Why Getting to Know Your Neighbours is More Important Than You Realise

Hello Lovely,

While I was in London, I got a phone call from my mum telling me that our neighbours house had burned down. She said everything happened so quickly there was nothing they could do to help. Panicking, I asked her whose house had burned down and immediately began my process of elimination with the only neighbours I knew. The name my mother gave was so foreign to me. I had never interacted with them. I couldn't point them out in a line up. I couldn't even tell you what colour their house was. I genuinely knew nothing about these people. And that's what made me feel bad. Yes it was terrible that they had just lost their home and all of their belongings, but when I had no idea who they were, that made me realise how important it is to know my neighbours. If your house were on fire, wouldn't you want your neighbours to stop what they're doing and help you? I was reminded of how helpful my neighbours were after Hurricane Matthew. Natural disasters aside, there are many benefits to to getting to know your neighbours.

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1. You get access to information and resources.

Your neighbours can sometimes be the best people to go to when you need something. I'm not talking about the stereotypical cup of sugar. Maybe you need a contractor and your neighbour is a contractor. Looking for restaurant recommendations? Your neighbour may know the best spots. Neighbours hold a wealth of knowledge on where to go and supplies. From extension cords to feminine care items. 

2. Your neighbourhood becomes safer.

Neighbours look out for neighbours. If your neighbour has a phone contact for you, they can call you if they see someone suspicious hanging around your house. Many people rely on their neighbours to “keep an eye out” when they’re travelling or at work for any suspicious people or activity on their street. You don’t need be technologically savvy to do this; all it takes is a simple hello once in a while to foster a small connection, which can form a later sense of being part of a bigger “family.” And in case of emergency, it is much easier to go to someone you know rather than a complete stranger. And if you really trust your neighbour, you can leave a spare key with them in case you ever lose yours.

3. You receive support and help.

While I was living in Miami, I hit a fence. My neighbour noticed my bumper hanging one day and fixed it for me. When I came outside and saw it was fixed, he told me he had fixed it. He was close to my aunt whom I was staying with so by extension, he took care of me as well. I was even able to ask him son to wash my car for me for only $5,

And if that’s not enough reason to meet your neighbours, consider this: When I was in high school, my Spanish teacher met a guy on an online dating site and called him up one day. While on the phone, a plane flew over and they were surprised that they both heard it so vividly. When they stepped outside, they learned that they lived on the same street for years and never knew each other existed. They even had the same last name (no relation). They’re now married. So it just goes to show, you never know where your next “hello” will take you.

Have you met your neighbours? Is it important for you to know who lives next door?

Coffee Talk: Let's Talk About Hobbies!

Hello Lovely,

I’m the kind of girl that loves to stay busy, but gets burnout very easily. But I can’t sit around and do nothing. Even in my tiredness, I still have to be doing something. I’ve learned long ago to chalk it up to my superhero complex and short attention span. So when things get a little stressful, I like to unwind with various activities to take my mind off of things for a while. I’ve picked up a lot of skills from these activities and the more I stick to it, the stronger I get. Some of these skills have proven useful in my career, and some are just for me to enjoy. Today we're gonna talk about the private ones (which means the obvious ones like photography and baking need not be mentioned). The ones that make life better and help me to decompress at the end of a long day.

1.     I’m not so secretly a Sims addict

My internship hasn’t left me with much time to play the sims, but as I’m nearing the end, I have more personal time again. One of the hobbies I’ve gone back to, is playing The Sims 4. Now when I say addict, I also mean collector. I have the Sims Complete Edition, every expansion pack made for Sims 2 – 4, as well as stuff packs and game packs. My custom content folder is 1.02 GB in size with 839 items. Not to mention the Sims 2 on PlayStation and the Sims 3 on Wii. I’m sure I’ve lost you somewhere in all of that bragging.

The point is, I enjoy playing the Sims because life is stressful and unpredictable, whereas in the Sims, it’s the only place I have complete control. I can create whatever fantasy life I want. I know it may sound a little sad, but this game really has its therapeutic aspects.

