Got Chips? Go Get Your Own!

Ok, thinking about chips… Salty, onion, sour cream, bbq…? Nope! Think again.

I am not easily impressed. I have very high demands on others since I have extremely high demands and expectations of myself. I hold myself to a high standard on integrity, work ethics, follow-through and accomplishments. That is the only we can change the world as I am all about achieving and improving, not waiting (anymore) or wasting (any longer). I am not a follower – unless you count being a Condie and Madeleine’s groupie. Having said that, I LOVE this woman. Nely Galan. @nely_galan rocks. Never heard of her, but she is a woman of my heart and reading her fabulous article (see link below) invigorated and inspired me like nothing in a long time. Thank you, Nely. Thats what I call ‪#‎GirlPower‬.

What is the question? What are your chips? Your dreams, your passions? Are you following through and changing the world? What will you need? Courage! What now? Go get your our chips!  How? By reading her article below. What next? When you are finished, share with us – Did she inspired you? What will be your first step to getting your ‘own chips’?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/deniserestauri/2015/10/25/4-ways-to-build-a-career-and-life-thats-worth-talking-about/?utm_campaign=ForbesWoman&utm_source=FBPAGE&utm_medium=social&utm_channel=Leadership&linkId=18387192

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Kept the Heels off, t’was a Hiatus Time!

Straight of Hormuz

Straight of Hormuz

Marketa has been traveling the world, visiting far away exotic places, watching dolphins at the northernmost point of Oman at the Straight of Hormuz, stood in awe over the man-made wonders of Burj Khalifa and other commercial miracles in Dubai, enjoyed spending time with her family and friends back home in Czech Republic where she soaked up the breathtaking atmosphere in Prague’s Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti) and watched the world famous Astronomical Clock.

She also focused on her work in Sacramento in government affairs, advocacy and policy, renewed her nursing license and driver’s license, and kept up with her professional nursing certifications.

So after a little hiatus from writing and blogging, now its time to Put Your Heels Back On, Girl!

"Marketa Goes to Sacramento" a nice movie :)

“Marketa Goes to Sacramento” a nice movie 🙂

Thank you for your time.

The Truth About Lying On Résumés

Recruiter Musings

When I was just starting my career as a recruiter, a well-known trainer at my firm would often utter a phrase that used to bother me a lot. He’d say: “All candidates lie on their résumés.” (It reminded me of Hugh Laurie on the TV show House M.D. and his famous pronouncement: “Everybody lies … the only variable is about what.”) Maybe I’m just naive — or perhaps I’m just a trusting person by nature — but I’d like to believe that most people are honest and ethical, and would not intentionally lie or deceive me with false information on their résumés. Still, I know that sometimes people exaggerate, omit things, or stretch the truth here and there to inflate their profiles.

Over the years I’ve worked with a multitude of job-seekers on how to improve their résumés. While I would NEVER encourage anyone to lie or fabricate anything, I…

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The Plight of the “Poor (as in underrepresented in politics, power and money) Boys”

The Plight of the “Poor (as in underrepresented in politics, power and money) Boys”

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Recently, something magnificent happened to me!  A gifted writer with a great deal of following, upon whose article I commented earlier on, actually replied to me! You heard right. He not only replied, but also managed to, even if (slightly) patronizing me in his response, still connect with me on LinkedIn! Oh, the omnipresent and positive power of social media… What happened you ask? Well, before you’ll see my brilliant if I say so myself response, let me catch you up first:

This writer wrote a fabulous & empowering piece “Letter to My Fellow Men” where he questioned the ingrained gender-specific, ok let’s call them sexist, stereotypes, behaviors and views. It started with him noticing the treatment/ behavior his wife was getting from the men in Silicon Valley. So needless to say, from the get-go, I was a fan! It cut right into politics and democracy, into the make up of the 2015 U.S. Congress, it went right through to the issue of true representation of women in city/county/state or federal governments or to the dismally low number of nurses, for example, being elected to hospital boards. His Letter took a strong stance on gender, politics, sociological conditioning and the distribution of political power therefore on the learned, ingrained and enforced stereotypes we all face in everyday society. Right up my alley, yes?

