I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better – Part 2 (pages 69 – 126)

Monica Heisey- I Can't Believe-final cover -april 2015The Word On The Street’s Book Club discussion of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better got started last week. Check out the conversation!

This week, book club leader Michele has a few questions based on pages 69 -126.

Coming Up
Part 3:
(pages 127 – 178)
“On Female Friendship, aka Everything” and “Fashion”

Part 4: (pages 179 – 231)
“S-E-X-X-X and Love” and “Our Modern World”


2nd Section: (pg 69-126)

“Werk” and “It’s Called Manners, Read a Book”

  1. Working from home has become more of a common reality for many nowadays. I think I’d like to, but only on a sporadic basis. I generally enjoy the office atmosphere and being around others. Do you work from home, or would you like to? What do you think the pros and cons of that kind of working environment would be?
  1. Heisey (half?) jokingly lists some difficult workplace truths, but what are some actual ones that you have discovered or learned yourself from being out in the working world?
  1. Having been slender my entire life and now newly married, I particularly connected with the section about people who want to talk you about your body whether it’s that they think I have an eating disorder or wondering when I’m going to have kids. How do you handle these situations, where a stranger or someone you know wants to discuss things about your body?
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9 thoughts on “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better – Part 2 (pages 69 – 126)

  1. 1. I work from home once a week and I think that the effectiveness of it depends on the individual. Personally, I find that I focus better from home, as I don’t have people walking past my desk, or stopping to chat. Or people tapping away at their keyboard. I prefer complete silence when I’m working on a task. Some people I know are the opposite and enjoy the hum of the office fan, light jazz from their headphones, or the sounds from the photocopier.
    2. Workplace truth: Putting in the extra hours before and/or after work really pays off. Also, not being afraid to try new things/volunteer for new projects that may appear daunting/difficult.
    3. My family friends are extremely direct. I was told at a recent family friends get together that I’ve gained weight. I think it’s a cultural thing, and have come to terms with that.

  2. 1) I actually have been working from home for the last two months or so. The great thing about it is that I don’t have to commute anywhere, I don’t have to pack a lunch, and I don’t have to wear clothes. Some might say that at home there are more distractions, and while that’s true to some extent, it doesn’t have to be a problem. In order to stay honest and focused when working from home, I work with a timer. Whenever I know I’m getting sidetracked or decide to take a break for a bit, I stop the timer. Then, when I decide I’m ready to continue working, I start it up again. In this way, I think I am actually somewhat more productive working from home because when I worked in an office I was less likely to make up for those little breaks I would take now and then.

    That being said, I definitely prefer being around others in a work environment (even if I’m working independently). For my current job, I worked alone in an office, and so, there just didn’t seem to be much benefit to me trekking downtown to do work I could easily do from home. I am certainly looking forward to being back among people again when I start my new job in the fall though.

    2) Though I’ve had a number of part-time jobs over the years, I’m only just now going to be delving into the full-time working world. I guess one thing I’ve discovered is that there will be times when we are forced to work with technology we don’t like (*cough* Apple computers *cough*). If that’s all the company has though, or is the preferred technology, then we must simply adapt and get used to it (even if it is unnecessarily different from what we’re used to).

    3) I can’t think of a time (thankfully) when a stranger wanted to discuss my body. I don’t think I would handle that sort of situation well. Strangers have no business talking about my body. As for when people I know talk about my body…that too hasn’t happened much to me (or else I’ve blacked out those moments). In the times when discussions about my body have come up, it’s usually been because I’ve been the one to start the conversation or because the other person was talking about their body and I felt like commenting on my own.

    Oh! I do remember this one time though, in high school, when I overheard a couple girls talking and trying to determine whether or not my body is an apple or a pear. it’s not the kind of conversation one wants to overhear. From what I remember though, I don’t think I confronted them about it.

    Most of the time people’s comments on my body are indirect. Things like “You should go for a walk, or join a gym, get some exercise, you know?”. In those instances, they’re not explicitly saying “you need to lose weight; I’m judging your body”, but it’s pretty obvious what they’re getting at. Again though, thankfully, I don’t encounter many of these situations.

