July 17, 2013
On the heels of two weeks ago’s Bullish Life: If You’re Pro-Choice, How Do You Make a Good Choice?, let’s see a reader question that is basically the exact opposite. More
July 17, 2013
Oh look, interest rates on student loans just doubled. July 4th approaches, and my patriotism is substantially dampened by this slap in the face to young Americans.
Let me tell you about a fairy-tale time: the late 1990?s, also known as the dot-com bubble. College students with what sometimes seemed like any kind of tech experience at all were being recruited to drop out of college and take six-figure jobs. I heard of someone getting six figures straight out of high school after learning to code in his childhood bedroom. Even web content writers with no tech skills at all were being recruited and making big bucks!
Here is a 1999 article from Inc. magazine about a startup called JustBalls.com. It sold balls. You know, soccer balls, baseballs, golf balls. Just … balls. No bats. No mitts! JUST BALLS. By 2001, the company had received $13 million in venture funds to pursue (that is, get their balls into) the “affinity and premium ball market.”
I’m saying that if JustBalls was taken for brilliance, it’s not hard to see how a hip young person could teach himself some kind of tech skills in his dorm room, head to Silicon Valley, and get a cool job that also included equity in the company. More
July 17, 2013
I have often turned to your column for a healthy dose of common sense. I am writing to you because I think I am a strong, career-minded young woman and I want to make a good choice about my future. I am in my twenties, and after working for a few years, I went back to school in 2011 and did post-grad studies in a highly competitive creative field. I have been working in that field for about a year, assembling a portfolio and generally trying to get my career off the ground. It is going well. Over the weekend, I took a few pregnancy tests that turned out positive and on Monday, my doctor confirmed that I am almost 6 weeks pregnant. I am not currently in a relationship with the father. I was put on a new pill 3 months ago and we had been using condoms. I have told the father. He is doing his best to be supportive but is overall very surprised and finds the whole situation surreal. I am aware that the reality of this potential being is forming with every passing moment but I am also trying not to rush through it. One site I came across suggested that I make a pros and cons list for each scenario. It is attached. I know that no one can tell me what to do in this scenario but I would appreciate any words of guidance that you can give me now. Thank you.
You know, anti-choice people often presume that pro-choice people just love having abortions. As though abortions are really fun and we can’t wait to have more in order to spite our opponents’ beliefs. This, of course, is not true. But on the other hand, the pro-choice side is so often put on the defensive (today, Texas — another day, another state) that all our energy is expended defending the right to abortion. Little energy is left for the “choice” part. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean that exercising that right is automatically the best decision for you. Read More
June 20, 2013
Around 2006, I’m out at a bar with my new guy. His friends have just arrived, so everyone stands in a circle while he makes introductions.
“This is Joe. He’s a designer. This is Mason. He’s also a designer.” Five or six designers later (I guess they hang out together?): “This is Jennifer.”
That was it. Because being female is job enough! (Might as well just change your name to Mrs. Boyfriend!)
When I pointed it out later, my guy was mortified. He explained that I had a lot of jobs (see Bullish: How to Do Many Things at Once). I explained that, since I had so many, it should have been even easier to recall one of them. More
June 20, 2013
I’ve been in my career, as a full-time copywriter and freelance writer, for six years, and I still feel as if I have no strong connections. At this point, I sense my career has stalled, and not being able to network has held me back from moving forward.
I’ve tried networking before. While earning an undergraduate degree, I attended a networking seminar, and being that it was 2005, the speaker told us to “Contact experts at trade publications.” This befuddled me at the time: Why would someone with an established career want to even help, let alone respond to, an inquiry from a “lesser-than”? Isn’t networking a mutual give-and-take relationship?
Two years later, while earning a graduate degree, I spoke with a career counselor, who asked me to contact school alumni for “informational interviews.” A few responded to me, but from there, I didn’t know where to go. How do you keep them interested? What’s the protocol for developing a networking relationship?
By luck, I found a full-time job in my field, but in the four years I have worked there, I haven’t gone to a single networking or industry event. Where I work, you can only go to such events if you make sales for the company. I don’t have a sales personality or appearance, and I fear going to such events would make a negative impression for my workplace.
I don’t have the usual network of friends and family, either, and my coworkers are the gossiping type. Even though I have managed to get somewhere (and score freelance clients on occasion in my own time), this seems to be as far as I can get.
What is your advice for a person with zero connections to get started with networking? How do you get to events where you don’t have to represent a company? What’s your take on LinkedIn? And, once you have initially communicated with someone, how do you create a relationship?
June 20, 2013
I got married in April. This is a column about de-gendering weddings.
I’m not suggesting you necessarily should de-gender a wedding — I just want to talk about how you can do this if you want to. If people want to play-act at retro gender roles for one day of their lives, that’s basically fine by me. When I went to the prom, my date pulled out my chair and opened all the doors for me, which is not how I want to live my life, but was cute because we were kids at the prom.
But I do think it’s good to sometimes take a step back and think about what the hell we’re actually doing. More
June 20, 2013
Image by Allie Brosh of Hyperbole & A Half
Do you have any tips on how to be Bullish when you’re going through depression, or anxiety, or other headfrying thingy? I’d love to read you on that and I think it’d help a lot of people.
