Category Archives: Career

Disregard Misogynists, Acquire Funds #EqualPayDay | BEDA Day 12

Today is Equal Pay Day, a day in which women around the world work to raise awareness about the gender pay gap. In case you were wondering, the gender pay gap is real. Period. End of Story. We should not be debating this anymore.

In the United States, women make $0.79 for every dollar a man makes. That gap widens for women of color, mothers, and transgender individuals.  Ask your friends, ask your coworkers, ask your mom: they’ll probably have some personal experience with income inequality. Sure, we can populate higher-paying industries and negotiate all we want, but this problem is not going away. It’s a thing, and if you don’t believe me, go read this article on elle.com immediately.

As someone just getting started in her career, reading about the wage gap and seeing it in action is incredibly disheartening. Somehow, my work is less valuable because I’m not a man. It is worth less for reasons I simply can’t change. Why is that? Because maybe I’ll pop out a kid someday? Because I’ll eventually have a man to rely on to feed and clothe me (God forbid I marry anyone else)? Or is it simply because I’m not wanted in the workplace?

What makes this all even more bananas is the fact that it is SO EXPENSIVE to be a woman. We get charged more for products that are literally just painted pink. I cry every month when I have to hand over $10 for a box of tampons. Once you add clothes, hair, and makeup it all gets kind of absurd. These things sound frivolous to complain about but it all comes down to a higher cost of living that our salaries can’t always cover.

So, what can we do about this? Personally, I’m working on being more confident in the workplace. Sticking up for yourself is hard, especially when you’re an anxious mess who has no idea what she’s talking about half the time. I’m working on the whole “fake it til you make it” thing and I know I’ll get there eventually. On a more global level, though, we can all help by speaking out about income inequality. I urge you all to have a conversation with your friends and family about this issue, and not just today. We need to take the stigma out of talking about money, and this is a good place to start. If you want to go even further (and you should), you can urge your representatives to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Not sure who to call? This site has you covered.

I know I’m subjecting myself to every awful reaction the internet has to offer by posting this, but let the yell all they want. I can’t just sit here anymore. It’s high time we fixed this.

 

Photo Credit: Ak~i on Flickr

Shut Up and Write, Already | BEDA Day 1

I’ve been thinking about identities a lot recently.

DON’T CLICK AWAY YET. This won’t take long.

I, like many others, kind of define myself by what I do. Vlogger, performer, assistant, traveler, they’re all hats I’ve worn over the years. One title I’ve felt particularly distant from recently is one of the one’s I’ve held the longest – writer. I talk so much about writing and wanting to write and other people’s writing…and yet I’m not actually writing all that often.

Part of it is the job. I work 50 hours a week, 90% of which is spent in front of a computer. It’s pretty difficult to motivate yourself to sit in front of a screen and churn out words after doing so for 10 hours straight. Of course, plenty of writers can make it work. I just haven’t quite gotten to that point yet.

Another part of it is that I’ve started writing for other people – and getting paid for it. Which is great! Side hustles are super-important in this economy. However, I’ve found it hard to motivate myself to work on my own stuff when I can whip up a post for a client and make a few bucks. This all sounds more like a #humblebrag than a complaint, but it’s something I’m feeling. I only have so much creative energy to give.

It’s time to put those excuses aside. For this month at least.

In an attempt to get back in the swing of things, I’m taking part in BEDA – Blog Every Day in April. I have attempted these “create something every day” challenges before to varying degrees of success (High Point – completing Vlog Every Day in August in 2011, Low Point – giving up on VEDA after 3 days in 2012). The key to these challenges I’ve found is two-fold:

  1. Preparation – I’m writing some of these posts ahead of time. This might go against the rules in some writers’ minds, but I take “Blog Every Day in April” to mean “Post on your Blog Every Day in April.” And it’s my blog so I make the rules, punk.
  2. Being Okay with Imperfection – When you’re posting something new every day, sometimes it’s more important to just get something online than to make sure it’s the best thing you’ve ever written. Not everything I post this month is going to be great. It probably won’t even be that good. But it’ll be there.

So here we go. 30 posts in 30 days. Will it actually happen? We’ll see. But it doesn’t hurt to try. And I’m trusting y’all to keep me accountable. Comment, share with your friends, nag me on Twitter, whatever you feel like doing. I’m looking forward to this month, y’all.
Here we go.

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The Incredible Motivating Power of Hamilton

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with running. In elementary school, I dreaded running laps in gym class, and tried to come up with as many excuses as possible to get out of the mile run test. The first time I finished the test without stopping, I thought I was having a heart attack. I avoided running as much as possible from then on. Still, I’d always get a little envious of my friends on the cross country team. A nice run in the woods after school seemed appealing, but at what cost? I knew I was never going to be a runner, so I never actively pursued it.
Until last week.

Last Friday I woke up early and went to the gym, as I usually aspire to do 2 to 3 times a week. As most of my usual cardio machines were taken, I went for the treadmill. I started running. And then I kept running. After a while I realized I had run a full mile, and I didn’t feel like I was about to collapse and die. “Who am I?” I thought. “Are we in the end times?”

