Holiday hiring slump: how to network & be productive when business is slow

Holiday hiring slump: how to network & be productive when business is slow

December is notorious not only for its icy freezes, but for hiring freezes, too. (Unless you work in retail. In which case, I admire you for your strength.)

And that can be a pain for those of us looking for work. (Though what job-seeker wouldn’t be a bit panicky at the thought of starting a new gig at the height of the holiday season?) If you’re on the market for new employment but aren’t getting a lot of leads, you can still use the holiday season to get ahead on your networking game.

Here are nine ways to polish your online presence, make new connections and maybe even open up doors that will lead to employment. (You know, for when you’re not last-minute Christmas shopping or sipping seasonal cocktails):

Update your bio or about page. So you have a website that you update regularly. But when was the last time you even looked at your bio page? Is it collecting dust? Does it still say you’re overseas teaching English to penguins who are probably dead by now? (First thing that popped into my mind.) Don’t let your first impression give the wrong impression—refresh that bio, and update your headshot while you’re at it.

Revise your resume and organize your clips/samples. If you’re been using the same resume template for years, it’s time for a revision. Have you picked up any new skills or taken on new clients? Can you tighten up the language or remove a position that’s not really relevant anymore? Make those changes. And if your work constitutes having a portfolio or providing work samples, collect links or files and organize them neatly on your computer and website. This is your go-to when potential employers ask for examples of your work.

Breathe new life into a standby cover letter. They say you’re not supposed to have a “Dear X, I’d love to be considered for the X position with X” cover letter, and they would be correct. (It’s so obvious when you just copy and paste positions and company names into a generic cover letter.) But most of us aren’t rewriting each letter from scratch, either. Sit down and write out all the things that make you a great catch and then use that to draft a letter that’s inspired. If you’re stuck, this post outlines a great mind trick for writing a non-sucky cover letter.

Clean up your social media accounts. Unfollow people who annoy you or don’t follow you back, create Twitter lists of your favorites, and read through your latest posts to make sure they’re contributing to an image you want to convey. Do away with any social media sites that zap your energy or merely feel like an obligation. As Sarah Von Bargen says, you only need to be active on two or three sites that you enjoy using and that make sense for you.

Talk to people you’d like to work with online. On the subject of social media—are you following or talking to the people you’d like to work with (or for) online? Find the writers, editors, designers, marketers, public speakers or developers who are your colleagues—or who you want to be—and respond to their posts, share their content and offer up your own thoughts on the same subjects. Don’t kiss ass just to kiss ass. Engage and discuss. People will start to take notice, and you’ll attract followers in your field.

Offer pro bono work. ‘Tis the season of giving. Offer your services free of charge to a nonprofit or organization you’d like to work for or whose cause is important to you. This is especially valuable if you don’t have a lot of experience. Sometimes one solid recommendation is all you need to get your foot in the door for the next paid gig that comes along, and if you do a solid job, you’ll get just that.

Write testimonials for connections on LinkedIn. Endorse or write glowing reviews for current or former colleagues whose work you’re familiar with. It’s not only good karma, but those people will be more likely to think of you when they hear of a job that pops up. (And maybe they’ll return the testimonial-writing favor!)

Send holiday cards or “thinking of you” emails. This is not one of those emails that says “It’s been so long” and “I have a favor to ask” in the same damn paragraph. Instead, try a no-ulterior-motive email like this: “Hey X – Merry Christmas! Hope all is well. I thought of you recently when X. I just caught up with your latest project – impressive stuff!” Warm fuzzies all around.

Keep an eye out—just in case. Hey, new opportunities can come up any time. (There are a lot of good reasons why December can actually be a great time to land a gig if you’re looking.) Just ask Laura or Nicole—they both just started great new jobs they’re excited about! So have your stuff together and be ready for when that opportunity arrives. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays!

Aside from some of the above, I’m working on a brand new site design that I’m really excited about and hope to reveal for the new year. It’s a much-needed refresher that I’ll be even more proud to show off to potential employers.

Are you currently on the job hunt?

