#Metoo and Anita Hill

Remember Long Dong Silver?

We watched the Hill/Thomas hearings in junior high school. I was young, naive about sexual harassment and the lengths to which people went to make sure others didn't feel welcome. I was quite familiar with racism, but weaponized misogyny remained a mystery.

While we listened to the testimony, I pictured people socializing in the work break room. Coffee cups in hand, chatting about the latest episode of Seinfeld. I didn't get how or why Clarence Thomas would be talking about porn or pubic hair on a coke can. Aren't lawyers professionals? Don't people just work at work?

What I DID fully absorb from those hearings was the strength and bravery of Anita Hill. She imprinted on me as a superhero. A woman who stood alone, answering alarmingly personal questions from all-male judiciary committee. She was villified, threatened, and dismissed. It wasn't until years later that I learned that she didn't have to be alone; several women were ready to testify, but backroom deals kept them from being heard.

Professor Hill stuck her neck out and there was a domino effect. Just a year later, employment discrimination claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) were up 50 percent. Private companies started sexual harassment trainings. And most impressive, "the month after the hearings, Congress passed a law that allowed sexual harassment victims to seek damage awards as well as back pay and reinstatement. It was signed by President George H. W. Bush, who had threatened to veto the act just a week before Ms. Hill testified." NYT, October 21, 2011. To quote a former client, "Boom!"

Over the last year, a new wave of brave women shared their stories and sparked the #MeToo movement. The impact is undeniable; high profile resignations occur almost daily and the conversation has widened to include those who are complicit. Times have changed and so have I. By providing mediation, coaching and team facilitation in the workplace, I'm excited about FLP's part in helping people voice their traumatic stories in a safe space and figure out what they need to heal and move forward.

Thank you Professor Hill!

Guest Post! Learn How To Bust Stress During the Holidays with Dr. Grayson Wickham

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, however, it can get out of hand really quickly if you don’t take care of yourself. My name is Dr. Grayson Wickham, PT, DPT, CSCS, the founder of Movement Vault and Lux Physical Therapy and Performance. Here are some low-cost, high-value practical tips that will help bring your holiday “performance” to the next level! The following tips can be applied during the holiday season, and also 365 days out of the year.

Stress Management

Lets face it; everyone has to deal with stress. The human body has evolved to deal with appropriate amounts of stress. This is literally in our DNA. With that said, most of us are dealing with way too much stress.  On top of that, the so-called “stress” that we are dealing with, really isn’t that stressful—it’s very important to maintain a well-rounded perspective on these things.

What can you do to deal with holiday/everyday stress?

  1. Find an activity that allows you to escape everything,  only focusing on the activity that you are doing. I am a huge proponent of meditation, as anecdotal evidence and research continue to hail the benefits of meditation on stress reduction. If meditation isn’t your thing- try exercising, hiking, reading, drawing, painting, writing, or building something. This list could go on forever. The only rule is to pick an activity that you are able to fully immerse yourself in.
  2. Get into a Sauna. They feel amazing, help you relax, and have been shown in studies to increase feel good chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters, as well as hormones, such as growth hormone, which aids in recovery. Aim for a 10-20 minutes in a 160-190 degree sauna.

Sleep

Sleep is underrated. It is very easy to skimp on your sleep, especially when you have to shop for gifts, attend numerous parties, and travel. Don’t compromise though! This is the time when vital physiological processes occur within our body to help repair and rebuild itself. One of the most important processes is hormone production. Your body produces hormones to aid in the repair of the damages that were incurred throughout the day via stress. 

Better Sleep Protocol:

  1. Limit blue night exposure at night. This means no screen time for at least an hour before bed. Better yet, you can buy a pair of blue light blocking glasses and wear them for the last couple of hours before you go to bed. This will aide your body’s natural production of melatonin, which will help you sleep better.
  2. Sleep in a completely dark room. This means putting up light-blocking curtains and removing any source of light in the room.
  3. Sleep cold. The optimal sleeping temperature is somewhere in the range of 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Sleep in a quiet place. This is not always an option, so in these cases- ear plugs work wonders.
  5. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.

Movement and Exercise

We as humans have evolved to move and do physical tasks. For thousands of years, our genes have evolved to run, jump, climb, and carry in order to complete life’s essential tasks. With the advances of technology, our life today is much easier than it has ever been. Technology helps us be more efficient and complete tasks never thought possible. There are no free rides, however. Our genes don’t care about technology; we still need to run, jump, climb, and carry. Unfortunately, most of us are not doing enough of it.

A majority of the population sits for 8-15 hours per day. Studies have shown that this type of sedentary lifestyle literally decreases your life span significantly. Sitting all day also leads to being “tight” and not “flexible.” This tightness can then lead to injury. This is one of the reasons that led me to start Movement Vault.

