Author: Heidi Staseson

Occupational Hazard

BULLYING’S NOT JUST AN OUTLET FOR YOUTHFUL ANGST. IT HAPPENS IN THE ONLINE WORKPLACE, TOO by Heidi Staseson When pondering the prototype of the human “bully,” society’s once-popular archetype of the burly sand tyrant named “Biff” and his pastime for picking on 98-lb.teen weaklings has evolved significantly from the beach scenes of 1950’s comic books. In fact, with the rise of technology, the “Biffs” of the past are the least of people’s worries; yesteryear’s bully has morphed and attached itself to a more sombre and serious trend: cyberbullying. Vitriolic spewing is especially ubiquitous on social media. And many of us are complicit in some way – as perpetrators or inactive witnesses to attacks, or even as unwitting victims who stay silent post-blast. Calgary high school guidance counsellor Marc Osenton, an AU Faculty of Health Disciplines graduate, says part of the problem is the newer phenomenon of being “turned on all the time” – especially the teens he sees, who take to social media like birds to breadcrumbs. While news about online bullying is rife in the media, …

The Bigger Picture: Have you ever stopped to ponder what ‘happiness’ really means?

  By my anonymous cousin Have you ever stopped to ponder what ‘happiness’ really means? We all feel it from time to time, and in our own ways. Certainly, what might constitute happiness for some, might not present the same for others. It is both bizarre and fantastic to me that happiness has the power to show up tailored to each of our adventures in life. Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘happiness’ as: “A state of well-being and contentment.” Alternatively, it is described as “a pleasurable or satisfying experience.” Anthropologist Ashley Montagu once wrote: “The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” I love this quote. I absolutely agree that happiness has the ability to grab hold of us — sometimes in a moment’s notice — and take us on an exhilarating ride. A universal dilemma, often portrayed in pop culture, is the pursuit of happiness. I feel this is best exemplified in the 2006 Hollywood blockbuster film of the same title, The …

On dumping a friend

One hot and muggy August, I fully enabled a knock-down-drag-out fight with a person whose ‘friendship,’ I felt, had dragged out much longer than it should have (it shouldn’t have extended past some bad, crescendo-reaching karaoke that took place shortly after I had met her a year-and-a-half earlier). I’ll call her Maude. I can definitively say I’ve since lost my ability to get the chills when I hear Whitney Houston belt out the climax to her cover of I Will Always Love You. Anybody who grew up during the 1980s and 1990s will understand: the part from Houston’s music video where, clad like Olivia Pope in a white pantsuit, she sits posture-perfect in a chair and goes for that high note, nailing it bang-on. It was the song that secured Ms. Houston her goddess-like stature in the music industry, years ahead of Celine Dion crooning about her heart going on. When Maude tried to replicate the hit in the handful of grubby clubs we used to circuit Sunday nights, the result was astonishing. Astonishingly awful. I’ve …

“Save Us, Kevin Bacon”

As a tween and pre-teen in the 80s, my friends and I probably saw the flick Footloose five times in the theatre, in Ottawa, where we lived.

We became diehards. We could relate somewhat to the mean town council people who laid down bogus rules of behaviour for the fictional town-folk of Bomont, GA.

While our junior high years weren’t nearly as bad as the experiences of Ren McCormack and Ariel – we still were subject to various punitive ideals belonging to the girls’ school we went to for five years.

Hence my pride for being able to contribute to this People magazine story from my home in Calgary.

Calgary Celebrates 50 Years of Canada Flag Creation

Story From the Calgary Herald, Feb. 15 While Canadians proudly pay homage to their national flag this Sunday, Davinder (Davi) Singh will help his team serve duck confit poutine for lunch guests at the Laurier Lounge in downtown Calgary. It’s a fete befitting the late-George Stanley, a man widely regarded as a founding father of the Canadian flag, who also happened to grow up in this turn-of-the-century, wine-coloured clapboard house—now a French restaurant at the corner of 11th Ave. and 7th St. SW. Blackwell says Stanley’s flag vision was influenced by that of the Royal Military College where he taught in Kingston, Ont. His wife Laurie adds the 1928 Olympics also played a role. Stanley’s rich history as a Calgary resident and Rhodes Scholar-turned-seminal-national-flag-designer of the red and white maple leaf emblem may fly under the radar as a hidden Cowtown gem. But such roots, says Cynthia Klaasen, president of the Calgary Heritage Initiative, make for a fun fact Calgarians should celebrate. “It’s a lot of fun that the designer of the Canadian flag actually …

Recognition and Rewards: Know the Difference to Enhance Employee Engagement.

On March 6, you’ll notice #EmployeeAppreciationDay trending across social platforms. Twenty years ago, the first Friday in March was designated as such in North America, to create momentum around the idea of celebrating workers and their positive contributions to corporate culture. But rather than tweeting appreciation alongside blanketed tokens and goodwill gestures, shouldn’t companies be thinking on this theme more routinely—like every day? Shouldn’t this be a notion that’s innately embedded in a company’s overall corporate mission? Picking a number on a calendar and slapping on a catchy theme seems too easy; not a whole lot different than #NationalPoutineWeek or #CoffeeDay. It certainly contributes to headlines like this one proffered by a popular business magazine a couple years ago: “7 last-Minute Tips for National Employee Appreciation Day.” *This author shudders* Celebrating employee contribution by rote is one thing; doing it in a willy-nilly, shim-sham and lazy way will not enhance your reputation as a stellar employer and good corporate citizen. If upping your employee engagement factor is in fact something your company values, then you …

My Sprinkle-Free Answer to the Holiday-Themed Coffee Brew-Ha-Ha

  Some like to deck the halls—while others prefer their coffee candy-free. By now, anyone who navigates social media with some regularity would be remiss not to have noticed the trend that won’t end—the Pumpkin-Spice-in-everything phenomenon and the combination of meme-making ridicule and superlative fan shout-outs rendering the flavour du jour a broken record. Fret not your weary ears; it would seem Big Box Barista-ville has heard Twitter and company loud and clear. Popular coffee brands have untapped the yet-to-be ubiquitous Christmas market with the unveiling of both new and tried-and-true hot, artificially flavoured beverages. Candy cane, eggnog and peppermint lattes have been around a few seasons but haven’t seemed to garner the same attention befitting their fall-flavoured counterparts. That’s about to change with one shop’s newest holiday drink, the Chestnut and Praline Latte (I’m not even sure what a praline is – let alone how to pronounce the ‘a’ – but I suspect it’s a type of nut). I’m also guessing the newly revealed beverage is yet another of the syrupy and sweet, best- …