Stuff About Today’s World

OMG – They Are Wearing THAT?

“OK young lady — you just march right up stairs and change into something more appropriate to go to Aunt Jane’s — and while you are there take off all that ridiculous makeup!!”

OK let’s wake up from the 50s and 60s. Even if we could bring ourselves to say something this archaic, it would have zero impact on the “listener”.

appearance

Let’s start with the concept of “appropriate”. This word has disappeared from the language — very few people think there is such a thing as “being appropriately dressed”. From what I observe at airports, restaurants, religious events, concerts, graduations, family parties in the suburbs, and other venues is that many people – especially, but not limited to younger ones – do not grasp the concept of appropriate dressing.

Being appropriate means you choose and wear clothes not just because you like something or are comfortable in it, but to present yourself in a way that communicates to others. More specifically, presenting yourself to those hosting events, or owning establishments that work hard to please, that shows you care, appreciate the time and effort others put in, and want to celebrate or observe something important to others. Unless it is your own birthday party or wedding, one should spend some time thinking of how what you are wearing is perceived by others.

This of course is counter-cultural – the notion of ‘grab all the attention you can whenever you can’ seems to be the norm. “Being sexy is always a great look — man or woman — anytime, anyplace. If others don’t like it they are likely just jealous.” Or, at the other end, “I can’t be bothered to try to look a little pulled together — sure people used to care — but now — If I am OK with my ‘look’ the heck with anyone else.”

Is there a nice way for us to explain that neither extreme is appropriate? That both the “worship of sexy” look as well as the “I give up and will wear the same thing every day/year” look are EQUALLY inappropriate in most situations?

Let’s try to explain to some with the “hooker look” that it isn’t that the look is bad – it’s just that often times it is inappropriate; not thoughtful of how others see or perceive you given the setting. And, at the other end of the spectrum, let’s consider raising the standard a bit and trying a little harder to dress with care about yourself and others. Just being comfortable is not a universal rule that lets you off the hook from having standards about how you present yourself.

frumpy

In the modern age the term “appropriate” does not comprise a list of arbitrary dos and don’ts that went out with hoop skirts. It is not a moral command to resist being sexy. It is not being a prude or being a fancy pants person that should “chill out”. It is thinking and acting as if others’ sensibilities are valuable and important and should be respected. That’s really modern and fresh – paying some attention to what others think. OMG … really?

 

Photo credits: here, here, here and here

Remember to Stop the Insanity!

Remember Susan Powter and that 1993 book Stop the Insanity?

Always loved that title. Her point was that most dieting and exercising routines were just silly and losing weight is rather simple and relatively straightforward. Not that the search doesn’t continue with Americans still hoping for the magic pill or other process to take off weight and keep it off.

This phrase hit me again when FabulousOver60 received a comment from a reader talking about her worries about her future daughter-in-law. Seems the woman’s family has one style – and the future daughter in law’s family is simply the opposite. What to do she asks?

Stop the insanity is what you do. Meaning, it is simple — take our mother’s (and the Bible’s) advice—reap what you sow!

By the time you are fabulous and over 60 if you haven’t figured this one out you have to make a change — and QUICK. This is old ground. The only reason you are hanging on to nutty ideas is pure intellectual laziness. Take it from those of us who get it – which I am 99.9% sure includes you – don’t make these OBVIOUS life mistakes:

  • Treat your family with little respect — offering unsolicited advice and commenting on faults of people from smoking to being overweight?  Result: Hurt feelings and lower family happiness
  • Treat grandchildren and other young people ‘generically’ — “so how’s school…?” Not seeing and experiencing each as a unique and prized person?  Result: Generic “hi poppy/hi grandma” semi interesting relationship with future generations.
  • Talk about your grandchildren all the time rather than focusing on your friends and THEIR lives and current life issues?  Result: Friend doesn’t say it, but thinks “who cares about Jimmy’s SAT scores and what happened to OUR friendship?”
  • Complain about a job search that is taking too long?  Result: Man from Mars comes down and wakes you up to today’s economic realities and current workplace — if you are looking to get back in the game figure out how the game is played!
  • Combining your money with a guy you just met who is 20 years younger and suddenly so interested in sharing?  Result: All together now – are you crazy???
  • Pretending you are not getting older only better?  Result: Delusion, and worse: making the same mistakes our parents made and dumping the responsibility for handling your inevitable future tough situations on your family.

