Fraud Alert

My debit card information was stolen and used for unauthorized activity, and not for the first time. The bank flagged the account for suspicious activity, reversed one charge, and then put a hold on the account. What amazes me is NOT that the information was stolen but that the bank’s monitoring software is so accurate that it is able to tell what charges I legitimately make and which are suspicious. On the one hand, I am frightened that my purchasing behavior is the source of so much data. On the other, I am glad that the monitoring software is so effective that it is able to detect suspicious activity so quickly and accurately. In fact, I am fascinated by it. I’d love to know more about what types of variables go into the logarithm.

I should probably be more concerned about the stolen data that I am. This has happened before, and, undoubtedly, it will happen again. The biggest inconvenience is dealing with organizations and companies with whom I have recurring payments. However, I know that I need to be more careful and mindful of fraud and identity theft. If you want to know what you can do to protect yourself, read this article in the Wall Street Journal.

Meet Sunny

Sunny is the mascot for National Justice for Animals week, running today, February 18, through Friday, February 24. Sunny is a sweet, spirited dog who was rescued from a horrible abuse case. The abuser was successfully prosecuted with the help of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. They do wonderful work for animals. Please support them through a donation or spreading information about their message.

Just Say No

No headed business man with NO thought bubble.

Image courtesy of Pakorn /

When we talked about individual differences in my OB class this semester, I tried to stress the importance of self-awareness to the self-management process, which in turn leads to better people management skills. Visiting the Harvard Business Review website, I noticed the article “Nine Practices to Help You Say No” which I thought would benefit the students in their self-management practice. I also have a tendency to avoid saying no, so this article seemed like something I might benefit from, too.

Most of the tips are familiar. Until today, I’d always thought of myself as someone who says yes because I like to “be nice.” I’d never thought before how much of my over-commitment stems from not wanting to miss out. Being harried, of course, creates its own type of missing out in the form of burnout and distraction, but at the moment the request is conveyed, it’s hard to say no to all the possibilities that can arise from the opportunity.

Forgotten Phone

Often, I run late. I miscalculate how long it will take to finish a task or to park or walk from A to B. Today was no different. Though I’d started the morning with plenty of time to make it to my afternoon meeting, when I needed to leave the house, I was rushing to get my material together, find a quick snack for the car, and secure a Diet Coke. 

Alas, once I got to campus, my phone wasn’t in my purse, and I realized I’d left it on top of some boxes in the living room where I’d carefully placed it to remind me to put it in my purse. At first, I had a bit of panic. What if I needed to call someone? (Note: I call grandma every few weeks, and that is it.) More importantly, how would I take pictures? How would I check my email? What if something was required of me? Normally, I have my phone near me at all times. I remember a line from Dare Me, which you should read if you haven’t, about the rivalries among the girls in a cheerleading squad, about the omnipresent cell phones, their hearts in their hands
I know that many of my students have a real addiction to their cell phones (and they should read this article in Psychology Today.) Maybe my relationship with my iPhone is a simple as that. Not having my phone today, though, relieved me of a burden. I know that the recommendation to turn off electronics is not new or revolutionary, but, after the initial anxiety, knowing that I absolutely could not check my email, at least for the afternoon, allowed me a nice respite from responsibility.