Ranting and Raving: A Guide To Millenials in the Workplace

June 23, 2017

I recently stumbled upon a “diss site” where participants make snarky comments about a certain blogger. Most of it is in the name of entertainment, yet there is something a little disconcerting about devoting over 1900 pages to making fun of someone that you can simply not follow if you don’t like what they have to say.

The site in question had an employee to whom they gave a byline, and introduced to their readership. After about a year and a half of employment, where they all acted like BFFs, said employee was let go.
Fans flocked to her Instagram, where she long windily went on and on about how successful and happy she was post firing, and insinuated that the end of her employment was not pretty.

Fast forward to last week, when the former employee went off on a series of rants, literally trashing the blogger and her husband. She claims that she was let go for not staying in the office when her employers were away, and that her subordinate ratted her out. The rant has spanned over several days now, resulting in barrage of comments and support for her heroics, and the former subordinate having to take her own account private to avoid the hateful comments she was getting.

There are at least two sides to every story, and her former employers are remaining mum.

Fast forward to a few days into the rant, which is amazingly still going strong, and commenters are starting wonder if she is becoming a bit unhinged. A few sites have picked the story up, among them Jezebel, and it has only added fuel to her fire.

Perhaps it is because I am from another generation but it seems to me that she is acting out the typical negative millennial-in–the-workplace stereotype on steroids.

I would not hire this woman, no matter what her qualifications might be, under any circumstances, as I would fear that when, (not if) things didn’t go her way, my company would be the next victim of her social media vitriol.

Here are some of the most common (mis?) conceptions about millennial workers, how she is proving them right, and what you can do to dispel them.

PERCEPTION: “They have a sense of entitlement.”

This disgruntled ex- employee bristles when someone mentions entitlement. She talks about others being entitled, and how she got where she is on her own, thereby deserving more respect.

REALITY CHECK: Uh, no. Entitlement isn’t about family fortunes, or other’s helping you get a job. It is about your own inflated sense of what you are owed by society and your employers. Perhaps showing that you are a team player, respecting your employer’s wishes and paying your dues is a better approach. Age, title, and your own perception of your talent and contributions do not give you the right to do whatever you please, regardless of what your boss wants you to do, nor does it give you the right to publicly disparage them on social media. Show some respect for those around you with more experience and expertise, and you might just learn just something from them. 

PERCEPTION: “They expect a reward just for showing up.”

This is, in fact a generation that was praised and rewarded for every little thing, including getting a trophy for losing. This woman wanted the prize, but didn’t want to have to show up to get it.

REALITY CHECK: As managers, we need to recognize this phenomenon and offer frequent feedback, but as employees, they need to wake up to the fact that all of it may not be positive. That constructive feedback is what helps us learn, grow and become better at what we do. Welcome that information and use it, don’t rebel against it. Ironically, her former boss, only a couple of years her senior, is famous for scrubbing the comments section of her blog, keeping only the flattering ones, and deleting everything else. Our disgruntled ex-employee is not just deleting the less than encouraging feedback; she is publically lashing out against those who posted it.

PERCEPTION: “They expect special treatment and want to do everything their own way.”

The employee in question sees her firing as a direct result of disagreeing with her boss’ attendance policy, or as she so eloquently puts it, “ass-in-seat” requirements during business hours.
REALITY CHECK: Workplace flexibility to becoming more popular and allowing people to be assessed on the work they do, rather than their attendance is something managers should consider. That said, it is at the discretion of the manager, or the company’s policies, and many businesses need people on site to work as a part of a team, attend last minute meetings or be supervised to ensure that the work is being done as required. You don’t get to make those rules, your boss does.

PERCEPTION: “They are job hoppers and won’t be around for long.”

This woman has listed all of her jobs in her Instagram rant. At age 31, she has two full pages of jobs, indicating that she hasn’t stayed at many of them very long.REALITY CHECK: It is harder for a company to invest in someone whom they know is not likely stick around for very long. It is not your boss’ job to groom you for your next one. Show commitment to the company, the job and your manager, and they might be more willing to mentor you and offer you more exposure to next level opportunities.

PERCEPTION: “They are always on social media.”

Social media provided this woman with a voice and a platform to express herself. She didn’t use it to her best advantage.