We are educated, sophisticated, have been there and done that, are informed and connected. Yet we all somehow want a break from the eternal law of the universe.

We need to stop the insanity and start doing more things we know make us happy and sane and healthy. Exercise, positive realism, patience with ourselves, spa time, laughing out loud, spending sensibly, traveling, involvement with our passions, looking for the good, making hard but important choices and being optimistic about the future. “It is all good till it isn’t”.

My girlfriend Barbara said that yesterday – and it is the wisest advice for FabulousOver60s. Stop the insanity. Do the things you know work and dump the obvious mistakes. Enjoy your life while it is good — and when it suddenly isn’t any more, as is inevitable, move on with grace — and a lack of surprise.

When Familiarity Breeds Entitlement

Our maintenance man of two years quit today. Actually, he didn’t tell us he quit. He just didn’t show up. When we called to see where he was, he texted back that he could no longer “financially” afford to work for us.

Let me digress: Like many grateful over-60s, we are at the point in our lives when the risks we took in starting our own business have paid off. We are comfortable — actually even a bit more than just comfortable. And, although being over 60 provides a lot of things, the ability to do challenging home projects is not one of them. So … help with the house is necessary.

Back to the story: Actually, Dennis’s text was no surprise. A couple of weeks ago, he and Ray talked about a job he had done for us – a very expensive job – that wasn’t done correctly. Ray asked him to re-do the job to make it right. He agreed that it had not been done well and, at first, said he would. Then, last week, he told us that he didn’t think he could do it and that we should get someone else. In other words, we should pay to have the job done again. Ray asked what he intended to do for us to make it right – for example, work off the money he had already been paid – and he said he couldn’t believe we’d expect him to do that.

In the early days, Dennis told us he was pleased to be working for us. We gave him the hourly rate he asked for (which was higher than others in the area, but seemed to be worth it since he had a lot of skills). We didn’t quibble over his charges. We employed his sister and mother for a few projects, as well as a friend and two nephews from time to time. We entrusted him with our house as caretaker when we left for the winter and paid him regularly (and significantly) for very little work. We gave him extra projects whenever he wanted them … and recommended him to two neighbors. We exchanged gifts at Christmas and shared stories about our families.

However, I became aware over the past few months that Dennis was becoming a little more familiar than I was comfortable with. He would make comments like … “I wish I could afford that” … or “more stuff for Goodwill?” In retrospect, I was often finding his attitude and comments disturbing. And, it seemed that his work for us was becoming more and more one-sided – his side. For example, he began to come by the house when he wanted to rather than on the schedule we set up with him. He decided that his work for us should fit into his needs rather than ours.

This isn’t the first time I have experienced this familiarity situation. One other time, many years ago, a worker’s last day with us was when he made the comment to Ray that he used a very expensive material without checking because “you can afford it”.

Stack_of_money
We know that it’s a luxury to be able to afford to pay for help with the house. But we also don’t owe our hard-earned money to anyone.

Dennis began to feel entitled, I think. And, he obviously didn’t think problems with his work should be his problem. Although he didn’t say “you can afford it” when he told us to get someone else to do the job, that’s what it felt like.

It’s sad that it ended this way. There seems to be a fine line between friendliness and familiarity. And, when entitlement creeps into the equation, the end is probably inevitable.

Cathy
PS… I actually believe that this story is reflective of a bigger issue in our society … an increasing sense of entitlement without accountability. I never felt entitled to anything I didn’t work for and have always felt that if I took on a task it came along with the responsibility to do it well. Sensing an entitlement mentality in others makes me uncomfortable … and sometimes downright angry. Do you have some thoughts to share about this?

“Happy” Memorial Day?

Last year I posted a blog about Memorial Day. Since it seemed to resonate with many of our readers at that time, I thought I’d post it again as we head into 2016’s holiday.

I confess. I wasn’t thinking about Memorial Day as anything other than a holiday. I was busy with a house remodeling problem. I had a deadline for a company project. I was thinking about what to wear to a Memorial Day party.

And then Ray reminded me. As a Vietnam veteran, he never forgets what Memorial Day means. It doesn’t mean parties, rug sales, outdoor barbeques, baseball games or the opening of swimming pools. It isn’t even a holiday to thank veterans for their service (that’s Veteran’s Day). In fact, it’s not a “happy” day at all. It’s a day to honor those who died in our country’s many wars. It is a day of memorial and remembrance.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Washington, DC

Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington, DC

I know that I’m not the only one who wasn’t thinking about it that way. In fact, I think it might be the most misunderstood “holiday” of all.