The follow-up to the Letter, was a long article discussing a variety of issues among which was a paragraph commenting on the current heightened trend – if I may call it that – of supporting girls or ‘looking after girls’ and their empowerment, and how as a society we are now more cognizant of gender issues with #HeSheHero campaign. Still good, right? After the girls empowerment, he went on to list the shortcomings of the boys; how boys are medicated with Ridillin (no kids, no idea about the spelling) at much higher rate, how boys read at much lower grade level, and how boys don’t do well at school. At the end of this part he asked: so who is “looking after” the boys?

With that one sentence, my teeth started to grind especially since our ‘gender-barring friendship’ was going so well.

That one question stopped me in my tracks and while realizing we were perhaps on our way back to “Gender-Stereotype Central“, it all started to (not) make sense. One thing, however, was clear: if an educated man who publicly stands up, questions, critiques and calls upon his fellow men to end their gender stereotypes and sexist behavior, if he thinks that the current support for girls or the attention to girls empowerment (hurray for #GirlsLead) threatens the boys status or existence -> we have a very long way out of the frequently-jammed and traffic-impacted Gender-Stereotype Central. Perhaps I am not doing him justice, perhaps it was not meant like that. Perhaps. But on the other hand, why would you pose such a question?

Hmmmm…..

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So I gathered my courage to face fears of being publicly criticized and/or not liked, and I wrote: “…yes, and even with such dismal statistic, the “poor boys” still manage to make it to the top and control the power, money and influence.” And this is where the marvelous thing happened – he replied! Then however came the next round of courage in reading his response…

What I read was a slightly patronizing reply about how making comments like mine lead to no other purpose than to gender discourse and/or to the perpetuation of sexism, or something to that sense. He went on to say that he found my use of the phrase “poor boysoffensive or smarmy and was quite frankly surprised to hear it there, or from me, I can’t remember the exact wording. HUH?

As a good ol’ feminist broad with a keen feminist mind for analysis, I immediately started to count the ways in which he just patronized / offended me based on nothing but my gender… Yes, my Women’s Studies professor was thinking about me and didn’t know why… 🙂

…so here you have it, folks, all she wrote (well, not quite). You have been caught up.

=>> So Before you scroll down and read my brilliant and utterly awesome response, please do let me know if I am wrong (or how much wrong), if you encountered perhaps a similar situation, or felt like talking back or speaking up somewhere on a gender issue? What would you have said? Do you agree OR disagree with ascertaining that comments like mine, or similar in nature, serve no other purpose than to incite gender discourse or bias or sexist behavior?

I always enjoy your comments, I appreciate other people’s point of view, I learn from it. It is only through communication we truly learn <<=

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So, HERE WE GO(due to word limited replies on LinkedIn, I had to edit my piece down and posted the second half only)

“Thank you Louis for your response.

I do appreciate it, and I’d like to welcome you to my professional network. Happy to have you as a part of mine.

I’ll take a wild stab here when I say I am not alone here; a woman, an immigrant, with an accent, without influential friends in Ivy colleges (or Towers but I would want some), fighting her way in men’s business every step of the way. Trust me when I tell you there was no offense or smarminess (is that a correct word?) intended in my comment because I know how it feels since I have been on the receiving end. As a discussion leader in Women’s Studies classes at a university, I brought the men in to talk about issues, I asked their opinion, I shielded them from emotional and un-constructive attacks and I always included them. So you are way off the mark here.

You take an offense at me using phrase ‘poor (as in underrepresented in politics, money, power and government) boys‘ but rest assured, I do not take offense at your shall-we-say smarmy or even-slightly patronizing response. I like your article, I enjoy reading your stuff, I love your Letter to Men and I think there should be more men, thought-proving leaders and husbands like you. Having said that….

My use of the ‘poor boys‘ phrase was meant not as an offensive derogatory terminology, but as an incredulous response to your question of who is looking after the boys. That quite frankly, I could not believe I was reading!

Men control if not all, than almost all, of U.S. power and money, in 2015 we’ll have still-a-laughable-number of mere 100 women in U.S. Congress, women make up 51% of population yet less than 24% of elected officials in city and/or county governments, and while nurses (majority of women) make the largest pool of healthcare professionals, they still make only 6% – 9% of elected hospital board members.

Taking it one step further, before the Mid-Term 2014 Election, even “Liberal” California has elected only I believe around 180 women in total during its entire political history to the CA State Legislature, furthermore, speaking of California, women candidates / possible legislators even lost several seats here. And I could go on….