REALTIY CHECK: Social media is not new, and it has far reaching benefits that older workers who eschew it might be missing out on. That said, what gets posted, regardless of whether or not it gets deleted, lives on forever, and can come back to bite you later. I have seen screen shots of this rant immortalized on other websites with large readerships. And frankly, she is starting to look like a lunatic. Where she may have begun as a hero and freedom fighter, even her most vehement supporters are starting to think she has gone too far. As one who mentioned ad nauseum, what a great and talented writer and content creator she is, her diatribe is repetitive, vindictive and rife with errors. She is not only burning bridges and setting a bad example on a very large platform where anyone and everyone might see it, she is not being the least bit articulate. Think before you post people! Would you want your perspective employer at your dream company to see this side of you? If she really wanted a public forum to express herself, wouldn’t a well-written essay, posted to a site like Medium, or even Facebook, be a better illustration of who you are and what you stand for, rather than a five days and counting, of an unfiltered and incoherent rant?

This outburst has gone from a little inappropriate venting, to a overwhelming barrage of negative thoughts. In an effort to assassinate the character of her former boss, she is now committing career suicide on her own. Although I have completely lost interest in anything she has left to say, I am interested in seeing how this plays out for her as she pursues other opportunities.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section, and tell us what your take is on millennials in the workplace, and what we can learn from them.

update: The “millennial in question’s” Instagram followers soared to 20k at the start of the rant, and almost a week later, she’s still at it, but with only 19.3k followers. It seems I am not the only one tiring of this tirade. It has however, earned her own spot on the diss site.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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CocoNOT Oil

June 21, 2017

 

The American Heart Association just released a study, showing that coconut oil may not be the health food we thought it was.

Touted to be the wonder oil purported to soften skin and hair, possess antibactierial properties and help us lose weight, coconut oil is being reconsidered as a coco-NOT.

The new study shows that the high saturated fat content of the oil raises LDL cholesterol  and contributes to heart disease. Experts believed that the saturated fat in virgin coconut oil reacts differently in the body than that of animal sources, but there is now evidence to the contrary.

Just as a point of reference, coconut oil contains a whopping 82% saturated fat, much higher than butter ( 63%) and beef fat, (50%). So while the ADA doesn’t dispute the other qualities that make the oil healthy, they equate the high saturated fat content with health risks far greater than the benefits.

The recommended consumption for saturated fats is about 5-6% of your daily calorie intake, which equates to somewhere around 120 calories, based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Other plant based fats, such as canola, sunflower seed and olive oil are shown to be much healthier choices. But before you toss that jar of coconut oil, you may want to continue to use it for hair and skincare, as well as dental care, and antifungal wound care.

photo: glasshouse images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Blind Baking

May 30, 2017

Sometimes, we want to bake our pie or tart crusts before filling them. This can be done when you want to use a no-bake filling, one that is cooked on the stovetop, or to partially bake the crust if the filling is one which bakes faster than the crust. This process is referred to as “blind baking.”

To blind bake a crust, line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper, being sure to get the paper into the edges. Fill the lined crust with pie weights*, and bake covered for about 12-20 minutes, depending on the recipe and the oven temperature.

Once the crust has started to harden a bit and become less pliable, it is safe to carefully remove the lining and weights, and place the tart back into the oven to brown.

The concept of baking the crust this way is to emulate the weight and density of the absent filling, thus helping it hold it’s shape and prevent extreme shrinkage.

I generally trim the tart crust before blind baking, but last night, I was watching the contestants on the Great British Baking Show make cream filled tarts. Most of them left the dough untrimmed and hanging over the edges of the pan, and then trimmed it after it was baked. This accounted for shrinkage, and ensured that the crust came up to the top of the pan evenly each time. While some of theirs had a bit of a raggedy edge after baking, I found that trimming it after the first bake is a nice compromise, as the dough is softer and easier to trim without cracking and crumbling. This could work for a tart that is baked with the filling as well, just pulling it out part way in for the trim, and then placing it back in the oven to finish baking.

Be extra gentle when taking a blind baked tart from the ring…it tends to be more delicate than it’s filling baked counterparts.

