Friday, November 24, 2017

Corporate careers should not come in two flavors; his and her's.

30 years ago, I started my career in the food and beverage industry.  (Even though I wanted a career in Law enforcement) Waitressing in a local club. This was just one of many jobs I would have getting to my final goal.  I say club, because back then, the focus was the alcohol for money, not the food. Food was only on the menu because of the liquor laws.  I learned within 6 months that this is not where I wanted to be. I had no patience for people. Period. My perception was, they were like drunk 2 year old's. 

About the 6 month mark, I had a table that had 6 or 7 guys at it. They all knew the owner. One in-particular I ended up cutting off.  Of course he was not pleased with this, and proceeded to put his hand up my skirt on my return to the table with drinks for the others. All of them finding this hilarious, although they could see I was seething. I turned to the guy who had done this and dumped my entire tray, (about 27 drinks in all) on his head. Chaos ensued. My girlfriend who was the bartender, came rushing out to pull me off the floor, and the owner of course had rushed down to apologize to his friends, and get them more drinks.   

Jennifer got me a drink and pulled me to the side, and then talked to the owner while I was calming down. She came back and asked if I wanted to work the door. I said yes. The term bouncer was used back then and the protocol was a lot different than it is now, but that is what I was. 

The rest of that story is a hazy memory these days, but the point was, I ended up in the security industry from then on. (My dream to go into law enforcement was on hold due to other things happening in my life. 

So the story goes, Security became my career. My start was that 1st local club, and then more local clubs, due to how good I was, and then along with recommendations from the liquor board, I went to private security. 

Now, in the security industry, there were not many women at all. I was one of 3 that I knew of at the time, and the other two did not pursue this. I was up against men for local jobs but because of my gender, I ended up with some pretty cush positions and wages. My ceiling was 16.00 an hour and that was then. (more than I am making now, (working food and beverage) and the same in that particular field) 

When people 1st realized what I did for a living, they were like, no way! How do you do that? Aren't you scared of getting hurt, or getting into fights? My answer to all this was no. The reasoning was because I am female, the expected is no longer the norm. Men fight, not women. So I was the un expected element in this industry. I had 2 incident reports in 20 years of doing this, compared to men, who had 1 -2 a night or weekend. 

I'm back in the food and beverage industry, and it's taken me less than 2 months to realize, again, this is not where I want to be. Let's face it, people are A**holes, and if I were to go back to security, I can throw them out. (for the most part) 

What I have noticed in the job I am in right now, is that if there is any conflict, either internal with co-workers or with the general public, we (women) do not have the power, or confidence to take a stand on what is right or wrong according to club policy. (or Casino) where ever you may be. It's a strange feeling to be back under an invisible ceiling after 30 years of having a semblance of control in your position. You literally feel suffocated and like you cannot contribute to making you're current position feel like you are on a team. 

In chatting with other women in this field they also feel the same way I do. When I bring this up with men in these positions, they have no idea what I'm talking about. They do not feel like I do, as if I am running to the boss to tattle, or to solve an issue that cannot be solved alone. There is an atmosphere of being stifled. Feelings that if something is brought up, or mentioned, then my job is at risk. 

It's the supervisor's position to create an atmosphere conducive to good moral and teamwork. Not to allow one that makes you feel like a 2 year old when an issue cannot be solved on your own. 

In my current position, I have come across 2 co-workers, that feel the need to constantly put me on edge. If I were in security, I would not be feeling this way. I'd have my game back. I would be able to work freely without fear of retribution or job loss. The difference between being a man and a woman in these fields, are glaringly noticeable, yet nothing is done about this, even 30 years later. 

Women will always have a ceiling, whereas men will not. I would think in this day and age, that invisible line would have long since been blurred and washed away. So, with that said. No, we are not equals, and I don't believe we ever will be. No matter what we do. I think there will be a select few, who disregard that line, but it will still be there. I'd dearly love to be the one that can erase this line, and I am sure there are also many women who feel the same. The only thing I can do is write about it, and hope that enough people, men and women, read it and spread the word. Policy and protocol should be the same for all of us. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Let's talk about customer service.

Growing up we were taught manners. It did not matter if we were in the public or not. 

Going to a restaurant, even though the waitresses and waiter's are paid, short of removing glasses and plates, we cleaned up after ourselves.  We took pride in how we were in the public, and it showed. If a napkin was dropped we picked it up. If we spilled food or drink, we cleaned it up. We did not leave this for the waiter or waitress. We also left hefty tips, for good service, knowing that these are what they depended on the most. 

