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Sheila Casey on Finding Balance in the Military

Military spousePlease welcome guest blogger, veteran military spouse and BSF Advisory Board member, Sheila Casey.

I have been a military spouse for 39 years. During that time I have experienced all the same things each one of you have…raising a family, moving, deployments, reintegration, children changing schools, volunteering and making lifelong friendships. It has not always been easy but I would not change a moment of it. I say that now although there were days when I thought differently. When military life became difficult it was easy to think “enough” but then I would figure my way through it and get on with life.

What I realized is that I needed something that was mine. I could not live my life through my husband and I needed something in addition to the Army. I knew that one day my husband would retire and that the military part of my life would end. I needed something that would continue. The big question was what. Continue reading


Work Life vs. Marine Wife


Please welcome Anna Maria Manino, a marine wife and full time working woman.  She’s also the BSF Co-Director of Communications.

I’m sitting at my desk on a Thursday afternoon, trying to ignore the snail’s pace of the clock. Suddenly my cellphone rings and it’s my White Knight. My excitement at a break from the boredom quickly fades. Since it’s a holiday on Monday, he explains, his unit is now off for the weekend and they are celebrating with a barbeque – at our house. Can I leave early today, he asks, and can I take the rest of the week off.

The answer, of course, is no, I can’t. And no matter how many times he calls and asks similar questions, the answer is always the same – I have a job, which means I can’t be on hand to play hostess any time of day. And this was not the only time having my own source of income seemed more annoying that it’s worth.
Ignoring the hassle of figuring out where I should claim residency on our taxes (a rant in and of itself), there are dozens of reccurring times when my job gets in the way. There’s the award ceremony that I’m almost late to because a work meeting ran long (“If you’re late, you’re f. . . .” as the saying goes in the USMC.). There’s the Hail and Farewell I have to leave early to go back to my office, and while making my apologies to the CO, his wife good-naturedly teases me about having to return to work.
But more than that, there’s also all the “me” activities that I just can’t seem to find time for. Like going to the gym, keeping in touch with my oft-missed friends from life before “Marine wife,” the dozens of unfinished craft projects that I used to love, and even just sitting around by myself doing nothing.
I can totally see how many women choose to not work outside the home. I have spent lots of time daydreaming about having hours upon hours to myself, to fill with errands and leisure in whatever order I decide.
However, there’s also a certain amount of fulfillment I get from having a job, doing it well and contributing financially to our lifestyle. And for all of the military wife-related duties, I am fortunate that my work is very understanding. So for now, I guess I’ll just keep saying “no” to skipping out of work early, keep showing up just in time for those award ceremonies, and keep finding time for “me” whenever I can.

BSF Weekly News Round-Up for September 1

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Weekly News Round-Up

All the Latest in Everything Blue Star Families

Welcome!  Things are buzzing in North Carolina as we, along with K.I.D.S., prepare to welcome Governor Perdue to help us donate more than 4,000 children’s books to 37 DODEA and military impacted schools on September 10th.  Read all about it, and many other cool things happening in the BSF world below.

We are working hard on the creation of our new Blue Star Families website and online community which will be launching very soon!  Check out below how YOU can help make connecting together even easier and more exciting.

Remember, if you want BSF info and links to articles and events more than once a week, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out our Blue Star Families Blog.

If you received our Weekly News Round-Up from a friend or co-worker, please join us today.  Blue Star Families is an exciting new way for military family members from all ranks and services (and our supporters!) to Connect, Support, and Empower one another.  Just go to the JOIN US page on our site www.BlueStarFam.org.

There’s a lot of excitement about Blue Star Families and the best way to make sure you are in the middle of it all is to join your local chapter.  Just shoot Vivian a note at members@bluestarfam.org, and she’ll get you connected.

Enjoy! Heidi & the Blue Star Families Team

NC Governor Beverly Perdue to Help BSF Kick-off Books on Bases

Blue Star Families and our program partner, K.I.D.S. believe in the healing power of books and are excited to kick off our national Books on Bases, Smiles on Faces literacy event for military children at Ft. Bragg on September 10th.  We are especially honored to have North Carolina Governor, Beverly Perdue joining us and we’d like to invite BSF members too!

