All posts tagged: Career

Am I Allowed to Be Happy Even If My Kids Are Not?

I was raised to believe that happiness and motherhood were inherently incompatible, if not irreconcilable. I learned from my mother’s example. Mothers did not live to be happy. Mothers lived to be useful. Mothers lived to be productive. I don’t remember my mother ever talking about being happy. I do remember her always working, laboring, being useful to others. My mother’s hands seemed like they never stopped moving. If she wasn’t pulling strings off string beans or picking worms off tomatoes in her garden, she was peeling apples for a pie or peaches for a cobbler. Or, she was sewing us or herself a new outfit, or turning our old outgrown clothes into quilts. Over time, arthritis made sewing too difficult, but she kept cooking and gardening until the day she took her last breath. As infants, my children were born pushy, in that way that is socially acceptable only for babies and cats. My daughter came out stubborn, demanding and unapologetic. My son, on the other hand, used his fat cheeks, bright eyes and …

I’ve Pivoted My Career So Much, I’m Pirouetting

In August 2014, I lost my freelancing job as the Director of Content at Grey, a global, 100-year-old advertising agency, often referenced in Mad Men. (It’s where Duck Phillips landed after being dumped by Sterling Cooper.) Because Grey slashed my short-lived position, a frequent mini-tragedy at ad agencies, I was searching for a new full-time gig. I became obsessed with joining one of the bright, shiny digital media start-ups in New York City, partly out of fear that if I didn’t work at a hot, tech-based company, I would soon become a dinosaur. I had studied journalism, and traditional media were on life support. As a Gen-Xer, I felt that my professional currency was quickly fading and I needed to switch gears so I could sparkle…or, at the very least, find a job. I interviewed at a small hybrid PR/social media agency where a dozen under-30-somethings sat shoulder-to-shoulder on ergonomic chairs, huddled around an eco-friendly, reclaimed oak table. Macs lit up the room as an Irish Setter meandered down the narrow aisles, looking to be …

The Woman Who Taught Me to Chase After My “Big Life”

The room was quiet. Ann Shoket, Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen, had just finished giving a keynote address to a room full of hundreds of young women at a HerCampus conference in midtown Manhattan. When she asked for questions, you could feel the room hesitate. What do you say to someone who you’ve looked up to for over five years? I was an upcoming senior in college, and something in me knew this was my chance to start planting seeds for my dream job — becoming Ann’s assistant. I raised my hand, not really even knowing what I was going to say, and managed to ask, “Ann, considering what everyone is saying about the magazine industry right now, what would you say to parents like mine who worry about me chasing my dreams of becoming a magazine editor?” She started to answer and then paused. “Do you want to record this to send to your parents?” she asked. I pulled out my phone and, with a shaky hand, recorded an answer I will always remember: “Your job …

How NOT to Find a Mentor

I had just gotten off the phone with a friend telling me how her mentor recommended her to a new job that she was thrilled about. Just the same week, another pal described her amazing lunch with her mentor who gave her feedback on her business plan and introduced her to potential investors. Another friend was going to a book party for her world-famous mentor. The idea of a mentor sounded great! How could I get one? These same friends told me varied acquisition stories, from being assigned a mentor during their stints at big corporations to reaching out to industry leaders cold (and then somehow magically transforming the acquaintanceship into a mentor/mentee arrangement). No place where I had worked offered those programs, and, if they did, they weren’t geared for those of us in editorial. And as for the reaching out cold, I just didn’t see how that was going to work. I considered my job history. Maybe I had a mentor and didn’t realize it? Thinking over my early years in the job force, …

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, …

Darian’s Note: Are You My Mentor?

