Forget Finding a Female Mentor Just Because You’re a Girl

In college, I was told that in order to be a successful female at her job, you needed a female mentor to follow, to teach you in the ways of being a successful female in a business. And I bought it. Here’s some research on the subject. I picked a job with the expectation that because it was a female-led business, I would get a better handle on how to function as a female in the business world. Now that I’ve worked under her and under a male, I can’t say that the logic of having a same-sex boss to aspire to is necessary.

Firstly, those females that we are supposed to be aspiring to more than likely trained under a man. My first lady boss was in the first graduating class with women. That means she studied under men only and was probably in a class dominated by males. She went on to create, invent and run multiple businesses as a woman without having female mentor. Why can’t we do that then?

Secondly, we are reinforcing gender differences if we demand that women need to emulate women. You can learn just as much from a male as a female. Yes, I agree that the relationship is different and the experience a man has in the workplace is and always will be different than a female. However, that doesn’t mean that what a male can teach you doesn’t amount to anything notable. I’d even go as far to argue that learning from a male gives you a competitive edge, as males historically dominate the workplace and still live above our glass ceiling.

I’m not going to generalize and say that my experience with both is the general whole for everyone, but what I’ve learned from my male mentor is far more valuable than what I learned from my female mentor. My female mentor chalks everything up to being a female and fighting against the stereotype that people place on you inherently if you have a vagina. My male mentor chalks everything up to being right and fighting for what you believe in because you know best in that situation.

Far more empowering.

Additionally, working under a female created a lot of the Queen Bee syndrome, where my movements below were seen as a combative and manipulative, when they really were just new ideas that I thought might work. I didn’t get any support and anything I suggested was so quickly squished, it almost felt like it was done purposefully to make me realize where my place was. Working with a man, my new ideas are welcomed and seen as me trying to challenge the status quo in an effort to better the system. I have full support and a booming voice behind me cheering me on.

More respect and more purpose.

I may be making feminists everywhere writher, but I’m just laying it all out in the table. Having a male back you up is still a good thing. Is it better than having a female back you up? No. It’s just an option that people don’t place any significance on, when in reality, it does serve as a benefit.

Instagram Inspiration

As a social media specialist, part of my job is monitoring all social media sites for people talking about us. Most of the time, I end up having to inform people that we actually donate the money people give us, and not pocket it. It is draining dealing with how rude people can be, but one discovered tweet makes ciphering through all the bullshit absolutely worth it.

A girl tweeted a link to Instagram, which she labeled as a picture she bought to support us. Obviously, this intrigued me, as I didn’t know of a picture promotion we were having, so I clicked. And what I found was the most inspirational piece of social media content that I’ve ever seen.

A five year old boy is hand drawing pictures of all his favorite animals to sell to friends and family in order to buy chickens for a family in need. He’s five and already has a bigger heart than anyone I’ve ever met. Naturally, I wanted to write about it, because who can honestly hear about what he is doing and not want to find a simple way to give back, just like him.

I reached out to the mother, who was incredibly proud — as she should be. I could not wait to write about this young boy, yet when I sat down to write, all I could think of was writing about how moved I was from what he was doing.

Clearly there is something wrong with me that I couldn’t get past my own feelings to write about him. I was just so enamored with this kid’s story that it was essentially blinding me from being able to write about him without writing about me feeling so strongly about it. As if, I believed that people would not understand how amazing he is, unless I said how incredible I thought he was explicitly in the story.

And that’s when my writer’s block broke. This five year old’s passion for drawing and helping people reignited my passion’s flame for writing. I knew I had to write a great piece in order to capture his story. I needed to figure my shit out in honor of this kid.

The post is still in progress, but after staring at the screen for what was close to an hour, I was finally able to break ground on writing a piece that captures how wonderful the five year old is without including myself in the article. I’m very excited to be back in the writing mode. I’ve made it over a huge hump, all thanks to a little kid drawing some really meaningful pictures.

Creativity Hiatus

My blog as fallen silent as of late, which is weird because I think of it often. Almost once a day, I think boy, I really need to write. But I couldn’t. And I have no idea why.

Can creativity just take a break? I’ve had tremendous writers block, where every topic I wanted to talk about just simply didn’t feel right. One of my mentors at my new job left me with the parting wisdom of: If it feels right, then it probably does. If it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t. Somehow writing hasn’t felt right lately, and it’s impossible for me to pinpoint why.

