Return from BullCon

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Image courtesy of Julie Lavoie. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I spent this weekend in Miami, in a very fancy hotel, planning my 2014, reflecting on my 2013, and wearing a jaunty white hat with a glitter unicorn horn on it. It was a very nerdy, very delightful way to spend my post-Thanksgiving weekend after what has been, to put it mildly, A Year.

It turns out that career networking conferences are totally great when they’re full of Cuban food and delightful people from the internet. Who knew?

For those who I haven’t told about this approximately 8000 times in the last few months, I was attending BullCon 2013, the first (hopefully annual) conference attached to the career column (and now, store) Bullish, written by a woman named Jen Dziura for ladies who want to Get Shit Done. It’s a column (and a conference) for the sort of folks who think an article named “Maybe Work-Life Balance Means You Need to Work More” is funny and inspiring, rather than cause for alarm. The mascot is a purple bullicorn (bull + unicorn) named Sheila.

The full conference was covered in admirable detail by my roommate (also an Emily), whose articles you can read here. All of the panels were useful and fun and funny, but thinking about what I was going to write while sitting in the airport lounge waiting for my flight home, one part of the conference really stood out for me. In the middle of Jen Dziura’s panel on designing your 2014, sitting by the pool and filling out the truly gigantic worksheet packet that she had charged us with completing, I set about defining my values.

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Gorillas and Time Management and Self Care

Gorilla Eating

Image courtesy of Jarapet. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I have come up with a fail-safe way to test whether you are ready to have children at This Moment in Your Life. Ready? Here it is:

  1. Go to the zoo during the first nice-weather Saturday in the last two weeks.
  2. Meander on over to the tamarin exhibit.
  3. Decide whether you think that the five-year-old screaming, “AHHHHHH” every time the tamarins move for two minutes straight provokes an “awwww” response out of you or an “AHHHHH” of your very own. If the latter, maybe hold off on spawning!

I spend so little of my time around children, particularly children in groups. Hell, I spend very little of my time around adults that are not in the 18-22 range, or at least did before I got a job. (My coworkers have children! And hobbies that are not drinking and being sad! Truly it is a brave new world.) After being in Senegal last year, I thought my view towards them had softened. I had been around kids! They didn’t hate me!

I had forgotten what happens when the children clump together. Because then? All bets are off.

Children aside, the zoo was great fun. I spend so much of my class time learning about non-human primates via YouTube videos that I forget that you can, you know, go look at them for real. Which I did! Much to my excitement, our gorilla troupe had a newborn, and she was out, and it was phenomenally cute. Because if that infant was making noise? I couldn’t hear it! Continue reading

Juggling Chainsaws

Do you ever have such a wonderful weekend that–though you totally intend to update your blog–you spend most of it baking cookies, watching Shakespeare, and drinking sangria with your friends (followed by napping!) and totally forget? Just me? Oh, whoops.

This weekend was wonderful, because that is pretty much all that I did for it. (I took a break to read 200 pages of class things, which involved learning more disgusting facts about monkey sexual behavior, ie the most lasting educational legacy of my time at college, fun fact.) And you guys, it was necessary for me to continue to get out of bed.

That’s because last week I simultaneously started my first week of my last semester of college and my fancy new 40-hour-a-week, yes-we-have-a-401k-and-snacks job. Which is great! Employment is wonderful! My coworkers are a delight! The snacks are great! I am taking a class with someone famous enough to have a Wikipedia page!

And I am so! Very! Tired!

That + my weakling college vegetarian immune system meant that I spent most of last week sort-of-kind-of sick. You know, when you feel like you can’t legitimately take medication without Raising Eyebrows, but you would still prefer to stay in bed? Super fun!

And you guys, I am kind of freaked out by the semester ahead. Continue reading

Raising Rates, Weeding Clients, and Internet Coincidences

So, as y’all know if you’ve ever spoken to me in meat space, I am super in to Jen Dziura‘s life/career advice columns up on The Gloss and The Grindstone. The column is both titled and concerns being Bullish, and it is wonderful because it contains lines like:

“I will help you pick a new business right now. Take something exciting that you do actually like, and that many other people also like. Now think of something very scary, difficult, or boring. Merge those things; make your enthusiasm for the fun thing bleed into the scary, difficult, or boring thing; help scared, frustrated, and bored people; become a millionaire.”

— “How to be a Productivity Unicorn

I think pretty much everyone should read her.

Anyway, because her column is targeted primarily at women in the early stages of their careers, she has a particular focus that I like a lot–work-life balance. (Also, “Maybe Work-Life Balance Means You Should Work MORE” is a great column title.) The general idea is that women tend to accept salaries (or ask for rates, if they’re free-lancing) that allow them to get by.

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