The word “mentor” used to make me feel uncomfortable. The idea of another person helping to guide my career in a formal way made me cringe growing up — but today I also cringed as I wrote that sentence. Because I realize now that my uncomfortable-ness was founded in nothing. In fact, my entire life, good people have been gracious enough to guide me through my passions, and I see that I wouldn’t be where I am without them. Now that I’ve been working in media for the past three and a half years (which is not long, but the 2016 election makes it feel like a lifetime), I understand how crucial women like Maria Stephanos, who taught me how to survive in a newsroom, or Kela Walker, who I’d Facetime to practice for an audition, are. Or Danyel Smith, who has really become more like a good friend. Or Yvette Noel-Schure, who welcomed me into her home when New York City felt less than welcoming. Quite frankly, there is no room to feel uncomfortable …

My Company Sank and Nearly Took My Morals With It

I’ve never been afraid of failure. I always think of the potential for failure as pure “dare”—and can’t resist staring it straight in the face to see if I can beat it. I always thought this was a noteworthy trait of mine, a good trait. Hell, I even gave speeches about the benefits of not being afraid of failing: learning, experience, trying out innovative ideas, pushing your boundaries, surprising yourself. The trick, I say in those speeches, is to pick good failures, failures that give you more than you lose, whether insights or learning or experiences or, heck, even just great friends or one helluva a good story. You weigh the pros of what you might achieve and accomplish against what the worst-case scenario might be and say: Can I live with the worst, if it comes to that? I had always taken risks in publishing, tried to do things people said “couldn’t be done,” made things from scratch without enough money or enough time or enough team or all three. I did these things, …

I Lost $52 Million and Lived to Tell About It

“I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I promise you this is the very best thing for the business,” he said. “Yup, I know. I’m 100 percent on board,” I exhaled. And with that, my then CFO and I knew we were ending a $52 million contract. Making that decision was the best thing I’ve ever done for my business. I’m here to talk about failure, but, to be clear, losing this deal wasn’t my big failure. Sure, I felt like a failure to my team. We felt totally incompetent, like we had been playing a game of checkers when my supposed collaborators had been playing chess. And, sure, I felt like the business was going to take a nosedive towards a dramatic end. But still, those things didn’t make me feel like a total failure. The failure was in ignoring the warning signs that had been looming for at least two years. Anyone looking at my predicament could have spotted this dramatic, climactic ending 50 miles away. And when I look …

Margit’s Note: It’s a Flop!

It’s really hard running a website. No, it ain’t brain surgery, as a favorite colleague used to remind me at AOL (no comment). But even for someone who has a gazillion years experience running editorial teams for dot coms, there are days when you want to hit the big red “delete all posts NOW” button. It’s especially hard when it’s your baby. Your own creation. Your side gig. Your passion project. Your potential business. Your “Hey!! Look over here! Don’t you want to pay me to do this? You know you do.” Wink wink. Hip flick. Google Analytics tells you no one liked that “PETS” issue, you’re on your sixth Art Director (because your vision, their vision and your micro-manage-y approach has led to you making Picmonkey art at the last minute…more than once) and three people have unsubscribed from your newsletter. I speak theoretically, of course. The grind of a weekly publication is no joke. But then, the next sunshine-y day, you get a traffic bonanza for a meaningful essay, 50 people attend your …

From High-Powered Exec to Pilates Instructor — Am I Happier?

You hear about those folks who eschew corporate America — who just bail and find some trade that makes him or (more likely) her happier, more fulfilled, less angry. You envy them at times. Maybe you crave to do what they’ve done. Perhaps you have a plan to do the same at a certain age or net worth. I’m that girl. I did that. I used to be a media executive. I made the big bucks. I was a Senior Vice President at several major media companies: Scripps Networks Interactive (aka, the parent of Food Network and HGTV), Discovery Communications and Time, Inc. Having started my media career later than many (I did odd stuff until I arrived to it at 30), I ascended fairly quickly. I was a VP by 35 for a high-profile company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. (Fun fact: I started the week after she got out of prison.) Among other things, I had teams under me numbering over 100 people and managed P&Ls in the multi-millions. I was a kind of …