2.     I love to dance

Shake your bom bom! Anyone who knows me, knows I love to dance. Even at work, whenever they play music I really like, I jokingly go into hiding because I don’t want to risk losing my job by dancing in front of the kids. A few years ago, I learned how to salsa, bachata, meringue, and tango. In my mind, I could totally be a contestant on Dancing with The Stars (you know if I were a celebrity). Dancing makes me feel sexy and as long as I’m on the dance floor, nothing bothers me. I even did pole dancing for about 3 months and was getting pretty good at it!

3.     I’m trying to earn a green thumb

I’ll be the first to admit that everything I touch dies. Early this year, I was able to regrow rosemary and lettuce but they both died because I kept forgetting to water them. But this time, I plan on doing it right. I have planted Oregano, Sweet pepper and mint so far. I am also trying to regrow the rosemary. I bought Miracle Grow potting soil, I water once per day, keep my plants in the shade and wait. It’s really only been about a week, but I am hopeful this time around. I’ll feel so proud of myself if my veggies actually grow! My plan is to be self-sufficient for flowers, vegetables and herbs by the end of the year.

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4.     Painting is starting to become fun

I never thought of myself as a Picasso, but I’m starting to understand that this painting thing isn’t so hard. I don’t know why I was so afraid of it. I recently painted a wood pallet that I plan on turning into a bar for my patio. Up next is painting some more wood pallets that will then be the sofa. I’m also looking into ways to make my own wall art on a budget because canvases are so expensive. It’s so much fun to create my own work that would normally cost so much money.

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5.     I love fashion design but I’m not IN LOVE with it…

Once upon a time, I pursued fashion design. But once my Master’s degree began to consume my life, I just didn’t enjoy sewing any more. Even now, there are so many projects that inspire me but I’ll always find an excuse like the weather or I don’t want to ruin the fabric. I like being able to say, “I made this” but only time will tell if I ever return to this hobby.

Hobbies come and go over the years. I love the idea of always having a "current obsession". If you're in the market for a new hobby, here are a few tips to help you choose the right one for you…

1.     How much money will this hobby cost you?

No matter what, hobbies will cost you money at some point. Whether it’s the initial investment or continuing fees, ask yourself this, “Can I afford to do this?” Some DIY hobbies look cheap and easy, but depending on where you live, supplies and other resources can run a hefty bill. My suggestion. Try before you buy. If you're thinking you might like to try rock climbing, go with a friend and use their equipment before you dive in and commit to joining a gym or buying supplies. Use your mom's sewing machine and see if you like sewing before you buy your own. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I've definitely been guilty of making those impulse buys only to watch it later collect dust. Giving yourself freedom to explore different options is a great way to feel like you don't have to stick with something you end up not loving. Then there’s the time it would take to complete each project.

2.     Is this hobby more for down time or time consuming?

Just because the girl on YouTube said this is an hour long project doesn’t mean that it will take YOU an hour to complete. She’s an expert, you’re new to the game. With practice you’ll eventually be able to do this faster, but ask yourself, is this something you can learn quickly? And once you get the hang of it, is this a once in a while thing or something that has to be done on a consistent basis? Look at your schedule and figure out how much time you realistically have to dedicate to a new hobby. We are all busy, especially during certain seasons of life. So be honest with yourself about what kind of time you have to devote to a hobby and don't over-commit or try something that you just realistically can't accomplish. A hobby is something you should do for you and should make you feel good about yourself, not constantly sad that you aren't achieving as much as you think you should or are unable to really enjoy it.

3.     Finally, “Do you, boo”

Your hobby should match your personality. If you know you’re lazy, who are kidding by suddenly investing in running gear? Your hobby is your “you time” to express yourself. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Your hobby should allow you to forget about that crappy day and give you a renewed feeling.

What about you? What hobbies are you in love with right now? What helps you relax?

XoX,

Currently: Dating

Hello Lovely,

I'm not ashamed to admit that after a little over two years I made the decision to end my relationship. It wasn't so much the distance as the differences I could no longer overlook. After a very heated argument that we've had more times than I can count, it's like a light switch went off in my head. I just couldn't do it anymore. It had nothing to do with whether or not I loved him. I loved him dearly, but it just wasn't working. We weren't working. And we weren't going to work either. In that moment, I knew for sure that had we gotten married, I would've divorced him. So I did what I had to do.

