Bring Coffee

It’s been a week since The Opportunity, which is how your therapist helped you Name and Re-Frame™ the moment Matt from Accounting suggested you “wear yoga pants to your next sales meeting to leverage your youth before the bloom is gone from your rose.” You were very good and nonchalant in the moment and managed to cobble together and send off an incident report the same day, but you’ve yet to hear from Human Resources. As tempting as it may be, do not send an assertive, bitchy follow-up email. Instead, swing by the local coffee spot, pick up a dozen lattes, and casually deliver them to the team in HR to remind them you’re alive and, more importantly, likable. While you’re at it, grab a cup of coffee for Matt to stave off any retaliation and stress eat half a scone in the parking lot.

Adopt a Puppy

Unleash your approachability by bringing your new dog to the office. Sure, a Teacup Golden Retriever is crazy expensive and you had to cash in some stock options, but the social-by-association factor is worth it. Especially in an open-concept workplace where some of your peers aren’t making eye-contact and the entire Accounting pod stops talking whenever you cross to the kitchen to get Mister Ragamuffin’s small-batch organic mince pellets.

Stay Open

The time has come for you and Matt’s HR mediation. Bring your original incident timeline, corroborating witness emails, and puppy — but most of all, bring an open mind. Yes, it may be your experience that reporting The Opportunity was inappropriate and speaking up led to being removed from team emails, which led to feeling lost in an accountability echo chamber, but for the sake of congeniality have you even considered the Rashomon of it all and thought through this from another point of view, specifically Matt’s, because he’s also your new boss?


Congratulations on the transfer to your new department! It’s a lateral move and the Generalist assured you it would be a good fit, but you’ve noticed some distance from the team’s social gatekeepers and the Assistant is allergic to dogs. You’ve also noticed you’re ignored or talked over despite wearing your best yoga pants, but that could be the effect of all the scones on your silhouette. Before escalating matters to a Carefrontation™, the next time you’re in a meeting make sure to smile. Smiling is a great non-verbal cue that shows you’re gracious, approachable, and definitely not oversensitive. When co-workers ask if something’s wrong because you’ve frozen in full Cheshire, tell them you’re just happy to be part of the team.

Be Flexible

It’s been eight months since you were laid off due to a “poor culture fit.” After the initial shock, you managed to find a temp job in a new industry. The gig is half the pay and you’re supplementing your diet with mince pellets, but the monotony is a welcome break from the corporate grind. When your recruiter lines up an interview for you at your dream company, make sure you make a friendly first impression. Book a grooming appointment for Mr. Ragamuffin, practice your best smile, and show up ten minutes early. Oh, and don’t forget to bring the coffee.