How A Fox News Feminist Changed Things From the Inside Out

Fun fact: I never considered myself a “feminist.” I hated the word as well as the connotations it suggested. But my mother — my biggest fan and toughest critic — changed all of that. She, too, started out as a reluctant feminist.  Sure she believed in women’s rights. Yet, when she came to the United States, she strived to be the opposite: a quiet Indian immigrant, existing between the lines as a med school resident, striving to be the best doctor she could be, but never questioning authority or stirring the pot. That was until the director of Yale School of Medicine told her she could be chief resident if she was more assertive. “Assertive” meant she was committed. “Committed” was a direct shot to chief resident, and “chief resident” meant she would be the BEST.  She would be granted access to what was known as the “Vatican” of Yale medical school. At 27 years old, she would have instant street cred, clout and a possible bump in salary. It also meant she could cut …

11 Women Who Started Brand New Careers in Midlife— and Never Looked Back

Big changes in career, vocation and lifestyle in midlife or the years leading up to it are more often an evolution than a radical change. I went back to journalism school at 35 because the writing degree I’d started at 18 — and never finished —nagged at me for years. Going from full-time college counselor and teacher to graduate student was intimidating — financially, intellectually and emotionally. It was also one of the best, richest experiences of my life, and, no matter how many zeroes got added to my student loan balance, I have never regretted it. I traveled to Vietnam to cover business growth there. I was a reporter in the arena on the night Barack Obama accepted the nomination for President of the United States. I helped to run a student digital newsroom and emerged as the de facto den mother of several classmates a decade or more my junior. I now have a degree that means I can teach writing if I want to (because I loved teaching too much to leave …

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My Rock Bottom Came in a Pretty Dress and Heels

God bless the busted boat that brings us back.” — Jason Isbell, “New South Wales” Here’s what you should know about this do-over: Everything and nothing changed. In my 30s, I had everything I ever thought I wanted. I was a travel editor, catching planes and writing stories about the next great city or restaurant or artisanal cocktail. I had this fancy job, which I’d worked my entire life for, and a family and a home. But while I tweeted images of beach views and carefully plated food, I was also drinking a bottle or more of wine a night. Sometimes I passed out. Sometimes I couldn’t remember things, and I often had unexplainable bruises. By day, dressed in a pink shift dress and gold heels, I gave talks about nimble new media strategies. By night – it was another story. I drank to deal with my anxiety. I drank to deal with my physical limitations. I drank to deal with never “being enough.” I drank to slow my brain when I was enough. I …

We Asked 15 Women of All Ages: What Does Turning “50” Mean?

Fifty is an age and a cultural milestone, marking half a century lived and decades yet to unfold. Here, 15 women who have reached the half-century mark — and those who have years to go — share their thoughts about what this middle age marker means to them. Elisa Camahort Page, 52 Chief Community Officer, She Knows Media @ElisaC “50 means less than I would have thought. It certainly explains the grey streak and the sudden utter understanding about why Nora Ephron complained about her neck. It probably explains fewer fucks to give and more willingness to forgive. But when I’m driving in my car with the radio blasting or giggling about some stupid double entendre that a 12-year-old boy would find amusing or digging in to my eleventy-billionth fruitless internet argument, I’m not sure 50 means much at all. We always learn, and we never learn. I think that’s what being human means.”   Meredith Walker, 47 Founder, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, AmySmartGirls.com @meredeetch “I do not think much about eventually turning 50. I am PRO-Aging. …

Not Going Gently Into the White (Blonde) Light

As I edge my way toward 50 — with curiosity, no fear and only a few regrets — vanity is on my mind. But I’m not fretting over wrinkles and the general softening of my flesh. I’m curating my look — as I always have, at every age. But what’s different now? I never think about my age in doing so. And, I won’t lie, I fucking love that beautiful irony. When I was much (much) younger and in leadership positions at a precociously young age, I felt compelled to dress for the respect I wanted to command from the businessmen (yes, mostly men) I did business with, which translated into bright-colored suit jackets with black skirts and pants, mostly, while keeping my youngish hairstyle. Once, I met a friend for dinner after a business meeting, and she greeted me with “God, take that thing off,” referring to my apple-green jacket with its teensy shoulder pads. But the bright armor and nude pumps did what they were supposed to — project that I was playing …

