Letter #4 Trolls will Hate Your Beauty

new year tashie

How many times do you want to do, say or write something important, but hesitate because those inside voices always stop you:  Not now, this is not the time, you might hurt someone’s feelings, someone might sue you if they get offended…

You wanted to write about online bullying and digital sexual harassment since the day  you have discovered social media and brutal world of online publicity. God only knows how many times you have stopped yourself from writing about a HUGE elephant in the room—that being the online code of sexual conduct or rather the NONEXISTENCE of such a code—for the same exact reasons: What if you offend someone, what if it doesn’t matter, what if you were not strong enough to stand by your beliefs? This blog would probably never have been written if you didn’t come across an article (from a very reputable publication) called “Don’t Hate Me because I’m beautiful.”

The article is about research conducted by two Israelis analysts, on who gets advantages during a recruitment process and why. “Bradley Ruffle at Ben-Gurion University and Ze’ev Shtudiner at Ariel University Centre looked at what happens when job hunters include photos with their curricula vitae, as is the norm in much of Europe and Asia.” Their “shocking” results:

Attractive female candidates have lesser chances to be hired than their not-so attractive sisters.

They might be shocking to many readers, but not to you. You saw this article as a sign from above, a chance to finally write about your own story—of an intelligent, attractive professional trying to succeed in life using her brains (you know that you are smarter than a fifth grader) and her ability to learn quickly, manage difficult tasks, be strong when others need a shoulder to lean on, and be brave enough to step up when others are afraid to move.

This is your own story of the digital sexual and emotional harassment that you will be dealing with for many years, simply because of the fact that you are an attractive woman who dared to become a professional in a social arena. Who would have thought you would have to become a Gladiator…

LinkedIn was originally designed as a social platform for strictly professional use, job hunting, sales and marketing promotions and opportunities, co-worker and former colleague connections, and recently, for writing and blogging opportunities. But like many social media sites it has gradually transformed into a “free-for-all”  with “Gangs of New York”-type communication. Anyone can say or write whatever (they feel) is appropriate.

The most depressing thing is that you would get more offensive emails and indecent, often creepy proposals on LinkedIn than on any other social media platform!!! Tinder is a little tiny “sandbox” compared to this giant ocean of hookups and date proposals.

Here are some groups of people who harassed you.

“Online-only trolls”—offensive but not malicious.

Troll #1:  “Oh, are you single? Would love to have you.”

Your mind says back, “I’d love to smack you, you little $h-t!”

Please don’t respond to these.

Troll #2:  “Do you use Cyber Dust?”

You:  “No, What’s Cyber Dust?”

Troll #2:  “Oh.. it is a discreet chat application with no traces left.”

Well, you installed Cyber Dust, and your recent contact immediately started sending you his naked pictures. Your stomach could not bear this torture, and you quickly deleted Cyber Dust along with the guy (who, I suspect, never saw a mirror in his life).

Troll # 3:  “You are so beautiful.”

You:  “Yeah.. I get that a lot.” (Luckily, your dear friend taught you this sarcastic expression.)

Troll #3:  “When are we going for dinner?”

You:  “Never sounds good.”

Just don’t respond to those either.

“Cross-platforms trolls” —people you meet on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and then connect with on LinkedIn. Those can be slightly dangerous, judging by their comments.

Once you have posted that you were bringing your team to one of the trade shows. Here is a comment you have received from one Facebook/LinkedIn “buddy”:

“Oh you went from being single to having a boyfriend, now you are having a team, what’s next- an army?”

To this day I am trying to decrypt this sentence, looking for a small drop of common sense and failing every time. Do me a favor,  block this “Winston Churchill” from all of your sites to eliminate his ingenious comments.

Stalkers—very dangerous, they can show up at your door!

One time you made the mistake of including your cell phone number on your LinkedIn profile (what were you thinking, girl?) You started getting bombarded by random texts at wee hours, messages on Twitter, and emails to your personal email account from a guy who probably would have camped outside of your house if he didn’t live abroad. Thank God for Atlantic Ocean!

Remember, there is no such thing as privacy on social media. You will learn that the hard way.  For some unexplainable reason, people think that they can violate your privacy just because you are active on social media.

But this recent email put your entire troll email collection to shame. Here it is:

“Like that Steve Jobs post is one of my favorites! (he meant one of your posts) So..only a social media diva with a shamelessly courageous personality would appreciate how it came about that I’m messaging you.

Your pic caught my attention and profile did make me crack a smile. I’m sure you’ve left a trail of broken hearts and spirits around the globe, but no matter. We have much to discuss. If you care to. I’ve traveled the globe giving lectures about Internet search and touch on social media as part of that. And I’ve never thought of it, but yes, help demystify it all for many.Let me know when you’re planning to take me out . . . and where. Lol. Have a great day.

ps: several of your pics look like you’re wearing a wedding ring. If so, please disregard this message (well, except for the part about having a nice day)”
Yes, LinkedIn has blocking features, and thank God for those, as they stop some people from writing nonsense. Unfortunately, other people don’t take online rejections well—in their minds, attractiveness is a valid reason for harassment. They see an attractive person as an object who almost “deserves” to be abused.

You are certainly not one who can be easily run over. I know, you fight till the end.

Your beauty (inner and outer) is a priceless gift from God, be grateful for it.

Your heart is just as beautiful as your face, and it belongs to only one man—not the whole LinkedIn nation.

Your beauty is your blessing, and NO ONE can tell you it is your curse or your fault.

