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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

New year, same traditions.

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Everyone has seen countless engagement pictures flooding their Facebook timeline. It usually involves a man presenting a woman with a shiny ring, while she is caught with a stunned and elated expression to perfectly capture the moment. What we don’t often see, however, is a role reversal where a woman proposes to the man. Have we become so accustomed to the tradition of a man proposing to a woman that it will never fade, or will the gender switch become more common over time?

Redbook released an article on seven women who proposed, what it was like to propose to men and why they did it. These women all had a common theme; they were tired of waiting around for a proposal. One woman noted, “I knew I loved him and wanted to get on with it” while another states, “I proposed because it was time for us to move forward.” Some women want to take charge of their future; no matter what traditions they may break along the way.

When a woman proposes to a man, it is typically not perceived as an empowering act. The break in tradition can sometimes be seen as a desperate and unfeminine action. The man can perceive the proposal as taking away his masculinity. Men take pride in picking out the perfect ring and planning out a special proposal that’s relevant for their relationship. Taking away that experience (from a man) can injure his pride and make him feel like he missed out on a special aspect of his relationship.

As time passes and traditions change, so does the way we view customs. So why should we stick with an old fashioned outlook? Proposals should be unique to the couple, and fit their personalities. A marriage is an intimate bond between two people so what should really count is the love they share, not who popped the question.

We no longer live in a traditional society, that’s for sure. Should popping the question stick with the tradition or should it progress with the times?

Sorry, not sorry.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

As women we’ve all been there, you are walking down a crowded street and someone bumps into you. Your knee jerk reaction is to say “sorry” to that person as if you’ve done something to offend them. Why is that?

Women are often afraid to be perceived as direct, rude or “difficult”, so much so that they will overcompensate by apologizing unnecessarily. By overusing the word “sorry”, it puts women in a position of subservience, and potentially makes others lose respect for them. Most women are guilty of this at some point, and it often goes unnoticed by those who have become accustomed to the habit, but we need to step back and think; are we really sorry? And if we are, what are we really sorry FOR?

From a young age, women are taught to strive for perfection. Society tells us that in order to be the “prefect lady” you must always look your best, speak eloquently, and be polite. Sometimes we can mistake politeness with compliance, just to do what we think everyone expects out of us.

CNN covered a Pantene ad (which has nearly 3 million views on YouTube) that depicts various women in the workplace who begin each statement with “sorry” when addressing their opinion. One woman says “sorry” while knocking on her boss’s door, while another says “sorry” when her elbow is knocked off the table by her male co-worker, while he remains silent. When you watch this video from an outsider’s perspective, it seems ridiculous that these women would apologize in these situations, but as a woman watching this ad, it is eerily accurate. Because it has become so accepted in today’s world for women to apologize for every little thing, it becomes harder to recognize. We need more ads like Pantene’s to tell women that they don’t have to be “sorry” for existing.

As seen in the Pantene ad, the use of “sorry” particularly in the workplace can be detrimental to a woman’s career. As women, being in the business world is not easy, even despite our progression in society. Some have a preconceived notion that female leaders in the workplace are not as strong as men in power. If you hold a leadership position in your job and continually say words like “sorry” or “maybe” before an idea or command, you may be perceived as a woman who is unsure of herself and her ideas.

Women need to make a conscious effort to stop apologizing unnecessarily and be strong in their voice. The more command that a woman exudes, the more respect she will receive. Is the risk of someone thinking you’re “rude” really worth being perceived as weak? So make a change, really think about your words and ask yourself, “am I really sorry?”

Man vs. machine.

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. We are in an age where technology is constantly evolving, but more often than not, we overlook the potentially negative aspects of this rapid development to focus on the convenience factor. Technology has improved our lives in many ways, but we have to stop and think: what are the limits to this newfound discovery? Because modern technology, such as texting, is so new, we don’t know the power it can hold on us as a society.

We often use technology without thinking about the effect it could be having on us as a society. When we are bored, or want to avoid talking to a stranger, we often form the habit of pulling out our phones to dismiss making a connection, rather than having an actual conversation. This type of interaction has become so familiar that we don’t pay attention to what it could be doing to us socially. Are we using technology to escape our lives, rather than actually living in the moment?