6 Things I Learned Tracking the First Jobs of Famous Folk

Everyone gets a start in the working world somewhere. So, as the Money editor at Reuters, I thought it would be interesting to use the monthly jobs report released by the U.S. Department of Labor as a springboard talk to notable people about their very first gigs. (For non-financial types, the jobs report is by far the most closely watched economic gauge of the U.S. economy’s health.) After all, no matter how famous or powerful they have become, all of us remember the first moment of bringing home the bacon. Here is what I’ve learned from editing three years’ worth of first job stories: 1. Many people got their start delivering newspapers It sounds so old-timey, but the list includes MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, baseball legend Ron Darling and financial wizard Warren Buffett. However, so far no one has mentioned being chased by a dog. 2. Many more of them worked in restaurants Fredrik Eklund of Million Dollar Listing New York, Olympic gold medalist Carmelita Jeter, football star Damien Woody, Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White, comedian …

How I Came to Love Shipping (and the Hot UPS Guy)

I was fifteen years old, answering phones in the main office of my high school. “Good afternoon, Park Ridge High School, how may I direct your call?” I’d look up the extension on the printed sheet and punch the square plastic buttons for HOLD and TRANSFER. My best friend had a work-study job in the guidance office, and I put in a few hours a week at my floating desk in the front office. One day, I was answering phones and a tall, handsome woman in a pantsuit pushed open the glass door. She introduced herself as a small business owner from down the street, and said she wanted to post a help wanted notice. “I need someone to work in my business, doing office work after school hours.” I took the index card from her and read the typed requirements. Typing, filing, something about shipping. “I’d like to apply,” I said. I put the card in my pocket, as if to say, I’m not posting this on any bulletin board. “All right,” she said. …

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Being Black at School: A Teacher Creates a Better Classroom

I was born in Chicago, raised on the south side and Hyde Park, and finished high school in the south suburbs. My upbringing was so diverse that there didn’t appear to be a dominant culture. It wasn’t until we went to the suburbs that I asked my white mother, “Where did all these white people come from?” My dad is Black, and all our friends were a blend of countless cultures. In that very white environment, I found myself searching for any kind of color and I also began to hear, for the first time, about how proud the people were for being colorblind. It’s funny that I’ve only ever heard this expression from white people who use it as a way to let others know how great they are for not considering color. It’s even funnier that they never notice the absence of color when they’re surrounded by homogenous populations. After graduation, I continued south to college and then again to start my career as a high school teacher. My first professional job came …

The Boss of Me

He was the editor of a well-known men’s magazine. A short man. Not an attractive man. After I interviewed with him I said to my boyfriend at the time, “Why he looks just as much like a turtle as a man can look.” This was the 1980s. This was my first media job, although we called it publishing back then. I interviewed in a navy linen suit from Bonwit Teller, nude pantyhose and navy pumps trimmed with flat grosgrain ribbons. I was a 22-year-old from Iowa and I thought the look I should be going for was “appropriate.” Inexplicably, I was hired. And I realized within the first hour of my first day that I had it all wrong. “Cool” was the style that prevailed among the girls on staff. A girl called Muney wore a pink tutu and black motorcycle jacket like Cyndi Lauper. A girl called April, who was whippet thin and wore lank bangs in her eyes, rimmed all around in kohl, wore leather jeans, the first I’d ever seen. Let’s just say …

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Working in a Magnet Factory and the Lessons That Stuck

I have always understood about working for a living. In fact, I got my first job at age five. My dad ran a magnet factory. Yes, you read that right. A magnet factory. I hear business is picking up! (yuk yuk yuk) What an attractive business! Drawn in to the magnetic field. You know, opposites attract. Yes, I’ve heard them all. My dad hired me when I was still in kindergarten. My job? To stamp manila envelopes. Small ones. Coin envelope size. Inside each was a sheet of magnutties — a sheet of scored magnetic rubber that you could break apart into 50 (or was it 100?) teeny rubber magnets. All I had to do was ink the stamper and stamp the envelopes. I distinctly remember staring at huge piles of envelopes. [pullquote]I filled in where I was needed. I busted my ass. It was hot and fast and fun. We were a team.[/pullquote] I’m not saying it was hard, but you know what it’s like — sometimes the stamp isn’t straight, sometimes some words …

