Tag Archives: job

Long Time No Talk! Some new stuff…

I’ve been thinking a lot about Matilda lately. You remember Matildaright? The Roald Dahl masterpiece about a tiny girl with terrible parents who can magically move things with her mind? [SPOILER ALERT, though seriously, this book is 26 years old so you probably would have read it if you were going to read it] At the end, when Matilda finally gets some quality education, from Miss Honey instead of the evil Miss Trunchbull, her magical powers go away. When she finally puts her brain to some serious learning, she doesn’t have all the extra mental energy to move salt shakers across the table.

I have a new job and I feel like Matilda when her powers vanished. A little bit bereft, but mostly thrilled to be fully engaged by the thing that I theoretically am supposed to spend so much of my time doing. I had…ahem… outgrown my previous role, and I was directing all my mental energy towards writing, blogging, and communicating with you fine people of the Interwebz.

I hope that explains a bit about my recent absence. I’m planning to continue writing and posting as much as is feasible, because I love it and it’s good practice, but if it looked like I was using magical powers to produce content before, know that it was only a Matilda situation.

That said, I’ve written a few things lately that you should read. This week, I wrote about the douchery of dudes who try to avoid wearing condoms through pressure, guilt-tripping, shaming or old-fashioned TRICKERY. I got SO many stories from people who have experienced this terrible phenomenon. On the bright side, I learned a new term, “micro-consents,” which references all the many other “yeses” we say after the initial “yes” that help us continually stay on the same page as our partners re things like protection and preferences.


Speaking of new jobs… I got this job I’m doing now through an all-lady, invite-only Facebook group. For a split-second I felt guilty about “taking advantage” of this “exclusive” network, but then I was all like, OH RIGHT OLD BOYS CLUBS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR EVER. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the specific values of all-lady spaces:


Lastly, if you didn’t catch my segment on The Morning AMp a couple of weeks ago, listen to me, Molly Adams, and Brian Babylon chat about Mt. Holyoke’s new policy about transgender students, the new “normal” family, and other fun stuff.


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Filed under Gender, Republished!, Sex

Speak Up, Or Else

Whitney Johnson (image: HBR)

This Harvard Business Review piece by Whitney Johnson bowled me over. I kept smacking my knee and shouting like a lunatic, “I do that,” and “Oh my god, I do that toooo!” I was alone while reading it, which didn’t stop me from repeatedly looking up, swiveling my head, hoping a stranger had wandered into my living room so I could tell them all about it. It’s seriously that good.

The writer recaps the many better business arguments for including women at the leadership table. But then, she very astutely points out that, “Unless women speak up — and I don’t mean just talk, but get fluent in and remain fluent in a domain of expertise, — the whole idea that women can bring something extra to the table and be game changers won’t happen.”

Sheryl Sandberg’s whole thing is about sitting at the table, and I don’t discount that advice. In fact, without it, I absolutely wouldn’t have the job I have now. But Johnson’s build on Sandberg’s argument is crucial; who cares if you’re at the table if you don’t open your mouth? And who cares if you do open your mouth if you don’t have anything productive to contribute? Becoming an expert is the bottom line, but developing the inclination and ability to share that expertise is actually more impactful in the long run.

Johnson gives three concrete ways to cultivate this mentality, but my favorite is #2: Talk Shop with Other Women. With female colleagues, I rarely talk about work (even at work!). We talk about our relationships with our mothers, upcoming weddings of our friends, soup recipes, celebrity break-ups, and the pros and cons of potential haircuts. It’s fun, we bond, and in some cases, we build really rewarding out-of-work friendships.What we don’t do, however, is practice articulating the challenges of our jobs. When I listen in on lunch conversations or elevator chit-chat of male peers, 90% of it is work-related. That may seem repetitive, but imagine how much more cogent they are in a meeting with their boss after they’ve just hashed out the issue in casual conversation with a peer? Johnson says, “When we flex our deep domain-expertise muscles, they get stronger. As we practice talking shop, we become more confident in sharing our knowledge and opinions, in any situation.”

Related Post: Sheryl Sandburg, the original post.

Related Post: More knee-smack inducing advice from Mika Brzezinski.


Filed under Gender, Really Good Writing by Other People

Why Am I Afraid of Math?

Third week in a row of sex-less Good Men Project pieces. Don’t worry, I’ve got my eye on some sex-heavy topics for the near future. In the meantime, however, I’m writing about math and science and gender. Specifically, why am I so afraid of math? Why have I never taken calculus? Why does a new job description make me a little anxious? Oh yeah… and there’s some stuff about Barbie, Forever 21 and JCPenny, too:

Related Post: There’s something called the “math self-concept” and American girls don’t have it.

Related Post: A practical guide for buying toys for girls. Bustiers? No. Miniskirts? No.


Filed under Education, Family, Gender, Republished!

“What Do You Do for a Living?” Do You Have an Hour?

In fifth grade, like all public school students in Massachusetts (nationwide?), I went through the drug-prevention program D.A.R.E. At the end of the program, we each had to write essays about why we would never do drugs. The winners got to read theirs on stage.* In my essay, I detailed all of the ways drugs would prevent me from achieving my goals of becoming a soccer player, a teacher, or an artist (I was a naive 11-year-old). I did not become any of these things.

Those people in the back? Exactly how I feel about my job.

I do a job that didn’t exist four years ago. It’s a job that can’t be encapsulated in one word, and usually requires a good four sentences to fully describe. Even a paragraph doesn’t really explain how I spend my day. According to the MacArthur Foundation, 65% of kids in elementary school now will likely end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet.  This fact and its implications for education are the subject of Cathy Davidson’s new book, Now You See It.

The NYT review of Davidson’s book is a great read in and of itself. “And above all, we must stop disparaging digital prowess just because some of us over 40 don’t happen to possess it. An institutional grudge match with the young can sabotage an entire culture.” I’m not over 40, but I do find myself in the camp of the doubters and disparagers from time to time. Since signing up for Twitter I have wasted hours out of every week reading about Kardashian antics. However, I have also watched more presidential press conferences (the White House tweets links to livestreams), widened the range of my reading material, and learned about the death of Bin Laden, the Oslo attacks and World Cup scores instantaneously.

Blessing and a curse? For sure. But it’s here to stay, so I best get on board before those 8-year-olds steal my job.

*I did not win. For the record, both kids who did win spent the bulk of the next 8 years high as a kite. D.A.R.E. failed to make any statistical impact and was defunded in 1998.

Related Post: Cory Doctorow on kids, the internet, privacy and surveillance.

Related Post: I hit 1,000 Facebook friends and can’t shut up about it.


Filed under Education, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People