*I use dried beans as weights, but rice or other grains that won’t burn or pop are also fine. You can purchase commercially made pie weights for this purpose at kitchen stores as well. I keep my beans and reuse them for this purpose only.

photos: Spencer Jones |Glasshouse Images

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Terms of Annoyment

April 13, 2017

It seems like there are words and phrases that somehow come into vogue, and roll off people’s tongues so easily, that they become completely, totally and inequivicably overused. It’s getting to the point where I literally ( there’s one of them from a few years back that is still in frequent over-use) cringe, when I hear them. Do you have a list that sends you over the edge? I’ll share mine, if you share yours too…

Adulting: A term someone dreamt up for millenials, to define those times when they actually act like adults. Whether it describes pulling on your big girl pants at work and self advocating, or just sorting the laundry before tossing it in the machine, this one is popping up everywhere. Apparently, this shirt with a crooked closure is very appropriate adulting-wear.

via The End Brooklyn

via Fashionista

Fake News: This one is trickier. It could indeed mean fake news, as in made up stories flooding the internet, usually about a political figure doing something unseemly to deflect from the fact that another one is in fact, doing something unseemly. It’s alternative meaning, (alternative facts is another one!) is when a politician calls a story that doesn’t flatter them “fake news,” even if it is true. Whichever meaning this takes on, I want to scream when I see it written or hear it spoken.

 

via Aceyourpaper.com

“Ish”: Not really or word or a phrase, this suffix is gaining on us.  Whether it is used on Bon Appetite’s newest website “Healthy-ish” to characterize food that is mostly compliant with the designations of healthful eating, or just every single lifestyle writer using it, the term “ish” is quickly becoming an overused descriptor, and is kind of annoying-ish.

via Healthy-ish

via Cupcakes and Cashmere

AF: An acronym for ” as f*#k.” What does that even mean? Everything is “as cool AF” or “as nasty AF.” Is our vocabulary so limited that we need to resort to this?

Veggies: A personal entry that has made me wince for years. If I were the Miranda Priestly of the food world, I would ban the use of this word. It’s childish, disrespects the many varieties and forms that vegetables take, and frankly, just sounds irritating. There is even a kid’s television show that has been around for a long time, in which the “Veggies” teach lessons in “Christian values.” If a cucumber teaching a tomato about morals isn’t annoying, I don’t know what is.

via Veggie Tales

What are some of the terms you find most annoying? Leave us a comment and we can add them to the list.

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Mermaids and Unicorns

April 10, 2017

First there were rainbows; multicolored foods such as bagels that took a perfectly good item and made it gimmicy and in my opinion, unappealing. But, what do I know? Those rainbow bagels made The Bagel Store in Brooklyn famous. Rainbow grilled cheese and even a rainbow burger quickly followed.

Just when you thought it was safe to eat foods in the colors that nature made them, the Mermaid and Unicorn trend hit. Similar to the rainbow trend, this go ’round features pastel hues and a more etherial, read: less regimented presentation.

Mermaid Toast:

via Kite Hill Foods

via Geewoonsanne

Unicorn pancakes:

 

via Amy Shock

and waffles:

via justlike_hannah

Breakfast may never be the same again!

via justlike_hannah

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The Long and Short of It

April 3, 2017

We are currently in a shirt cycle, with crisp, woven cotton shirts making a big statement for spring. This time around, the basics get an upgrade, with sleeve treatments and a play on proportion making the classic item look modern.

One of the more interesting trends in shirtings, is the long shirt worn over jeans. They sport uneven hemlines, and are often twisted or tucked in the front, and left flowing in the back. The look is edgy yet polished and can take you from the gloom of April showers all the way through the summer months.

This ankle skimming wrapped version adds a crisp twist to dark denim skinnies.

Asymmetric details update a classic bengal stripe shown here over cropped flares.

Kish

A waterfall hemline accent the pretty in pink shirt with a gathered empire line, worn over distressed denim crops.

Zara

Bold stripes get tucked into high waisted khakis, for a modern take on chinos.

image via Man Repeller

Eating On The Road

March 27, 2017

Traveling can wreck havoc on your diet. Take it from me, who just completed the last few days of a Whole30 while on a New England college tour.

We spent a few days last week, visiting a colleges with my 17 year old daughter. Having reached the final lap of my 30 day elimination diet; one which I have previously done twice before, I was pretty confident that I could get through this. This round was the easiest. I knew the ropes, and I didn’t have any cravings. I had settled into the boredom of it all, and since I was feeling pretty good, I just kept trudging through it.
The diet is extremely restrictive, yet when you are in charge of your own eating destiny, it’s not so bad. Lean protiens ( I don’t eat red meat but it is allowed) such as fish, chicken and eggs, vegetables and fruit are the mainstay of the program. No dairy, no grains, no legumes, no alcohol or sugar seem like foods easy to avoid, right? Well, that all depends on where you are.