This event will include the distribution of approximately 4,000 children’s books to all 17 DODEA schools in the state of NC and 20 military impacted public schools in the local area. Children with parents serving in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard will benefit from this significant donation to their schools and libraries. Base libraries from Camp Lejeune, Pope Air Force Base, and Ft. Bragg will also be included.

Please check out the details here and be sure to RSVP to programs@bluestarfam.org by September 7.  We will have approximately 100 seats reserved for BSF members so RSVP TODAY!

Priority will be given to event volunteers, and we still need plenty of them!  If you are interested in helping before and/or during the event, please contact us at programs@bluestarfam.org today.

DOD’s First Joint Family Readiness Conference in a Decade & BSF Will Be There!

The Defense Department’s first joint family readiness conference in nearly a decade will take place next week in Chicago, and Danette Hayes, BSF’s Director of National Guard and Reserve Programs and Pamela Stokes-Eggleston, BSF’s Director of Development will be on hand to spread the word about Blue Star Families’ mission to Support, Connect and Empower military families.

The conference is expected to draw about 1,500 helping professionals from throughout the world and will offer information and resources as well as the latest research affecting military family care.  Read more about the conference here.

Frustrated by Having to Register to VOTE Every Time You Move?  Tell Us All About It!

Blue Star Families wants to identify the special challenges that military members and their families face when struggling to vote and fully participate in our government. Help us by completing the BSF Voter Registration survey. We are interested in knowing:

  • How often you have had to register to vote?
  • What kinds of problems you have had voting – either in person or via absentee?
  • Why aren’t you registered to vote?

We want to share our military family stories with key policy makers and we need your assistance. It will take fewer than 10 minutes for you to complete the online survey TODAY!

DOD Announces New Suicide Prevention Task Force

The Department of Defense will launch a 14-member Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces. The congressionally directed task force will address trends and causal factors, methods to update prevention and education programs, suicide assessment by occupation, suicide incident investigations, and protective measures for confidential information derived from investigations for the department.  Read more about the task force here.

Think You Have To Pay To Check Your Bags? Check This List Before You Fly

Most airlines are now charging to check bags these days, but before you take off on your next flight, check out this list to see your carriers’ policies regarding military personnel.  Most exceptions are for those traveling on orders, but it’s worth a look!

VA Playwright Needs Military Family Stories

Virginia Stage Company has hired a playwright to write a play to be produced locally about military families. If you would be interested in helping her shape this play – she is in the research stage – about military families, please contact Barbara Lipskis, Director Development, at blipskis@vastage.com. The playwright will be in town for chats with families on Sept 19-21. Please be sure to let he know you’re a Blue Star Families member!

Great Article about Military Children by BSF Member

The concerns about the effect of deployments on our military children are real and gaining more and more attention in local media.  If you have a piece pertaining to military families published, like our own Jennifer Taylor’s The Effects of Deployment Stress in Military Children published in The Flagship, please be sure to let us know!  We’ll help spread the word!

Free Tickets for Vets, Active Duty & Their Families

Veterans Tickets Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to saying thanks to veterans, active duty service members and their families by giving tickets to concerts and sporting events as a tangible way of saying thanks.  Check out their website for more info.

Great Information on the Emotional Aspects of Deployment

Need a good pre-deployment check list and some tips to help your kids cope with Dad’s or Mom’s separation?  Check out the great information available on the Families tab at Real Warriors , an initiative launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) to promote the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration of returning service members, veterans and their families.

There’s also an insightful article about the Emotional Cycle of Deployment that’s worth checking out!