I used to come home everyday with a list of topics that would make great blog posts. At any time, there would be three to five ideas written up, with specific examples, that I would just need to recount for the post. As of late, nothing has felt “written,” and I didn’t want to force it. Everything used to inspire me and make me want to share it, and now everything feels like something I’d like to internalize and store away.

But hopefully the freeze is starting to thaw. Nothing is worse than feeling like one of your passions is losing its fire. Ever since I was in first grade, I loved to write. It can’t die this quickly.

And I think that is the significance that tomorrow’s blog post holds for me. A spark reminded me of my passion. Pure, elated, childish passion, which makes you feel like you can change the world. And I am so excited to share it with you all tomorrow.

Wisdom comes with Age, Not Teeth

The past two days have been fraught with a dull pain in the back left side of my mouth, right around the location I would expect a wisdom tooth to be. While I was eating lunch fajitas with some co-workers, I mentioned that I think that I might be getting a wisdom tooth in.

“Aweee, you’re teething,” says one of my co-workers. I bust out laughing. It’s a running joke that I’m a baby at my work, as most of my co-workers are much further along in their lives than I am. Some might argue that the usual jabbing at my youth is undermining my authority, as I’ve read that’s a technique for older people to assert dominance. Here’s an opinion piece about age discrimination in the work place, just in case you didn’t know what I am talking about.

I can’t say that I agree. When it comes to my work, I am the authority. No one knows social media better than me at work. I grew up on it. I took classes on it in college- classes I am sure most wouldn’t have even been able to take when they were in school, as social media wasn’t even a thing at the time. People respect me and ask how I think they could work with them to benefit from social media.

Then we collaborate and come up with a way that their needs are met, as well as best using social media. We’re a team. They share their ideas, and mine count just as much. Yes, I report to people and their say can override mine, but that’s how it should be. They’re in a position of power not because of their age, but because of their wisdom.

I am still relatively new to this whole full time employment thing, so you’re damn right there’s times that the older people have to reel me in. There are constraints that I often can’t see. They’ve been around the block a few times and can forecast better than I can how things will turn out. That’s where wisdom trumps youth. It’s not because I drink coffee and get overly excited about plans, which apparently stops once you’ve matured a bit and have felt similar success before.

So what if they poke fun at me because I have no idea who Donny Osmand is? Or ask if I’m even allowed to go to the company happy hour? I’m young. I have a ton of energy and enthusiasm for my job because I haven’t been jaded by years of work. Let people remind me of my youth. I hope at least one person does everyday. Because one day I’m not going to be young, so I mine as well revel in the traits it presents me with now.

apple

Over-Synched

Five years ago, I decided that I needed a Mac over a PC because it “fit better with my major.” Then when it was (finally) time for me to get a smartphone, I considered nothing other than the iPhone. When my grandparents offered to get me an iPad, I jumped at the offer. So by the time I made it back to Virginia to start my job, I had three Apple products, and loved them all.

Then it got a little bit more excessive when I started my new job, where they gave me a laptop PC (he doesn’t fit in, but I allow him to be in the family anyway), a work iPad and a work iPhone. So that brings up my Apple count to 5. A little bit crazy, but it gets a bit worse.

My mother, who sometimes turns out to be strangely advanced with technology, nagged me WEEKS ON END (hi, mom) to upgrade my Mac Book. My normal response was, “yeah, whatever,” “I don’t even use it anymore,” and basically any other way of succinctly suggesting that I was too busy (but more like too lazy). Then one day the nagging happened when my computer was open, so I gave in.

Then, on Christmas, my gift from my parents was an Apple TV, which is why my computer needed to be updated. I wired it all together and then hooked up my personal Apple products to the TV. That’s only three, so it’s not weird or anything (ok, fine, it’s excessive).

Anyways, now that we’ve got an inventory of my wares, let’s move on. It’s been nice having the Apple TV (and a borrowed Netflix password), but things got a little hectic lately. I decided to watch some Netflix, but also wanted to do a bit of research, as I am trying to find a way to travel abroad cheaply without having to sell myself out.

I got my Jeffrey Dahmer documentary going on my tv and a few pages up on my computer. Then I thought, why in god’s name did I put on this serial killer’s documentary?? And went to go turn it off with the little remote that comes with the Apple TV.

