A: Ask for double what you believe you’re worth, and look for another job. Seriously, why squander your talent in such a setting?
Q: My sister’s boyfriend is creepy. He lied and told my mother’s tenant that he has power-of-attorney and that the tenant has to move by the end of next week (she just moved in from our mom’s other rental property three days ago). What recourse does the tenant have? And how do you disown creepy family members?
A: The tenant doesn’t have to listen to your sister’s boyfriend, but someone better let her know it!
This fellow is more than creepy; he is downright disturbed. The most troubling thing here is that your mother and sister allow this. Your mother needs to take responsibility for her property and let the boyfriend know his place. She should also advise the tenant to pay absolutely no attention to him. If she won’t step up then you should explain the situation to the poor tenant. Otherwise you’re enabling his cruel, harmful behavior. Crazy family or not, we can’t stand by and let people hurt others.
How do you disown this loony? By not giving him any of your time and energy. Talk to your sister, and start imposing boundaries that keep him a safe distance away. It sounds like he delights in creating chaos and exerting control. This guy could end up the subject of a Lifetime movie — with your sister in the role of the victim. Try and help her to see the sickness. I hope she will get the clarity and courage to force a change. You will support her best by refusing to entertain him.
Q: I was once told that if I wanted to advance in a West Coast company that I would have to lose my Georgia accent. Your thoughts or comments?
A: My response would depend on a number of scenarios. If losing my accent would enable me to advance through the company and become head of the whole industry, I might just sacrifice my accent while conducting work. And once I made it to the top, I’d implement a new policy: all employees must adopt a Georgia accent and speak in the Southern vernacular.
In my 20s, I was a media spokesperson for a university. I standardized my speech when addressing reporters so that I could be easily understood and perceived as a professional. But the whole time I’m thinking, “I’m going to play their game so that I can make the game mine one day.” This worked out well.
But now that I’m in my 40s, I’d certainly tell them where they could stuff it. These days I honor authenticity in all its forms, without compromise. No one else dictates who I am, how I act, or how I see things. I keep my own counsel. And I strive for transparency.
The question boils down to your values. Is it worth more to you to be true to your native sound or to move ahead by adjusting to the culture of the company?
As for me, I’d roll up in a monster truck, distribute pork rinds, and recommend that they get some diversity training. Then I’d rev up the engine, mash the horn that plays “Dixie,” and peel out of there with a cackle.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen—A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Visit her at thecrackerqueen.com.