All posts tagged: Advice

7 Unexpected Business Lessons I’ve Learned From Millennial Women

I am a VP and editorial director at a large media company. Now 56 years old, I follow with interest debates about whether women at my level do enough to mentor millennial women — a heated and sometimes fractious discourse that covers why they do or don’t, if they should or shouldn’t and so much more. Famously, there’s Madeleine Albright’s “special place in hell,” arguing from the “should” camp (although she’d later characterize the statement as “undiplomatic”). There’s Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s supposition that women feel obligated not to show a gender bias, leading the “why they don’t” discussion. And then there’s the less discussed but pervasive — and patronizing — attitude of a certain kind of senior leader toward her younger female colleagues. The sentiments shared with me, because I am old and it is assumed I will feel the same way, are as follows: Millennial women are entitled, brash, not deferential enough toward leadership, look at their phones when I’m talking in meetings and let’s not even get into what they wear …

25 No-Bullshit Things I Wish Someone Had Told My 25-Year-Old Self

We live in a cult of youth. This is nothing new, especially if, like me, you grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s and every bit of our pop culture pointed at old people and laughed. I always assumed I would never be one of them, or, as Deanna Carter sings in the 1995 country song “Strawberry Wine,” “I still remember when 30 was old.” Not much has changed these days except semantics. Now it’s all about the millenial demographic…but why? My high school days were so bad that I used to say, “If anyone offered me $10 million to be 16 again I’d punch ‘em in the throat.” While my 20’s and 30’s were better, I still feel the same (minus the physicality) because, despite my back starting to ache and my body breaking down in ways I’d only ever read about, I finally realized that I get better as I get older. When I was 25, I was a brash, bold, smack-talking, I-can-do-anything kind of girl on the outside. But in reality, I was insecure, …

4 Things to Consider Before Getting Inked

Sorry, Mom. (Photo: itwaswhatitwas/Flickr.com) If you’re thinking about getting inked, you’re not alone. According to a 2015 Harris poll, three in ten Americans (29%) have at least one tattoo, a marked increase from 21% four years prior. Maybe you’re thinking about getting another? You’re not alone there, either. Among those surveyed who have tattoos, seven in ten (69%) have two or more. Remember when Cher was badass with six? Angelina has 20. If you are a newbie, though, here are some considerations to keep in mind: 1. Think about why you want one. This is not like a piercing that can grow in or purple hair that will grow out. So think about it for a while to make sure this is something you really want. I wish I could say I got my tattoo to commemorate some life-changing experience like adopting a child from Cambodia. Or winning a Pulitzer. Even winning a scratch-off would rate more meaningful that my reason for getting one. Still, I had thought about it for nearly three years, which …

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What a 60-Year-Old Politician Taught Me About Being Single

On July 15, 2015, a long-shot candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination was asked in a radio interview whether he could be taken seriously as a contender for the leader of the free world with his unorthodox lifestyle of…never having been married. His response, calmly, in a contemplative Southern drawl: “Married people have screwed up the world.” And, with those seven words, I was smitten. Sixty-year-old Lindsey Graham, the senior Republican Senator from South Carolina, was clearly winning at life (even if his pull numbers sucked), and he was my new hero. At the time, I was 30 and was going through the worst breakup of my life. It was a situation that I largely blamed on myself because I had kept the whole thing going out of the impulse that, well, someone in her thirties ought to be able to keep a relationship alive even through the rough spells. In fact, the whole thing was a thoroughly unhappy coupling of two incompatible people, and we’d been in denial over our incompatibility for some time. …

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Talking Politics Without Losing Friends

I used to manage political campaigns in Florida, a truly competitive state when it comes to the number of Democrats vs. Republicans. Dreaded was the moment when I would be asked what I do for a living because that was the point in the conversation where one of two things would happen: Either the person would “spot a friend across the room” or “suddenly have to use the restroom,” ending our conversation, or they would lean closer and say something to the effect of “I knew I liked you” or “fascinating, tell me more” and our relationship would be solidified. Fifty-fifty. That was the risk that my conversation and new friend would evaporate as soon as I revealed my political orientation. Over and over again, I saw how divisive politics were when, just by claiming my political party aloud, I would lose friends. How could I explain what I did for a living without alienating half of the people I met? I experimented with many different ways to say it. For the record, this was …

What It Really Feels Like To Be 25 in 2016

Before you get swept up in the nostalgia of your own quarter-life crisis (crap bosses, three roommates, teeny tiny apartment, bottle service clubs, falafel at 4 a.m., hot dates), there are some women I want you to meet. These girls are living the 2016 version, where hookups are negotiated on Tinder, the boss is just as likely to be a girl who graduated a year ahead and likes using her newfound power to make you feel small and there’s not a single boozy brunch that isn’t documented on Instagram to elicit FOMO among all your followers. So while you’ve been there, there are a few things that 25(ish)-year-olds want to clear up for the older generation about what their lives are really like. It’s Sorta Lonely “On a recent, teary phone call with my mom about feeling stuck at work, I said, ‘I need to let myself cry about this, and when I’m done crying, I need someone to pick me up and help me figure out what to do. But I don’t know who …