I was fine with my choice. I know I made the right decision. All I had to do was move on. So I did. And I'm proud to say that next month, I'll be making my final presentation for my master's degree. I can't believe this moment has finally come! It took a lot of sacrifice but I did it!

 While this is a personal blog, I am very cautious of what I write and share. But whenever I experience something I feel is worth sharing, I want to share that wisdom with others. I've compiled them into mini chapters, so to speak, all based on my personal experience with dating. So this is what 2 years of a long distance relationship coming to an end, culminated with 3 months of dating availability has taught me about dating and myself:

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1.     Picky is not necessarily a bad thing.

Any time a guy asks me what I look for in a partner, I always lead with, “I’m picky.” I’m not ashamed of this. My pickiness is not unrealistic; and by leading with what I want it lets the “unqualified” know not to bother. Why waste time with someone who only wants to waste your time? Letting someone know you have standards that are non-negotiable creates an opportunity for respect and allows you to weed out the undesirables. Only weak people are intimidated by standards.

2.     Forgiveness is important

OMG! Who am I for even saying this? I am the master of holding grudges! I recently started dating someone who acted unforgivably. We stopped talking and it actually hurt me. But last week he reached out to me to apologise. I’ll be honest, I was ready to forgive him so I felt relief after we talked it out and now we’re friends again. That’s because I had to accept the advice two of my best friends gave me:

3.     Nobody is perfect; including yourself

People are going to mess up; it’s a part of life. There are no perfect boyfriends, just real ones. It’s still up to you to decide how much imperfection you’re willing to deal with, but remember that you yourself are also a work in progress and there are going to be things your partner doesn’t like about you.

4.     Always date your best friend

But none of that would matter if you date your best friend. That was my biggest regret in my last relationship. We got into a relationship after only two weeks of knowing each other. Take the time to really get to know the person you’re about to spend the rest of your life (or the next three months) with. Loving your best friend is much easier than loving someone you’re still getting to know. You won’t know everything about your partner, but it’s much more fun when this person has unconditional respect for you before romantic relationships become a topic.

5.     Listen to the warning signs

I can’t stress this enough. There were so many red flags in my last relationship; as early as one month in. even when I met him, I didn’t feel the butterflies I thought I would but chose to ignore that. There will be warning signs in any kind of relationship, some are minor but you know when it’s a biggie. Listen to your heart. If something feels off, it probably is. Address these issues head on so that everyone is clear moving forward.

6.     Pick your battles

Not everything is worth fighting for. Sometimes you just know that something will end in an argument or worse a fight. The warning signs are there and in that moment you have a choice. Fully commit to this sinking ship or walk away? If you’ve already made it clear where you stand on something minor, no need to keep nagging your partner if they don’t get it right. For example: your partner getting stuck in traffic and being late to a date, vs. your partner always ignoring your requests to do something that makes you happy.

7.     Be intentional

Someone can’t give you what you want if you’re not clear about what you want. Be upfront, honest and intentional. Go for what you want and don’t be apologetic. As long as you’re true to yourself, no matter the outcome, rest in knowing you made your needs and wants clear with no crazy mixed signals.

8.     Games are for kids

This ties in with the above note. No one likes the guy at the bar who takes your number then takes a week to call. And worse, he doesn’t call back for another 3 weeks and the only reason he did call was because you initiated a drop call to get his attention. While I already counted three strikes against him from the initial meeting (my friends though I was too harsh) it turns out I was right about him so it didn’t hurt me. No one has time for games so I simply didn’t make time for him.

9.     The ring didn't mean a thing

Last year when I went to St. Croix to meet his mother, I told him bluntly that I could spend over $600 on airfare to meet his mother and still leave him if I continued to be unhappy. When we did eventually break up, he threw in my face that I was throwing away two years of blah blah blah. While this may have been my longest relationship ever, no matter how long you’ve been with your partner, dissatisfaction in one area will lead to dissatisfaction in other areas of your life. You don’t have to stay if your needs aren’t being met intentionally. There’s only so much anyone can put up with.