Free Grills from ConAgra & AAFES

Just in time for football season, ConAgra and the Army & Air Force Exchange Service have cooked up plans to give away nearly $25,000 in grills before the end of September.  Now through Sept. 18, approximately 236 exchanges are giving shoppers a chance to win a grill valued up to $100 as part of the ConAgra Free Grill Sweepstakes. For more info, check out their press release

Check Out MSCCN’s Latest Newsletter

If you’re getting back into the work force, or interested in changing careers, take a minute and check out the Military Spouse Career Corporate Network’s latest newsletter. It’s full of great tips and encouragement!

Calling All Professional and Serious Amateur Photographers

Blue Star Families is an amazing group created BY military families FOR military families.  So, who better to take fabulous photos of all aspects of military family life than our members?

If you are a professional or serious amateur photographer, we’d love to have you capture some great images of the military family experience (homecomings, send-offs, weddings, graduations, BSF events, parades etc.) and we’ll give you photo credit on our new site.  If you are interested and want more information email Stephanie at stephanie@bluestarfam.org

EXCITING NEWS! New BSF Website and On-Line Community in the Works

We’ve been busy behind the scenes creating a new on-line community for BSF members and we expect to have it up shortly.  But to build the best site we can, we need YOUR help!

VIDEOS: We want to hear AND see all our fantastic BSF members and give families with deployed service members a chance to shout out a special greeting to their loved one. Grab your video camera and record a 30 second max video, and get it ready to upload to YouTube.  We really want to hear how BSF connects, supports and empowers you as a military family.  For more details, email stephanie@bluestarfam.org.

PHOTOS: Send us 3 or 4 photos of you and your family at key military lifestyle points ~ weddings, deployments, homecomings etc…, and you might see them up on the new site.  High resolution is always best and no camera phone photos please (except iPhones).  Send your photos to
stephanie@bluestarfam.org today!

BLOGGERS & WRITERS We’re going to be highlighting all the great stuff the BSF family does everyday, both as local chapters and as individuals.  Here’s your chance to jump in and help share these stories, both as a blogger and as an interviewer.  If you would like to be a guest blogger and can write from your own experience about the following lifestyles, please let Stephanie know by emailing her at stephanie@bluestarfam.org.

  • National Guard & Reserve
  • New to Military Life
  • Little Ones In Tow
  • In the Work Force
  • In For The Long Haul (military spouses of about 10 years or more)
  • When HE is the Spouse
  • Military Moms, Dads & Family
  • Veterans & Mentor Spouses
  • Civilians Who Support Us

This Newsletter contains links to other sites and references to third party service providers, resources or similar entities. These links and references are provided to help you identify and locate other Internet resources that may be of interest. These other sites were independently developed by parties other than Blue Star Families, Inc. and Blue Star Families, Inc. does not assume responsibility for the accuracy or appropriateness of the information contained at, or endorse the viewpoints expressed at, such sites. In providing links to other sites, Blue Star Families is in no way acting as a publisher of the material contained on those other sites and does not seek to control the content of, or maintain any type of editorial control over such sites. A link to another site should not be construed to imply that Blue Star Families, Inc. is affiliated or associated with, or is legally authorized to use any trade mark, trade name, logo or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the link or the description of the link to such other sites. The mention of another party or its product or service in the Newsletter should not be construed as an endorsement of that party or its product or service.

You Are a Seller in a Buyer’s Market: A Resume Can Be a Viable Tool to Secure an Interview

soldBy Christine Brugman, MAOM
MSCCN European Applicant & Military Installations’ Liaison

A Résumé Can Be a Viable Marketing Tool to Secure an Interview

No one likes writing their résumé. It catalogs and records what we’ve done, how we’ve done it, and what the results were from doing it, not from a purely historical perspective but rather an indicator of what we can bring to a new employer. Sound easy? Not particularly, but it can viewed as the single most important vehicle to securing your next job interview, and as such, a great opportunity for you to sell or market yourself to potential employers. To do this successfully, attention to detail is imperative when drafting and assembling your résumé as well as focusing on writing for your audience and not for yourself.