So don’t be afraid to tell them : “Go ahead, hate me…because I am, indeed, beautiful.”


Letter #1- The “No” Button

downloadGrowing up as the only child to a single mother, you never accepted the word “NO” as something meaningful or restrictive. That word always had hypothetical rather functional meaning, and never bothered you.  You could get away with murder, as they say in America. But in Russia, as you know, we don’t judge winners, and you’ve always been a winner — a leader, a center of attention, the life of the party, a girl with thousands of friends and with teachers who admired her. You selfish ways of doing things, managing my relationships, dictating your own rules to others, were always accepted and sadly even encouraged by family and friends.

Remember your first rejection when you were 22 years old (just two years ago.) You college boyfriend, whom you had been dating for some time, told you that he wasn’t going to marry you. More than that, he was going to break up with you that summer!!! Huh? Was he out of his mind? NO, REALLY, WAS HE OUT OF HIS DAMN MIND? Remember feeling a hurricane of anger and disbelief filling every cell of you body with a poisonous desire for revenge. Your response to a loss of control was unmanageable anger and self-destruction. And you started to blame yourself for every little fall, every disappointment, every wrong decision and consequential action. You became part of a problem, not a solution.

You developed an imposter syndrome: “First described by psychologists Suzanne Imes, PhD, and Pauline Rose Clance, PhD, in the 1970s, impostor phenomenon occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud. Impostor feelings are generally accompanied by anxiety and, often, depression . “ (American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/index.aspx)

You almost embedded rejection in your “programming function.” The big NO became expected and even welcomed into your personal and professional lives. You own self-inflicted misery would probably have killed you one day, except that you finally realized, after another painful personal disappointment, that your life needed to be, and could be, changed.

Skip to 2007 – first outside sales job in the Metro NY area. Another relationship was over, and nothing was holding you in the cold, snowy Constitutional State.  You had no idea what you were doing. No special sales training and no preparation for more rejection. A constant fear of failure was giving you daily migraines and nightmares.

At one of the monthly sales meeting, you were giving your first sales presentation, in front of your colleagues as a part of the usual exercise, feeling like dying from the anxiety and stress. Nerves got the best of you, and you failed miserably at the whole thing. But this time, you felt differently. You finally got tired of “being sick and tired,” and at the end of the presentation, you have  realized…that YOU NEEDED TO ASK FOR HELP. You gave my big ego a “leave of absence” and reached out to your peers (who loved your dearly) for critique and guidelines.

Finally, you stopped blaming myself for every world catastrophe, and you started looking at the road ahead of you, instead of looking in the rearview mirror. Paraphrasing  Jeffrey Gitomer (you will meet him in person, later) you resigned from a position of General Manager of the Universe. You gave up in order to receive a blessing – the blessing of learning my lesson.

Patricia Fripp, the most successful public speaking coach of all time, once said,

The answer is always NO if you don’t ask.

But what if you do ask, and the answer is still NO?

  • Or, better yet, you work really hard to receive a positive result, and you hear NO again.
  • You and your team train really hard, but you still lose the game.
  • You work every stage of a project – from prospecting to closing (or almost closing) – only to lose that project to the competition.
  • You interview for the job of your dreams, but you don’t receive that phone call back.
  • You meet a guy (or a girl) who you think is perfect for you, but he (or she) doesn’t want to do anything with you. (This one happened to me recently…well, I am certainly not everybody’s cup of tea. )

The list of life’s situations, where you do not get the results as you wanted and expected, is endless. But also endless are life’s opportunities.

Remember this legendary phrase of Mike Corleone from “The Godfather”? (It will become your favorite movie)


Exactly: “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” Not a lot of business decisions are personal, and their consequences do not necessarily point in your direction.

And if they are not personal, you can deal with them with a clear head and an understanding of the nature of possible risks and rewards. The simple principle of finance model says (finance folks will appreciate this) that bigger risk usually means bigger rewards, but at the same time it can lead to bigger losses. In this case, ALWAYS vote for calculated risk decisions.

Failures in sports are inevitable. Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player to ever walk on this planet said:

At the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia (2014) expected their men’s hockey team at least to bring home medals, considering they were playing at home with the help and support of millions of Russian fans. We got NOTHING…NADA, ZERO, НИЧЕГО. Whose fault was that? Players, coaches, fans, expectations, pressure? I don’t know. I do know one thing, though: most Russian fans, including your mother, still don’t want to hear anything about our mighty hockey team, bluntly blaming them for their loss. We don’t like losers in Russia; it is a tough country to grow up in. But we all share a huge, unconditional love for this amazing, courageous and exciting sport, for its legacy and our country. Soon after Sochi, in April of 2014, the Russian team became the World Champions.

Business projects’ losses are the lessons we learn every day. That is why you will conduct meetings called “Lessons Learned” at the end of each project, whether it was successful or not. There is always something positive in every negative instance.

For every job we don’t get, we get another, a new opportunity to explore.

For every relationship we lose, or don’t succeed at, there’s another one, around the corner. Think about it. There are 7 billion people living on this planet. There has got to be someone out there for you. (You haven’t met him yet, I have.. You will learn about him in my last letter, just be patient.)

Just open your heart and your mind, and don’t get caught up in your own drama or self-pity. Nobody likes whiners!!

Rejection is painful and sometimes can be deadly.  By losing we win our blessings.

Remember, Tashie, the biggest blessing is that your heart knows how to love, how to give it and how to let it go.