Company Culture

Careless Companies

I found out that someone who worked for one of my previous employers committed suicide. It is a shame that this company could care less about their employees.

Working employees into the ground, wrongful terminations, and a culture of fear where people are cast out is an unconscionable act.

That is the problem with corporations. They create this culture where employees are terrified to speak out about their illness. They create cultures where there is no one to reach out to in a time of need. People are too busy conforming to the corporate robotic machine to give a flying f**k about anyone but themselves.

I got canned, and maybe 1% of my friends from work (I use that term very, very loosely) reached out to see how I am doing. Needless to say, they are not friends, and only you can support and save yourself.

Again discrimination against mental illness is illegal. How many people even know that? Obviously not ignorant, testosterone-infused companies.

Distrust Doesn't Die

Do I have trust issues? Absolutely.

I sometimes let my guard down after being courted and enchanted by some companies, and even some individuals.

I believed I had found some companies that actually cared about their customers and possessed a corporate social responsibility.

What do you do then or what actions do I take in that case? Well, I become a loyal customer, speak highly of them, and do not let anyone’s opinion influence my own. I become a champion for their company and will shamelessly promote them with nothing on my agenda.

What happens with the trust is shattered and something beyond human comprehension is done to you? You lose faith in the company and in humanity. Cyber safety matters, but not personal safety. I was lied to. I question the ethics of the company now. I question their employees’ integrity. I question if management even cares that one meaningless woman has been pawned as if I was a chess piece. I feel as a piece of me has broken because they exposed me for their personal gain. My first amendment rights were taken away and I was virtually violated, yet again.

What do you do next? I will let you know when I discover the answer. I have been physically sick and hysterical that jeopardizing me gains what? I have nothing. My goals have no been set back as I was lied to and manipulated. I am now frozen. I am speechless. I am so disheartened and disenchanted.

How Did This Happen? I would love to know myself. I research and investigate every scenario before I make a strategic decision. I guess I actually place trust in the last place I should have. I am numb.


I was all ready to go to bed at 10:00 pm. I got caught up dealing with the Scamazon drama and then I get an email at 11:14 pm. Not business hours, mind you. It is from a woman hosting a career fair called Women/Hack that I was invited to and someone paid for my ticket.

Excited and knowing I would finally get a job, I printed $77.10 worth of resumes and cover letters.

Then this is the correspondence.

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She doesn’t even work for one of these companies. She hosts events. How does she know what they are looking for? Two different realms. Obviously, I know she was on my website so she is not too tech-savvy because she could been smarter instead of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs.

Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace?

I had someone reach out to me who works for a corner deli/country store in a small town. For privacy reasons, I will call her Ashley. She stated that the owner, a female, implemented a policy stating that no one can have visible tattoos or piercings during their shift.  

Ashley only has her ears pierced so she doesn't have to worry about the policy. However, it has affected her. There were a total of 6 associates. Once the policy was enacted on May 1, 2018, employees were asked to cover up their tattoos or piercings or remove the piercings. Being that 2 associates were "younger" as Ashley described, they felt that this was judgmental and violating their freedom. The employees refused to "conform" to the owner's policy and one stopped coming into work and the other walked out. The employee that walked out caused a scene in anger and Ashley was left to cover the shift after already working a full day.

She also now has more hours than she originally had wanted to work. She was looking for something part-time as she takes courses at the local community college year round. She is now working 40 hours and is overwhelmed where her grades suffered this past semester. She feels that due to the owner's views, it is somewhat a form of discrimination. Even though she does not have any, it has affected her. She then further became frustrated when the owner's boyfriend came in one day with a large tattoo on his forearm. She feels that this is hypocritical and is questioning remaining there as an employee.

I asked her if she had a conversation with the owner and she said that she was terrified to because the owner is "nasty and rules with fear." It is Ashley's decision if she wants to poke the bear, remain quiet and anxious, give notice, or just quit. She has to come to that decision alone. Even though I know what I would do, I can't give advice because we are different. People have to make their own choices and I can only share things about me and ask for others' experiences.  An approach that would work for me, may not work for her.  

She asked me if I could write about it and share my views. I do not have any views on this either way because I pass no judgment on tattoos and piercings. Tattoos and piercings in the workplace was an insignificant topic to me. I feel that tattoos are a form of self-expression. I can state that I have 5 tattoos, but they are not visible when I am out in public or working. I thought carefully about getting them because there are people who do not like them. That is their opinion that they are entitled to and I respect that.