The first quarter of the first page of your résumé is the most important space in the document. This is the area that attracts the reader’s initial eye contact and interest. An individual will spend 10‐20 seconds reading this section and will eventually make a premature decision as to whether the candidate is worthy of being scheduled for an interview. Therefore, it’s essential to make yourself visible to and win the additional attention from the reader by presenting your most powerful and unique parts while also covering what a recruiter is looking for in a candidate. Make your readers’ eyes stop by giving them something that catches their attention!

Your name is important. Don’t allot the same font size to your name as you do with your contact information. Some writers suggest that this may give a frail or feeble impression to the reader when they are looking for a sharp and powerful presentation of you. Making your name the most visible part of your résumé links your name with all of the accomplishments and achievements that follow.

“LadysMan75 ” is not considered a professional email user name. Use a variation of your full name to display on your résumé such as “Jane.Doe@email.com”. Most email servers provide the ability to have more than one email address. If you lack a professional email address, it would be wise to create one to present to a prospective employer.

Don’t just list your skills; get the reader interested by getting specific. Details ring true. Justify your skills mentioned in your powerful profile by providing specific achievements and elaborating on your skill sets within your Professional Experience or Employment areas. You have already listed your strengths in your profile, now you have to detail what the benefits of those strengths are while aiming to avoid clichés and overused phrases within your descriptions. Recruiters almost always count on candidates putting an enormous spin on their credentials to make themselves look good, so justify all.

Your work experience has to fulfill the expectations of the profile. Review the posted job description that you are applying for, find key qualifications, and then decide which of them most clearly resembles your strongest competencies. Key word use is vital especially when the organization uses talent management software to digitally scan applicant résumés. Using key words can increase the chances of your résumé being assigned the right level of desirability or even come to the attention of the right person.

Market your performance and professional achievements. You don’t have to be in a position of authority to achieve something in the workplace worth being proud of and discussed. This could incorporate an Employee of the Month status, exceeding your performance goals, diffusing an irate customer, saving the company money, or making a tough sale. Your achievements, in conjunction with your employment details, should also fulfill and incorporate the expectations of your profile.

Sell yourself with action words to show just how capable and qualified you are. Stay away from use of passive statements like “responsible for” or “duties included”. Action words can enhance an otherwise bland resume by vibrantly demonstrating your competencies and skill set. Steer clear of overusing these “action” words in your descriptions.

Before submitting your resume, review and make any necessary changes to deal‐breaker elements
such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation consistency. As this is a given to those seeking résumé assistance, it is also one of the most frequent deal breakers when it comes to the applicant’s demonstration of accuracy and attention to detail. Know the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”; add periods to the end of each bullet point or don’t – just make sure it is consistent within the document; ensure tense agreement, and have someone else proofread it before you hit “send”. An extra pair of eyes doesn’t hurt.

Keep in mind that the recruiter is not looking at your resume to hire a professional résumé writer, so the résumé is not going to win you the position of your dreams… you are. Take the time to take active steps in finding the position that you are looking for ‐Network, make some phone calls, research prospective employers, ask questions, volunteer. These activities, along with using your résumé as a marketing tool, will open up new opportunities for you to find a company who will want you for exactly who you are and what you have to offer. Your task is to get out there and find it!

The Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) is a private sector designated 501(C)(3) public charity in good standing with the IRS. MSCCN specializes in creative employment solutions and vocational training for all military spouses, Veterans, War Wounded and primary Caregivers to War Wounded. MSCCN holds MOUs with the  Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. The MSCCN operates at no cost to military spouses, Veterans, War Wounded and Caregivers to War Wounded.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…REVAMP, REVAMP, REVAMP!

resumeby Cachet B. Prescott, MA, Applied Psychology, MA, Sociology, Adjunct Faculty Member, Park University and MSCCN Education Liaison.

From our friends at MSCCN.

For those in job search mode, the process can sometimes prove to be daunting and even downright disheartening at times. You send out what seems like a million cover letters and resumes for jobs that you know you are qualified to do but get no responses. Please realize that you are not alone. I’ve been in that place way more times than I can count, and it’s not fun.