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My #FirstSevenJobs… and the Shitty Lessons Learned

While everyone’s sharing their #firstsevenjobs on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve gone a step further to talk about the bonuses at each — and the shitty lessons learned. 1. The Job: Underpaid neighborhood babysitter at a rate of fifty cents to a dollar per hour Bonus: Getting to watch MTV since we never had cable at my house, plus junk food. Shitty Lesson: Childcare doesn’t pay well, and it’s even more stressful than watching your three younger siblings try to kill each other at home. And that world premiere Bon Jovi video wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. 2. The Job: JCPenney sales associate at minimum wage, $3.35 per hour Bonus: With commission during the Christmas rush, this could soar to a dizzying $9 per hour, my first taste of the American Dream and the perfect occasion to learn applied math. Shitty Lesson: When I took the job in 1986, the dress code stipulated women could only wear skirts, not pants, and the skirts needed to fall below the knee. So men apparently like …

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Margit’s Note: Career Criminal

Our first jobs teach us the value of a dollar and the crap we have to put up with to earn that dollar. Punch a time card. Be nice. Don’t steal the candy. We start to amass data about what we do and don’t want to do when we grow up. Watching the world share their #FirstSevenJobs has been thoroughly entertaining and enlightening — so many VPs were once babysitters, waiters and paper kids. By and large, my first jobs were menial — meant to show me the value of hard work, a way to afford my Tiger Beat addiction and often, stamp-lickingly dull. As I counted, I realized all of them occurred before I’d even left college. There was no rhyme or reason to the mix of gigs, but they probably influenced me in ways I still don’t fully understand. The things I recall about my #FirstSevenJobs have little to do with the job itself and more about the ways I avoided those jobs and/or found little deviant distractions in a strange new adult …

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Are Journalists Allowed to Be Fans?

When I was starting out my career in the ’90s working as a business journalist, the rule was always be in the background of (and not part of) the story. The first-person voice-y thing was for the columnists — and if you were doing that and weren’t one, you were clearly a novice reporter in her first weeks on the job. Worse, if you were a fan of a subject’s work or their mission, showing your hand beyond a detached view of why their company might be good for society — or, really, shareholders — was a nonstarter. This went double if you were a person in her ’20s covering complex topics. Note that this was before the ubiquity of blogging and disruption. The old order reigned, and it didn’t exactly revere lack of years of experience and naïve exuberance. In turn, neither did I. #Judgy This worldview of mine took a little time to coalesce. One incident that helped it along happened when I returned from a reporting trip where I was trailing an entrepreneur who …

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In Praise of the Midlife Crisis — on a Motorcycle

We should avoid excess risk as we age. So says conventional wisdom. After all, it takes longer to heal a bone broken learning to ski in our 50s than in our 20s. There won’t be time to regain a financial loss suffered past our early 40s if we become too aggressive with our investments. Going back to school later in life to embark on a new career seems a waste of time and energy. And don’t get me started on those folks who leave long-term marriages for the greener pastures of a new relationship. I believed all these things. Until, at age 48, I fell in love with a matte black, brawny beast of a machine. I took a motorcycle safety class as research for a book I was writing and surprised myself with the depth of feeling that burbled up. My father was dying at the time and I felt entombed in a marriage that, after 25 years, had lost all its verve. I had raised three on-the-cusp-of-adulthood children, served as a professor of …

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My Half-Baked Life and the Pastry Job That Saved Me