That’s when it all got hairy. I would click the center button and side buttons to search for tv shows on Netflix and my computer would turn the music on and off. Songs were switching back and forth like it forgot to take its ADD meds.

All my signals were getting crossed because I may have gone overboard on my synching. Now everything in my room talks to each other, except for my poor little work PC, bless its heart. I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy it makes me trying to navigate through all the episodes of How I Met Your Mother available with songs switching on and off, the volume going up and down, and it pausing and playing all the time.

Such a total #FirstWorldProblem I can’t even handle it.

One Size Fits All, Except Me

During my lunch break today, I went over to Party City to get a flapper costume. There were two different options, which was ideal, as my roommate needed one too, so I bought both of them. One was red and marked “one size fits all” and the other was black and marked “large.” I neglected the gym to run them home to show my roommate before she headed out for work.

We decided that we would each try them on and then pick whichever seemed to fit each person more appropriately. Since she is working, I was the guinea pig for trying them on. I put on the black “large” one first. It fit really well and was long enough that I didn’t feel like a total slut. Then I put the red one on.

Let me take a pause here to elaborate on my body type. Full disclosure:

I’m five-six and a size eight.

I’m not a stick, nor would I even say I’m skinny, but I wouldn’t say I’m fat either. Yeah, you can tell I eat candy on the reg and, as I already admitted in this post, I am pretty good at making excuses to not go to the gym. But I am by no means a beluga whale.

Now back to the dress. Me and my still-carrying-some-baby-fat-at-22 body got pretty excited to try on the red dress after the general success of the black one. I throw it over my head, and notice it’s getting stuck a bit more. I pull it all the way on, and have the pleasure of getting to tug at it to make it sit right. It’s shorter and tighter than the same dress in black labeled “large.”

Well, shit. How good does that make me feel that a dress proclaiming that it fits ALL is nice and snug on me? On one hand, I’m like “whatevs I guess that costume company is just like Abercrombie and are assholes that exclude fat people,” but then on the other hand I’m like, “I’m not actually fat, so why are they marketing this as fitting everyone, when clearly it’s not going to?” And then if I had a third hand (so I guess maybe my foot), I’m like, “well, maybe I could hit the gym a bit more, and maybe I do need to lose a bit of chub.”

While I try not to let weight-issues bother me, I did used to be a baby meatball and have always had body conscious issues. Little reminders like this always sort of suck. While I’m going to still wear the dress, and going to rock the shit out of it, there’ll always be a bit of extra smug snugness there to remind me that everyone apparently is skinnier than me.

20140127-230304.jpg

An Open Letter to Contestants on the Bachelor

Dear women of the Bachelor,

Honey, we can do better. Maybe some third-perspective can help you see how much of a train wreck you’ve become.

While you have already given up most of your dignity from agreeing to date the same man as 26 other women on national television, try to keep a shred of it by refraining from crying when you get voted out.

But surely the two group dates where we amassed a total of ten minutes of conversation alone has solidified my undying love for you.

No. No, you’re not in love. So gather the few shreds of dignity you dropped and walk out with your head up and stop the waterworks. You’re embarrassing women everywhere. Be strong and confident, and take a sigh of relief that you’re no longer practicing polygamy.

Also, think of the probability when you go in there. The odds aren’t fantastic that you’ll win in the first place, so don’t act like you couldn’t have guessed this would happen. One in a twenty seven chance of winning isn’t a bet most people would gamble on.

Please also refrain from muttering any semblance of, “I just hate sharing my boyfriend.” Dude, you signed up for this. What exactly were you expecting when enrolled in the Bachelor? Also, does a group date or two really constitute him being your boyfriend?

And finally, please stop whining that he’s kissing other chicks than you. Do you really want to be the sixth lady he’s made out with on a group date? How special do you really think it’ll be to him?

Well, on second thought, I take it all back. Keep being total hot messes. The show wouldn’t be quite the same without you fretting over every single minute of your current existence.

On Defining Adulthood

During the summer I saw an episode of Kelly and Michael that cited a study saying that 25 is the new 18. Naturally when I googled this to verify I got my facts right, an article with Hannah from Girls pops  up, as she is the prime example of the “struggle” to grow up these days, despite not being representative of any of my experiences growing up. Anyways, you probably don’t need to read the article, as I just told you the thesis: that adulthood is now postponed until 25. Moving on, I didn’t give much thought to this assertion until today, when I started to wonder exactly what constitutes adulthood.