If the job search is not going the way you hoped it would, it may be time to re-evaluate and see if there is something that may need to be tweaked on your end. Start with your cover letters and resumes. Though we put great effort into drafting these pieces, our information is not always as up to par as we may think it is. Speaking from personal experience, I have learned that you have to treat the cover letter and resume writing process as if they were research papers being submitted for a grade. I learned this lesson the hard way, and here’s my story…

Two years ago, there was an opening for a Director position at a university on the base where we were stationed. With my background in higher education, serving as an adjunct instructor for that school, and having learned about the job from the current Director herself (who was PCSing with her husband), I thought I was at least a shoo-in for an interview (if not the job itself). I quickly whipped up my resume, made a few applicable changes here and there, and submitted it to the contact person. Days went by, and I hadn’t heard a word. Normally, I would not have been too concerned but I knew the school was trying to fill the position immediately so I e-mailed the contact person to see where things were. I received a generic e-mail back saying that she had received my e-mail and if my qualifications matched what they were looking for, she would call me for an interview. I knew I was qualified so I waited. Well, after a few weeks had gone by, I found out that the new Director had been hired because she contacted adjunct instructors about our Fall courses. All I could think was, “How did I not even get an interview?!?!  I know I can do that job!”

A year later, the current Director informed me that she and her husband were PCSing, and her position would be vacant. I took the cover letter and resume that I had submitted before, made a few more changes and updates, and submitted my information for consideration once again. Just as before, they were trying to fill this position as soon as possible so I thought it would only be a matter of time before I was called for an interview. And just as before, I ended up e-mailing and then calling the contact person for the position. I received yet another generic e-mail and the run-of-the-mill response when I spoke with her:  we received your information and will call you if we’re interested. I never got that call.

After my second rejection, that very same position opened up for the third time in three years. The current Director told me about it, and the other staff members asked me if I was going to apply again. I gave them a resounding “No” and went about my business. I simply could not take the rejection again.

My family and I ended up PSCing two months later. When we arrived at our current base, I was on the job hunt once again. After almost two months of searching, a friend told me that the Director position at the same institution would be opening at this base. What are the odds? I figured I might as well apply; I had nothing to lose. This time, though, I handled the application process a bit differently. I researched cover letters and resumes for similar positions on the Internet. I followed my research with an “Extreme Makeover:  Cover Letter and Resume Edition” by doing a total overhaul on my information including changing the font, adding and eliminating information, switching to a more appropriate resume format, and shortening my cover letter to a great degree. After my revisions, I e-mailed it to a friend who was the last person to hold the Director position at the same institution at our last base. I figured that she landed the position before so she could give me helpful tips on what the contact person will be looking for in a cover letter and resume. I included her suggestions in my information, had her look over everything once more, and finally, applied for the job. I got an e-mail the very next day requesting an interview (from the very same person who did not give me a second thought the first two times I applied for the position) and started the job only five days later! The friend who told me about the job also applied for the other open position in the same office. I was able to help her by editing her resume and sharing my interview tips. Lo and behold, she also got the job and started six days after I did.

The bottom line is that no matter how much faith you have in your abilities to do a job, both your cover letter and resume must positively reflect what you’re bringing to the table. In my case, my cover letter was overrun with unnecessary information and probably served as a deterrent for consideration for the position. I was trying to put everything in it to show that I was qualified and did not allow it to simply serve as an intriguing preview to my resume (which is where my qualifications should show). Refreshing my resume made my information easier to read and showed why I was the right person for the job. Using my friendship network as a resource also proved extremely beneficial. If it weren’t for one friend, I would have never known about the opening, and using another friend as a second set of eyes allowed me to see things that I hadn’t considered. Though it may require more time on your part, doing these simple things can be the difference between hoping for an interview and actually getting one.

The Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) is a private sector designated 501(C)(3) public charity in good standing with the IRS.  MSCCN specializes in creative employment solutions and vocational training for all military spouses, Veterans, War Wounded and primary Caregivers to War Wounded.  MSCCN holds MOUs with the  Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.  The MSCCN operates at no cost to military spouses, Veterans, War Wounded and Caregivers to War Wounded.