I had to work with my friend who is a tattoo artist to strategically place the tattoos so they would  make sense as to what I wanted to project. I made the choice that they would not be visible to the public eye. I never wanted to be judged in the workplace because I had a visible tattoo. People are actually shocked when they learn I have 5. I wanted the tattoos and chose to get them, but also chose to represent myself where no one would see them.  

Despite wanting more to finish the "work of art", which documents pivotal points in my life, it takes me time to decide on the placement, size, and symbol because of the image I choose to maintain in the public eye.  

I think this is a good discussion topic, I would love to hear everyone's ideas, experiences, and thoughts. If you feel that tattoos are an issue, please share your views, but not in attack-mode. I am opening the comments for this post. Remember this space is to inspire, build people up, share, and be kind. If you think tattoos are "ugly" then say, I think they are "ugly", but don't use this website for personal propaganda. If you want to spew nastiness and negativity, then I suggest you share your views on Facebook, which is a negativity breeding ground.  

I know I will not react to it and I hope others do not feed the wild animals if I get any roaming on my pasture. 

K. Flay "Mean It"

K. Flay "Mean It"

Culture is Critical

I am a huge proponent of culture and have been a resounding voice for healthy company culture as of late. If the company's culture is unhealthy; most of the time, it is not caused by employees speaking out. They are scared to speak. A culture of fear is the worst and most unhealthy atmosphere. It can lead to physical and mental health issues or maybe even substance abuse issues. This can be costly in compensation due to absenteeism and can potentially result in workers' compensation or legal issues .    

The stakeholders sense it and see it. They do not hear any words from employees. They feel it when they don't see smiles, when they see stress, exasperation, a negative demeanor, lack of cordialness, fatigue, and by observing interactions. It is an almost robotic atmosphere. They are either working like machines or are robotic in their interactions. They act like they have a chip running a program in their brain. That's when the word spreads.  

The stress is going to continue to cause more health issues, which results in more time off being taken unexpectedly. People are afraid to say no, put in more hours, yet everything they do; they feel is not good enough. Positive feedback is tough to find when your boss is unhappy, and their boss is unhappy, and so on. The vicious cycle of negativity. Pressure is placed on you because your boss gets pressured, and that is another cycle. Then the anxiety kicks in. That then circulates into misery. You know what they say, "misery loves company". Well now; misery has become your company.   

The reputation of the company has been put on the line. Resumes start being revisited silently, then resignations will slowly trickle through, and either the employees escape from prison or serve a life sentence. The optimist in me thinks maybe the company will see this negative impact, own their culture, and correct it; if need be.  

I now have statistics to back up my perspective from a LinkedIn Learning Course. In a course regarding reputation, Lida Citroën states that:

"76% of people are unlikely to accept a job offer with a company with a bad reputation."  She then breaks it down and addresses the unemployed, saying "almost 50% would only go to a 'bad' company if the salary was higher than their previous employer."

This is so true and I can speak from my own experience with the BBB interview. I wanted to channel Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek and run. "Run Bambi Run". If companies have difficulty hiring at any level, they need to step back and assess why. I have heard horror stories about a local distribution center through word of mouth, but heard that the company is amazing with customer service. I didn't form a judgment because I do not do business with the company. However, in this area, they have a damaged reputation because of how they treat their employees.

As I have been seeking employment, I see the same positions week after week for an Operations Manager and a Human Resources Manager even offering a relocation package. These are positions that most people would eagerly apply for and accept. However, week after week, the positions remain open. It then crossed my mind that maybe it was because of the culture. Bad news travels fast. Most of the people living near the distribution center know of their reputation. That is probably why the relocation package was offered.

Whoever accepts either of the positions is in for a rude awakening when they move to a bad company and an undesirable area. Before running to the greener pasture, take a shovel to dig in and research what you are in for. Actually speak to people. If you can't speak face to face to read their non-verbal language, speak on the phone to assess their tone and pitch. Texting "my company is great" may be more misleading. You want to try to hear and see them. If their voice is energized and higher pitched, then they more than likely do think the company is great. If they speak in a voice monotone and tone deaf, that is a red flag. Always research before you reposition.  

Lady Leaders

Women in power. Those three words probably make insecure men cringe. Obviously, it is still a man's world. Forbes have proven that the world is still saturated with sexism. The birth rate has hit a historic low. They are stating it is due to a low fertility rate. I am not a scientist or statistician, but I think it is for a different reason. The trends are changing. Women want to work and can be in charge. Let's be honest, who runs the households?