I pay rent on my own apartment, I have a full-time job (with bennies AND a retirement plan), and I have the responsibility of maintaining the life of two plants. More recently, I have signed up for my first credit card, and now my dad just sent me all sorts of paperwork so the car will be under my name. I’m feeling pretty “adult” these days.

On the flip side, my parents still pay for my cell phone bill, I still go to them for advice on every major decision, as well as every minor financial decision. I still call my mom when I’m sick, and I still don’t have any idea what I’m going to do for tax season.

So am I an adult?

At what point can I say that I am “on my own?” Is it when I stop looking for advice on things? When every bill I owe is in my own name? The article I have previously referenced cites independence as the catalyst to growing up, but that’s ambiguous to me.

I can’t see myself ever being truly independent from my parents. They’ve been pretty helpful in the past. Ya know, like paying for college, raising me with a good set of morals, and bringing me all around the state of Connecticut to play some peewee sports. Just because I am living on my own and making my own money doesn’t equate independence to me. I am always going to respect their opinion and value their input on my decisions. I am never going to feel totally independent from them.

So if independence isn’t a clear indicator of adulthood, what is? I’d love to say it’s when I start paying all my own bills, but it would be fiscally irresponsible of me to volunteer to move off the family cell phone plan when it’s so cheap to stay with them! And for that, my parents would probably be proud, as I am making a smart decision to continue to mooch off of them indefinitely. Cheers to partial adulthood!

Sorry for the Spam

Last night, I was pretty excited to try out this new website I had found that marketing itself as a place for people to communicate with others that share their interests on Twitter. In my head, that meant it was a forum for tweet chats, so I signed myself up and then went ahead with selecting industries and topics I was interested in.

The next step seemed a little blurry, as I didn’t fully understand where exactly the tweet chats were going to occur, but I allowed access to my Twitter account regardless, because that would make sense for them to have so I could tweet to all of the accounts of similar interests, right?

Wrong. So, so, so wrong. And if it hadn’t been for my favorite internet troll of a friend, I would never have known what a pile of wrong I had stepped in. Here is what my twitter feed looked like to me yesterday:

Normal tweets from my feed

And here (apparently) is what my new forum posted on my behalf:

Tweets I did not know were being sent

Great. I accidentally signed myself up for a spam followers generator. And you know what’s even more saddening: it promoted that I got 882 new followers, and I didn’t even get any new followers, nor do I even have 800 followers.

If this all isn’t embarrassing enough, what’s worse is that I can’t even delete them because I CAN’T EVEN SEE THEM. My only course of action, now, has been to delete them out of my access list. So the lesson here is clearly don’t give out Twitter access to just anyone, even if they make it sound like a nice place to go and discuss your feelings, because they may be tweeting out creepy spam to all your friends.

Mean Tweets

So one of the best things I’ve seen lately is Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” segment. He has quite a few versions of them, but my favorite is the music version (probably solely because of Lil’ Wayne’s tweet and his reaction). Anyways, the main premise is celebrities reading mean tweets that people have sent out about them/ to them. It’s hilarious how incredibly rude some people are, but also goes to show how detached people are from what they say on social media. Hell, I’m even guilty of it to some extent. And now, in some twist of fate, part of my job is going through what people are saying about my company on social media and try to mediate when I can.

One of our primary tactics for fundraising is through commercials, which, to put it gently, really aims to evoke massive amounts of pathos from viewers in order to get them to donate. The spokesperson is a fatherly looking, older gentleman and takes a grunt of the cyber-bullying that our organization faces. I really hope he doesn’t have a twitter, because people are not very nice about the poor guy, when all he is trying to do is raise some money for our cause.

From being called a “fat dick” to an “ugly santa claus in the off season,” he gets absolutely ridiculed on a regularly basis. I am still fairly new and have not personally met him, but I would assume- as he actually contributes to the cause which he is advocating- that he is not actually a dick. And he actually isn’t even THAT fat. I mean does he have  few extra pounds? Sure, but I would not so much to even categorize him as fat. And regardless of if he is, I am not sure why that takes away from his humanitarian effort.

What I wish more than anything is for people to press the pause and think about why they are so passionately rude to people online.  What has any celebrity done to you, or our spokesperson for that matter? What gives you the right to ridicule someone just because there is an open forum for it? Maybe before pressing the send button, consider that the person that you are saying that about might actually read it, and it may even hurt their feelings.