inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #26 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Fri 1 Oct 99 15:00
Terrific metaphor. I might challenge you, though -- in fact, here I am,
challenging you -- on the assumption that it's the people who LIKE being
part of an organization who end up putting in those ridiculously long hours.
Don't you think a lot of that comes out of fear of being fired (or, as you
suggest, being passed over for a promotion)? And I think it's important to
distinguish between people who love the work they do but who couldn't care
less about the organization. You certainly see that in Silicon Valley, at
least among the techie types.

How =does= one maintain that creative energy to pursue other interests after
coming home from a 9 to 5 job? I used to feel drained, and up for nothing
more ambitious than reading magazines or staring at TV.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #27 of 68: Amy Berger (amyberger) Sat 2 Oct 99 15:21
Glad you liked the balloon!
I think we are both talking about different "segments" of workers:
1) the blissful ones who love what they do (yes often techie), avoid
politics when possible and are content with their title and salary for
the most part
2) the ones that put in very long hours....I feel they do this because
they believe their dedication, and (supposedly) high quality output
will get them promoted.(which can and does happen to many folks)
(And/or they are already an executive and the job just entails a big
workload.)  And/or they have a negative home-life and work is
relatively more comfortable than home. Or they have no home life and no
desire to know themselves is a great salve.

Typically, the first group is much happier than the second...and often
less visible.  (I'm not talking about the senior executives, here...of
course they have visibility and often like their job and the power and
status that goes with it)..  
Ego plays a big part here, don't you think?  How much ego-feeding we
In terms of the energy-after-work question:
Yes, there were jobs where I would be so exhausted from work I'd spend
the evening in the bathtub or in front of the TV, with the phone
unplugged!  Those were my early 'coming up' days as a corporate
participant....I had a vision of climbing the ladder, learning as much
as I could and manifesting 'success' via bigger and bigger
It wasn't until the recent years...I"d say the last 2.5 years of my 9
to 5 career....that I realized that.first, my bosses at my job were
likely not going to promote me due to various reasons and second, that
being a Director or VP was not a major goal anymore.  At this point I
made a CONSCIOUS decision to change my work/career goal to something
that would take place outside of a corporate structure.  I let go!  At
that time I put in the minimum hours at work--enough to feel like I had
earned my keep---and left the office at 5 everyday.
I went home to WRITE and pursue my new career.  Life became much more
simple and joyous for me...and has been ever since. 
When I let go of the need for the form of a corporate
promotion...I could breathe easier and just do what I love to do! These
days I put in many more hours writing humor and doing my consulting
projects---than I did as a corporate gal---and I have MUCH more energy
and happines.
Don't you think there is a certain kind of individual that thrives
in the corporate setting out there, though?  Not everyone likes
being an entrepreneur...In your opinion, Reva, what kind of
personality type, or personal background, is best suited for corporate
life?  And do you think this 'type' is affected by gender?
You've have some incredible job experiences, Reva---you've worked for
prominent firms, seen alot and met alot of people. What do you think?
I'd also like to hear about the very best boss you've ever had in a
corporate setting, and why they were the best....Comments from other
folks on this topic are also welcome. 
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #28 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Sun 3 Oct 99 13:34
Ego is definitely part of it, yes. At least insofar as ego gratification =
self-esteem and validation.

Interesting question about what kind of individual actively enjoys corporate
life. I've been hanging out with entrepreneurs of one sort or another for so
long that anything I say is going to sound prejudiced. People who need the
security of a regular income more than they do the independence and
flexibility of working for themselves? People who feel they can =change= the
organization, or make some significant difference there? People who simply
thrive in a context where they're surrounded by others, or who get off on
the dynamics of office politics, office gossip? People whose social lives
revolve around work?

My best boss? Is that an oxymoron, like "military intelligence"? My best
boss was probably my supervisor at a small research company, who later
became my supervisor at the Silicon Valley office of a very large online
research software firm. She was "best" because we related to each other as
colleagues and equals. I have a real problem with hierarchies, and that just
didin't come into play. I knew she knew more than I did, but it was more of
a mentoring relationship than an authoritarian one.