Beer with a Blogger: Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita

When you find yourself stressed out with finals and job applications and the holidays, sometimes all you need is to grab a pint with a new friend.

And my get-together with Stephanie was long overdue. Back when she was pregnant, we had planned to meet up but never got around to it. Now she has an adorable three-month-old son and is allowed to drink again, so it all worked out! (Except the part where I forgot my DSLR. Low-light iPhone photos FTW.)

Beer with a Blogger: Stephanie from Loudmouth Lifestyle

THE BLOGGER

Stephanie Shar from Loudmouth Lifestyle and Baby Loudmouth. (Stephanie is a new mom, works full-time and she runs two blogs. WHAT.) Stephanie moved to L.A. five years ago from Detroit and worked a few “normal” jobs before pursuing her own creative business. I adore Steph’s blog because she has an authentic—and appropriately loud—voice. I’m always engaged when I read her posts and feel like I know exactly who she is. And what you see on her blog is what you get in person. She’s warm, open, funny as hell and is one of those people who cuts right through the bullshit and calls it like she sees it. She’s a really easy person to talk to and is launching a kickass program called Loud Ladies to make 2015 awesome.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent post of hers that I loved and sums her up perfectly:

I tried to keep my thoughts and feelings about the events in Ferguson on Twitter and Instagram. I wanted to stay ‘professional’ and keep this space for my ‘business’ and keep the personal shit at bay. But I’m in the business of getting personal. Welcome to The Loudmouth Lifestyle.

Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita Newhall Refinery

THE BAR

Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita, a city 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. I loved the area right off the bat when I turned onto the adorable main street where parking was both free and a breeze. The bar itself has a very cozy, neighborhoody vibe (enhanced by their Christmas decorations) and is staffed by very friendly folks. They had at least six different kinds of Sierra Nevada on draft, and it looks like they change that out every once in a while—now their beer menu lists eight different kinds of Goose Island! I wasn’t hungry, but it was so tempting to order food. The place smelled of fried goodness, and the couple sitting next to me had a cookies and creme dessert that looked delicious.

Newhall Refinery Newhall Refinery

THE BEER

I love me some Sierra Nevada, so I ordered a Nooner Session IPA (4.8%). Steph, in true Loudmouth form, asked the bartender for the strongest IPA on tap. So she got an Avery DuganA Double IPA (8.5%). Also worth noting that the prices were totally reasonable. I had two beers (one 16-oz. and one 12-oz.) and paid 11 bucks plus tip. Considering what most L.A. bars will charge you, this was a refreshing change of pace.

Cassie and Stephanie

Needless to say, we had a blast. If I didn’t have to drive home, I would’ve had another beer or two and gotten a little silly. But we’ll definitely get together again. (I still need to meet that sweet babe of hers!) Make sure you check out Steph’s blog—and say hi on Twitter while you’re at it.

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

A guide to quitting your job (and why every 20-something should do it)

A guide to quitting your job (and why you need to do it)

An article I read recently urged young people to quit their jobs.

As someone who quit her first job out of college (a gig I stayed with for two years) to move across the country and go to grad school, I couldn’t agree more.

I still remember the day I told my boss I was leaving.

With multiple people on maternity leave, the company taking on new clients and other big changes, my department had been stretched thin for weeks and was about to get even busier. But I’d been keeping the news of my acceptance into grad school to myself for months and couldn’t contain it any longer—it was time to drop the bomb. So after one of our department’s weekly meetings, I asked my manager if we could speak privately—an uncommon request. Walking down the hall toward his office, he said jokingly, “I hope you’re not leaving us.” I started, “Well…” and told him my good news. And I quit.

The Atlantic article explained what a study on youth unemployment revealed about the benefits of quitting:

“Jumping between jobs in your 20s, which strikes many people as wayward and noncommittal, improves the chance that you’ll find more satisfying—and higher paying—work in your 30s and 40s.

“People who switch jobs more frequently early in their careers tend to have higher wages and incomes in their prime-working years,” said [Henry] Siu, a professor at the Vancouver School of Economics. “Job-hopping is actually correlated with higher incomes, because people have found better matches—their true calling.””