Federal Jobs Preference for Military Spouses

Federal agencies will soon have the option to hire military spouses without having them compete through traditional hiring methods. Under new guidelines issued by the Office of Professional Management (OPM), military spouses will be able to request that recruiters use non-traditional hiring methods in reviewing their applications.

These new guidelines affect military spouses who move because of a new assignment, some physically disabled spouses, and widows and widowers whose spouses were killed in the line of duty and remain unmarried. The guidelines become effective September 11, 2009.

OPM Director John Berry said:

This family-friendly policy provides employment opportunities from individuals and a measure of economic stability to military families who must deal with a multitude of issues arising from one spouse serving their country.

Approximately 400,000 to 500,000 of the active duty servicemembers relocated every year are married, and active duty servicemembers move on average every three years. Seeking employment is difficult for many military spouses because of these continuous moves. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Les Melnyk said:

There is a desire out there, and we know that if we can meet the spouses’ desires and keep them happy, then we’ll keep them in the service.

He also noted that 70% of military spouses want to work according to military surveys.

Federal jobs can be found at USA Jobs and on several other sites around the web depending on the area of work. Military OneSource can help military spouses with employment questions.

This measure is a certainly welcomed by this military spouse!

Negativity in the Work Place

Business womanBy Deb Kloeppel, CEO, MSCCN

As a nonprofit CEO and keynote speaker, I travel nationwide to military installations performing workshops and seminars on topics that include creative career solutions and career management. As impressive as those subjects are, I’m always surprised to discover what military spouses truly WANT to talk about, especially those who are currently employed or were previously employed.

Several spouses have asked me about how to deal with bullies in the workplace, how to maintain professional etiquette, how to resolve conflicts on a team or in an office, how to cope with difficult clients and aggressive coworkers, and how to avoid office politics.

Do you notice a resounding theme here? Military spouses want to know how to resolve, mediate, handle, and control conflict and difficulty.  Employers seek this type of worker to lead projects and teams…believe me.

Why is the ability to resolve conflict so important in the workplace? Professional bullies and passive-aggressive coworkers or team members become liabilities and de-motivators, demeaning the value of the heart-and-soul dedication most workers value and display. Whether the product involves a financial audit or a widget that’s sold on HSN – a bully in YOUR work environment zaps ALL of the joy and enthusiasm you’ve earned when your task is completed.

The residual effects and lasting feeling of day-to-day dread when forced to deal with a slacker, bully, passive-aggressive coworker, or a difficult boss can lead to health problems, depression, and lack of joy.

Notice, I placed slackers in the same category as bullies. A slacker can cause irreparable damage to an employer’s bottom line. Overt bullies and covert slackers are both negative influences.

As an employer, I’d rather reign in an over-enthusiastic staff member than have to “motivate” a slacker every day of the week.

Slackers, in my opinion, are the WORSE type of bully in the workplace. Slackers are normally the “nicest” person on the team and yet possess the ability to slow the workflow down to a halt. How are they able to do this?

Studies have shown that slackers are often master manipulators who utilize a passive–aggressive approach on a team. They’re sugar-sweet to the boss and at the same time malign their boss to coworkers to throw off the workflow of the team. It is a classic case of misery loves company.

In short, slackers create personal drama on a team and within a project rather than face the fact they’re in over their heads professionally.

There are sure fire ways to deal with slackers, or bullies, or passive-aggressive coworkers, or difficult bosses. In the coming weeks I’ll provide proven tips and methods to keep you motivated and educated enough to weed this type of negative energy from your work environment so that you’re able to continue your peak performance at work and at home.

For now, here’s step one to rid yourself of negative energy created by people and coworkers in your life. Understand what passive–aggressive behavior is and how it effects YOU personally.

Determine what you can and cannot tolerate from passive–aggressive people, especially if this type of person has any type of influence over your work and home life.