I looked it up. I learned that the first official Memorial Day observance was May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. I learned that until 1971, Memorial Day was observed on May 30. Then, the National Holiday Act of 1971 was passed and Memorial Day began to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.

I learned that the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) believes that the change of date that created a three day weekend has “undermined the very meaning of the day” and has contributed to the “public’s nonchalant observance” of Memorial Day.

I realized as I thought about my own nonchalance that I have been very, very lucky. I have never been directly touched by death from a war. My father and uncles were in the service at the end of WW2 … no action for any of them. Even though my college years of 1968 to 1972 were key Vietnam era years, no friend, boyfriend or classmate was killed in action. In fact, few of them even went to war. My brother and cousins were too young. And, I didn’t have sons who could be sent to Desert Storm or subsequent wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

I’m glad that Ray reminded me about the day’s meaning. It’s unlikely that families of men and women who have been killed in war – or veterans who came back when others didn’t — wish anyone a “Happy Memorial Day” or spend it shopping for bargains.

Cathy Green

My Breaking News

Hopefully someone from CNN is reading this blog and realizing how ridiculous it is to make everything and anything “breaking news”. I thought perhaps making my life in any way connected to breaking news might make them change their ways. It is doubtful but I am putting my two cents out here.

The kidnapping of the girls in Nigeria? YES, this continues to be breaking news. And interestingly it took Twitter to make it mainstream. Not that I tweet — but reading them fills you in. Maybe this will convince me to start tweeting — again, doubtful but possible. I never say never anymore — a sure sign of being fabulous I think. ‘Never’ is for kids and “know it all’s” – otherwise known as young adults. It ends when you finally figure out that your whole life does not need to consist of corrections related to your parents’ lives. Think about it and/or read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.

Breaking_News

My related breaking news to the Nigerian girls story – my high school The Ursuline School has jumped into solidarity with the kidnapped girls. This made me proud that I am and always will be “an Ursuline girl”. Good to know that good education matters. We always hoped it did. We actually got an education to build our lives – not just get a job.

More news, although not breaking.

Wrote a blog post a long time ago about memory loss: a bane of our fabulous years. Started doing Lumosity and have continued to fight the good fight working several days a week doing brain games that really are if not fun, amusing and challenging. I can report that my “brain profile” has significantly improved. I started in the 5th (yes, the 5th) percentile (talk about humbling for a woman who aced school) – and am now safely in the 50% range of my age group. Get on it if you aren’t already. I am actually remembering more names now — though I still say at least once a day “you know her… she was in…”

We are downsizing. Like many boomers we are going to get rid of the excess and have one rather than two home bases. It dawned on me that the way to have fun and travel is to actually get out there and have fun and travel. As over-analyzers we boomers often miss the obvious. Do, be and think less.

An extremely dear friend is starting to get big checks for work she did ages ago. Now this is breaking news and may remind you that in all ways, the work, effort, persistence and aggravation we put into our careers and lives over decades really does pay off — if not by getting checks, than by understanding what I am trying to say here. Maybe that really is breaking news sisters in fabulousness!

Behind the Wheel: Oh, How Times Have Changed!

Admit it. You used to chuckle at your aging parents about their driving habits, didn’t you?

Like when they started avoiding highways. (“People drive too fast and we’re not in that much of a hurry anyway.”

Or, when they stopped making left turns. (“It’s easier to make a lot of right turns to get to the same place, so why not?”)

Or, when you noticed that they were going out to dinner well before the sun went down. (“There are early bird specials, anyway, so why drive in the dark?”)

I certainly remember snickering at my parents – especially my mom. At that time, I traveled highways every day, knew how to make flawless left turns, and wouldn’t think about having dinner at a restaurant before 8:00pm.

And now? I have become my mother.

I try to justify my growing aversion to highways, left turns and night driving to anyone who will listen. Here are a few of my best excuses:

Speed limits have been raised over the years. People drive way too fast, don’t they?

a

Cell phones – especially when they are used for texting – make highway driving much scarier, right?

Left turns are trickier around my new Asheville, NC home because of the many one-lane mountain roads and impatient drivers here, don’t you think?

No_Left_Turn

It’s a lot easier to park before 6:30pm and restaurants aren’t as crowded and noisy earlier in the evening, right?

I even tell myself that my new behind-the-wheel behavior has to do with the fact that I’m driving a lot less in my 60’s than I used to drive in my hard-charging business days and am therefore out of practice.

