These articles are written by Drew Mitchell. All rights reserved. Clicking on the “Read More” links will download a read-only, no cost and virus-free PDF file to your computer.
Moments to Cherish
Tell me if this has ever happened to you. You wake up one day, go to work and realize that there has to be something better in life than what you see in front of your face. You let the front office know you are leaving (and not just for the day) and you ride into the sunset. When I did this seemingly absurd thing, I felt the weight of the world leave me and I felt free for the first time in ages. But then I had to think long and hard -what’s next? I’m not Bill Gates – I can’t just snap my fingers every time I need a five spot!
I went back and forth for about a month and a half trying to figure out what I wanted to do now that I’d grown up. Did I really want to work in the same field or not? What was I missing? Where was my niche? I applied for all kinds of jobs -everything from managing a photo store to working in hospice. I even contemplated a paper route if you can believe that! I marketed my few skills to do freelance work and came up with zilch, nada, the big zero for customers. I thought I’d have to shovel snow for a living until something came up. The paper route idea kept looking like my next big thing after all.
The Rescue of Molly
Molly was living at the Animal Shelter in Clinton, IA. It was the middle of March 2006. Instead of a cute, happy little dog one would find in a pet store, Molly was a sorry-looking little thing. She was skinny, her coat was dull, her ears were crusty and for some reason she only had a stub for a tail. Her teeth were rotting and she had a scar on her side from what looked to be an old burn. She seemed scared to death. Here among all of these big, barking dogs was this poor, pathetic “doxie,” obviously a miniature. Molly needed good food, good grooming and a lot of love. She would soon get all of that and more. One look into those sad brown eyes and anyone would be hooked!
It was quite clear that Molly had a long way to go before she would be well again. Molly had been a puppy mill dog. She had been rescued recently by a family, but for some reason she had snapped at the family’s three year old child. The family turned her over to the animal shelter where Molly was now being kept.
Puppy mills are horrible places. Their sole purpose is to breed dogs over and over again and to sell the puppies. The dogs are mistreated, kept in cramped cages and receive the minimum for food and water. They seldom get good veterinary care and they are over-bred to the point that the “stock” that comes from the mothers is usually poor.
The Rights of Parents With Special Needs Children
I began my career in the field of developmental disabilities over twenty years ago. I started off at the very bottom working as a part-time aide in a residential school for children with profound mental retardation and behavior disorders. It was challenging work, but I truly loved it. In fact, I was so fascinated with the field that I continued to work in it.
Over the past twenty-plus years, I have held many positions serving a variety of consumers. I’ve been a teacher, a behavior specialist, a case manager and a day training center director. After being on hiatus working in case management and administrative positions, a few months ago I got back to working “in the trenches” within our local schools. It was great to get back to my roots and no, I did not miss the “perks” of management. I missed the paychecks that were part of being one of the top dogs, but I learned that money isn’t everything and it reinforced to me that I hated the the drama of office politics.
Recognizing & Controlling Workplace Bullying
When one hears the word “bully,” they think of the prototypical roughneck at school that shoves the little kids into lockers. It could be the hooligan that takes someone’s lunch money as a fee for letting them live another day. But people tend to forget or ignore that bullying does not necessarily end on the playground or the gym locker room. Workplace bullying is becoming well-known thanks to many that have brought the topic to light in recent years.
There are various forms of bullying, and as employers begin to understand each type, they can find ways to create a bully-free environment in their workplace. As with any problem, there first has to be recognition. Employers need to learn the “signs and symptoms” of bullying so they can better identify what is making their workplace “sick.”
What should an employer look for in a workplace bully? Mean girls and tough boys were typical bullies in school, but what about at work? If someone were to look at the person sitting next to them or sitting across the room, would they be able to identify the bully? Those seemingly innocent-looking people may be bullies. Chances are they’re not. But bullies in the workplace can be very hard to identify. One reason is most people like to believe that people are, in essence, good. But bullies are not good people. They are evil. That may sound melodramatic, but the concept of the workplace bully cannot be taken lightly. Bullies are bad people, and people must keep in mind that they look like anyone else one may see on the street or at the lunch room table. They look like anyone’s neighbor, sister or cousin.
Sabotage in the Workplace – Cold-Blooded Coworkers
Many people hate snakes. They hate the actual reptile and they especially hate people who have the personality of a snake. But most of all, they hate the phoniness of the two-headed variety. The “Two-Headed Snake” is a term coined by Dr. Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute for a workplace bully that basically presents a pleasant, professional persona in the presence of people they are trying to impress. Even to the face of their target, the snake is cordial, friendly, hard-working and cooperative. But deep down, this person is a loathsome creature that says and does things to hurt their target behind their target’s back. The snake’s agenda is to advance their own goals and condemn their target, who is usually someone that the snake feels is in the way of the snake’s professional (and even personal) advancement.
Because of this “dual personality,” it is difficult to identify the snake’s true tasteless nature. Once a few people start to recognize the snake for who/what they are, it may be difficult to get others to believe that the snake can be as bad as portrayed. This is because the snake still appears to be a good person to all others. It’s as though people must experience first-hand the treachery of the two-headed snake and get a glimpse of the “evil face” before they truly understand the duplicity taking place. From there they feel like a fool for having believed in the snake and try to warn others with the hope that strength in numbers will destroy the snake.