Tag Archives: work

Millennials: Why Can’t I Have Everything I Want?

Thought Catalog published my venn diagram explaining the Millennial conundrum. I suggest you consume while also reading the GYPSY piece at Wait But Why. 


Related Post: A diagram on Republican views on reproductive rights at Jezebel

Related Post: A venn diagram on being married and being sexist. 

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Why can’t we have a men’s leadership group?

Man, do I hate that question; you will get my most ferocious eye-roll.

I find the answer to “Why can’t we have a men’s leadership group” so painfully obvious, “Because the whole world is your men’s leadership group, you nitwit. Congress? Men’s leadership group. The Supreme Court? Men’s leadership group. The Oscars? Men’s leadership group. Fortune 500 companies? Men’s leadership group. That’s why.”

This week at Role/Reboot, I wrote about a related phenomenon, dubbed by Sociological Images as Men are People, Women are Women. This is the “male default,” where you see “Deodorant” and “Women’s Deodorant,” “Bic Pens” and “Bic Pens for Her,” and other examples of the assumptive category of something genderless being male and the sideline/variation/”specialty” version is for women. In the early debate over this essay, the question was how Women’s Leadership Groups fit into this conversation; aren’t they a form of this exact thing? Yeah, maybe, but also…. not really. Let’s discuss!


Related Post: Should women act like men at work? What does that even mean?

Related Post: What if we had yoga retreats instead of golf outings at work?


Filed under Gender, Media, Republished!

Why do women act like men? Because it works. But should it?

This week for Role/Reboot I wrote about the advice that women often get (and give!) about approaching workplace situations “like a man.” We think we will be more successful (measured in raises, promotions, respect, etc) if we mimic male peers, and truthfully, research says we probably will. Is that okay? Even referring to traits like ambition, assertiveness, and boldness as “masculine,” is problematic, obviously, but these are traits we actively cultivate in boys and often suppress in girls. Then, decades later, we reward people who exhibit these traits and cluck cluck at people who need to act like them to get recognized for their work. Doesn’t seem exactly fair, eh?

Wouldn’t it be cool if we thought that the traits we cultivate in girls were  as valuable (things like organization, neatness, collaboration, creativity)?  We might be coaching our male friends to act more like women in job interviews and salary negotiations. Can you imagine?



On a semi-related note, I just finished Their Eyes Were Watching Godas you know, and the critical essay at the end by Mary Helen Washington seems relevant. Many critics wonder why Janie doesn’t speak up for herself during the final trial scene (given that it’s a book about a woman finding her voice). Washington writes:

“Although I, too, am uncomfortable with the absence of Janie’s voice in the courtroom scene, I think that silence reflects Hurston’s discomfort with the model of the male hero who asserts himself through his powerful voice….When Janie says at the end of her story that “talkin’ don’t amount to much” if it’s divorced from experience, she is testifying to the limitations of voice and critiquing the culture that celebrates orality to the exclusion of inner growth.”

Related Post: How I asked for advice on a raise and got one.

Related Post: I read Lean In so you don’t have.

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Sunday Scraps 107


1. GENDER: Dude writes for Quartz about adding a Mr. to his gender-neutral name and suddenly having doors open. Kind of a duh piece, but reassuring nonetheless.

2. BOOKS: Highly useful and equally addictive tool that recommends books based on other things you’ve read.

3. INTERWEBZ: Fun game from MIT where you map all of your email over all time and see how you email the most.

4. MERMAIDS: Excellent NYT essay from the excellent Virginia Sole-Smith on mermaid shows.

5. ART: Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls is awesome in her musical rebuttal to the idiotic Daily Mail who ragged on her for an exposed breast (NSFW).

6. MILLENNIALS: CNN.com comic by Matt Bors about why ripping on millennials is a) old news and b) boring.

Related Post: Sunday 106: Dustin Hoffman, Sex Ed, and Roxane Gay on a race-based VIDA test

Related Post: Sunday 105: Bodies that matter, isolated islands, literacy tests, etc.