Amy, you said up there that you realized at some point that you were not
going to be promoted due to various reasons. Lots of people would look for a
new job at that point. You used it as a springboard to opt out, at least
mentally, and sort of get read to cut the cord. I don't know if you want to
talk about the circumstances behind your non-promotability (though I could
speculate based on my OWN experiences....), but do you find yourself being
grateful, in retrospect, to the boss who impelled your decision?
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #29 of 68: Amy Berger (amyberger) Mon 4 Oct 99 09:36
Yes, I agree with your descriptions of personalities that fit well
into corporate life....and...
Thanks for the info on YOUR better than average boss, Reva.  That must
have made your corporate work experience almost pleasant!  :-)
By the way my favorite boss was one who gave me assignments and stood
back to watch my creativity swing into action!  He had a great, wry
sense of humor and really just allowed me to blossom.  He was shocked
when I was laid HIS bosses and their supervisors apparently.
But that's another weird story!
The circumstances behind my non-promotability were that I could sense
the company was going through a change and my boss was vulnerable about
his own position.  But, before that I sensed that my boss wasn't the
kind of guy who easily promoted people, especially women. Although he
was a good man, for the most part, he had
a very perfectionist/narcissistic side to him when he felt insecure or
threatened.  He worked for a very strong woman (the CEO), often joked
about being hen-pecked by his wife and was very close with his 6 year
old dsughter.  He had a love/hate relationship with women, I felt, and
after working for him for nearly a year I saw that he didn't want any
other 'strong' women in his circle at work.  By promoting me would mean
bringing me into the meeting room for discussions....rather than
keeping me outside...and that would have been too much for him.  The
times I WAS included in meetings (and my opinion solicited) I felt a
delicate balance to be cute/flirty toward him but try and get my
professional opinion across.  I realized, sadly, that being cute was
more important to him than my opinions, in the long run.  I actually
DID send out a few resumes during those days....however,when I got laid
off three months later I took it as a sign to go for my dream career.
Sometimes I think that corporate America likes to promote people that
remain quietly dedicated....rather than those that ASK for the
promotion..  Although I was instructed to ask for the raise/promotion
in every seminar I went to over the only worked half the
time! Clearly, there are always other factors involved which influence
a corporate promotion.  Corporate culture,and understanding it, is
key. That's not always easy to do, however.
I'd like to switch back to the topic of humor today, Reva.
I'd like to know what makes sit-coms thrive today and what other
humorists people enjoy out there.  And why?
Given that I find humor comfort in writing humor I'd like to find out
if others do and what things inspire them to write?
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #30 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Mon 4 Oct 99 12:08
I hope others will jump in.

I find it very hard to write, or to prepare a professional presentation,
without at least =some= humorous content. Otherwise it's dry dry dry. WHen
I'm speaking, I figure that if I'm bored giving the presentation, my
audience is sure as hell going to be bored listening to it. One of the
reasons I enjoyed doing a Dummies book (Researching Online For...) is that
humor is imperative. My own style tends to be kind of sly and underhanded,
with some outrageous wordplay. That actually worked very well for the
Dummies series.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #31 of 68: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 5 Oct 99 10:49

Forgive the drift, but I was thinking about a story of a barefoot coworker 
at The WELL...

This talented individual removed her shoes as soon as she arrived, which
never bothered me, though it was an attention-getter when she darted across
an icy deck to the kitchen to get a cup of tea in February.

However...  (ahem, should I say this?)  ...the drawback was the billowing
gray cloud of footprints left on the wall by her desk after she moved out 
of the office.  An earthy abstract mural greeted the next occupant of 
that desk.  Our barefoot dancer really left her mark.

Fortunately we moved to a new building soon thereafter and left the 
dreary trompled wall for the landlord to repaint.   

I think the eliciting of anecdotes from other folks might be
one of the cool parts of being a humorist, actually.  I bet you 
hear some wonderful ones now, and that there are many more barefoot 
workplace stories floating around here, too.