So when your article asks who is looking after the boys, yes, the poor (as in underrepresented in politics, power and money) boys since we are now finally looking after the girls, I must ask if we are talking about the same playing field, because I do see little disparity here, don’t you? And that was THE intended point of my comment. I thought THAT could be something a great writer such as yourself with an impressive following could look into and write about. People would listen and attitudes would change! What happens that even if having such dismal initial statistics, as you write, boys (i.e. men) still end up at the top, controlling the power, wealth and the seat of influence? What happens?

That was the point I was trying to make, and clearly badly.

PS: Boy do I like this! Thank you for such a great topic and for this discussion.”

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Velvet Revolution… the American Style!

Velvet Revolution… the American Style!

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Unless you have been under a rock (or sedated) for the last week, you must have heard that on Nov 10th, 2014 it was 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. What you may not know, however, is the fact there is another 25 years anniversary coming up! Yes, it is the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in then-Czechoslovak Socialistic Republic (CSSR) on Nov 17th, 2014.

What is most fascinating, and also troubling to me, is the fact that there are celebrations and commemoration events scheduled and planned all throughout the week of Nov 17 through Nov 22, 2014 in Washington D.C. These events include a future of democracy panel discussion, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performance, Gala at the Czech Embassy in Washington D.C. (no, sadly don’t have an invite), to a Panel Discussion on Vaclav Havel’s Legacy Today (yes, I scored an invitation by simply begging the organizers. Thank you very much!) to the Dedication & Unveiling of the Vaclav Havel’s Bust in U.S. Congress (I will be begging the organizers once I arrive in D.C.) all the way to something most extraordinary!

On November 17th, students, faculty and Alumni of the world-class respected and coveted Georgetown University will be re-enacting – yes, you read right – re-enacting the events of Nov 17th, 1989 in Prague where the brave university students took to streets of Prague and demanded more freedom! Czech students were peaceful, did not make any troubles, except of course for gathering and speaking publicly which was unlawful and criminal in then-Czechoslovakia. To punish the students and make them dispersed, the Communist regime, under the tutelage of president Gustav Husak and Prime Minister Milos Jakes (none were ever held accountable), sent units of Police (Verejna Bezpecnost) in heavy riot gear, with sticks (“pendrek” in Czech), tear gas and water cannons to “take them down”.

The rest is, as they say, history…

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So let’s recap: Georgetown’s students, faculty and Alumni, while celebrating International Students Day, will be re-enacting events of Nov 17, 1989 and of coming days, including reading passages of speeches and proclamations made by then-student government and their leader Simon Panek (current Director of Czech global humanitarian organization ‘People in Need‘ and in Washington D.C. for the events) and by the leader of Obcanske Forum [Civic Forum] Vaclav Havel, the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first democratic president of Czech Republic. Why is this so extraordinary and remarkable?

Because there are NO such commemoration events planned in Czech Republic! That’s why.

Plain and simple. Sad, isn’t it…? I contacted a number of friends in Czech Republic asking them about celebrations. Nothing…

This one fact should tell you everything you need to know about the status of Czech politics and the standings/respect of Czech politicians. I no longer say I am in politics, or that I studied politics, or that I do politics, or that politics is my passion – I do not say that when I come home. I do not speak of politics, about a strategy for democratization of institutions, about my passion for state/nation-building or about my expertise in political systems… Why? Nobody is interested in hearing it.

Sadly, this only further ensues my original worry that while D.C. will have Velvet Revolution the American Style, there are no such celebrations or massive commemorating events in Czech Republic.  But there should be!

How easily we forget that Velvet Revolution brought down 40 years of communism, and after 21 looooong years marched the Soviet tanks back to Mother Russia, tanks that invaded & occupied our sovereignty since the Prague Spring in 1968. Velvet Revolution brought us freedom, liberty, opportunity, multi-party political system, free democratic elections, and it also opened our doors to Western culture. It brought us choices and responsibility, and maybe that is the problem?

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The only questions comes to mind: What happened in 25 years to Czech society that we do not celebrate, ney, that we don’t even turn around in our beds to commemorate such a historic and historical occasion?

What happened to Czech people, politics and culture that we no longer appreciate the freedom to study abroad, for example, or the freedom to travel to Egypt or Italy, decide an election, shop whatever and wherever we want, learn foreign languages, etc…  What happened is certainly THE question.