Studies have shown that movement and exercise can decrease and even help treat depression, anxiety, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease to name a few. Exercise has even been shown to increase cognitive function and make you a happier person.

The take-home message when it comes to exercise and movement during the holidays is to get some!

Exercise and Movement Best Practices:

  1. It’s as simple as moving your body for 30-90 minutes per day. This could include any type of activity-- such as hiking, lifting weights, CrossFitting, Yoga, Pilates, running, or playing tennis. You get the picture.
  2. Don’t neglect your stretching/mobility routine. In my Physical Therapy practice, I see a lot of injuries that stem from sitting at desks all day. This leads to “tightness” all over the body. Make sure you are spending 15 minutes per day to work on you flexibility and mobility to “unglue” all of the damage you have done throughout the day.

The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year. Make sure you are taking care of yourself, so that you can enjoy your loved ones to the fullest! Happy Holidays!

Dr. Grayson Wickham, PT, DPT, CSCS, the founder of Movement Vault and Lux Physical Therapy and Performance, helps athletes achieve high performance.

Issues of Identity (Race/Gender/Disability/LGBT) Are Important, But Might Not Always Be Central.

Three people sought conflict coaching because they were miserable at work. Can you guess the conflict?

  1. Derrick is a Gay, Latino man who works in finance.
  2. Terry is a Caucasian mother of two in her 50's who's a project manager at a marketing company.
  3. Na'Keshia is an African American woman with lupus; she's also a social worker.

Each of us is a melting pot of identities, histories, and experiences. And these interact in surprising ways. When a client walks in the room, it's tempting to assume that the identities that WE see are the ones at the center of the problem. But this is a shortcut. We must be open to exploring what our clients bring and where they go. Acknowledge and respect their identities, then look past them, to their individuality.

Back to Derrick, Terry and Na'Keshia.

  1. An easy assumption is that Derrick was being harassed at work because he's a gay man in a bro culture. But Derrick sought help because his friend at work was in a violent relationship. As the oldest sibling in a single parent household, he feels protective of her and somewhat responsible for what's happening to her.
  2. One might assume age or gender discrimination is at play. But Terry was accused of sending an racially insensitive email. She's mortified, hurt, and frustrated. She feels isolated and angry that no one wants to talk to her about it.
  3. Na'Keshia's new job with the homeless community has been triggering for her. She hears stories similar to the abuse her mother suffered as a child and she's having a hard time setting appropriate boundaries.

Do you want to explore more about how identity, history and context interplay in conflict? For yourself and others?

Then join us for a powerful new workshop, Context in Conflict. Sign up at fisherlawpractice.nyc/

Want​ ​a​ ​Better​ ​Work​ ​Experience? Learn from the ​Golden​ ​Girls!

Want​ ​a​ ​Better​ ​Work​ ​Experience?  Learn from the ​Golden​ ​Girls!

Having trouble in your workplace? Here are some tips from the four ladies in Miami.

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Why workplace conflict resolution? To help people like Rene...

1 hour every weekday. 5 hours a week. Roughly 250 hours each year.

That's how much time Rene loses with her kids every year.

Rene leaves home at 6:00 a.m., when it's still dark and her two children are sleeping. She gets to work hours before others on her team so that she can work in peace.

Come 9:00 am, when the office starts to bustle, stress also creeps in. Rene is one of a handful of women at her the engineering firm. Comments about about her body, the constant interruptions during her presentations, being told to "chill out" when she objects to sexist jokes, watching men with less experience skip over her and get the choice offices. Rene puts up with this sexist environment because she uses every spare moment to learn and grow professionally. Despite her positive disposition, it wears on her.

This brings us to the 250 hours a year.

When Rene gets home from work around 6pm, she's in a tough headspace. Angry, frustrated, and emotionally drained, she's an exhausted shell of herself. She needs to spend an hour alone in her room, to recover and be her best self. Time to take off the armor and get rid of the negative energy. At 7pm, she emerges from her room with the smile. She has just over an hour to spend with her 3 year old before bedtime and her teenager (now free of babysitting responsibilities) is catching up on homework.

Rene's story isn't an anomaly. Many people wade through caustic work environments and spend their free time recovering and missing out what's most important to them. But what would it look like if they didn't have to decide between recovering from work and family time? What would it look like if Rene worked in a respectful environment and came home with smile on her face? She'd get that 250 hours back.

I started Fisher Law Practice to help people like Rene. We provide the space and support to help folks process their workplace experience and figure out a way to move forward. We're hired by a range individuals, organizations, and businesses with one thing in common: a desire for a respectful, communicative workplace that allows employees to excel.