Last summer, two coworkers and I left our jobs running a hip and lauded bakery in Brooklyn to start our own catering and cakes company. The plan had come together organically: We shared mutual affections, bonded over grueling workdays and were all possessed by a deep desire to pull ourselves out from under the never-ending task of producing someone else’s dream to ride high on our own vision. We conspired over margaritas how we together would take over the world — or at least the New York Slow Food scene. The “plan” lasted a solid two months and eventually fell apart when a project shaped distinctly like something bigger than we could chew, coupled with an epic no-sleep, Adderall-fueled prep session flushed out our deeper natures. We pulled it off and the client was thrilled, but I was deemed both too soft and too harsh to enter into a long-term relationship with. The other partners pushed me out. My ego was left battered, but — oh god — in no way would I for a …

The Public Intimacy of Private Ink

Spring came late this year, but I can tell it’s here because all of a sudden people are commenting on my tattoo. I live on the Canadian Shield; I spend at least nine — often 10 — months wrapped in multiple layers. Each year, when it finally gets warm enough to wear a tank top, I forget that much of the general public hasn’t yet seen the typewriter inked onto my right upper arm. It’s like seeing the first robin of the season. “Hey, cool! I love your typewriter!” someone will say at a bar or restaurant or on the street, usually followed up with: “Are you a writer?” And I nod and smile and say, “Thank you” and “Yes.” And then there is a bit more smiling, and I pray inwardly that they won’t next ask, “What do you write?” If you write, then you know there’s no worse question than “What do you write?” Particularly if you happen to be, say, the kind of writer who writes first-person essays about intense emotional moments …

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Day Job: I Work for a Temporary Tattoo Company

Yng-Ru Chen is the head of partnerships at Tattly, a company that makes artful, fun and often elaborate temporary tattoos. (We had one made for our first TueNight birthday party.) Her Tattly partner work even brought her to an easter party at the White House! We wanted to ask Yng-Ru what it was like to work for one of the coolest Brooklyn-based teams, and quiz her, Prosustian-style, on her work essentials and career history.   Tell us in your own words: What are Tattlys exactly? That’s a fun question to answer. Tattly is a temporary tattoo company that adults seems to love as much, if not more than kids. All of the designs are by amazing artists who receive royalties from the sales. What exactly do you do for Tattly? As head of partnerships I work on developing clients for the custom Tattly side of the business, I oversee the events we do, I manage our large licensing properties and I create relationships with partners so that our tiny, 12-person company can have the largest …

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What’s Inside That Vault at Paisley Park?

In 2006, I walked through the front door of Paisley Park for arguably one of the un-coolest reasons ever: as a member of a team filming self-help videos for AOL. That’s because in addition to being the Purple One’s lair, Paisley Park is a production studio for hire. I wasn’t there to record soul tracks, but to tape a segment with the author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I expected the 65,000-square foot facility to resemble a Wonka-esque factory, but the outside looked more like a shiny white office park. In the wake of Prince’s death, his inner circle is undoubtedly debating the facility’s future, including turning it into a museum. Ten years ago, parts of the inside already seemed like a shrine. Off the lobby was a hallway with a timeline of Prince’s major accomplishments, featuring larger-than-life images of his bikini-bottom Controversy years and jazzy period when he put on more clothes and dropped from pop culture consciousness. The car grill from the cover of Sign ‘O’ The Times was hanging in the …

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Why I’m Throwing My Own Damn Retirement Party

At 38, and soon to be 39, I am nowhere close to receiving social security checks or living off a cushy pension or a seven-figure Roth IRA. But financial security hasn’t stopped me from declaring my retirement at the end of 2016. That’s right. I said retirement. This is retirement in the tradition of the thirty-something-year-old NBA basketball player who retires from the hustle of the game. (Except I’m neither as rich nor as famous as Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan.) I have been writing professionally for 15 years, and most of that time I’ve been a freelancer. That means that I’ve been floating from assignment to assignment without an employer to call my own. But this year, I am retiring from that writer-for-hire life. I have not made a lot of money, I have not made an indelible mark (whatever that means) and I have not achieved all that I’d hoped to accomplish in my professional writing life. Having written my way to mediocre success, I am choosing now to say to myself, “Good …