As I grew older, I ended up in the customer service industry myself. I started as a cocktail waitress.  Back in the 80's, we had a very high standard when it came to the customer. We still do, but I have found that the appreciation for what we do is no longer there. 

It seems as if the general public has a expectation that we wait on them regardless of our wage or tip. Most jobs that entail getting tips are not just a person standing behind the cash registrar and taking you're order. We also clean up when you leave, making sure you have condiments, coffee, tea, cups sauces, pop, water,  and more. On top of picking up after you once you have left the table.  and we are on our feet for 8 hours straight at a minimum. 

I have watched over the years, how customer service has changed on both sides. We still get minimum wage, and we still do an incredible amount of work, but now we get less and less in the tip jar. I think an expectation has come about that because the public does not see the side work we do, (apparently thinking it is elves in the middle of the night that do it) we no longer get the appreciation we used to. Customers these days can be thoughtless, as well as employees who don't really care, but the majority of us do. It's why we do what we do. 

I'm hoping to clear up this miss conception that all we do is stand behind a registrar.  I'd like the general public to stop and think a moment about the service you receive, and the amount of work that goes into making sure your needs are met 100% and above. For very little money. 

We have a tip jar in front of us. It is there for a reason. Penny's from your change is an insult, and I know there are many times we would love dearly to shout it out about how rude this is, we stand there and take it, because we need the job, and even more important, some of us, probably the majority of us in this industry, truly do care about the service you receive. We've been doing this for many years, its a career for some of us. Let's acknowledge it for what it is. Just because some of us do not have degrees, and don't come in in business suits with 6 figure incomes, does not mean we like our jobs any less or more than you do. 

So for crying out loud. Tip! Even if it is 1.00. Thank you :) 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Holiday Tradition

From the time I was a little girl, Thanksgiving and Christmas were my favorite Holidays. 

Last Thanksgiving with mom and dad 
The house always smelled of firewood, candles, cinnamon  and baking. Mom always had the card table set up in the living room, to write to everyone she knew. I remember one year, when I realized we were getting older, was when her card list went from 500 to 300 pretty quick. People were doing form letters on the internet, and by email. 

Last time we were all together 
Every Thanksgiving, we had family over. Dad was from a family of 13 brother's and sisters, so we had lots of Aunts and Uncles, and cousins. Thanksgiving was always traded off too. We would do it at our home one year, then a Aunts home the next. There was always lot's of food. Usually a Ham, a Turkey, and sometimes a goose. Everyone brought pies and sweets, and stayed over night. 

At Christmas, we had friends in on Christmas Eve. Mary and Charlie usually. They were friends of my parents that came every year, and also brought gifts. We were allowed to open one gift Christmas eve and the stockings were left for morning before our parents got up. They both smoked, and that was the one time a year that mom allowed smoking in the house. For me, this smell combined with the warmth of candles and cooking was a great memory and every time I smell that now, it reminds me of then. 

Thanksgiving with Uncle Randy 
During my marriage, we did holidays the same way my parents did, and I tried to pass that down to my children. It was always a good time for me, and I wanted that for them. For years as they were growing up, I passed along the traditions of the holidays. We always use Grandma's China and Silver, and that too will be passed to my children at some point in their lives. 

As I got older, and we started going our separate ways during the holidays, hanging out with friends and surrogate family's that became our's along with our friends. My parents would visit friends more often than not as we always seemed to have other plans by the time we hit our late teens and 20's. 

My children are now doing the same. They are old enough to make their own plans, with friends, girlfriends and surrogate family's. I hope that one day that they will pass along some of our traditions to their own children. 

I miss a lot of the tradition these days, as my own children are older and going their own ways, but I get it and wish them all the love and happiness that I had during the holidays. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shopping tips; staying on budget.

As a single mother, budgeting and staying hip are not always conducive when it comes to shopping for a wardrobe. For myself, I have a love of  clothes with labels. (So, I'm going to share how I am able to make this happen) 
Jeans, True Religion, 70.00 Boots, Uggs, 2.00 manager special. 

It used to be, buying clothes 3 to 4 times a year, not only for style but for seasons also, was done at Walmart or Value Village. I still do Value Village, but I watch for labels and condition now. 

Top, Free People, 34.00 Shorts, Hot topics, 28 
I also watch for sales on-line at some of my favorite sites, True Religion, Free People, Buckle and American Eagle. 