Filed under Art, Books, Gender, Media, Really Good Writing by Other People

What if instead of work trips to golf courses, we had yoga retreats?

My  new piece for Role/Reboot is about gender and the workplace. I work in tech, as you know, and there’s this phenomenon that I call the “treehouse mentality.” It’s basically like the old boy’s club, except replace brandy and cigars with video games and porn. It’s more juvenile, but it’s the same idea.

I kind of get it; for a while, tech has been this secret space of very smart, very nerdy dudes. Because they were so isolated, they were able to create a work environment that suited them perfectly. Now the treehouse is being invaded by girls (though not as fast as we might like) and they’re pointing at all the pictures of boobs on the wall and being all like, “Yo, guys, you’ve got to get rid of this shit.”


On one hand, I understand; their secret space is being invaded. On the other hand, well, it was all theirs for a while, now it’s time to grow up and open the gates.

I was inspired by a great Bob Martin essay on the software company 8th Light’s blog called “There Are Ladies Present.” He writes about trying, and at first failing, to welcome women to the tech industry. He errs on the side of treating them too daintily, which they don’t like, and this essay is his exploration of where the lines fall:

Have we created a locker room environment in the software industry? Has it been male dominated for so long that we’ve turned it into a place where men relax and tell fart and dick jokes amongst themselves to tickle their pre-pubescent personas? When we male programmers are together, do we feel like we’re in a private place where we can drop the rules, pretenses, and manners?

Related Post: Brogramming

Related Post: I’m reading Sheryl Sandberg so you don’t have to

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So What Do You Do Exactly? Hair Model Edition

grace hair 1When I was a kid my favorite part of getting my hair cut was paging through those big coffee table books of crazy hairstyles. Remember when those tiny rubberbanded twists were all the rage? I always wondered, who are these people that waltz around rocking these edgy bowl cuts or mint-green stripes? Welp, turns out, I know one of them! This is Grace, and for the latest edition of my jobs series, So What Do You Do Exactly?, she will tell us a little about being a hair model.

What’s your actual job title? This isn’t so much a real job as an adult “extracurricular activity” [ed. note: Grace has a "real" job too], but when get hired for things I am either a “demo model” or a “presentation model”.  I mostly fall in to the category of “creative cut and color”, which tends to mean asymmetrical or severe looking cuts and colors not commonly or naturally found in human hair.

What would your title be if it described what you actually do? I work on event-based contract for a major salon brand as a hair “demo model.” That means I get my hair cut and colored by creative directors of different salons (basically, the top stylists and colorists, who set the tone for the styles that are “in”).

I think the most accurate descriptor would probably be “living doll”– my head and hair tend to be an experiment ground for whichever instructor is playing around with it that day. They know I’m quite open so I’ve wound up with pretty much every hair cut or color you can imagine. For public events that aren’t just in the salon, there is a makeup artist and wardrobe situation going on too.