I have always been "fertile", but never wanted children. I wanted independence, self-reliance, and a successful career. Despite, currently waiting for my next career, I have not one regret. I have always been a caring person. I just feel that I never had that maternal instinct. Once, when my niece was a baby, I had to babysit her. I never changed a diaper so had to call my cousin over to change the diaper, then handed her off to my cousin, and went about my day. Almost 39 years on this earth, and I am proud to say that I never changed a diaper! 

Diapers and daycare are expensive. Everything with children is expensive. It is a lifetime commitment. You can get out of jobs, marriages, leases, and debt. Yet, you can't get out of being a parent if you have children. You are no longer responsible for a child until they are 18. You now have to insure them until they are 26 if they do not have health insurance. 26 years old, yes.  When, I was 26, I purchased a home and would never expect my mother to continue financially supporting me.

This month, Forbes released the Fortune 500. Out of 500 companies, there are 24 female CEOs, which equals under 5%. 22 are Caucasian with 0 African American female CEOs. Perhaps, that is why the birth rate is low. Seeing statistics like that shows it is still a "mans world" in 2018. It's a Caucasian man's world too with only three male CEOs being African American. No matter your race; sex is also a matter of diversity and culture.  

Women want to be empowered and there are females in companies that are amazing leaders, but don't rise through the ranks. The glass ceiling from these statistics alone is crystal clear; almost as it has just been cleaned by Windex. What is the reason for this?  Is there scientific, hard evidence that demonstrates why more women are not leaders? Are we missing a certain component anatomically?

I would like to take it a step further, the companies listed on the Fortune 500, let's look into all management positions and determine the sex and race. Let's even go a step beyond that and research the companies that are not on the Fortune 500 and check out the same statistics. Any publicly held company should have to submit their demographics and this issue needs to be addressed. A lack of diversity is a red flag for a lack of culture. It also poses the discrimination question. It is ok if the CEO is a male, but what does the rest of his structure feature: how many men and women are in leadership roles and what are their races?  

I think diversity is a beautiful thing and I was fortunate to work all over the country with many diverse people. When you see a diverse team come together in unity that sets goals and accomplishes them; it is the ultimate satisfaction! You also learn so much and it is a rewarding experience. I have been introduced to foods I have never tried before, cultural traditions, and knowledge. I looked at it as a privilege to be accepted openly and to work collaboratively, where we all supported and were proud of each other.   

I feel for the women who have the experience and leadership qualities to get promoted, but then see a man with no experience or qualities get the position. Women, still in 2018, lose opportunities due to men being preferred. Ladies, when is enough, really enough? Sorry, but you are not part of the "good old boys" club! It is not that women and diverse individuals feel that they are being held back, they actually are! The numbers show it.  

Am I the only one who has seen male's fragile egos crumble when a female is in power? In my professional experiences, I was surrounded by truck drivers, contractors, and sub-contractors; mostly all men. I had to be as tough as nails when dealing with them or they would have walked all over me and prevented my goal from being accomplished. I felt proud because the staffs (male and female) always showed me respect. The few who didn't show respect to me knew that I can call a spade a spade. I never fell for the BS artist, they could kiss up to someone else who was too socially inept to see their truth. The people who mattered are the ones that were genuine. I have proof of the influence I had made on my refrigerator that confirms I did the best I could.  

If you feel that you are being held back by your company due to race or sex, then it is time to rethink. There is a company that will embrace you. If you are a true leader, you know it by one indication: your people. Now, I understand why when a great leader moves to a company, the people go with them. Take a hard look at yourself and your people. Take a hard look at your company. Take a look at your level of career satisfaction. Then the ball is in your court and you can do whatever you wish.



Executive Exemption

Out of curiosity, I wonder why it is that executives have such an easy time finding positions. Just because they have a fancy title with the word Executive in their job title, does this make them a good leader? This "title" exempts them from exerting any effort in encountering easy employment opportunities.

They move from company to company and I feel that if they have a past performance record that features failure, this is not taken into account. I believe in giving everyone a fair chance. If an Executive Leader has a resume of troubled or now-extinct corporations, why are they hired? This sends a message to the employees, "oh great, now we have so and so who came from X Company and we know how that went." Instead of seeking out the Jack Welch's, Henry Fords, Steve Jobss, or Bill Gates, to name some examples, the company settles for mediocrity.  