Once I have purchased a few main pieces new, Jeans, 1-2 pairs, and a versatile jacket or sweater, I hit Value Village and accessorize. We also have a local store by the name of Platos, which carry's high end merchandise, covering you're entire wardrobe, all of it, from purses to shoes, second hand and tons cheaper than buying new. 

Faux Jacket, 18.00 Platos, Boots, 12.00 Value Village. 
Black Dress, vintage, 7.00 Black pumps,  5.00 Platos
Black is always a given in any ones closet. You are able to mix and match, to almost anything. Adding bold colors in jewelry and scarves helps you look fresh and new. Changing from a jacket to a vest or shrug can change your outfit from casual to business. Adding boots or heels can also change the look you want. 

My suggestion is always getting the basics in place 1st. 

Jeans/slacks 1 to 2 pairs, 

T-shirt/Blouse 2 to 4 sets. 

Tank tops, and shorts, 2 -3 pairs. 

AND always have the requisite little black dress.

Shoe requirement, 2 pairs of Boots, A sexy pump, and a pair of black high heels. All these can be mixed and match to each outfit to change the look you want for that day. Business or casual. 

Also, one pair of practical, (I hate practical, its so boring) for everyday use. Your choice. 

Then, Accessorize!! Scarves, hats, gloves, Jewelry and more. Be creative.  

Shopping the way I do, I am able to keep my wardrobe fresh, new and it's lasts at least a year, before I buy again. 

Look for second hand stores in your town, hit the sales on-line, and outlet malls are always fun! 

Stay in Style, on a budget. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Memoir of a single mother

Last photo of my family when we still had our house. In the front, Myself, and 2 granddaughter. Alexis, and Taytum. and back row; left to right, Jacob, Gabe, Krystal, and Antony. 
I was a single mother 4 years before I knew it. 

The one thing I want you to understand is, that you are getting a woman who has felt radically separated from most of the ideas that seem to interest people in this day and age. A woman who lost the slight faith she had in the social contract. 

Last photo of my family with my parents, since loosing the house. 
I never thought of  myself as a single mom. To me,  that had negative connotations, and my life was anything but negative. Did I struggle? Yes. Was it difficult at times? Yes. But the "single" term never entered my mind, nor my world. I had my parents, and family. I certainly never thought that I raised my children on my own. I was the primary caregiver, but I was never entirely on my own. 

When I was married, or the last few years of the marriage, I realized it was not a good one, but not able to pinpoint why.  Not in the marriage and not in the world in general. This comprehension came after I was divorced. Once I looked back at the marriage, I get like I had been in my own insular world. Whereas the outside world acted and thought differently than I did. 

My children, at the time, were 15, 11, 10, and 9. I suddenly found myself without the presence of a partner on a daily basis. I made some poor decisions right after my divorce. 1st in men, then in lifestyle. Going out, meeting people, engaging in the music scene again. Some of this I regret, but not all of it. 

One choice I was forced to make, was leaving the family home and splitting my children up. I had promised my oldest I would not leave him, and yet that is exactly what I did. Unfortunately it was through no fault of my own. This choice however, made him grow up faster than I wanted. 

Antony, my oldest son. I always had to fight for him. There was strife between his father and I, so the courts intervened through the years. The same for my granddaughter Alexis whom we had custody of. When I met and married their stepfather, I thought, at the time, this is good, They need this bond. They needed the stability that marriage afforded. The betrayal of that bond devastated both these kids. More than I knew, but did suspect. 

Jacob and Gabriel, my two middle son's, were Paul's children, but the betrayal was still the same for them. I had Gabe, my youngest at the time, caught in the middle of this nasty split. Caught in the middle of me, going a little bit crazy, but still trying for the facade of looking put together. I wrote a lot during the next 3 years after the divorce. 

My writing was about processing things that had not yet happened. It was a way to deal with things to come. My children growing up in a broken home. Moving on with their own lives and the loss and grief I went through, not having what my parents had. Separation, sorrow, pain and loss. A lot of it being dark because it was a dark time for me. 

Through all this, I fought to keep my family together. The impact the divorce had on all of us, was complete chaos. We had no anchor. There was no cohesive record of our time, because time then was not cohesive.  

Somehow, my children have survived this pretty well intact. Even with failed parenting techniques, they have come out the other side of our time together, as productive young men, with admirable goals and dreams, that make me a proud Mother. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

The great debate

The 2nd Amendment

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 

This language has sparked considerable debate regarding the scope of the Amendment. 

I started this blog post last year after the Arianna Grande concert. My teenage son had made a post that this was not the platform to have the great debate on. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. I made a remark, and from there several of his peers, also around 15 years of age, started to comment. 