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Non-Traumatic Motherhood: A Non-Traumatic Manual

I come at life like a blunt instrument. I throw myself head first into whatever is coming and ask questions later. This strategy has had mixed success — sometimes it’s exhausting, sometimes frustrating, but mostly it has forced me to move forward, no matter what. It’s a pattern that has been hardened and rewarded through some pretty rough years, but I’ll get to that. Professionally, I’m a proud civic-tech nerd, veteran of Obama ’08 and founding tech director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (yes, the one with Elizabeth Warren – another blunt instrument). Personally, I’ve moved cross-country several times in my life, most recently after leaving my awesome CFPB gig to get married. Then we up and moved to London, where I threw myself into a new city, job and life. The ad hoc, impulse, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants life was working for me. Until I got pregnant. MOTHER? FUCK! You can’t be a blunt instrument with a baby. Those things are delicate. But then again, people have been having kids for centuries, right? I married a …

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Your Nag Hath Made Me Stronger

“Why do people who least have their shit together always want to give you advice?” my friend John said to me with an exasperated sigh. I had called John because I was dealing with some family issues, and we share some common family dynamics. He was lending a sympathetic ear and sharing the latest advice from his born-again brother, who persisted in being John’s self-appointed life coach. “He has been divorced twice, he goes to church, but he hates poor people and can’t hold down a job. And he has the nerve to give me advice on how I should be living my life.” This dynamic has always puzzled me: the compulsive need to give advice when none has been asked for. What is this dynamic all about? I have seen it so many times in life, with micromanager bosses, overly critical colleagues, overbearing friends and well-meaning family members. Who actually welcomes this hypercritical and unhelpful feedback? And when does it actually help? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this – my interaction …

Giving Good, Living Bad: The True Story of a Sex Columnist

Throughout the course of my dating life I have spent time naked with (in no particular order) a nearly homeless alcoholic who was so hygiene-impaired I made him leave his sneakers out on my fire escape; a closeted sociopath who lived with his parents; a hoarder who dumped me for a baby-talker; and a batterer whom I recently rediscovered on the sex offenders registry. And yet up until last August, I had spent the past 13 years of my life working as a sex and love advice columnist for Seattle Weekly and a bevy of other publications and websites. While I was busily doling out good advice — and I did give seriously sound counsel — for much of the time I was living bad advice. If any of my readers (or editors) had seen secret footage of the comings and goings of my own vagina, I would’ve been out of a job immediately. However, the deeply flawed advice columnist is certainly nothing new — Ann Landers and her sister who penned the “Dear Abby” …

The Recently Divorced Dude — Is He Dateable?

Welcome to of our new advice column where we try to answer all of your confounding “What The…?” questions. We’ll be getting advice from experts, but we may not always have the best answer. Feel free to share your own advice in the comments below . [dropcap]Q: [/dropcap] I really like this man and would like to date him seriously. We’ve been friends for a long time — decades in fact, but he was married and therefore off-limits. Not anymore! Everyone tells me not to be his first post-divorce girlfriend because it won’t last. Myth? Truth? Signed, Rebound or Romance? [dropcap]A:[/dropcap] Upon dissolution of his relationship, the long-married man could behave in a variety of different ways. Some go completely apeshit-horndog, sliding their penis into any and all willing receptacles. After decades of mundane marital life, they can’t believe they’re suddenly in demand. They see vagina around every corner. They are the binge-eater at the buffet, gorging themselves on an abundance of boobies and beav at their collective fingertips. After all, these once longtime married guys …

Mad Men & Office Politics: Different Era, Same Drama

Like many of you, I harbor a very real Mad Men addiction. It’s not so dire that I need it in the morning before work (that would be very Mad Men, come to think of it), but it’s extreme enough that I often can’t get through the day without something triggering a knee-jerk Mad Men reflection, or a Mad Men-related Google search that leads me down a rabbit hole of mid-century minutia. I’m not proud to admit the number of times I’ve excitedly interjected the phrase, “That actually reminds of that one scene in Mad Men when…” into a conversation that, well, wasn’t about Mad Men at all. Even though the show is set in an office, Mad Men isn’t really a show about working, in much the same way that The Sopranos wasn’t really a show about the mob. It’s an evolutionary character study that just so happens to be set in a Madison Avenue ad agency. But strip away the intense psychological examination, and the show does realistically highlight the differences between workers just blindly tadpoling their way into …

