Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Review #41

Happy Friday, all. Let's see what happened this week.

Cover of "The Fifth Head of Cerberus"
Cover of The Fifth Head of Cerberus
Sunday was the 11th anniversary of when Chris and I started dating, so we decided to go out to a nice dinner Friday, followed by drinks.

Saturday, we went to a friend's house for a game night.

Tuesday, well, you read about the Book of Mormon fiasco. I went to book club that night.

Not much else. Knitting has been kind of stalled, but I need to get back to it. In reading, I finished The Fifth Head of Cerberus, and started The Atlantic Migration 1607-1860. I also picked at The Complete Father Brown mysteries a little bit.

What have you been up to?

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Penelope Trunk: Bad career advice: Do what you love

Seems like I'm on a pessimistic kick with the articles I'm discussing lately, doesn't it?

But this isn't actually all that pessimistic.

penelope trunk
penelope trunk (Photo credit: eschipul)
In December of 2007, Penelope Trunk tore apart the advice that you should do what you love, career-wise.  In fact, let me skip right to her conclusion:
And if you are so overwhelmed that you feel depression coming on, consider that a job might save you. Take one. Doing work and being valued in the community is important. For better or worse, we value people with money. Earn some. Doing work you love is not so important. We value love in relationships. Make some.
Your job isn't supposed to make you happy; as long as it's not making you miserable, you're fine. You're going to do what you love regardless, so why spin your wheels hoping for what you love to make you money? Money is incentive to do stuff we don't really want to do; pleasure is incentive do so the stuff we do really want to.

So if you're obsessing on finding the perfect job that marries passion with practicality, the pressure is going to get to you.

Check it out, and let me know what you think.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Easy come, easy go


The Book of Mormon musical, Eugene O´Neill The...
The Book of Mormon musical, Eugene O´Neill Theater, Broadway, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So yesterday I got a direct message on Twitter from the Book of Mormon on Broadway. I won a lottery where I would get two tickets for $32 each.

For that night.

When neither Chris nor I could go, nor could I get there in time to pick them up.

Well, I was never expecting to go for that good a price, so it's not like I lost anything.

I just have to keep reminding myself that.  Science totally backs up why I feel this way.

At least they're letting me try the lottery again, since I'm not claiming the tickets.

Who knows? Lightning may strike twice.
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What makes you happy? #33

To-do lists can be immensely helpful or major stressors.  For me, they tend to be both.

But there's one really nice thing about them.

Unwashed dishes in a sink; an authentic situation.
Unwashed dishes in a sink; an authentic situation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If there's something on the list that you really don't want to do right now (coughdishescough), you can procrastinate by doing something else productive (oh, hi, blog, I haven't updated you yet today...).

Yes, yes, I'll get to the dishes in a few moments. And before you get all grossed out, remember that I'm writing this way in advance.

But procrastinating in a productive way is so much more satisfying than sitting around playing Clash of Clans or even duolingo.

What's your favorite way to justify procrastination?
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Monday, January 27, 2014

I Don't Know What I Want... Chapter 6

I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This

By Julie Jansen

Chapter 6: Been There, Done That, but Still Need to Earn

Today, we're going to start talking about the second situation: Been There, Done That, but Still Need to Earn.

The chapter kicks off with an anecdote about an older gentlemen who wants the challenge of a new career, but has reached a level of his current career where he feels he can't give up the success, stability, and financial achievements he's accomplished.

Now, this scenario doesn't really seem to apply to me, so I'll be doing the exercises as we go, but don't expect too much from my end.  I'd rather hear how they work out for you, if this scenario is the one in which you find yourself.


Step 1: Complete the "Been There, Done That, but Still Need to Earn" Self-Assessment

OK, so  first we're supposed to make an action plan folder labeled "The Work I'm Going to Do Next." I'm not sure why, so I'm going to table that for now, but, again, if this chapter is one that seems to apply to you, you might want to do that now.

Now we go back and look at all our previous self-assessments. What do you need to work on, given the results? We're encouraged to think about how we can improve our attitudes in each of the following categories:
  • Self-Confidence -- I can apply to jobs that I am more than half qualified for, instead of holding out for 100%. This might be a function of gendered socialization.
  • Self-knowledge -- I guess I can journal more? Be on the lookout for self-knowledge-based prompts?
  • Managing Relationships -- I should do better with my correspondences, and with making invitations to people who have invited me.
  • Maintaining Motivation -- I need to figure out a way to reward myself for productivity that won't undo any of my progress.
  • Goal Orientation -- In some ways I've been pretty good with this.  I need to apply what works to other areas of my life.
  • Professional Commitment -- I really need to update my LinkedIn account, and I should put it out there that I am eager to take on freelance projects
Now, between this assessment and the results of the previous ones, we should:
Write down any and all titles, jobs, types of work, names of companies and industries where you think you could possibly fulfill your values, top interests, personality preferences, and favorite skills.
Then, we prioritize them by level of interest.