One girl decided that she was going to debate with me on assault rifles. She stated that regular people do not need them, to which I agreed. However, she followed up with the idea of abolishing guns period., NO, and here's why, which really has nothing to do with the "rights" we have. 

Abolishing guns will not stop people from getting them. Taking away rights will not stop people from getting them. It's why they are called criminals. There will always be guns to be had. 

The tragic massacre at the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas last evening brings the rhetoric back into the conversations. I understand people are scared. Terrified, and the one's who go through these tragedy's are even more so. So lets really think about this. 

Will restricting gun laws, and our basic rights solve the problem. No, and here's why. At the risk of repeating myself, criminals will ALWAYS find a way. Now, I also realize that the shooter had no criminal back ground to speak of, BUT, his father did, and that can play a key roll in someone's mental health. 

Raised by his mother, a father who was in and out of his life, and subsequent divorce. These are all things that can contribute to a persons state of mind. 

Here's my suggestion before people get on their soap box over this one. We have to go through a back ground test to have a CWP. What we do not have to do is take and MMPI test. 

Most people probably are not even aware of what that is unless they have worked in the security industry. It is a definitive test that tells the giver of a persons state of mind.

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory(MMPI) is a psychological test that assesses personality traits and psychopathology. It is primarily intended to test people who are suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues.

These are just thoughts from a upstanding citizen who owns guns, and has worked in the security industry. It might not be the answer, and I am sure we will have someone out there screaming about their rights to personal medical history, but it's the only answer I have at the moment. One that I have not seen brought up in any previous gun debate. 

My Prayers go out to the families and victims of the Las Vegas shooting. 

Peace~ Kat 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A call to action/The Puerto Rico crisis

The articles we write are backed by fact, usually with a link to a credible news source, or other data that is public. For this one though, all I am finding is "opinion", from both political party's that seem to be slinging mud at each other like 2 year old's. 

Amidst all the news, fake or not, the "Trump international golf course" is being raised, over and over, and I am unable to find real data from 2008 when Trump stepped in. So what I can see, or discern, is, numbers are wrong, (it was not 100 million in debt) and there is not a news article that can show actual data. It's all surmised. Like, where did the number come from? Show the source people. Credible news. What makes this anymore credible than anything else?  Here is a news article from September 30th, from the Washington Post.

So that said, how about we leave the politics out of this natural disaster? Where is the humanitarian in this? Certainly not Trump, or the other politician's who are on the hill arguing about this while people are dying. 

Why is this an argument? There are people dying. Why are we allowing this. Why do we need a go ahead from Trump to drop aide over there, or go in and help? Where is the American Effort? During the flooding in Texas, I saw my own friends, use their own money to fly down and help with rescue efforts. Why is this not a trending topic on all the major websites? Facebook,  Instagram, twitter, ect?  

Facebook is always rife with political posts and opinions about whats going on in this world. So why am I not seeing my timeline saturated with posts of Puerto Rico. Whats different? God, this makes me so angry. Puerto Rico is a U.S Territory, and I see B.S on standing or kneeling? Where is the bravado now? Are you afraid to step out of the comfort zone of what you stand for?  Oh, I get that there are political issues with the NFL, why, I don't know. No one can keep anything simple! Leave the politics out of it. PEOPLE ARE DYING! 

You know what I see? Genocide, although you won't catch ANY news paper or article writing those words. Scary thought huh? We have Americans over there. They are Americans over there. It's a U.S. Territory, and why am I saying that? Does it matter if they are American? They are Human!! Yes, genocide is a strong word, but I call a spade a spade, and that is what I see. The "American" over there that are from the states are acceptable casualties. << I assume?

I wonder if a "credible" source wrote those actual words, "Genocide"  and the article landed on Trumps lap, would the outcome be different? Would the people be helped? I wonder, if this was Ivanka, or Melanie over there, would he do something then? We have always had 1st lady's that work for humanitarian efforts. Why in all this rhetoric have I not heard the voice of Ivanka? 

Unfortunately we have a President right now who is all about war, and not one iota about saving anyone. Those are the hard facts. Either we accept that, and bow down, or we change it in the next elections.  Right now we have no strong democrat against the republican party, so it's all about keeping their jobs. Do you get that people? The Democratic party right now is more concerned with not pissing off Trump than saving lives in Puerto Rico. 

I really don't have a lot on this subject. I am appalled. I am ashamed to be in a country that would allow this to happen, yet, proud to be able to say I have the freedom to write what I want.