All of these things may be true, but it’s also true that over the past few years, I’m just more afraid than I used to be, less confident and probably less agile – and my eyes don’t work as well. There. I admitted it. If I had kids, they’d be snickering!

The good news about “seniors” on the road – I really hate that word – is that compared to other age groups, we’re more likely to wear seat belts and observe speed limits, and are less likely to drink and drive. At least that’s what the CDC says in its Older Adult Drivers: Get the Facts fact sheet.

The bad news is that we’re more likely to be injured in traffic crashes due to age-related problems like fragile bones. We are also more likely to have reduced flexibility and range of motion and worse eyesight, and we use more medications – not all of them conducive to safe driving!

(Backing into the tree a couple of months ago wasn’t due to any of these things, however. There was a lot of fog that morning. It wasn’t my fault.)

And check out this comment on the CDC’s website: “Americans are healthier and living longer than ever before, so seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7 to 10 years”.

Add to this the fact that there are more and more of us baby boomers on the road every day. In about 15 more years, it is estimated there will be 70 million Americans over the age of 65 behind the wheel compared to 33 million in 2009.

So, all of you “younger” drivers out there … you might want to stop laughing and start driving more defensively!

Cathy Green April 29, 2014

 

P.S. Just as I was about to post this blog, I read a headline in the Tampa Bay Times … my “other” home … titled House OK’s 75 mph Speeds. Here’s the first sentence: “Florida would become the first state east of the Mississippi where drivers could travel 75 mph on major highways under a bill that squeaked past the House and is headed to the governor…”. Florida! The state where baby boomers are retiring in droves!

 

Liking Millennials

Millennials used to scare me, confuse me and yes, annoy me.

When I was a corporate “expert” on talent issues and on-boarding of new employees, millennials were just joining the world I finally thought I had mastered – Corporate America in 2000-2005! I felt I had “the upper hand” in terms of experience, expertise and knowing what worked and what didn’t at the workplace.

What scared me, however, was that millennials were not scared; nor were they focused on pleasing or respecting us 50-something “older” folks currently in charge.

Millennials (though no official dates of when the generation starts/ends, it consists of those born starting in the early 80s through 2000 or so) have an ‘I am absolutely fine and deserving just the way I am’ self-confidence. This seemingly undeserved confidence coupled with technology smarts freaked out many of us hard-driving, forever insecure and overachiever boomers. Who were these people?  Why did they not seem to worry “who” someone was – Senior VP/Director? All the same to them. Why did they get on the phone all the time — especially to their parents?

Of course just as we boomers have had tons of bad press: spoiled; the “me generation”; hippie/dippy, nattering nabobs of negativism; and later, overly gung-ho on “fads” from EST to super high-powered careers lacking in balance. Millennials now have had more than their share of universal put downs: little work ethic, overly self-confident, detached, “selfie” obsessed nerds who don’t appreciate others’ hard work and people skills. My gut instinct: enough with the surface analysis that leads to less conversation and mutual listening but rather to more tweets and unreliable generalizations — the plague of modern life.

Millennials are individuals. Not every boomer went to Woodstock, worked compulsively, lived a lifestyle she couldn’t afford or was married way too many times to make sense. Not every millennial is too scared to ever start his own life, smokes pot all day in the family basement, is a pure narcissist or acts like a bored slacker.

sunset-daze

If you are more annoyed than thrilled with millennials you have to interact with, let one of their own, Matt Walsh, help you out with this manifesto for his own generation. It should say what you want to say to those millennials you are clashing with and may be related to.  In reality it applies to every new generation.

millennials

Millennials have grown on me since those corporate days. The change, of course, was with me — I have become more secure, and less critical. I still don’t feel comfortable with all aspects of millennials — the constantly “on the phone” thing especially in restaurants is a pet peeve, but I am at peace that they do not need to be more like us boomers. They are the new 10 ton gorilla — things ARE going their way. Other than reinventing aging (which we are doing), boomers are just not the center of the world anymore. That has to be OK with us — it just is.

Always trying to educate myself and get with the new flow, I wanted to see how “millennial” I am. So I took the Pew Research quiz which was pretty amusing, quick and thought provoking. Take it if you care — or be like a millennial and think: who cares if I am like someone who is not me? Boomer or Millennial, we all could lose a little of our self-focus and self-righteousness — selfie anyone?

