Uh oh…Bad news is coming

I consider myself a “glass is half full” kind of person. I’m pretty optimistic about life.

I’m also fairly discerning, listening carefully to determine what a speaker is about to say, preparing myself for what’s next, always hoping for something positive.

I think many people are like this, but for those readers that could use a little assistance in this department, here are some clues you’re about to get bad news…

In the office:

One statement that should make your arm hairs stand up is “It’s been brought to my attention that…”

I have worked in the corporate world for decades, including corporate communications, and I have never seen this statement followed by good news, ever! Good things stand out, bad things get brought to the boss’ attention. A close second to this statement is anything starting with “Until further notice…”

Also pay close attention when your boss talks about “opportunities” for you.  This word is often used as subterfuge for “We have more work we’d like you to do, at your current pay, with no extra assistance.” If you choose to buy into it, buyer beware.

And when asked if you have the “bandwidth” to take on something, know that there’s no way to answer except, “yes,”  because a decision has already been made that you’re going to be given more work.  It may sound like you have a choice, but you really don’t, and saying that you don’t have the bandwidth could be viewed as not having the energy or mental capacity to handle additional responsibilities or, worse yet, insubordination.

At home:

“Honey, we need to talk.” This one should make you stop in your tracks.  Something is up and it’s likely not good. Best to get it over with now.  Putting if off will only add fuel to the fire. This statement is right up there with “We need to have a family meeting” and “I think you should sit down”.

Another doozy is “The doctor would like to see you,” and the oh-so obvious “I have good news and bad news”.

And when you hear “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you,” there’s a good chance it’s going to hurt you more, so hold onto something strong, quick.

And last but certainly not least, be on the lookout for the dreaded “but”. In fact, at home or at work, most phrases that start positively then insert the word “but” in the middle, are likely not moving in your favor.  Take for example “I’d like to offer you the position, but,” or “I thought we’d be together forever, but”.  A well-placed “but” can be a real downer.

So, there you have it… a few clues to bad news. They’re more subtle than “We regret to inform you,” but they’re out there. So stay positive, keep your eyes open and your head up.  Joy comes in the morning.









Stress-free Entertaining

Is there really such a thing as stress-free entertaining?

If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to conquer. When your days are filled with stuff…work stuff, kid stuff, family stuff, life stuff…it’s a challenge to host an event for the folks who bring good stuff to your life.

First, there’s the cleaning. And unless you live with Alice the maid or Geoffrey the Butler, there’s always cleaning to be done. And the degree of cleaning depends upon who’s coming to dinner. Overnight guests require cleaning for days because they might look in your drawers or sleep in your bed, and no room is off limits to them. Co-workers require a thorough cleaning because they’re likely to talk about your home at the office, and even close friends merit a tidy up.

Then there’s meal prep. You don’t want to underfeed folks who came hungry or overwhelm those who are trying to eat healthy. And then there are those with dietary restrictions like lactose intolerance, vegetarians and vegans. How do you cater to them all?

And what about entertainment? What if the conversation wanes?  What if they don’t like your kind of music?  What if the conversation turns political?

These are all thoughts that were pummeling my mind about a recent gathering, when a co-worker suggested some simple, obvious advice.   She said “Order a pizza and don’t worry about the cleaning you want to do that’s undone.  Your guests won’t know it’s undone.”

These few words were mini miracle workers. Regular pizza, vegetarian pizza, chicken wings and a salad covered everyone’s taste buds.  Line dance music and good old fashioned board games made fun for everyone. And what wasn’t covered with dust or encircled by flies didn’t get cleaned.  There was no need for cooking or cleaning for days or meeting expectations that were placed on me by me.

So, whenever you want to throw a shindig and ensure you’re not too tired to enjoy it, keep it simple! If it’s not a special occasion where you’re cooking Uncle Leroy’s favorites for his 70th birthday, clean a little, dance a lot and let ‘em eat pizza. He’ll never know you didn’t dust under the refrigerator.

Dedicated to my wise friend and co-worker, KP.

Follow my blog at lovingmiddleagedlife.com