10.  Change is good but don't change too much.

Everyone changes in some way during a relationship. Your partner can encourage you to be the best you possible but remember no matter what changes you make in life, don’t lose who you truly are. Don’t change so much to make someone happy that you can’t remember what makes you happy.

There are days when it really hits me that my long-distance relationship is over and for a few seconds, I get an empty feeling. I’ve never been a fan of the dating process because there are so many jerks out there. But with friends that are more like family, I feel more confident in getting back on the dating scene.

I hope my experiences help with whatever decision you’re facing or need to face. What is the best dating advice you’ve ever gotten? Share it in the comment section below.

XoX

How To Be a Boss Without Being a Bitch

Hello Lovely,

I’ve never thought of myself as a boss. Sure I see myself as a leader, but I never liked the title “boss”. It could’ve been due to the narrative I heard as a child that “bossy girls” are bad and no one likes them. Another part of it is I believe that leaders are meant to inspire, while bosses simply order you around without concern for your wellbeing. Lately I’ve been loving how women have reclaimed the boss title and now many women are proud to be called a “Girl Boss.” However, being a girl boss means that sometimes you’re going to have to say or do some tough stuff that may rub some people the wrong way. Yesterday was one of those days for me. As the creative producer in my church, I had to give some tough feedback to fellow volunteers. If you ever find yourself having to make hard-hitting decisions regarding employees, co-workers etc. here are 3 tips to help you to be a boss without being a bitch.

1.      Revise your language

The way you word a sentence marks a clear distinction between boss and bitch. You want to make a point, not alienate a crowd. Now is the time to be direct without being overly critical. Your tone should be even, not harsh; so that the person knows you’re coming from a good place and not on a Prozac withdrawal.

2.      Be constructive, not destructive

Okay, so they messed up. Like really messed up. And maybe you’ve tried to help them in the past but they’re insubordinate and insist on going off script. This is where your language can either help or hurt. Body language plays a role in this too; watch how you hold yourself. That lets the person know what you think about them. Remember you want to inspire them to do better, not kick them while they’re down. If there are any strengths you can point out, include that. Maybe their performance is being affected by personal struggles. Give them some pointers so they’ll know how to improve. If this is the last straw for you and there’s no room for improvement, let them know what it was about their performance that was so disappointing for you and how it has affected the team and the company. Even if you’re terminating this relationship, the constructive criticism will help them in future positions (if they take anything you say to heart).

3.      Learn how to trust

I added this point for myself. This is an area I am genuinely struggling in. If I know something needs to be done, I tend to not tell someone else in detail because I assume they won’t do it the way I want it done. I always struggle with letting go of control and trusting that my team really can do the job. The best way to ensure your vision is brought to fruition is to train those around; this will eliminate the need to micro-manage and correct anyone.

Being a Girl Boss is all about being true to yourself. We all have struggles and we all have moments where we cross that fine line into bitchland. The key is to know when to reel it all back in, re-evaluate and always knowing how to accept when you yourself have messed up. Because no matter how important what you have to say is, no one is going to hear you if it comes out wrong.

XoX,

27 Never Looked So Good

Hello Lovely,

You know you're doing well when you go to your pastor for your birthday blessing and he says, "So how old are you today? 20? 21?" And when you tell him you're actually 27, he's genuinely shocked! I'll admit, I had some anxieties about this birthday (like I do every year) for a number of reasons. Getting older means, I'm one year closer to the age I promised I'd settle down at and that is frightening because some days I'm still burning the coffee. No one is ever perfect at this thing called life. Most days I make it up as I go, and I'm glad it's worked out thus far. That's not to say I don't have a plan in place, but if it's anything I've learned, it's that NOTHING in life goes according to plan.

My social circle has changed a lot since moving back home 5 years ago. This year I spent it with some friends from church (just like last year) with a few different faces, but I felt nothing but love. It all started last weekend at my friend Telia's birthday party. She rented a party bus and that's all I can tell you because what happens on the party bus, stays on the party bus!