We set the itinerary so that we never needed to drive more than 2 hours at a time, and scheduled one or two visits per day. We usually tried to get to the next destination early so that wouldn’t be in a panic looking for the admissions office, or finding parking, and then planned to get something to eat nearby. Since most of the schools were on spring break, there were few dining options open on campus. What was open was pretty sad. Grab and go options included tired sandwiches, (no bread, and no to many of the fillings and condiments) yogurt (dairy) and sometimes, if we were lucky, a wilted salad, or some fruit. That salad often had cheese, and croutons. Not so appetizing, or compliant.

I often ended up running to the meeting with just a cup of tea and toughing it out til the next break. One morning, we were evacuated from the hotel due to a fire alarm, and drove to the nearest cafe to wait it out. It was a charming place, filled with beautiful baked goods and not much else to choose from. Breakfast was a pass once again.

Timing between info sessions and tours always ended up being tighter than planned. A one hour tour could stretch to 75 minutes, and an info session could be followed by questions, leaving no time at all for lunch before getting to the next destination.  A big problem, when you didn’t get breakfast either!

Determined to stay compliant for these last few days (did I really want to blow it on day 29 with something I didn’t even enjoy?) I made the concession of eating just a banana, or a tiny little side salad without the requistite balance of protein and fat, just to survive. When we did have a little time, the choices in many of these towns were not easy to maneuver on Whole30. Lots of pasta, pizza, a little Chinese food ( no soy!) and a lot of fried, cheesy and meaty options. No wonder why the “freshman 15” is a real phenomenon. I have to admit, that even when not on Whole30, many of the food options were not for me.

At dinner, I combed local menus trying to find one in which I could come close to finding something  I could eat, and more importantly wanted to eat. One night was a salad without cheese, croutons or bacon with a vinaigrette dressing instead of the creamy blue cheese offered. On other nights, there was a simple chicken option that I requested without the risotto, pasta or mashed potatoes it came with, and they graciously added vegetables instead. They were slathered in butter, but at that point, beggars can’t be choosers!

The moral of this story is an obvious one: be prepared! When visiting new places, especially those in small towns, you don’t know what you are going to find. If grabbing a slice of pizza or a quick sandwich works for you, that’s great. Enjoy it! Even when not on Whole30, I tend to want to be more selective about my food. Some might call it fussy, or downright obsessive, but if you take care of your body, it will take care of you. Next time, I will plan ahead and bring portable snacks to tide me over when a fresh and healthy meal isn’t available. (Or splurge on something worthwhile…stale pizza is NOT ever worthwhile in my book! ) Here are a few suggestions that are easily portable, and don’t require refrigeration, which will be in my bag on the next loop:

Fruit: Apples, bananas etc. You can pre-wash a few pieces of fruit and wrap them in plastic wrap, so they are ready to eat regardless of where you might be. If you can find squeeze pouches of unsweetened applesauce, those are also a great choice.

Packets of nut butters: Whole30 doesn’t allow peanut butter (which I HATE anyways),but they do allow almond and cashew butters. While an opened jar of nut butter should get refrigerated, Justin’s makes single serve packets that can be tossed into your bag and are easy to eat. Just don’t get tempted by the white chocolate or maple versions, which are against the rules.

Nuts: It’s amazing the protein jolt that a handful or two of nuts can provide. Bring your favorites along for a great snack, or to add to that sad little cup of fruit or lettuce to up the nutritional ante. Word of caution: nut calories add up fast.

Jerky: I don’t eat meat, but there are some high end jerkies around that people swear by. Krave is thought to be one of the best, as it is all natural and free of additives, both of the chemical and the sugary variety.

Bars: Most protien bars are sugar bombs, and aren’t too dissimilar to a candy bar. Kind bars are good for you, but not Whole 30 compliant. If you are just being health conscious, they open up a world of great options.  Some Larabars are sort of Whole 30 compliant, although they fall into the area of pretending to be something you shouldn’t have, made of ingredients you can have; a no-no on a regime that is trying to change your relationship with food. The plan stresses eliminating those things for the 30 day period, so that you aren’t sustaining cravings for foods that aren’t good for you. So, although that bar doesn’t contain any banned ingredients, if it is pretending to be a cherry pie, and that defeats the purpose of the program. However, if you aren’t on Whole30 and just want a healthy snack, these can be a great alternative, and viable Whole30 emergency food (if you can find them! )

Anyone who has done Whole30 will tell you that it’s all about meal planning and food prep. Having the right ingredients and the right whole, fresh foods at the ready makes the process so much easier. The same holds true if you are travelling, especially if you are not in a large metropolitan area that has row after row of food shops and restaurants.