If you were looking to build a brand new home or wanted an extensive remodel on your home, would you look to hire the best available contractor and construction company?  Naturally, you would research builders to find the best one that suited your needs. If you read an article about a company that built two homes that collapsed due to poor structural conditions, would you even think to have them build your new home? I hope not because it is a risk of losing something that you value.  

There is nothing taking wrong with risks, but risks that do not have a chance of complete destruction. When you have leaders popping up into different organizations after they had just left a company that is going bankrupt, this should be a red flag. However, they easily find other employment, with no transition, no time to reflect, and no time to learn. They go on to another company leaving the former in worse condition. This pattern repeats, and someone makes the business decision to hire them.  Who knows, maybe their salary is a bargain because they leave nothing but a trail of unsuccessful reigns.  

Good leaders make companies work, they don't turn their back and go to a new one without trying.  A good leader will sacrifice for their people because they are connected to the company and culture. There are leaders out there that can be found to run companies successfully. I am not into politics, but even Donald Trump gives his salary away to fund different groups. This is not a political post. In the business world, Dan Price took a pay cut to equally pay all of his employees.

I am certain that the mediocre CEOs or VPS, or whatever fancy title they latch onto into their myopic hierarchy are financially healthy personally. They are set to be able to retire early or take a pay cut and live a simpler life not laced with greed. Put your ridiculous, unearned salary back into the company or give it to the people.  

If you don't get good grades in school, you don't get accepted to Harvard. These executives are not getting good grades with their previous companies, but land in a new organization, and then start dismantling their next company. It is a set of undesirable behaviors, values, and character. When is enough enough?  


Bed, Bath, and Beyond (Recognition)

Featured on Kivo Daily

I lazily Easy Applied for 2 "Project Manager" jobs at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Buy Buy Baby, and Harmon. I was thinking when I applied, they are all over the news as being the next one to fold. I didn't give them a cover letter or a resume, I just tapped a button. In a few days, when they emailed me that "The Hiring Manager" wanted to have a face to face, I was excited. With this whole positive mindset, I envisioned transforming the company, culture, and being an "agent of change" preventing their likely imminent demise.  

Despite seeing that in their quarterly reports and mission statements that they do not mention their "employees" in any capacity, I wanted to dig deeper. Any successful company either knows, or learns, that the employees in the company are stakeholders, as well as customers and vendors. I looked to see a new mission statement, a vision for what plans they had to transcend the modern day constraints that they bound themselves in.  

I came across a headline that they will be "re-imaged" by 2020 and hired an outside design firm. Yet, there were no details. They also carried the following headlines and taglines with them: "junk bonds", "trouble", "low rating", and "lost". I mean they make you pay an annual fee to reward you-the customer for their loyalty. WTF? Amazon does it, but gives you free 2 day shipping and a library of content. BBB gives you what, 20% off or a free pillow with the purchase of a $200 comforter set? With their high prices, nothing there is a good deal in my mind.  

The job descriptions were vague so I immediately thought that this is a new role, but they are taking business risks to survive, and I loved their boldness. I got another email for the 2nd position and was thinking, "okay, now I am flattered. I am being considered for both positions?" I will be the CEO one day.  

I read the Glassdoor reviews and it was a 3.2 star rating, higher than my previous employer. The reviews seemed to be some disgruntled former employees maybe when they restructured, if they ever restructured. My career coach says never turn down an interview and go in with an open, positive mind. So, that I did because you never know!

Being so excited, I went this past weekend to the store near my house. The last time I was there, was 12.5 years ago. It hasn’t changed. Those beds are still big, clunky, and in the way. The layout is the same. The aisles are still cluttered and you cannot fit 2 people and a cart down them. They can take those damn beds out and give a little breathing room. Curtains are hanging with no rhyme or reason. It is definitely beyond the modern day age.  

I have been their demographic for about 16 years and they are missing me. I get mailed coupons that go in the garbage because carrying a big honking postcard is so 2006. It is funny because the CEO has been there for over 14 years and you can definitely tell that his feet have been planted and have not moved one step in all that time.

I went for my interview and was emailed to get there "a few minutes before 9:30am because I had to fill out paperwork. I arrived at 9:15am and got checked in by security and got an Avery slap on name badge saying 9:18am. Then they called the "recruiter" to make her aware I was there.  

I was not acknowledged until 10:04am and I even went up at 9:50am asking the receptionist if the "recruiter" forgot about me. I even went as far as emailing the "recruiter" saying I thought we agreed on 9:30. The biggest sign of disrespect is not only being late, but not keeping someone in the loop that you are running late. It is a blatant disregard.  