Last Friday, a friend of mine took me to AquaFire Grill, which I now know is not the same as the Aqua restaurant in The Hilton. It has a gorgeous setup, perfect for a romantic date, so it felt a little odd to be there with my married friend. But it was quaint and quiet, with nice service and exceptional food! A little pricey, but totally worth it if you ever want to treat someone. That was the nicest part of the evening. We spent the rest of the night getting tipsy in Compass Point with a few friends and then sharing a few laughs in the parking lot after they closed. I needed a good laugh so this was the perfect start to my birthday!

I was supposed to go a party on Saturday night, but I ended up being so hungover from Friday night (best sleep I've ever gotten though) I cancelled with my friends and went to the Greek Festival on Sunday instead.

It was my first time going to the Greek festival which I learned happens bi-annually. Upon entering the festival, my friend Krista and I got two free Aliv sim cards. I already have an Aliv phone so I plan on using the free one as a gift. I met up with three other friends and we had a great time exploring the Greek culture through it's food and music. I fell in love with the Loukoumades. Don't ask me to pronounce it, but it's delicious! If you've never had it, it's delicious fried dough (like a doughnut) topped with honey, walnuts and cinnamon. I don't even like nuts and I didn't know nuts were in it. I tried another dish with grilled octopus and chickpeas, calimari (that was a little too fresh for my taste) and spinach rice. I also tried another pastry that looked like a mini twist, which was actually a cookie with chocolate and regular sugar cookie intertwined. It was delicious! The food was way too expensive, but my friends and I shared. I'm still upset that I spent $6 for one beer, but even the beer was good!

I loved the bargain stalls. My friend Krista bought a ring for $2, my friend Glenise bought a mortar and pestle a and wooden salad tongs for $1 each, while I bought four cookbooks at $1 each! I'm literally at the age where cookbooks and glassware excite me. But  I can't wait to try all of the recipes in them!

I got so much rest this weekend, I didn't know what to do with myself. Granted it was because I was physically incapable of doing anything else, it still felt good to sleep in and sleep all day. I had forgotten how good it feels to just do nothing! I haven't slept on a weekend in months! I had a great birthday! I am so grateful to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday and all of my friends and family who worked so hard to make my birthday very special!

XoX,

How Going to St. Croix Changed My Life

Hello Lovely,

I'm back from vacation, but my brain is still in vacation mode, so I'm not quite there yet. Last week I put on the coffee maker to make 12 cups of coffee for myself and a co-worker and waited patiently until it was all done, only to find out that I never actually put coffee into the machine, and all I did was boil water. I’ll get there eventually, I promise. But can you blame me? I spent almost three hours on a plane to get to St. Croix from Miami, so the flight alone has me drained. Then in the first two days of being there, we drove around the entire island! Every day we were doing something or going somewhere so relaxing wasn’t really an option. I wasn’t even allowed to sleep past nine without someone waking me. Even when we went to the beach, we probably only stayed for about an hour before moving on to the next spot. Of course as a group we couldn’t decide on which activities to do when (like whether or not to go out to dinner, or whether we should continue sightseeing or not). It was crazy! That’s definitely not the way I vacation, but it was such a learning experience.

I had never seen mountains before, so the views were absolutely breath-taking and my camera does it no justice. I loved how they preserved their historic buildings so everything felt authentic. Sure not everyone was polite, but you can’t expect everyone to be. My boyfriend’s family was more than accommodating and I really felt welcomed. They made sure that I really saw the sights and made me feel like a native. His mother loved me even though she didn’t always understand my sense of humour, and his brother went out of his way to bond with me, including showing me how to catch their pet chicken (yes people, they have a pet chicken). I was beginning to be hopeful. Until one day when we were at Big Dock…

Something I didn’t understand was the lack of PDA or the apparent forbiddance of it. While we were there I wasn’t allowed to hold my boyfriend’s hand; not because of a law or because his family is strict. It was really because no one else does it, so we weren’t allowed to do it for fear of sticking out. There was a lot of emphasis on blending in, which I don’t believe in. It felt hard to be myself, with his family’s needs and beliefs coming first. I felt like nothing I did was right or good enough. His sister often called out my drinking, like I should be ashamed for having a drink with lunch from a restaurant while on vacation. There were moments where I was genuinely miserable, especially because I thought I would feel at home in another Caribbean nation.  After taking time to reflect on everything I experienced, I realised that St. Croix could never be home for me.