And I do have a question about style.  When you are telling your amusing
incident, do you place yourself as observer and comment on what amused
you, or do you make yourself a humorous character and laugh at your own
role in the snafu, too?
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #32 of 68: Amy Berger (amyberger) Tue 5 Oct 99 14:22
Good points all around....
I really enjoy reading others humorists work and also
happening upon a humorous twist in non 'humor' books like yours Reva.
I think that humor is natural....almost biological in humans and it's
great to see how each of us expresses that part of ourselves.
I wish that American society wasn't so uptight in terms of overt and
unwritten 'rules' about how to live life...because I think it
really squashes out natural humor.  Rather, I feel we Americans have
 humor like slapstick, derisive/offensive, sarcastic, etc...
forms of humor which are really EXTREME reactions to things.  I did
read a great book recently which was funny but not harsh.  It is called
Naked, by David Sedaris.  Would highly recommend it.
I terms of my humor when I write: I am definitely the main humorous
voice....I point out my own flaws and an effort to
get my readers to relate to the human condition, and as a result, to
smile.  I guess I'm slightly self-deprecating,too,but not overly so.
I enjoyed your description of the barefoot gal and the tracks
she left....
Would love to hear from others about their funny work experiences...
about their way of expressing (or enjoying humor), and anything
else related.

Another thing I wanted to mention in terms of corporate life...
Basically I think it's a great way to do therapy (ie heal emotional
"baggage") and get paid for it! I remember sitting at a conference
table with my boss and her boss and thinking....that's Mom and Dad..
right here, reincarnated! What I meant was I got the opportunity
to work out some old stuff with my parents, thanks to my two
bosses...the bosses didn't know it and I saved bundles of money on
counseling :-) Ever think of it that way?
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #33 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Tue 5 Oct 99 15:55
That's fascinating. I have had occasion to analyze why a particular boss or
co-worker (or these days, client or colleague) pushes my buttons so, and
it's often because of much, much older stuff I've been carrying around.

I wanted to pick up on an earlier thread, Amy. We were talking about how,
once you weren't so vested emotionally and professionally in a job that
wasn't going well, you felt yourself liberated, in a way, free to pursue
your own writing and other interests. It made me think of the last real job
interview I ever had. It was a great position, but I'd already begun to
think that I mgiht go into business for myself, and I took the interview
very casually, didn't show a whole lot of passion for the job. I didn't get
it, and years later, after my would-have-been-boss and I had become friends
through other professional connections, he told me he'd picked up on my
ambivalence, and was glad it had worked out so well. In fact, he stopped
=just= short of claiming credit for my of-course brilliant career. It was a
great favor he'd done me; and in fact, they closed the San Francisco branch
of that company within a year after what would've been my start date. I
would have lost all that time in getting my own business established, and
who knows whether I'd've retained my enthusiasm for doing so. Talk about
someone who inadvertently shapes your life!
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #34 of 68: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 5 Oct 99 16:29
As I recall, people have written articles and books and so on about
how companies are like families and people tend to take on roles and so
on, particularly in meetings.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #35 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Wed 6 Oct 99 10:00
I know I've worked with the passive-aggressive little brother.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #36 of 68: Erik Van Thienen (levant) Wed 6 Oct 99 10:19
And I'm always searching for an understanding older sister ... :-)
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #37 of 68: Amy Berger (amyberger) Wed 6 Oct 99 16:27
Yes, it is often great to look back on people in our lives that were
catalysts to change, for us....if even in a backhanded way.  Like
yesterday I received a negative response to a bid I sent out from a 
prospective client.. I was shocked given his light-hearted approach to
me the day before! After thinking on it I realized that his
refusal may have been a blessing in disguise because I sensed maybe
some passive-aggressiveness lurking behind his jolly exterior...(maybe
this is just a rationalization, too :-)
I loved all the stories about finding family member types at work.
I also realize that a good part of my friendships (versus work
relationships) are just substitutes for older sisters (per comments
from Erik).  I have two older sisters whom I love dearly but they
cannot be with me for more than two hour stretches without trying to
fix me or help me out.  When I don't need help there is little
left for us discuss.....I long for more of a closeness with them
but it is not meant to be.  Most of the women friends I have are older
than I or are the first born child in their families! Not
too surprising....I can smile about it now.
What do you all think of love relationships starting at work?
I met my husband at a job I took in 1990.....and it was really sweet.
But now all I read about is how love at work will lead to
sexual harrassment charges and how evil it is!  This makes me sad
since I tend to think people are more responsible/adult than the media
portrays....what do you think? Am I just a hopeless romantic?
I also want you to know that I have been asked TWICE to defend bosses
who have been accused of sexual harrassment by my colleagues!
I talk about this in a light hearted way in my book by the way.
All that said, however, I still think work is a great way for
people to meet and that relationships can be formed discreetly and
with maturity. And yes, there are inappropriate people out there too.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #38 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Thu 7 Oct 99 10:54
That sexual harrassment story was incredible.