Well, what happen is LIFE, life happened. And with life came the loss of fluffy future based on political slogans seen through rose glasses.

Now, devoid of the proverbial ‘rose glasses’, we must face the ‘horrors’ of having to be responsible for ourselves, having to be responsible for our choices, for our society AND for the status of our political system & political culture. Scary stuff I tell you!

There is no longer “them” (as in the communist) to be blamed for the status of our lives, politics or the status of our culture. Now, it is “us” and that is starring at us in the mirror every day. What will we do with “us” ? Will we turn “us” back into “them” -> as in allow the Communist who inflicted so much devastation and pain onto my country back into full slay of power and openly into government? It is all up to “us“!

Yes, people are disillusioned, tired, fed up, hurt. They are learning the hard way that democracy is hard and “freedom ain’t for free” as they say. People feel betrayed and used, as if there is no justice. And perhaps there isn’t, not right now anyway.

So what are we going to do about it? Do we have it in ourselves to stand up again, demand changes, demand accountability, demand AND accept responsibility and finally demand some respect? Can we do it?

Will it be “us” or will it be “them”? …Tis the question. 

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So for now, I will be in Washington, D.C. commemorating my Velvet Revolution, revolution “I did” and where I was active. I will be commemorating my home country that I love so much, but for now, I will be celebrating Velvet Revolution the American Style!

PS:

We better remember that during the 1948’s national election, it was the Communists who were elected during the last democratic elections for next 42 years, because they promised pink fluffy future of political slogans seen though rose glasses.

http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/vaclav-havel-bust-will-be-dedicated-november-19

http://www.25yearsofdemocracy.org

Czech Velvet Revolution 25 year Later: Powerful & Powerless

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On November 17th, it will be 25 years since the fall of Communism in the Czech Republic.

The so-called Velvet Revolution started by a group of fearless university students who protested on Narodni Trida (National Blvd) in the center of Prague, Czechoslovakia, in the Soviet Sphere of Influence. The police was called in since public gatherings were illegal and free speech forbidden. They used water cannons, batons (“pendrek” in Czech), pepper spray and violence but the students did not move…. and that’s how history started on Nov 17th in the evening hours. As a new nurse, I was on-call in my new position in ICU/OR on Nov 18th, and I was in Prague by November 19th!

It is almost unreal realizing you have been a part of history, and played an active role in a democratic revolution ridding your home country of 40 years of Communism, oppression and Soviet occupation. Unreal. Also Amazing. Responsible. Powerful. Powerless. Hopeful.

November 17th is and should remain a very important and a historic day in Czech Republic, even though the current democratic transition and the democratization of Czech institutions, political system, education, civic responsibility and accountability, to name a few, has still a lot to learn and implement; but it is our system, our implementation, our problems.

The level of political frustration and apathy reached its highest levels, Transparency International – Česká republika rates us not particularly favorably, politicians are not held to the rule of law, embezzlement is rampant, and the Communists were never punished (against my advice in my town). This lasting hurt and historical injustice, in addition to the ongoing feelings of current injustice, only breeds apathy, anger, unwillingness to get involved, unhappiness, unstable government, wide shifts in national and international policies, and a political system of 50+ parties (13 political parties just in my home town of 15K people).

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Czech Democracy has a lot to learn and a lot to accomplish. “They” say it takes 40 years to change a political system and its society. Let’s hope so, Czech Republic has only another 15 years to go. The problem is, however, who will be the power or the entity that the people wait for to usher and implement these lasting changes, changes that should be done within those 40 years ? Let’s hope we will figure out fast that is us, and only us. If we want democracy, we must be willing to fight for it. The old political wisdom says: People have governments they deserve…

It is up to us to decide to either throw in the towel and say let the socialists and communist fully win in the next election and give them back full power, let’s close the borders, forbid free speech, make Russian language mandatory, Western ‘anything’ illegal again and bread will be cheap, OR let’s decide to stand up, speak out, start taking responsibility for our destiny and let’s start demanding some accountability! Czech Republic is worthy of such effort, we are worthy of such effort. Let’s prove the old political adage ‘People have governments they deserve’ right, because we do deserve better.

Democracy ain’t easy but I do love it all-the-same…