All right.  This is going to be awkward. In order:

  • Lifestyle blogs
  • Copy editor
  • Proofreader
  • Etsy
  • Kickstarter
  • Independent publishers
  • Book editor
  • Start ups
  • Marketing
  • Small business
OK, now we re-rank the list based on how realistic each is. Again, in order:
  • Marketing
  • Small business
  • Proofreader
  • Copy editor
  • Book editor
  • Independent publishers
  • Start ups
  • Etsy
  • Kickstarter
  • Lifestyle blogs
Now, what key words are on the top five for both lists? For me, it's clearly copy editing and proofreading -- which, truth be told, is where most of my job search has been focused.

So, keeping all those self-assessments in mind:
[W]ill these things provide you with what you want and need?
Well, I think so.

What do you think?

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday mega-review #40

The cover of TMNT #1
The cover of TMNT #1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm trying to be better about this, I really am!

Since I updated you last, did some volunteering, then joined friends for drinks.  Then, Chris caught a cold he promptly passed on to me.  I spent much of last week nursing him or myself, and just as we were both starting to feel better, we went to Philadelphia for a friend's party.

In books, I finished The Bible Tells Me So, Stranger in a Strange Land, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection Volume 1, Hyperbole and a Half (highly recommended!), Demon Princes (finally!), and Little Women -- illness is good for getting reading done, anyway.  I'm currently reading The Fifth Head of Cerberus.

As for knitting, I finished my socks and started a pair of baby booties, but I had to put them aside thanks to my cold.  I'll be picking them up again next week.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Get Rich Slowly: Why “follow your passion” is bad advice, and what to do instead

For all the talk about finding your passion, sometimes you have to look at the dissenting opinion.

Back in January of 2013, April Dykman wrote this article for Get Rich Slowly.

Her premise? Following your passion at best leads you nowhere and at worst ruins your passion for you.  Instead, find a a career that looks like a good fit and watch it become your passion.

Nice work if you can get it, right? At least Dykman offers a few tips on how to do just that:

  1. Figure out what kinds of jobs you might like. Get as specific as possible.
  2. Pick one, and research the hell out of it.
  3. Set up informational interviews with people who do that job.
  4. Repeat until something works out.
Another great strategy for introverts! Would someone please recommend (or, I don't know, write) a book on how introverts can successfully network without paralyzing dread before and despairing exhaustion after?

If you're an extrovert, though, that strategy sounds pretty practical. 

Check out the article and share your thoughts below.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Value of a full-price book

I don't like to pay full price for books.
Bargain Books
Bargain Books (Photo credit: KOMUnews)

I mean, it's sensible. The number of books I accumulate is probably borderline obscene. And should I dislike a book, it's unlikely I'll recoup the expense.

So I use the library, or I buy used, or I get them from PaperBackSwap. Sometimes I buy them from, and occasionally, I'll go to Barnes and Noble with a coupon.

You could definitely say I'm part of "the problem", then. Because clearly, I'm not supporting independent booksellers, authors, or presses.

But that's not entirely true.

There's an independent bookstore not far from my home. And they have great literary events, many of which are free.

And I do believe in buying a little something to support free entertainment. A reading in a coffee shop? I'll get a tea. A reading in a bar?  I'll get a beer. A reading in a sandwich shop? Well, I had to eat dinner anyway...

After all, if the venue doesn't make any money off of events, what incentive do they have for holding the events? None. Which means no more free events.

Or, let's be realistic, cheap events. Two hours of readings for the price of a milkshake? Well, you have to pay $4 for the milkshake to get the reading, which sounds a little wrong... but I look at it like this: the event was only $4, and came with a free milkshake!

So what does that have to do with books?

I went to a free reading at my local independent bookstore.  Afterwards, I wanted to buy something to show my support and encourage them to have more events.

All of the books were full price.

I found a book I had been wanting to read .  It cost $16, list price, plus tax.

I looked at the book. I would never pay full price for it otherwise -- there aren't many books I want to read badly enough to pay full price for, and most of those I'm pre-ordering and thus getting a deal anyway.

But I would have paid $10 for the event.

Which meant I was really only paying $6 for the book.

I was totally willing to pay $6 for the book.

There are times -- free readings, Q&A/signing sessions, Kickstarters to get the darned things published -- when it's worth it to pay full price.  Because you're supporting authors, venues, and the arts in general. Subtract the value you're getting from that support, and the book you're buying might be pretty inexpensive indeed.
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Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Review #39

All right, what have I been up to this week?

Cover of "The Forge of God"
Cover of The Forge of God
Saturday, my book club had its belated Holiday Party, which was a blast.

Monday, I volunteered.

Tuesday was book club, where we discussed The Forge of God.

And Thursday, I went to the Rez Reading series.

Busy week, but it doesn't look like much written up like that.

I finished The Forge of God, of course, as well as Whitman, an Interpretation in Narrative and Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search, Part 3. I got most of the way through The Bible Tells Me So, which is annoying me, but you can read more about that on my GoodReads page.

In knitting, I've been primarily working on my sock.

How about you? What have you been up to this week?
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