 

Use Mad Men Wisely

Like millions of others, I couldn’t wait for the seventh and final season of Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men on AMC.

This last season of Mad Men is dredging up old stuff I hadn’t thought about – or have been pissed off about – for roughly 45 years.

A new marketing lead at an existing client company meets Joan Harris, not one of the male partners of advertising agency Sterling Cooper, and is clearly disappointed. Over a coke at the bar he starts lecturing Joan like she never worked at an advertising agency much less is a partner of one. It made my blood boil.

MMS7-Joan-590x375

 

A senior executive refers to a black woman and some white men as “Gladys Knight and the Pips” as they enter a work meeting. OMG this hit my buttons.

Don Draper hits on another woman while on a plane from LA (and his time with his wife Megan living the LA life) back to New York. If I see Don with that sympathetic and lustful face looking at one more different woman while she shares her woe (this one a widow) I am going to scream.

Mad Men is terrific entertainment, not reality. 1969 is LONG over. While it may be troubling to recall the professional travails back then; getting angry all over again wastes energy that could be spent on real current problems — like continuing gender bias in the workplace.

What I realize as I watch Mad Men this season is that it was cutting a little too close to home — and giving me an opportunity to reflect on some buried issues as well as current ones. This is a good thing: fresh opportunities for personal reflection and renewed growth – and this I recommend.

The accurate costumes make one wince and are without doubt triggers for memories of our own past. But what has me really exploring raw feelings are the subtle or not so subtle mocking of the ways we experienced our lives back then. It seems to me that how we were experiencing new avenues of sexual freedom, politics, civil rights and patriarchy comes across as a bit too much like a surface set of fads rather than the difficult, thoughtful and challenging opportunities of that era.

MMS7-Don-590x375

It really was not easy to “become liberated”, “be involved in civil rights”, or “want to be taken seriously”. Politics were white hot and challenging and conversations with parents/authority figures were often brutal. Mini skirts, and smoking pot were more than props – they were small attempts to express new ways of thinking in the culture. A culture which we were trying desperately to change — and ultimately did.

I can take Mad Men and its terrific acting and writing as a way of getting into my own history and life explorations; or, I can just let the show continue to annoy me, and remind me of old, relatively minor wounds, and 60’s fashion. Upon reflection, we at least cared about fashion and looking pulled together back then. Seems like anyone today could spend 6 weeks traveling anywhere with black pants, jeans, two tops, a washable universal-looking dress, walking sandals and an average-looking sweater or cheap raincoat. To me, that is not progress. Or maybe, sister boomers, it really is.

My First Job: Remember Woolworth’s “Five and Dime”?

I was being interviewed last week about our business. The interviewer, a 30-something reporter for a local business magazine, asked me about my first job.  That was easy. I was a 16 year-old sales and check-out girl at Woolworth’s.

The interviewer gave me a funny little smile, said “Uh, okay”, and moved on to the next question.

After the interview, remembering that smile, I decided to do some Google-ing. I found out that the last Woolworth store was closed in 1997. I realized that my interviewer would have been a young teenager at that time. He had probably never heard of Woolworth’s. Talk about feeling OLD!

While on the internet, I found an article that referred to F. W. Woolworth Company as a chain of general-merchandise retail stores originally based on the concept of “five-and-ten cent stores” – selling everything for 10 cents or less. The company opened in 1879.  They were successful because of “volume buying, counter-display merchandising and cash and carry discount transactions”. 

woolworth

By 1935, the stores did away with the maximum price ceiling (which had been raised to 20 cents over the years) and the chain had grown to 2,500 stores.  By 1982, there were over 8,000 stores, but discount retailers like Kmart were coming on strong.  All Woolworth “variety” stores, which they were called by then, were closed by 1997.

So, in 1966, I got my job at Woolworth’s (locally referred to as “the dime store”) during the chain’s growth as a discount retailer. (Actually, to be perfectly honest, my dad the bank manager got me the job because he knew the store’s manager. This turned out to be my first lesson in business: It’s who you know!)

My boss was old – probably in her 40’s.  🙂  She stationed me at one of the check-out lines most of the time. The late 50’s vintage cash register had buttons that were hard to press down, stuck occasionally and made weird noises. At the push of a lever, the cash drawer popped out lethally toward my stomach. Then I had to figure out how much change to give customers.

Let me repeat that. I had to figure out – in my head – how much change to give customers for their fives, tens and twenties. How primitive was that? Don’t tell the grand kids – they won’t believe you.