    • That’s a great idea about the timer! It’s true, I do like the time/money/effort saved from not having to commute in and buy lunch, etc. all the time! I definitely think having an “office” area in your home that’s dedicated to work would be important and might make it easier to separate work time and fun time! 🙂
      So good that you don’t encounter many of those situations! And like the example you gave, sometimes those backhanded comments or suggestions implies enough.

  3. 1. I enjoy working from home once in a while. Particularly when I need to focus on one specific task or have hundreds of emails to go through. Generally, like Michelle, I do like the office atmosphere. It is also nice to bounce ideas off coworkers.

    2. I’d have to disagree with Heisey on blazers. I love them, and they do transition your outfit from office to cocktails!

    I think a huge part of the “working world” is learning to work with different people. No matter how big or small your office is, you learn to build rapport with your colleagues.

    3. My family is just like Ophelia’s, extremely direct. They think it’s normal, because we are family. They just go for it. “You look bigger”. “You need a hair cut”. “When are you planning to have a baby?”

    It is easier to handle when it’s coming from family. It used to be frustrating, but now I can roll my eyes. If it’s a friend, that’s usually okay. I may get a little defensive, but it’s certainly not okay from a stranger!

  4. Sorry for the late response, I haven’t been feeling well lately.

    1. I too enjoy the office atmosphere for the most part, and I’ve never really worked from home nor would I think I’d like to as I’d probably get too comfortable and develop bad habits.

    2. I think the major pro would be the freedom and independence you get, there are a lot less
    restrictions when you work from home. The major con would probably being getting too comfortable and becoming lazy or taking the easy way out.

    3. I too, have been slender my entire life and people always comment on how skinny I am. Usually I brush the questions and comments about my body off, or I change the conversation unless its my mother then that’s a whole other story…I feel that there is a lot of talk on how we shouldn’t fat shame but sometimes I feel that people forget the fact that skinny people are shamed as well. It would be nice for us to accept that there are different types of bodies and there isn’t one “right” weight that applies to everyone.

  5. 1. I occasionally work from home and really enjoy the flexibility it brings. For example, one of the reasons I’m late answering these questions is because I was on vacation – one week of working remotely and one week off. In this case, WFH let me spend more time with my family than I would have gotten with just a week of vacation. I’ve also learned that my day-to-day job is a lot more interesting when I’m around colleagues (not surprisingly, spreadsheets and emails don’t make great company), but I do get more done when I’m working from home, and it’s nice to not wear real clothes or makeup or pack a lunch, like Sarah said above.

    2. Workplace truth: even in a great work environment, sometime you’re going to need to fight for recognition of the work you’ve done. Don’t let other people take the credit. Another one is that participating is workplace activities, like bonding with coworkers over drinks or being on a committee is a great way to make connections you’d have otherwise. Relating to both points, one of the things I’m careful of is taking on more extracurricular work than necessary, especially when it’s not directly related to my job. I have a tendency to volunteer for more work than I sometimes have time for, so I’m trying to make sure what I do commit to is something I enjoy or will be a new experience for me.

    3. I don’t think this happens to me very often, but I find it uncomfortable. I try not to take the bait and don’t open myself up for a conversation I don’t want to have. I usually give a short, neutral answer and change the subject.

  6. 1. I think I would love to work from home. Everything would be on my own terms and I’d have no supervisors breathing down my neck. But I think I’m also idealizing the situation because it would be incredibly difficult to meet deadlines because I am a huge procrastinator and would leave things to the last minute. So I think I actually need an ultimatum of some type to keep me on track.

    2. I just really learned to label everything. Especially if you don’t want it to be touched. I really haven’t been in any difficult situations at work since I worked at such a independent environment.

    3. I’ve never really been thin so I always get the “you would be so pretty if you lost some weight.” I used to ignore it before but I’ve become pretty comfortable with my body so I’ve started to ask them questions about why they think that I would be prettier by losing some weight. Turning the questioning on to them usually exposes the kind of thinking they have. Sometimes they want to start a good discussion and I’d would be happy to oblige and talk about what society thinks about body image. Other times I would quickly understand the conversation was going nowhere and sort of stop wasting my time on them.

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