I certainly hope that’s true. And in my experience, I’ve found other benefits as well.

The act of quitting your job builds courage. There’s nothing scarier than giving up your paycheck—possibly the first steady source of income that allowed you independence—and telling your boss you’re leaving. It takes bravery to decide it’s time to move on to something else and then act upon that realization.

It also requires serious planning (and soul-searching). You’ve hopefully put a lot of thought and consideration into why you’re quitting your job and what you’re looking for wherever you go next. If it’s more money, no shame in saying so—identify exactly how much money and put into writing the steps you’ll take to earn it. If it’s room for growth, fine—make a timeline of where you expect to be in five years and talk with potential employers about how you’ll reach that goal. If it’s not having to answer to a boss, make sure you can be productive working on your own and are comfortable playing multiple roles in self-employment.

If you’re going to quit your job, a few words of advice:

Give fair notice. No matter how uninspired a job might be, unless your work conditions are unsafe or completely unprofessional, it’s not fair to walk out on a day’s notice. Don’t burn bridges by going out in a blaze of glory. Ask your boss for a private meeting (be kind—don’t do it on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon) and give at least two weeks’ notice. Because I knew the department would need me, I gave my boss seven weeks’ notice and helped train my replacement.

Don’t focus on the negatives. Unless you’re in the tough position of quitting a job you just started (only to realize it’s completely, 100 percent wrong for you), don’t talk about what you didn’t like about your job. Maybe you were bored as hell, maybe the job wasn’t what you thought it’d be or maybe your boss’ managing tactics grated on your every last nerve—quitting time is not the time to offer critiques. Unless specifically asked what about the job could be improved or convince you to stay, speak only about what you learned or got out of the experience in a positive way. It’ll soften the blow of your departure and make you look like a class act.

Say thank you. Handwrite letters to your manager or boss, the coworkers in your department, the CEO and whomever else you worked closely with or for as a way of showing thanks. These are the people you’ve worked alongside in an important stage of your life. Thank them for being part of it. The handwritten part will floor anyone who thinks Millennials don’t value old-fashioned etiquette.

Above all, don’t quit your job if… You’re living paycheck-to-paycheck. You don’t have something else lined up. You genuinely love your job. (If so, congrats! And why are you still reading?! Go to happy hour with your coworkers already.)

When I quit my job, I realized no one is irreplaceable.

After what felt like an eternity (but was probably only a minute or so) of my rehearsed resignation, I was relieved to see my boss smile as he congratulated me on getting into school. He was sad to see me go but said he pegged me as someone who was itching to do something a bit more creative and might not stay around forever. And I realized then that quitting isn’t more of a shock to anyone else than it is to you. Do good work and as long as the industry is sound, you can probably hang on to the same gig for a while. (And in an economy like this, we should be thankful for any job.) But unless you’re lucky enough to land the dream gig—or close enough to it—in your 20s, if you can afford to risk it, why not try on a couple of things until you find the right fit? You’ll never say you wish you did when you had the chance. And if it leads to bigger paychecks in the future, even better.

Have you ever quit a job? What did you learn?

Through the Lens: photos from November

canyon-john

Oh November, we hardly knew you.

December marks the beginning of the end of a lot of things, including this semester. The homestretch!

Before we get into what December holds, let’s take one last look back at November in photos. Despite my sometimes frazzled state of mind, I did manage to get in a few breathers—including a hike through gorgeous Corral Canyon near the coast. We also camped for a night on a coastal bluff that overlooked the Pacific.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset canyon-cave malibu

John and I also spent an entire Saturday walking around DTLA, particularly to check out the amazing architecture and awesome food. Just below is the famous Bradbury building, which has made cameos in tons of movies, including Blade Runner and 500 Days of Summer.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset bradbury-interior dtla-architecture dtla-sky grand-central-exterior grand-central-wide grand-central-counter

We also visited Grand Central Market (pictured above) for lunch. We had the best pastrami sandwich of all time at Wexler’s deli. So good.

inverted-clock-tower taco-house angels-flight descanso-trees Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Los Angeles, I’m yours.

