Archive for November, 2012

Good intentions

I had planned on writing a few pieces this week: family and holidays, shame and being yourself, you know, all the good stuff. Instead I am sick and behind on grading one of my favorite paper assignments: asking students to explore media they wouldn’t voluntarily expose themselves to. That means I’m wrapped in a blanket cocoon with boxes of tissues, tea and water and a ice pack for my ginormous sinuses.

But I do have this to say: I love that every time twitter e-mails me it is with complete enthusiasm. Some one favorited your tweet! Someone is following you! Someone responded! Everything! Is! Exciting! Now that’s the way to get my hooked on social media: make me feel special when something happens. !!


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The first time I wrote about having it all I wanted to add a voice I felt was missing–the married, childless (child-free, whatever phrase is hip now, I can’t keep up), woman. I felt like every bit of this discussion was about women who were career driven and had children. I don’t fall into these categories. I had written a post for International Women’s Day, (I’ve taken it down), and I realized in re-reading it that I was really just trying to explain away some painful situations I was living through, trying to justify the “alls” I had chased down. In reality, I don’t find the phrase “all” helpful. I don’t think it furthers our conversation in what a good life means, or that it helps us becoming better humans, lovers, communicators, etc.

What exactly does “having it all” mean? I’m not entirely sure. I usually hear the phrase in conjunction with kids and career, but I don’t feel like that is a wide enough conversation for all women (or all people) to participate in. And what about men? Do men not have these concerns?  My husband, when faced with the question, said “I really don’t understand what you are asking me. I don’t think it’s a question for men. If it’s seriously a question, it ought to be a question not based on gender. Women are expected to figure out the kid thing, it’s a lurking premise when women ask the question of each other.” What we should be asking, he argues, is about having a good life. I happen to agree.

Initially I had no life plans or goals. The few dreams I had I pushed aside for more “realistic” pursuits. I went to college, selected a major only because I thought it was interesting, got married at 21, graduated, and moved with no plan or jobs lined up. (Life lesson #1: not always wise to move without income lined up.) I changed jobs a few times before I figured that getting a master’s degree in my field might equal more income. And I knew I wanted to move to a different city. Now I had what I thought was an “all” goal: move, buy a house (cheaper than renting for where we were), do the grad school thing, get some better job. No real plan as to what that job would be. We did all of that and I took the first solid offer I had after grad school: a teaching gig at a small private college. It was my safest option at the time. (more…)

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Last year I was teaching full time at a community college (CC). It was my first (and last) year at that school largely because I was not prepared to have someone in power hire me and then work so hard against me.

Some background: I was hired to add diversity to the program–as in diversity to the course offerings. The courses I was supposed to be creating/teaching are pretty common at comparable colleges, and students have expressed a growing interest in these courses. I had the background, I enjoyed my interview experience and I thought it was a good fit. Shortly after I started I began to sense seom hostility from one woman, let’s call her Dora, for simplicity’s sake. Dora was on the search committee and enthusiastic about my hire, initially. When it became clear that I fully intended on doing what I was hired to do–work on adding to the program under my specialization, we started to but heads. She thought I was “smarter than that.” (Apparently I wasn’t, as I moved 6 hours from home for what I thought was the “perfect job”.) (more…)

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I’m trying to do NaNoWriMo this month. I’m not entirely following the rules. For one I didn’t tell everyone and their brother about it. It’s supposed to help motivate you, but I’m not motivated by that. The more people ask the less I want to talk about it–this is my baby and I don’t want to hear other people’s…well anything. Not yet anyway. I had made the mistake once of telling some people only to get tons of story “advice” on what should happen and how. Um..no thanks, if that’s the story you want then you should write that, not me.

I also read somewhere you aren’t supposed to use a project you already had started, that it’s supposed to be it’s own novel. Yup. Breaking that one too–I’m working on one I started and put  away, that already has 20k words. Don’t worry, I’m not lying on my word count, I’m only counting the words I write this month. I know you’re only supposed to write, write, write and edit later but I find that taking old sections and revising them, (which largely means adding to them), helps me. (more…)

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**Author note: This piece originally appeared elsewhere in raw format. I’ve cleaned it up, added to it (yay! new job interview experiences! /sarcasm) and after being rejected for a local publication, decided it can go here.**

Not too long ago my brother suggested I start my own small business as a career counselor. Unfortunately, I have a great deal of experience with being on the job market, since I had originally intended on having a career in higher education. (I now have more realistic dreams, like being a New York Times best-selling fiction author.) Most of my job hunting advice wouldn’t be for the average job seeker, but rather for the hiring committees. With a background in communication and interpersonal relationships, I feel like the entire hiring process is lacking some basic communication skills. For example, I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty unique interviewing experiences at colleges and businesses nationwide. I’ve toyed around with the idea of a community workshop. Should I ever do that, here’s a sample of what my lecture notes might look like. All identifying information has been edited to protect the guilty.

If I ask you why you like working here… (more…)

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The first post…

I’m desperately in need of content. Please stay tuned while I look for it. Thanks.

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