Now this is not meant to say the country is terrible; that is far from the truth. But something changed in me while I was there. With all of the tension and stress from travelling, my boyfriend and I had a HUGE fight; the kind that could really break a couple up. Even after making up, I was still doubtful about a few things, and these fears carried over to our return to Miami. I had officially met his mother. We were official. I mean we were official before, but now it’s really official. Officially official. You know? There’s so much pressure added now from outside forces, on when we’re getting married and when I’m moving. I don’t want to think about any of it. Though the situation is resolved, I was left feeling depressed about so many other things. One thing in particular was an issue in my own family.

While we were there, I received the news I feared the most. My aunt has now been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I am a very practical person, not always realistic, but practical. Pancreatic cancer is the most deadly with no hope, no cure. So I immediately began the grieving process. I asked the age old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I tortured myself with memories of our moments together, and chastised myself for getting inpatient or angry with her whenever she made demands of my time. So after learning this, I wanted to make the most of my trip; of my time on earth. I wanted to see everything there was to see and complain less about things not going according to schedule. But the sadness didn’t go away.

Once we left St. Croix, I thought about all of the topics I wanted to discuss on my blog but couldn’t focus on any of them. For days I stared at a blank screen and no words would come to me. Every now and then, something would pop in my head, but I couldn’t make the connection. I had writer’s block and it was absolutely depressing. My boyfriend did his best to be supportive, with foot massages and even buying the water I like (inside joke because I hate the water he drinks). I spent the days watching marathons of Law and Order SVU and Mythbusters but I just couldn’t shake the depression.

Who gets depressed on vacation? Isn’t the point of vacation to unwind to refresh? I was able to recognise the trigger, but not the reason why I was stuck. I felt so worthless when I got back and even worse, I couldn’t talk to my mum about it because she’s with my aunt in Tennessee while she gets her first round of chemo. And that’s when I realised why I was stuck. No matter what, my mum is always there for me. We have a very close relationship. I call her while at work just to give her jokes, or tell her how my day is going, even though I’m going to see her at home. But I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t call her during the day at work and I wasn’t going to see her at home. That’s what changed. Once I was able to recognise this, I started to feel better. I don’t like being depressed. I don’t like feeling trapped inside my own mind. I knew that I was way too old to be sitting at home crying because I missed my mommy. And just like that I snapped out of it. I wrote a post last week on my favourite sunglasses and began to feel hopeful again. I even dressed up on Friday to keep myself in a good mood, went to happy hour and did a little shopping on Saturday that I can't wait to tell you about. And here I am finally writing about my trip.

But yesterday my mum came back with my aunt and we found out it was stage four and aggressive. Just like that, everything I did to feel better didn't matter any more. The amazing message I received in church, my funky new sunglasses, even my newest ice cream that I made to keep everyone's spirits up did nothing to ease my mind once I got that news. I couldn't sleep because I was angry. I ended up crying for about thirty minutes uncontrollably before I finally fell asleep. I wanted to be ready to move on. I thought I was. She's still alive and here I am grieving like she's already dead. I promise I'll find a way to pull myself together, so forgive me for posting less regularly.

It's weird. I went into my vacation with my biggest fear being that my future mother-in-law would hate me. She loved me. But now I'm grieving someone I love. 

At the risk of this post ending on a sour note, I'll leave you with this hilarious video of myself trying to catch a chicken. Enjoy!

XoX,

6 Life Lessons I Learned from Watching Scandal

Now before you start crucifying me for taking life lessons from a television show about fixed political elections, marital affairs, government propaganda and cover-ups, sexual promiscuity and last but not least, illegal torture methods (now that I think about it there’s not much about this show that is legal), here me out. Shonda Rhimes has created a show with a strong (not perfect) black female protagonist, and while this is not the first nor the last show of this kind, there are still a lot of positive images we can take away from this show. (Even though when I now introduce myself to people, they're now like, "Oh like Olivia from Scandal"! At least they don't compare me to Olivia Newton John any more).