However, I kept my positive attitude and decided to observe the culture. They do not even have lanyards, they have a plastic ID card similar to a drivers license that they have to take out of their pocket, wallet, or purse (payroll waste) and they walk past the security guard who sits just raising their arm showing their badge and walk past him. I maybe heard 3 "good mornings" and 2 "hellos" through the chaotic bustle of non-stop entries. One man was energetic waving his arms at the guard and the receptionist trying to liven their day. It did not work. I heard a lady asking if they ordered breakfast for the meeting (corporate greed-one of the deadly sins). I also heard the receptionist confiding in another associate stating, "it's crazy and it's only getting worse."  

I did not see any smiles, I did not hear any laughs, and I did not witness any warmth or compassion. All corporate robots walking in the front door, raising the badge to the guard, then breezing past going into a corridor.  

My recruiter then ran and got me and I was rushed to "the directors'" office. He has zero oomph and the corporate office was just as cluttered and crammed as their stores. They even had pillows and blankets on the floor. I couldn't even imagine how 3 people could fit into his office. My linen closet is bigger.  

Since the “job description” was so vague, I had asked the “director” to describe it with more clarity and was told “it is what you make it.” Wow. In that case, I am headed to Montego Bay and will be drinking Jamaican delights.  

He kept asking me about graphics software and the job description had no mention of even a computer. Did he read my resume at all? No, he was not pro-active by any means. Having zero interest in him or the interview, I asked what he thought about the company and how long he has been there for. He told me 3 months and the company is "good" with no energy, no happiness, and to not read the news because it is wrong. Forbes is now "fake news" I guess in his small mind.  

He did not even bother to look at either of my portfolios. He lives a black and white, mono-chromatic life with a myopic vision. Poor guy.  

I then was rushed to my second interview with another "director" or "senior director" or "manager" and then she started asking me about budgets. I stopped and said what is this position because he mentioned nothing about budgets. They definitely described something different which made me realize that communication in the company is non-existent. I also asked her opinion of the company and she said "it's good" with the same robotic response as the corpse I had just left.  

I then got shuffled to the lobby again and had to wait for the "recruiter". She ran out and started telling me that the next interviewer was sick. I stopped her and said, "I appreciate the opportunity, but after being here for a little bit, I would never work for this company. I just came from a company with no clear vision and I refuse to subject myself to that ever again. I then blitzed out of there and needed to write about my experience to maybe knock some common sense into the organization or someone who is making a mistake by thinking of working there. 

As many retailers "blame" Amazon and Walmart for their demise, I have to disagree. You need a vision to have culture and this company unfortunately lacks both. They have no horizontal or vertical communication, no vibrancy, and no touch with reality especially virtual reality. It is not 1975 anymore, people’s mindsets and behaviors are different now.  

I do not strive for mediocrity, I strive for excellence. The structure of that company is too top heavy. Too many VPs, Senior Directors, Directors, Managers, and no one knows what anyone else does or is doing. I wish them well and hope they get their head out of their ass. I am not a stakeholder to them and now I know why.  

UPDATE 5/26/18:

They see me and I wanted to call out some further research.  
The CEO took a $500,000 pay cut this year.  How generous!  
He is only going to make $16.4 million this year.  
He also made $3.5 million last December selling stock that has since lost value. If you research this, there was a lot of insider trading.  

Makes you question their intentions and integrity. Their culture and employees do not seem to be any concern to them. With all of this executive income, the average pay for the employees is $17,324/year.
The CMO stepped down and is going to be an advisor pro-bono. Yet, he is getting paid 3 years salary, which seems to be minimum $1.8 million/each year. He is of retirement age, so why not enjoy the "golden years"? His son is also trying to sell a beautiful mansion for $15 million.  
Meanwhile, I have heard from many associates that only received a 20 cent/hour raise in the stores.  

Is anyone else seeing this as selfish? What do you even do with all of that money? WOW!  There are CEOs who give portions of their salary to their employees. Servant leaders, not selfish leaders.  

Finally, it takes only one person to begin momentum for change. No need to spends millions on McKinsey. It takes one Mandela on a large, global scale, or in this case, one Melissa.  

Take this information and make a change. This is not ethically right. This CEO has no concern for anyone, but himself. In the past, you had conquered Linens N Things, now are you going to conquer yourself with change or collusion?