grace hair 6How on earth did you get into this line of work? Very simply: I got my hair cut one day, and one thing led to another! A friend in college turned me on to this website where you could sign up to get a free haircut from an “apprentice” at a salon who was auditioning to be a full stylist, and one day I went to quite a fancy salon for my free haircut and the head stylist asked me if I’d modeled before, and asked me back to model for an in-salon training they were going to be having.
From there, I wound up doing a photo shoot with the same salon (You know those big pictures of people’s heads and faces up in a lot of salons? I’m one of them!) and some work as a color model for another salon. This was back in 2010 and I’ve been working for them regularly ever since. As I understand it, I am desirable as a hair model because I amiable and willing to pull off very creative work– I have very thick, dark hair that grows in stick-straight, takes color well, and I like to keep my hair short. I can pretty easily wear the kinds of haircuts people want to see as an example of creative work but don’t want to wear themselves– super angular or asymmetrical looks and “circus colors” for the most part.
grace hair 4How many different haircuts have you had? Best? Worst?
I honestly can’t say how many different cuts I’ve had– in fact I’m pretty much sure I’ve only had the same haircut twice since I’ve started (this December and January actually, when a stylist I was modeling for was getting really in to classic cuts “invented” by Vidal Sassoon, and I had the right hair type to show one, the five-point cut.)
I think my favorite was a few days before I graduated from college– I did a show where the stylist asked me what my school color was (maroon!) and what color the gown was (black!) and gave me these amazing angular bangs that were dyed maroon and intentionally super awesome peeking out from under a graduation hat.
The good thing is there’s really no such thing as a bad haircut because the haircut I get on stage will often be completely different than the one I go home with– they let me know when they’re illustrating techniques that aren’t “wearable” (say, chin-length wispy sideburns or bangs that cover the eyes) and are totally not offended if I ask them to change the cut or adjust the color afterwards.
grace hair 3Do you get to go to hair shows like the ones Chris Rock featured in Good Hair?  I’ve actually never seen Good Hair! But, I do a show every year called America’s Beauty Show at the Chicago convention center that is huge and really over the top, where lots of different salons and brands from all over the US show their work. The group I work for tends to be one of the classier ones there– cut and color with makeup and wardrobe, but no wigs, extensions, etc– but you will see girls (and guys) working for other groups with big hair, huge added-in hairpieces, body paint, etc. Shows are actually the best, though, because you get paid the most for doing them– depending on the number of days you work it can be in the high hundreds of dollars.
Sidenote on the money thing since I know I would wonder if I were the one reading this: There is money in doing this, but it’s not a living wage. Sometimes you’re just getting the free haircut (which if you had to pay for it, would be a $200-300 experience, so that’s nice by itself), but for more public events you do get paid a base rate per day or per event; I used my modeling money to pay for my books while I was in school, so it was useful income but not life-sustaining.
grace hair 5What would we be surprised to know about the hair modeling industry? Most people who do hair modeling are not who you’d be looking at on the street thinking, “Wow, that girl must be a model.” Hair modeling tends to be a lot more forgiving in terms of height and body shape/size; I’m only about 5’6″ and I eat food regularly and with much gusto.
You do need to be able to walk in heels comfortably, but the “model walk” that’s actually desirable is not so much a strut and hip-swag as an “I am comfortable walking in heels and can go in a straight line”. While I’ve seen a lot of the traditional super tall skinny model-type at hair shows working for other companies, the group I work for especially tends to just pull people that have the look they’re going for when they come in for hair cuts (like I did) or by standing outside of art schools.
Related Post: So What Do You Do Exactly? Tween Lit Edition
Related Post: So What Do You Do Exactly? T-Shirt Edition


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So What Do You Do Exactly? Tween Lit Edition

Liz dressed up for Harry Potter, obviously

Liz dressed up for Harry Potter, obviously

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an entry in my jobs series, So What Do You Do Exactly?  but today I’ve got a neat one from my friend Liz. For anyone that ever loved the Alanna quarter, E.L. Konisberg, Animorphs, or Laurie Halse Anderson, she has the coolest gig ever as the content coordinator for two blogs about kid and teen literature.

What’s your actual title? Content Coordinator for Teenreads.com and Kidsreads.com, two book review websites that are a part of The Book Report Network.

What would your title be if it actually described what you do? Editorial director of Teenreads.com and Kidsreads.com. Read: Queen of YA and children’s lit

Can you describe a typical day? Because I am the only person who works on these two websites (which host book reviews, editorial features, contests and a blog) I pretty much prioritize whatever I’d like to get done. Usually when I first get into the office, I’ll answer emails (these could be from reviewers looking for their books, the Teenreads.com Teen Board, authors/publishers/publicists about interviews or blog posts or industry news from my boss or from newsletters to which I subscribe). I’ll schedule social media for the two websites for the day, hopefully I found something interesting from the emails to post on Facebook or Twitter.