Well, I met the guy who became my penultimate husband at work. This was way
back before sexual harrasment became an issue. I think it makes a big
difference when you're not in a direct, or even indirect, reporting

Amy, in the beginning of your book you credit Marsha Sinetar, who wrote Do
What You Love, the Money Will Follow (Marsha's a neighbor of mine, so the
reference particularly caught my eye). Do you subscribe to that philosophy?
It seems to be working for you. Is it ever a mistake?
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #39 of 68: Amy Berger (amyberger) Thu 7 Oct 99 12:25
Reva, please tell Marsha that I love her book and I've been carting it
around for the past several years!

Good question regarding Marsha's theories.
I think they do work but they often take a long time!  I have heard
certain successful people say with a smile on their face, "oh,yes, Amy,
after twenty years I was an overnight success".   I think that
understanding your true life-work (that which makes your heart sing)
and then somehow building on it every day will eventually reap
financial rewards.  It is a gentle, trusting process: knowing oneself,
learning the art of being patient (that's still a tough one for me),
working hard every day. Being consistent.  All that adds up to 'the
money will follow.'  For some, receiving $1000 on a painting is the
dream realized...for others it's no less than 50 million dollars on the
sale of a company. That money figure is different for each of us. And
the process often involves earning our bread and butter while we wait
for the 'jam' to appear! I just heard that from an acquaintance
yesterday (Tehani Tuitele) and I really liked that expression!
I would love to hear from other folks about examples of doing what
they love has reaped financial...and/or emotional rewards.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #40 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Fri 8 Oct 99 09:00
I'd like to hear that, too. I know the WELL has a higher than average share
of people who've managed to "follow their bliss" and turn it into a

Meanwhile, Amy just alerted me that she'll be away for the weekend -- and I
realized that Monday is the official wrap-up date for our two week
interview. She'll be back then to say a few more words.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #41 of 68: Amy Berger (amyberger) Mon 11 Oct 99 16:39
Thank you, Reva and David,  for a wonderful interview and the
opportunity to chat with folks on the WELL. I look forward to reading
about some personal success stories from those that are actively
embarking on their 'right livelihood' and getting paid for it.
Best of luck to you, all WELL members and WELL visitors alike!
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #42 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Tue 12 Oct 99 09:32
Amy, thanks so much for being here with us, and good luck with The Twenty
Year Itch. (Once more: The book is published by Motivational Magic Press in
Fremont, CA. Email for details.)
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #43 of 68: an alternative mike in the theatre of the mind (jberger) Fri 15 Oct 99 14:53
Just popping in with a reminder that Amy will be participating in a
booksigning at MediaPlay, in the Great Mall of the Bay Area (in Milpitas,
between 680 and 880), from 1:00-3:00 pm tomorrow, October 16th.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #44 of 68: Reva Basch (reva) Sat 16 Oct 99 12:06
Thanks, John!
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #45 of 68: an alternative mike in the theatre of the mind (jberger) Mon 8 Nov 99 21:18
Amy's second bay area booksigning for "The Twenty Year Itch" is coming up
this Friday at 7:30, at the Barnes and Noble in Fremont (Mowry and Fremont
Blvd).  We are also happy to announce that we got the bluelines back today
for our second printing!  Things continue to roll along!
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #46 of 68: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 9 Nov 99 17:25
Great news, jberger! Congratulations to Amy!
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #47 of 68: be a straw (dwaite) Thu 11 Nov 99 19:03
hey hey! for the amyberger!
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #48 of 68: an alternative mike in the theatre of the mind (jberger) Sat 13 Nov 99 00:51
The booksigning tonight was extremely successful -- I counted 25 people in
attendance (they had to get extra chairs).  Amy signed somewhere between 6
and 10 books, plus five more for the store (which makes them non-
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #49 of 68: David Gans (tnf) Sat 13 Nov 99 09:23
Way cool.
inkwell.vue.49 : Amy Berger's Twenty Year Itch
permalink #50 of 68: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Sat 13 Nov 99 14:28
You must be so proud!


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