Dear President Trump,
This week I took the three-hour VA’s EEO Compliance Training for Managers and Supervisors. Have you taken the equivalent one for the Executive Branch? Surely there is one. If not, you can borrow ours. We have to do it every two years to stay on top of the new laws and to brush up because it is so incredibly easy to slip into old unhelpful mindsets and behavior patterns. The training included well-documented projections about the ethnic/racial composition of the US down the road as well as the latest research on the benefits of diverse work groups and how important it is for the workforce to mirror the demographics of those it serves. All this, along with getting to hear a trans-veteran talk about how much she gets out of her VA trans group, had me feeling especially proud of the VA this week.
However, reading this morning in the WP about Secretary Shulkin having an armed guard posted outside his office is giving me pause on the VA-pride parade. What is going on there? We are all plugging along caring for vets and will continue to do so no matter what, but having a mess at the top is disquieting, especially when it’s overlaid on the mess that is your administration. The toxic uncertainty I talked about the other day is seeping in and is affecting.
Before closing, the other thing I want to highlight for you from the EEO training are the Management Do’s and Don’ts they laid out for us. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw them and was immediately bombarded with images of you doing your thing (see Column 2). The easiest way to convey them is in a table, so here you go:
|Reaching out||Winning at all costs|
|Taking perspective||Displaying anger|
|Expressing emotion||Demeaning others|
Basically, it was an awful OMG! (or really, WTF!) moment when I saw your tactics laid out together in the “it is not ok for supervisors to act like this ever so do not do this crap” column. And yet here we are with a POTUS who needs cheat sheets to pretend he can take perspective and who multiple times a day alternates between preening in front of the cameras and vicious take downs of those around him.
I’d like off this ride now, please.
May we be safe with leaders who actually care about us.
May we be happy to plow through edifying trainings.
May we be willing to do the work at work to establish and maintain healthy diversity.
May we insist our leaders support us rather than harm us.