Having It All: The Advice of Helen Gurley Brown & George Eliot

I’m not sure if I have ever paired two more different books. The first one, which comes out on January 28th, is already one of my favorite books of 2014. Since we’re only half way through one month this new year, how can that be? Put it down to a combination of an unusually talented writer (The New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead), her subject (which is inarguably one of the world’s greatest books), and my own lifelong attachment to the same book. My Life in Middlemarch is Mead’s paean to George Eliot’s magnum opus, but it’s also a memoir, a meditation and an excavation. Mead, who first read Eliot’s novel at age 17, revisits it every five years or so. She has found many parallels between Eliot’s life and her own, which keeps the book lively — but the wonderful thing about this volume is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve read Middlemarch once, twice, or never. Mead’s search for meaning between two covers becomes meaningful in and of itself. Even if you don’t care about …

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Gotten: “Don’t Be Sorry, Be Smart”

“Don’t be sorry, be smart.” That pithy piece of advice was given to me — and a couple thousand high school students over the years— by my English teacher, who I’ll call Mr. Blake for the purposes of this essay. It may sound glib or even obnoxious at first listen, but this clever tidbit has stuck with me for over three decades. It was originally doled out as a rebuke to those sorry souls attempting to apologize for their forgotten homework, their tardiness to softball practice, or their lack of comprehension of Faulkner’s indecipherable prose. But really, it applied to just about every issue large and small in our adolescent lives, from safe sex to sobriety to basic human kindness — none of which were paramount to the reckless, thoughtless teenagers we were at the time. Kids can sniff out pretty quickly who’s preaching and who’s teaching and it was clear Blake was no pastor. Perhaps his words meant more than they might have had he remained the righteous Pilgrim his Yankee ancestors probably were. …

5 Helpful Tips For Hanging Out With This Alcoholic

Recently a friend of mine, who was a prominent figure during my drinking days (but not an alcoholic himself), asked me: “So, like, what are we gonna do when we go out now? Do we always have to go get coffee?” Um, no. But it’s actually a very fair question, as I’m sure it’s hard for my friends, who all know I’m now sober but who also know that my favorite pastime — for many, many years — was drinking. Happy hour? Check. Karaoke 2-for-1 night? I’m there. Super Bowl party? You’re goddamn right (even though I hate football). And so on and so forth. When I first got out of my third rehab in April 2012, I stayed on the down low for quite a while. Because at that point, I couldn’t be around alcohol at all. I literally did not trust my arms; I feared they might come to life on their own, grab the first open bottle they saw and slam it to my lips. Then I got to the point where …

11 Pieces of Advice You’ll Want to Read Right Now

I mean, yes, 11 great life suggestions are in this article, but they’re way down at the bottom. However take my advice, there’s juicier stuff up top. Wow, unreliable narrator… Take My Advice                                                                                         The world is full of advice. Do this, don’t do that. Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen. There are bits of advice that we all have lodged in our memory banks from teachers, parents, mentors, big sisters. “Always keep your closets clean.” Something my Mom likes to say. It always makes me think of some dire home invasion incident where robbers come in, open my closet and, after pushing aside the jumble of boots, sneakers and flats are stunned, nay SHOCKED, to see the mess. But really it means, you never know when you’re gonna go, so, delete those …

Four Films with Sage Wisdom; One, Well, Not So Sage

In which we explore the filmic concerns of a given theme, and find new and novel ways of putting together yet another Internet-based list of movies. The wrinkle here is our fifth pick will actually serve to prove as the counter argument, the best representation of the direct opposite of our theme.  1. Moonstruck (1987) Director: Norman Jewison Essential Characters: Loretta Castorini (Cher), Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage), Cosmo Castorini (Vincent Gardenia), Rose (Olympia Dukakis) Circumstance: Married more than 40 years, Rose knows her husband, Cosmo, is having an ongoing affair and is troubled by the implication. On some level, she can’t understand it, but feels pretty sure that it’s a way men stave off their creeping mortality. Advice Dispensed: Rose: “I just want you to know. No matter what you do. You are going to die, just like everyone else.” Result: Eventually, in front of the rest of the family at breakfast, Rose tells Cosmo he must stop seeing the other woman. He rises up menacingly, slams his hand down on the table, then sits back down …

A Student Took My Advice and It Worked! Then, He Helped Me

I give advice for a living. Naturally, I always try to give the very best advice that I can. I have been a community college counselor and teacher for a long time, and it’s not a job you do for immediate gratification. There are no bonuses or commissions, and very few reminders that the pearls of wisdom I think I’m dropping on a classroom full of Snap-Chatting young adults are even getting through. Rarely do I see, first hand, any paying rewards in changed lives and lessons learned. But there was one time someone took my advice and ran with it, totally surpassing my expectations. I had a student in my first year seminar course, who we’ll call K,  a 17-year-old student who was really smart. He was also a hyper-verbal, former star athlete, and was chief among a group of guys who made fun of a young lady in my class whose disability caused her to speak many of her — often inappropriate — thoughts out loud. They don’t tell you when you sign …