and z, and in many cases I only knew x, or only x and y. You advised me to look for jobs where I met 80% of the qualifications.

That was a great starting point for me, but the thing that really began to shift my thinking was reading through your archives and posting a bit in the open comment threads. That was how I started to realize that my main problem – the real reason I felt unqualified for most of the job postings I saw – was not the ad-hoc nature of my job responsibilities. It was the fact that my workplace was an incredibly demoralizing place to work. It constantly demanded more than I could really deliver, which led me to more or less constantly feel like I was failing at my job despite pulling increasingly frequent 10 or 12 or occasionally 18 hour days. My work was also consistently given multiple rounds of extensive edits by my grandboss, so I felt as if the work product I was managing to turn out was also just not good enough. Honestly, I felt like I didn’t even deserve to work there.

Your archives and your commenters helped me begin to accept that my issues at work might not be all my fault. This article – How To Keep Someone With You Forever – was also incredibly validating, and was what finally made me realize that my work environment was really not normal or OK.

When I finally started applying for jobs, I rewrote my resume and cover letters using your free guide, and I also took your advice about applying for jobs I was 80% qualified for. I also forced myself to play up my skills, even when it felt awkward, and I stopped discounting certain types of work experience just because I’d only done them a handful of times or they weren’t the majority of my job.

I wound up getting a call back from more than half the positions I applied to. I got two offers, and the one I turned down – which would have almost entirely involved a task that made up 10% of my old job – sounded legitimately disappointed when I told them I’d accepted the other position. At my new job, I’m making 15% more than I made before, and most mindboggling of all… my new boss loves my work, and tells me so, and treats me as an expert in my field, and expresses honest concern for my wellbeing, and would never in a million years dream of making me work an 18 hour day.

I am still getting over some mental and physical health issues I developed at Old Job, and I am still working to recalibrate my sense of what’s normal at work. But I am so incredibly happy with this change. And I would like to encourage anyone who feels incompetent and never-good-enough at work to consider that maybe the problem is not with you and your work at all, but with your workplace.

update: I have a weird patchwork of responsibilities and feel unqualified for anything else was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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pfctdayelise
30 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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something personal

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It’s time to talk about why I left a job in 2010.

I worked for a serial sexual harasser. I was his chief of staff.

He was so good at his job that many, many people looked the other way. He had built the organization himself, personally recruited enough funders for a multi-million dollar budget, and was pretty great at what he did. Like with so many harassers, there was a feeling in a lot of places that his creepy behavior to women was just something to work around because he was so valuable to the organization (and even to the broader movement we worked in).

I had known him for years before coming to work for him, but it wasn’t until I started working for him that I saw that characteristics I had assumed were confined to his personal life showed up at work in really inappropriate ways. He talked about sex a lot. He spoke about women in crude, objectifying terms. And I gradually saw over time that he looked at women who worked for him not just as employees, but also as potential dates.

I talked to him about this many times. I tried to get him to let me implement a sexual harassment policy. He refused, claiming that if we did, people other than him would be in violation of it too. (And that was true — he’d created a culture where he wasn’t the only one who told dirty jokes and talked about sex inappropriately, which was all the more reason to address it.) I talked to him over and over about the impact his behavior had on women. Multiple times I tried to get him to understand why it’s horrible to have your boss assessing you sexually — why it’s awful and unwelcome in a way that’s much worse than with someone who doesn’t have power over you. He was unmoved. I tried to explain the legal and PR jeopardy he was putting the organization in. I got nowhere. Ultimately, he was my boss and I couldn’t make him change.

Meanwhile, I felt that at least my job allowed me to act as a buffer between him and the staff. I felt I could do more good by staying than by leaving, because I was willing to call him on his behavior. In retrospect, this was an error — it’s not possible to stop someone like that, no matter how many angry conversations you’re willing to have.

In the summer of 2009, close to my breaking point, I told him that if I heard one more story about him behaving inappropriately with female employees, I’d quit. This time, he agreed he would stop, and naively, I thought maybe I’d somehow finally gotten through to him.

Less than a month later, he had an encounter with a young, drunk employee after a happy hour that seemed not just gross/creepy but predatory.