I worked a few hours on weekday evenings and Saturdays during the school year … and then many more hours during the summer.  Since the minimum wage in 1966 was $1.40 per hour, a paycheck of $20.00 was a good week.  (I feel older and older as I write this).

When I wasn’t one of the check-out girls, I stood inside a four-sided jewelry counter and sold inexpensive earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces to grandmothers and teenagers.  But what I sold the most was colorful, fuzzy angora yarn.

If you are over 60, you remember why, right? We needed a way to keep our boyfriends’ class rings on our fingers when we were “going steady”!  (Is the term going steady even used anymore?) Replacing the thin, easily frayed yarn every few days was both necessary and a fashion statement.

I have other memories of that first job. I remember the flat, dark wood counters of merchandise … stacks and stacks of clothing, underwear, purses, towels, tablecloths, kitchen accessories, paper goods and more that had to be re-stacked constantly and re-stocked from under the counter.

I remember the fish, turtles, birds, hamsters and other assorted creatures sold at the back of the store where you didn’t want to go very often because of the funky odor. I remember the smell of hamburgers and hot dogs being cooked and served at the lunch counter which ran along the right side of the store (far enough from the critter area, fortunately). I remember the cherry cokes, the candy bins and the long lines of customers on hot summer days waiting for their flavored ice cones.

Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper

Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper

And, now, 47 years later, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that a young reporter didn’t have a clue what Woolworth’s was.  I’m glad I didn’t mention the angora yarn.

Cathy Green

P.S. What was your first job? Share some stories with us!

Anita Hill: She Broke the Silence Most of Us Kept – Now That’s Fabulous!

A documentary about Anita Hill is on the way to theaters near you.

Just read that some of her students had to ‘Google’ her since they had no idea what if anything she did to make herself famous.

That transformative event – the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, happened 23 years ago in October of 1991. And who of us now over 60 women could forget that event?

Anita Hill: Then and Now

Anita Hill: Then and Now

Just re-reading about the Clarence Thomas hearing is disturbing; and thankfully for women under 40 – mostly incomprehensible. For us it was a somewhat odd, perplexing, disturbing thing. Most/many of us had been harassed at one time or another – or so it seemed. But things were different “back in the day”. And mentioning those situations – or even worse, DOING something about them in any public way was seen as not only inappropriate, but dangerous to one’s “reputation” and career.

In case you have forgotten, dear sisters, the Democratic men weren’t much if at all better than the Republican men in terms of making Anita Hill’s life miserable. “The manner in which the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee challenged and dismissed Hill’s accusations of sexual harassment angered women politicians and lawyers”. It was, as just noted, back in the day when most men and women regardless of politics were just coming around to truly understanding what the issue of sexual harassment was about.

One of my own “favorite” sexual harassment memories was when I was pitching to be a VP at the firm where I was Director (but not yet VP) of Personnel (HR wasn’t around yet). The Chairman of the company was taking me out to lunch to discuss my “innovative initiatives” and hopefully I would get my “just reward” of a VP title (how little we settled for, really). What were all those late nights at work all about? Instead, the chairman from Kansas City thought it would be a good idea to “help me” with the rent in a NYC apartment that would make it easy for him when he was in NYC. He also said “Patty, put away those folders” which pretty much said everything about what he thought of my work. Telling this story makes me cringe and more than a little embarrassed. I certainly never said anything about it to the CEO or anyone else. Thank God for my “fiancé” who of course did not exist but made for a reasonable excuse. Decided to leave the company for greener pastures after the VP job never happened.

Anita Hill was braver than I was. As she stated at the hearings: “After approximately three months of working there, he asked me to go out socially with him. What happened next and telling the world about it are the two most difficult things/experiences of my life. It would have been more comfortable to remain silent. But when I was asked by a representative of this committee to report my experience, I felt that I had to tell the truth.”

Watching Anita Hill at 57 talking quietly and gracefully about her life and future, I feel two things – grateful that she stepped forward to draw out this situation and change the culture. And second, though I couldn’t shine Anita Hill’s shoes back in the day in terms of personal courage, I am deeply grateful for the wonderful opportunities and freedom younger women have as a result of what she did.

While then, the jury was out on whether “she lied” or “he lied”, today we would all upon reflection agree that her voice helped create a workplace that is better for men and women. She looks, sounds and acts like a winner – going forward without regrets. I think we will make her an honorary FabulousOver60!

Photos via: here and here

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