Passive–aggressive behavior:

Passive-aggressive behavior is passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following through with expectations in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible. It is a defense mechanism, and (more often than not) only partly conscious. For example a worker when asked to organize a meeting might seemingly happily agree to do so, but will then take so long on each task in the process – offering excuses such as calls not being returned, or that the computer is too slow, or that things aren’t ready when the meeting is due to start – that a colleague is forced to hurriedly complete the task, lest the meeting be postponed.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Some common symptoms of passive-aggressive personality disorder include:

  • Acting sullen
  • Avoiding responsibility by claiming forgetfulness
  • Being inefficient on purpose
  • Blaming others
  • Complaining
  • Feeling resentment
  • Having a fear of authority
  • Having unexpressed anger or hostility
  • Procrastinating
  • Resisting other people’s suggestions

A person with this disorder may appear to comply with another’s wishes and may even demonstrate enthusiasm for those wishes. However, they:

  • Perform the requested action too late to be helpful
  • Perform it in a way that is useless
  • Sabotage the action to show anger that they cannot express in words


As an employer, I’ve learned the hard way that NOTHING changes this type of behavior from a legal standpoint. Termination of the staff member’s contract is my only recourse. My first duty is to protect the rest of my team from this type of negativity.

What’s insidious about passive–aggressive bullying is the fact that workers who utilize this type of behavior are ALWAYS nice and sugar sweet to their coworkers. Departure of the “nice” person upsets the rest of the team at first. However, team members notice within a week or two that productivity levels shoot WAY up again and harmony is restored to the team once again.  That’s the hidden liability I talk about…..you truly never KNOW the amount of damage  passive–aggressive people can do within your work environment UNTIL they’re gone and/or removed from you personally and professionally.

Three Sure-Fire Ways to Detect a Passive–Aggressive Worker

Look for the 3 “Ps”

  1. Pout
  2. Procrastinate
  3. Practice Purposeful Inefficiency

Worker Passive-Aggression:

Attacks on the boss or other coworkers are not open, but hidden, and usually only noticed after some time of its happening. This delayed quality makes this kind of aggression difficult to spot, and more difficult to prevent. The passive aggressive person is a master at covert abuse, which can take the form of:

  • Inability to complete work on-time or to quality goals;
  • Sloppy customer care, by applying irony, hostility or contempt;
  • Hoarding necessary information; isolating other co-workers;
  • Negative framing; gossiping; excessive complaining; verbal abuse;
  • Lack of accountability; sabotaging other people’s tasks; absenteeism

“Passive Aggressive in Workplace” by Knol Company

I am not alone in my belief to fire workers on the basis of their passive–aggressive manipulation of other team members. Bottom line for me – when a problem exists on any work team that prevents a mission or product to move forward due to the behavior of a staff member who’s negatively affecting other staff members….rid the team of the problem immediately.

How can coworkers deal with a bully of any type?

  1. Document, document, document! Write EVERY abuse down daily
  2. Learn what you’re company’s Conflict Resolution Policy is and utilize it fully
  3. If your company does not have a Conflict Resolution Policy – ask for alone time with your boss to discuss your written report.

If your bully is your boss and there isn’t anyone higher on the food chain in your professional life, find another job – truly. As difficult as it is for me to recommend, you have only two choices when dealing with a bully at the top: go to court or find another job. To protect your mental and physical health, look for another job.

If you discover that you are the one displaying negative behaviors in your workplace, ask for professional help. Your problem may not be true passive-aggression, but too much stress or a poor job-fit. DO NOT be a liability to others. You might find that changing jobs is better for you and the ones you leave behind.

I’ve quit a job due to a top dog bully – and I have to admit that I felt empowered leaving that job for my sanity’s sake.  Court cases are arduous, financially draining, and energy zapping. Leaving that bully boss helped me create my parameters of what I will and will not tolerate in the workplace and why I’ll never “work” for anyone else again. I do quite well on my own terms.

MSCCN is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the employment, job placement  and vocational training needs of military spouses. To learn more about MSCCN please visit their website at http://www.msccn.org.