What followed were months of turmoil for the organization. Seven employees quit, and all of the organization’s department heads and I called on the board of directors — who he reported to — to remove him from his position.

In response to that, he convinced several of us, including me, that if he was forced out, the funders he’d brought in would leave too, meaning the organization would need to lay off the majority of its staff. This seemed plausible — he’d personally cultivated wealthy donors and had personal relationships with them, while no one else on staff had much contact with them. (The board members too were handpicked contacts of his and, again, were nearly all men who he’d built close relationships with.)

In retrospect, I don’t know if his claim was true. But he was convincing enough that several of us, including me, backed off our recommendation that he be removed because we didn’t want to cause the organization to fold. I’ve regretted that decision for years. I wish I’d made a different call. The people calling for his removal deserved my explicit support, and I failed them by not giving that.

I also want to be up-front that the way I tried to navigate the situation left some people thinking I was being an apologist for him. I never intended that. I had a years-long track record of calling him out on his behavior. But I definitely did make mistakes in trying to figure out how to help the organization and its staff through an awful situation, and some of those mistakes laid me open to understandable criticism. I’ve wished for years that I could have a redo, because there’s a lot I would do differently if I had the chance.

Anyway, the board of directors suspended him for three months, then reinstated him when the three months were up. The morning he returned after being reinstated, I left.

I’ve spent the last near-decade trying to understand why I stayed as long as I did and why I didn’t push harder for him to be removed not just from a position of power, but from any job there at all. I don’t think I could have changed the outcome — it became pretty clear that he and the board were committed to keeping him there — but it would have been the right thing to do.

I’ve asked myself many times whether my earlier friendship with him made it tougher for me to see clearly what was going on. I think it did. I was too willing to believe the best of him, long after the point I should have left.

I know that I was influenced by the fact that I loved my job and I loved the organization — you’re hearing the bad parts, but there were great parts too — and I thought I could do more good by staying than by leaving.

And frankly, I was in over my head. I didn’t have any experience in how to handle a situation like that.

Like a lot of managers, I’d never had any training in handling sexual harassment complaints. I even let him convince me for a time that we’d never had any “official complaints” about his behavior, just because no one had said they were officially complaining. (For the record: That is bullshit. A complaint does not need to come with an “official complaint” label for an organization to be obligated to act on it.)

I also just couldn’t figure out what to do after hitting a wall with his refusal to change. I strongly suspected talking to the board wouldn’t accomplish anything (which was later borne out by their lack of action once they did hear from people), and they were the top of the management line. So I was where I think a lot of people end up — stuck and unsure of what to do.

But the fact that I didn’t leave sooner and do more to expose him publicly on my way out is the biggest regret of my career.

In the years since, I’ve tried to use my platform at Ask a Manager to speak out against harassment and to advocate for women. I hope I’ve built a strong track record here of urging people not to accommodate harassment, to report it, and to take stronger action if their employer doesn’t make things right. That’s very much rooted in my own experiences in an organization where the management above me wouldn’t act.

I haven’t talked publicly about this before now because, honestly, I was scared to. There was an article written about it back in 2010 with lots of inaccuracies, and I didn’t like the thought of stirring that up again. The man at the center of this is also very eager to threaten to sue people who talk about this situation. But with it coming up again now (and, to be up-front, a reporter asking me about it), I want to be straightforward about what happened, and I want you as readers to know that I didn’t get it right then but I’ve been trying to get it right ever since.

something personal was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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pfctdayelise
32 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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vote for the worst boss of 2017

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It’s time to vote on the worst boss of the year!

I was going to do brackets this year, but it didn’t feel quite as necessary as last year (2016 was truly the year of terrible bosses). We have plenty to choose from this year though.

We’ll crown the worst boss of the year later this week, based on your votes … so please vote below. (Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. EST Wednesday night.)

Who was the worst boss of 2017?

Note: If you’re using private browsing, you may not see the voting choices. If you have a pop-up blocker or script-blocking add-on, you’ll need to whitelist the polldaddy.com domain to see the poll.

vote for the worst boss of 2017 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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pfctdayelise
33 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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