I have finished the official plan, but hope to stay compliant with pre-meditated “cheats” that are well worth calories, and potential food hangover that follows. I’m thinking there is a glass of red wine in my not too distant future, and I hope to savor every drop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unrecipe of the Week: Beet Hummus

March 13, 2017

 

 

Rainbow carrots, beets and radishes, ready to roast. I bet those carrots would have made a delicious hummus too!

Once again, I am in the throes of Whole 30, a healthy elimination diet that is geared towards breaking up with the foods that may be inflammatory to you for a whole 30 days, in effort to better your health, and change your relationship with food. Similar to the Paleo diet, it encourages you to eat fresh, whole foods and eliminate grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol and anything processed. That pretty much leaves you with fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, with a few nuts ( not peanuts!) thrown in for good measure. Unlike the Paleo diet, any form of sweetner, or foods that are compliant, but resembling other foods, are out of the question. Read: alternative grain pancakes, breads or pastas etc.

Most of the time, it’s not so bad, but as the days wear on, it can get a bit dull. Couple that with not being a meat eater and it gets really dull. I thumb through recipe books to find interesting vegetable dishes, and dismiss many of them for having a non-compliant ingredient. Beans, grains, a little crumbled cheese or a drizzle of honey disqualifies the dish from Whole30 compliance. I’m not dying for a pizza, or a cookie; just a new texture, or flavor profile to break up the monotony of it all.

Today, I made a roasted beet hummus accompanied by a pile of raw vegetables to dip in it. The creamy consistancy, the beautiful magenta color and the jolt of tahini hit all of my senses in new way. It’s a great snack, and pairs well with a simple piece of broiled salmon, or a bowl of cold shrimp. Tahini, made of sesame seeds, is also a source of plant based protein. Although hummus is traditionally made from garbanzo beans ( chick peas), it is much like making pesto, where the main ingredient is easily changeable with interesting results.

Beet hummus with carrots and celery

Beet Hummus:

Scrub and trim 3 or 4 beets and toss them with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Roast for about 1 hour at 375 degrees until they are easily pierced with a fork.

Once they are cool enough to handle, rub them gently to remove the skin. Place the beets in the bowl of the food processor with a clove or two of garlic, about 1/4 cup of tahini, and the juice of a lemon. Blend until smooth. Taste to correct flavors.
Beets vary in size, so you may need to add more tahini, lemon, salt or garlic depending on your taste.

Serve drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds as a garnish if desired.

Enjoy!

Check out our post on Cauliflower Hummus for another variation.

Photos by Glasshouse Images and indigo jones.

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International Women’s Day

March 8, 2017

“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” –  Malala Yousafzai

“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.” –   Michelle Obama

“Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“I do not wish them (women) to have power over men; but over themselves.” –  Mary Wollstonecraft

Today is International Women’s Day. Please show your support to women owned businesses today and everyday, and support our quest for equality, freedom of choice, and respect. Surely, those are ideals we, as women can all rally around.

indigo jones and indigo jones eats are proud to be women owned businesses.

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Caramelizing Without a Blow Torch

March 7, 2017

Writing Kitchen Tips Tuesday gets tough after awhile. It is hard to come up with legitimate tips to share, week after week without running out of them. I just saw a video clip of this one, and it is definitely one we don’t all know and use on the reg.

When making things like meringues and creme brûlée, chef’s use a small kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar on top. I have placed things under the broiler in a pinch, but it takes constant watching, turning and stealth speed to make sure it doesn’t burn.

But what if you don’t own a small blow torch?

via Food Network

This tip, from Jeff Mauro of The Kitchen on The Food Network, uses a metal measuring cup to do the job. Sprinkle sugar on top of creme brulee, flan or even a lemon tart, heat a flat bottomed measuring cup on the stove, and carefully, using a pot holder to grab the hot handle, press the cup down on the sugared surface. You will hear a big sizzle, signaling that the sugar has melted and is fully caramelized.  Viola! A crisp caramel top without using any special equipment at all!

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