Three of the four weeks in the month, I send out a newsletter (two for Teenreads and one for Kidsreads) so I’ll usually make the features to then write about them in the newsletter. However, I also could be writing interview questions, editing or writing reviews, editing or writing blog posts, creating review lists to send to reviewers, requesting books from publishers, raving about a book to a publisher or coming up with my own features and pitching those. I recently created a feature for Teenreads that is about to become a big monthly feature for the site — I’ve signed up three books and am looking for more.After work, I usually take some books home and read those to see which books I may want to feature or inquire after. There are also networking events to go to and book presentations by the publisher every few months or so where I get to buddy up to publicists, editors and librarians. I’m sort of all over the place. But I get to be enthusiastic about 93% of the time.

What’s the state of young adult and children’s literature these days? Oh man. Children’s lit is a little all over the place right now. It’s finally moving past vampires…but not really. The great thing about Young Adult is how everything is really crossover, meaning that the genre boundaries that are seen in adult lit don’t have the same bearing. Lines are always really blurred; you may think you are getting a story about a prep school girl who is finally realizing her life is privileged and isn’t the only thing out there…and then she’s talking to ghosts.

What is getting more popular right now is realistic fiction; this is the really aggressive, social issue-heavy, “life sucks but it’s okay” kind of book, which is actually my favorite. Think Perks of Being a Wallflower. You all definitely need to check out Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan. I did an interview with him a few months ago and he’s just amazing. Another book that was all the rage this year that you MUST read if you have not is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. John Green is a huge in children’s lit; he has an enormous online following who call themselves “nerdfighters.” So is David Levithan who is the author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (among many others) and was the editor of The Hunger Games.

What tween books should adults be reading that we’re probably missingWhat’s really becoming popular in the tween market are multi-platform books. This means that a book is accompanied by an online component, as well. There are two main series that I know of that work this angle, both from Scholastic. Check out The 39 Clues and Infinity Ring. What’s really cool about these is that they base a lot of the story on history so you get a little extra knowledge alongside action and adventure AND you have to read the books in order to play the game online. Tricky, right?
Has the e-book revolution really tapped into the young reader market? I’m actually working on analyzing a survey that we ran a few months ago that focuses a bit on this question. The answer is…not really. What’s incredibly interesting about Young Adult lit is how many adults actually read it. So while sales of certain novels may be heavy in e-books, it may be the adults who are buying them, which is convenient if these adults don’t want anyone to see that they’re reading books written for teens. A big problem with e-books and teens is that they don’t have the means (or the desire?) to spend their precious money on an e-reader. So unless their parents buy them one, hand one down or they are a lucky enough teen to have a smart phone/iPad etc, they don’t have a convenient device to read e-books on.
Where do you get your content from? Do you solicit from writers? Or borrow from blogs? I’d say we do a little of both. Right now, we’re working on our blog outreach so we post content from other blogs and websites through our social media accounts. But most of our content we either write ourselves, is written for us by reviewers or the Teen Board.
We also get some of our content from authors. If I think a book is compelling, then I’ll email the book’s publicist and inquire whether the author is available for interviews or if they’d write a blog post for us. One of my favorite blogs defends the love triangle trope and is by author Gennifer Albin (whose book Crewel you must check out if you like dystopian) and this came about because I could not put down her book and had to talk more about it since the rest of the office would not comply.
Having so much exposure to tween lit, are you terrified for the future of society? Or do you think they’re going to be awesome? Naw. I think they’ll be fine. Actually, I think they’ll be more than fine. It’s easy to focus on the negatives on the future generation (the first immersed in social media and made up of people who think Memoirs of a Geisha is a “classic”), but this is also the generation where YA lit is emphasized like it never has before.
I love children’s lit because of it’s complications: it’s an ever-changing demographic, there are gate-keepers that may prevent kids from getting the stories they need and there are so many melodramatic moments to their everyday life! The one thing that remains constant are the people who care enough to try to find these stories to help teens realize universal truths that they aren’t aware of yet. This may seem a little vocational, but that’s the sentiment you’ll find with many who are in this specific segment of the publishing industry. Plus, you get to read YA like it’s your job…because it is.
If you want more from Liz or her websites, follow her at @teenreads and @Kids_reads. Want to write for her or chat about YA? Email her at Liz AT  bookreporter DOT com.

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