This dramatic change of character was all (well, at least 80%) thanks to the release of the Hamilton original cast recording. As I made my way through each brilliantly-written, produced and performed number, I just wanted to keep going. I was involved in the show, reliving each scene and step in my head. Once I finished up my whole walk/run cardio portion, I actually felt really good and ready to take on the day. Weird, right?

There’s something about this show that makes me want to do something. Alexander Hamilton, or at least the version portrayed in Hamilton, was incredibly prolific throughout his relatively short life. He was always working on something, writing like he was “running out of time.” He wrote 51 of the 85 essays that make up the Federalist Papers, over the course of six months. That amount of writing of that caliber blows my mind. I’ll be impressed if I write that many blog posts over the next six months.

I first saw Hamilton in previews at the Public Theater back in January (#humblebrag). I cried profusely at the end, which almost never happens. It is amazing to watch something come together over 6 years, even if it’s just as a bystander on the internet. But I didn’t know it was going to be that good. More than that, it came into my life at a time when I really needed it. I was just starting out in a new job and wasn’t sure where it was going to take me. When a new assistant position opened up, “My Shot” started playing on a loop in my head and I knew I had to go for it. And I’m incredibly glad I did.

So thank you, Lin-Manuel, for sharing this story. I know I’ll keep coming back to this cast recording for years when I need a kick in the pants, words of comfort, or just something to dance around to in my apartment. And, of course, it will always be in heavy rotation at the gym.

Enjoyment

Blog, I have been ignoring you, and for that I am truly sorry. To be fair, I’m not where I thought I would be when I started this blog a few months ago, so I’m now in the process of figuring out what to do with this thing. It’s time to be honest with y’all. When I created this blog, I was seriously considering transferring to a different university. I was unhappy with how my freshman year had gone and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay in the major I chose when I applied to this school. I started this blog as a way to chronicle my transfer process and the transition once I got to the new college of my choice. Upon returning to school, I realized that I didn’t want to leave and wanted to find ways to make the most of my university experience, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing when I haven’t been blogging.

So, here’s what you need to know about my life right now.

In 58 days I’m going to London to study abroad for ten weeks. I’m incredibly excited and incredibly nervous. Luckily, I’ll be joining several of my high school friends over there, which makes me much more comfortable to go over there. It’s always nice to have some familiar faces when you’re in a relatively unfamiliar place. I’m excited to travel and see everything that London has to offer. I’ll probably spend a fair amount of time stalking British TV stars. Probably not. Ok, I totally will. It’s been ten years since I was last in the UK. It’s time to get back.

While I’m waiting to go to the UK, I’m taking five pretty difficult classes. It probably wasn’t wise to load up on classes while I’m preparing to leave the country, but it was the only way I could stay on track to graduate. Two literature classes in one term is not exactly the best idea, but it had to be done. I feel like a lot of the university process, or at least my experience with it, is waiting. You wait for summer, in my case at least you wait to go on study abroad, you wait to get a job, you wait to graduate. I feel like I need to stop waiting and enjoy the moment. Of course, that’s easier said than done when you have a fair amount of planning to do.

I’ve also been participating in the Channel 4 New Year Revolution for much of this month. The little challenges I get every day have really helped with the whole “staying in the moment” goal. You can check out my videos and posts on the challenges on my YouTube channel and Revolution page.

I’m going to go enjoy the moment by finishing my chicken tikka masala and heading over to choir practice now. You are all wonderful people. I hope you know that.

Yearning to Learn

I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life.

There. I said it. It’s taken me about 3 years to admit it, and I’ll be honest, having it out there in the open feels pretty damn good.

That said, there are certainly things I like to do. I like to write. Well, obviously I like to write. I would be wasting my time making this blog if I didn’t. I like to play the ukulele, but the internet needs another mediocre ukulele player like Heidi Montag needs more plastic surgery. Although, now that I think about it, it’s going to take a fair amount of work to reverse the damage that girl has done to her body. I also enjoy mindlessly tooling around the internet, but I’m not sure how I can make that into a profitable and respectable career.

I felt so much pressure in high school to know exactly what I wanted to do. Of course, most of that pressure came from myself. I saw all of my high-achieving friends doing amazing things and going to Africa and saving the world and getting near-perfect scores on their SATs. I thought they all knew what they were doing. Some of them did, some of them didn’t. I couldn’t imagine them complexly and therefore couldn’t see that they didn’t have it all together. So few of us do at 16 or 17.

So, I sort of picked some subject that I was interested and told my parents, “Here. This is who I’m going to be.” No questions. No doubts. No listening to their concerns. I dove right in.

That never actually works out, does it.

Now, after all these years, I’m allowing myself to dabble. I want to discover things that I had no idea I could love before. I want to see the world. I want to read books upon books upon books. I want to see a musical and attend a lecture given by the number one Proust scholar in the country in the same week, because when you think about it, they’re really quite similar. I want to explore my spirituality, my nationality, my sexuality.

I want to be a student.