 

Now that season four has ended, here are 6 career lessons I’ve learned from watching Scandal. Warning: Major spoilers if you’re not up to date.

 

  • Never mix business with pleasure.

How many times do we see Olivia falling for the allure of a strapping man and losing focus of the mission because of it? Mixing business with pleasure is never a good idea. Not only does someone always get hurt, but you’re risking your professional reputation and everything you’ve worked hard for. Seal the deal first, but keep the communication lines open; just in case you may need them again for “something”.

  • As a Black Woman, “You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have”.

This is not meant to be a racially charged post, but to give career advice without acknowledging the elephant in the room is offensive and pointless. This quote came after Olivia was revealed as the President’s mistress. Imagine finding out your credibility is possibly down the toilet because of a few moments of unbridled passion. Not like a woman needs anything else to knock her down the corporate ladder. Pay gaps are a real issue in the workplace. Women are even treated differently in the workplace. Think outside of work for a moment. I can’t put air into my own tire or power steering in my engine without some guy approaching me, asking me if I really know what I’m doing or just doing it themselves (not even offering, just take control). On the job, men often think I can’t lift a heavy box on my own, or I’m encouraged to wait for a man to do it for me. Not trying to say that chivalry isn’t appreciated, but when it comes off as if I don’t know what I’m doing just because I’m a woman, then I’m offended. And being paid less to do the same job is even more offensive.

  • The ruthless don’t always win.

I remember being discouraged on the job when I worked with a woman who went out of her way to steal my job title and make me look incompetent. I decided not to fight it. I knew I wanted to excel and be awesome at my job, but the additional stress in fighting someone who made it their personal mission to put me down was a losing battle. I decided instead to wait for karma. Look at what happened to Andrew, and everyone who aided in the plan, who went to such great lengths just to force the President’s hand in a war. They say nice guys finish last, I say good things come to those who wait. Just continue to put your best foot forward, and keep a positive attitude. While there are times that you will have to be tough in order to get ahead, don’t go out of your way to earn the title ‘bitch’. That’s not very flattering.

  • Speak with authority and always make eye contact.

I always believe in looking someone in the eye when I speak. It’s actually something that really annoys my mother because I will run her down, and chase her around the house, just so I can stand in front of her to speak. I feel as if she’s not listening and really hearing me if she’s not at least looking at me.
Furthermore, if two people are speaking and one not only sounds like they know what they’re talking about, but like they have the authority to say it, and the other is shuffling, stuttering and avoiding eye contact, who would you believe? (It’s also a good way to tell if someone is lying or not). Olivia has poise and an elegant way of speaking that is almost haunting. I think she said it best, “I am very good at what I do, I am better at it than anyone else. That’s not arrogance, that’s fact.”

  • Know who is on your side, and who is in your way.

People will have their opinions. They can either be constructive or destructive. Know how to tell the difference, and be careful of who you let into your inner circle. Sure the company may be great, but you’ve gotta be able to trust the people you surround yourself with. If you wouldn’t tell a friend or associate about a job interview you have coming up because they may steal it from you, you need to realign yourself. Also be cautious of the people who feel like they always need to tell you what to do next. Because it doesn’t really matter what other people think you should be doing with your life. All that matters is that YOU know what you’re doing with your life. Right Fitz?

  • When all else fails, always have a backup plan.                        

In the nail biting wrap-up of Olivia’s kidnapping, we think all hope is lost when Olivia finds out that she won’t be sold to her friends like she hopes. But in the end, she knew better than all of us because she knew both parties who were bidding on her very well. Even when all hope seems lost, Olivia is thinking of another plan, another way out. Some people go into situations saying if this doesn’t work, I don’t have anything to fall back on. That’s silly. It’s one thing to go with faith, but also have faith in an alternative and your ability to survive regardless.

 

Is there anything you've learned throughout watching one of Shonda Rhimes' gut wrenching dramas? Sound off in the comment section below! Don't forget that you can connect with me through Facebook and Twitter, and feel free to ask me anything that may be on your mind or request something you'd like for me to talk about!

 

XoX,

livia