- Melancholy in Melbourne
My freshman year in college, I became severely depressed. I’m not especially prone to these things. But it’s not surprising that the confluence of being away from home the first time, having absolutely no time management or schedule-setting ability and thereby sleeping and waking at bizarre hours, and moving from Virginia Beach to a a dark and freezing valley in New England might have some kind of effect. While I was at Dartmouth, someone told me that the campus health center had a “sunlamp room,” where students who had Seasonal Affective Disorder could just lie around until they were less sad.
At the time, I was interested in writing fiction, and I had this idea that being depressed would make my work more profound. There may be some truth to this, or at least some correlation — many great artists have had serious mental illnesses — but very few of us are going to be great artists, and many great artists have also lived pretty jolly lives, holding loft parties and sexing up young acolytes. I was seriously disserved by the idea that depression was somehow “deep.” Looking at a tree on the campus green for twenty-five minutes because you think it’s so profound is not helpful to you or anyone else (or the tree).
I do have some tips. A few. But I’m obviously not a medical professional, so I’m adding the caveat here that what I have to say is meant to be helpful only to someone who has already sought out the help of a trained professional, or whose problems (general moodiness, for instance) are just a normal part of the human condition, and under the bar for a treatable condition. More
May 30, 2013
Productive, Inspiring, Sunny: Come to Miami
You deserve a vacation. Specifically, a vacation that helps you meet your goals in a powerful, focused, and inspiring way. It’s time for bullicorns and aspiring gentlewomen to converge for the first annual Bullish Conference.
From November 29th – December 1st, join Jennifer and other bullicorns at the Surfcomber Hotel Miami. The weekend after Thanksgiving is an amazing time to jumpstart your career (and life!). You’ll be sunbathing, learning, and invigorating your life while everyone else takes a long weekend to eat leftovers. So, eat your turkey or vegetarian alternative, pack your books and bikinis, and then get up Friday morning and come on down to Miami.
What’s on the agenda? We’re not so into panel discussions – we find that the panelists mostly make it about themselves, not about you. We’re about powerful, practical workshops, concentrated inspiration, and networking with people who believe in authenticity over, well, “networking.” (A full schedule will be finalized in September.)
Need more reasons to join us?
1. The schedule is filled with practical and inspiring workshops on negotiating, career and lifestyle design, and more.
2. Stress-free networking with like-minded women.
3. The opportunity to plan your 2014 empire by a pool.
4. Wine hour, cocktail hour, late night strategy sessions with drinks… just lots of drinks.
5. The beach. The pool. The sun.
6. Seriously, do you know how nice Miami in November will be?
7. All registrants get their pick of special Bullicorn accessories – gold or silver; keychain, necklace, or handbag charm.
8. Q&A time with Jen by the pool.
9. The beach. The pool. The sun. More drinks.
10. And, of course, the opportunity to attend powerful, practical workshops, concentrated inspiration, and networking with people who believe in authenticity over, well, “networking.”
May 27, 2013
Let’s talk about some reasons to work out that have nothing to do with looking hot, keepin’ it tight, having great abs, giving yourself a non-surgical Brazilian butt lift, or feeling superior to other women. More »
May 27, 2013
It’s spring! You could be wiping dust off the baseboards and scrubbing your window screens with a special brush, but I think I have some suggestions you’ll find more relevant. More »
May 18, 2013
A 10-minute excerpt has been released.
Can you be “more unique” than someone else? Since I think you can be “more pregnant” as well, I disagree with the conventional wisdom on this matter.
May 3, 2013
I’m a hardworking, highly entrepreneurial woman, and I would like more socialism, please, so I can go about creating jobs. (I’ll explain, stick with me.) More »
May 3, 2013
Earlier this year, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who tells us she’s not a feminist (and that feminism has become “a more negative word”), both built herself a nursery in the office and also canceled everyone else’s work-from-home situations, because water cooler discussions are apparently more valuable than the people who live far from a Yahoo office, have disabilities that make commuting difficult, have babies but aren’t CEO, etc. More »
May 3, 2013
I recently did an interview in which I was asked how I became such a risk taker, and how other women can become more comfortable with risk.
I gave a long answer. Most of the time we hesitate to take risks, what we’re really afraid of isn’t jail or death: it’s embarrassment, rejection, and the feeling of failure. Those aren’t real things. Or at least you shouldn’t be cowed by them. They’re just feelings. I barely notice most of those feelings because I have a lot of projects going on, and I choose not to indulge unproductive feelings when I could instead be making future plans.
But the other part of my answer — well, I paused as I was saying it and wondered whether to keep saying it. I feel like much of my success has been contingent on doing things young women really shouldn’t do, or shouldn’t do alone. In polite society, we say, “Are you sure that’s safe?” What we really mean is, “You’re likely to get raped. Possibly murdered.” More »
May 3, 2013
I was partly rewarding myself for churning out another educational book last year (I did a lot of work on this), but I was mostly churning away on a BIG PLAN THAT I WILL TELL YOU ABOUT NOW:
This 2013, I am starting 12 businesses in 12 months. More »