The Huffington Post notes that technology could be ruining our ability to communicate in terms of how texting is impacting our social skills at the price of convenience. Is getting your statement across a minute or so quicker worth losing our ability to communicate face to face? As time passes and technology use gains more of our time and energy, it makes us wonder what the world will look like it ten years. Even now, you can look around the room in a crowded restaurant and see couples eyes locked on their screens, and children playing games on devices in the middle of dinner, rather than talking to their family. At some point we have to make a conscious choice to put our phones away and not let good old-fashioned conversation slip away. We should be viewing our daily conversations as “quality over quantity”, rather than the quickest way out.

Technology provides an outlet to stay connected in ways we never thought possible in the past, as well as a platform to express ourselves. It improves our lives in many ways, but it’s all in how it is used that makes a difference. Be conscious about how much screen time you use in a day, and put your phone away to have a meaningful conversation with the person in front of you. Overall the pros and cons of technology can be heavy on both sides, but in the end, we have to decide on our own if the benefits outweigh the risks. What are your thoughts; do you think technology is a blessing, or is causing society to lose value in face-to-face conversation?

Is working from home still the future of business?

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

A flexible work environment is currently one of the most valued aspects of a job. Employees want to be able to work from home, make their own schedules, and find harmony in work-life integration. In recent years, many companies have made a transition to more flexible work schedules and an increased number of remote employees in hopes of cutting office costs, boosting moral and productivity, and attracting new talent. Although many companies have had success, some are finding there are unforeseen downfalls to this latest business trend.

IBM recently announced they’re discontinuing their popular program that allows employees to work remotely. Ironically, IBM was a pioneer of remote work technologies and structures, so the announcement was surprising to many of its remote employees. IBM believes that bringing employees back to the office will improve collaboration and accelerate the pace of work, and they’re not alone. “IBM may be part of a broader rethink of remote work under way at large companies, as corporate leaders argue that putting workers in the same physical space hastens the speed of work and sparks innovation,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

However, as these companies implement such decisive actions against the remote work trend, they’re taking a risk. Especially when other large companies, such as Aetna, are drastically expanding their work-from-home programs. Many employees, especially younger talents, list flexible work schedules and the ability to work from home as one of their most desired job benefits, putting these companies at risk of missing out on new talent.

However, while employee satisfaction and morale are certainly important, companies must find a balance that ensures work processes are as productive as possible. And while technology allows us to accomplish a lot, it simply doesn’t replace a human connection. Collaboration and communication are more fruitful and productive in person. There’s so much you get out of an in-person meeting that simply doesn’t yet translate on an email, phone call or via Skype, such as body language and the collective energy of progress. So while a remote job position is convenient, it may be a dying trend of the past, instead of the future of business as predicted.

The gift of giving.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

As the holidays roll around, the spirit of giving is in the air. Many of us give gifts to close friends and family, cards to the people we want to wish-well, goodies to neighbors, contributions or volunteer our time to local non-profits.

However, with so many requests for donations around the holidays, including #GivingTuesday, Salvation Army bell-ringers in stores, emails, snail mail donation requests, etc., it can be easy to subconsciously glaze over the seemingly endless number of causes. As many of us go about our holiday shopping for gifts, enjoying meals with family, etc., it can be easy to start feeling like the wave of donation requests we’re bombarded with are in support of some distant community, mostly un-related to ourselves.

There’s a food pantry right in your own community, serving neighbors you cross paths with daily. Almost every Greater Cincinnati community has a chapter of St. Vincent de Paul volunteers making home visits to people in need of assistance, from Oakley to Green Township to the West End of Cincinnati. It’s likely that there’s a family living just a few streets away from you who are in need of food, clothing, a bed, or help with utility bills because they recently fell on hard times.

Most people that need help are too proud to reach out directly to a neighbor and ask for help, but fortunately we have a wide variety of non-profits who offer hope and help for these struggling neighbors. Most of these organizations rely on the generosity of the community for funding and support to carry out their work – and in many cases are not funded with government or United Way support. Rather, they rely heavily on holiday donations to fund their services well into the upcoming year, which brings us back to the vast number of donation requests throughout the season. Although the countless requests can feel overwhelming, helping is our duty and frankly an honor. Anyone who is more fortunate than someone else should feel compelled to help others.

If you’re unfamiliar with the non-profit organizations, here is a list of several who are doing great work in Cincinnati to consider supporting in some way this holiday season: