#babeswhohustle

“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” 
― Sheryl Sandberg

Asking For a Friend | Chapter 22

Asking For a Friend | Chapter 22

Advice from Babe to Babe


Inspired by our partnership with Jacksonville social enterprise Rethreaded, this week’s chapter of Asking For a Friend gives advice about being the best coworker to someone who’s experienced trauma, handling sexual harassment in the workplace, and becoming more involved in our communities.


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Don’t ask how they’re doing—people who have experienced personal trauma often don’t know themselves how they are doing at any given moment. Understand that trying to get back to “reality” is going to be unimaginably hard, and tell them that. Something like, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through” offers genuine empathy without putting them on the spot to keep everyone up-to-the-minute on their state of being. Also, just do things to be kind and helpful instead of the obligatory “let me know if you need anything” or “I’m here for you if you need me.” People rarely ask for help because they don’t even know how helpful it would be to have someone just bring them a cup of coffee or take a walk. If you just show up, they’ll know you’re there to help and support them.

—ELIZABETH ANDERSEN, BABE #204

This person is most likely trying to get back to some sense of “normal,” and you want to help them with that and give them support as they go along. I think it’s important to show empathy (understanding and validation of their feelings) versus sympathy (feeling sad for the person). You don’t want make a huge deal and do everything for them or overkill on the helpfulness. That might make them feel like you're coddling them. Little things, like inviting them out to lunch or coffee, would be appreciated. Honestly, if you’re at a total lost, a concerned “how can I help” if you see them struggling is OK. You aren’t expected to have all the answers; just being there sometimes is enough. Also, you could refer them to the employee assistance program if your job has one.

—DOMONIQUE JACKSON, BABE #198

Sometimes being a good friend or coworker means knowing when to step back. Give them the space to handle things on their own terms, while making yourself available if they choose to come forward and talk to you. Be sure to check in about how you can help them manage their plate, and take them out for coffee when possible. Ultimately, just try to provide a safe and less-stressful place for them. I promise, those little details won’t go unnoticed.

—MANDY SHOLD, CONTRIBUTOR + BABE #154


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People have every right to stand up for themselves respectfully and assertively when sexually inappropriate language and behavior is displayed anywhere, but especially in a professional setting. What makes one person uncomfortable may not bother the next person. We should not expect people to know where our boundaries are, so we need to teach them. A simple, “Whoa, that’s a bit out of bounds” or “That’s kind of awkward…” can help get a point across without being labeled as rude. If you’re more comfortable being direct, a quick lesson could do the trick: “That could actually be considered sexual harassment.” If the harassment doesn’t subside or you notice it’s happening behind your back, go directly to HR. Unless we stand up for what’s right, people will continue to be confused about what harassment actually looks like.

—ELIZABETH ANDERSEN, BABE #204

I second everything Elizabeth stated. I think the biggest, first step when reporting or diffusing sexual harassment is getting in the mindset to say something. You may not want to “make waves” or be “that woman/man” or whatever negative thought that may keep you from saying something. The first step is to remember you deserve respect, and to always feel comfortable no matter where you are. You are worthy because you exist. Once you have the mindset, do everything Elizabeth advised.

—DOMONIQUE JACKSON, BABE #198


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Become involved in volunteer work you’re passionate about. Although there are many wonderful opportunities out there, if you lack passion, it’s hard to stay committed and involved. Consider joining with a friend so both of you can keep each other in the loop on the happenings of the organization. Plus, it makes it more fun to stay involved!

—RATHNA NUTI, MD, BABE #235

Think about what volunteer work re-energizes you and what work depletes you, and move forward from there. Does working with kids exhaust or excite you? Does volunteer admin time feel purposeful or boring? Once you recognize your affinities, it’s easier to make time and plan for meaningful work.

After working as an field organizer on a political campaign, I [can also say] knocking doors and phone banking for a candidate you believe in is a great way to start a habit of community work and dip your toes into activism in general. Every campaign is run on their volunteer team, so they’re very flexible with whatever window of time you’re able to give them. They also have a timeline and tangible ways to measure your impact, which can be very motivating for first-time volunteers.

—MARA STROBEL-LANKA, BWH CREATIVE DIRECTOR

It’s helpful to follow local community organizations or nonprofits on social media. This is an easy way for you to get access to a variety of opportunities you’re truly interested in and discover other organizations that might be in the same network. Don’t over-commit yourself. Choose a healthy amount of volunteering for you. If every month is too much, consider scheduling something quarterly. If it feels like a chore, it will be harder to follow through. Consider volunteering for your birthday as a way to give back in gratitude for another year of life. You could ask friends to join you and commit to choosing a volunteer activity for their birthday, too.

—ELIZABETH ANDERSEN, BABE #204



Until Next Week,

—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS


Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!

Name
Name
ex: "xoxo Gossip Girl"
BABE #242: ALAYNA ANDERSON - Event Manager + Vocal Artist

BABE #242: ALAYNA ANDERSON - Event Manager + Vocal Artist

BABE #241: ERIN PRUETT - Survivor Advocate Program Coordinator, Rethreaded

BABE #241: ERIN PRUETT - Survivor Advocate Program Coordinator, Rethreaded