This month, I’m focusing my energy on, oh just about everything. Final projects, employment for the spring, my upcoming trip home for Christmas (!) and… a few other things I’m forgetting.

What are you getting into in December? Are you already planning for the new year?

Feminist to Follow: Shannon from Awash With Wonder

Few bloggers these days have me latched onto their every word the way Shannon Butler does.

And when I asked the blogger behind Awash With Wonder to tell me why blogging about feminism is important to her, I should’ve known she’d respond with a blog post-length essay worthy of publication on a site that actually reimburses its contributors.

How lucky I am to have her thoughts for free.

For that reason, I’m keeping my introduction to this month’s installment of Feminist to Follow short and will let Shannon’s words show why she’s a feminist and blogger you should know. Read on…

Feminist to Follow: Shannon from Awash With Wonder

Blogging about feminism is important to me because I care about women and our role in the world.

In a recent interview with Roxane Gay, Lena Dunham is quoted as saying, “I just think feminism is my work. Everything I do, I do because I was told that as a woman, my voice deserves to heard, my rights are to be respected, and my job was to make that possible for others.”

I see feminism as my work, too.

I did not grow up wanting to be a movie star or a doctor or an astronaut. I had no clear goals. The only thing I’ve always known and that has become truer as the years passed is this: I love to be a woman and I love other women.

Even with all the bullshit women face, I have never wished I wasn’t one. I see it as a privilege to be able to befriend smart, funny, interesting women and get to experience that divine miracle that is supportive female friendship.

But do I wish there wasn’t so much bullshit? Yeah, I do – especially because there is so much of it.

Recently, a lot of women have publically asserted that they do not like catcalling. The response has not been what a rational person might think it would be. Imagine a world where people say, “We do not like this thing you’re doing; it makes us feel threatened and harassed” and the response is, “Well you should like it, it’s a compliment, stop being so ungrateful”?

Affordable birth control is still being fought for in 2014 in America. Just let that sink in. This in a country where maternity leave is either nonexistent or an absolute joke.

The response to a woman saying she was raped – which only a tiny percentage of rape victims report – is often not, “Are you okay?” but, “How much were you drinking?” or “How short was your skirt?”

Think about how many people you know who have a female boss or how many stories you hear about men having to fight to get paid the same amount as women who have the same qualifications and do the same job as them. I’ll wait.

That’s just a small percentage of the problems women face in America. Let’s talk global.

Malala Yousafzai was shot for daring to be a girl and wanting an education.

The 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram have reportedly been “married off” to their kidnappers. Those girls are under thirteen and are facing a lifetime of imprisonment and sexual assault.

Reading about girl babies globally who get abandoned, aborted or denied medical care by their parents because girls aren’t valuable in their societies is numbing. The authors of Half The Sky, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, report: “More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century.”

The number of people currently sold into sexual slavery and forced labor is hard to pinpoint – trust that it’s more than you think – but everyone fighting to save those people agree that woman and girls account for more than 90% of them. I can go on.

In her book, Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay wrote, “It’s hard not to feel humorless, as a woman and a feminist, to recognize misogyny in so many forms, some great and some small, and know you’re not imagining things. It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away. The problem is not that one of these things is happening; it’s that they are all happening, concurrently and constantly.”

There is so much to be concerned about. It’s hard not to believe that fighting for gender equality is too difficult, that it would be easier to just give up and accept that the world is dominated by patriarchal societies and we just have to deal with the misogyny and oppression that comes with it.

But part of being human is to hope for a better world and to believe that you may play a role in making it so. Fighting for gender equality is one of the most important things we can do to make the world a better place – not just for women but also for men.

Former chief economist of The World Bank, Lawrence Summers, believes “investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world’” and the United Nations Development Program found that “woman’s empowerment helps raise economic productivity…and increases the chances of education for the next generation.”

Giving women the chance to excel – a freedom they have been denied for centuries – will change the world. That’s why I write about issues that affect women and the way feminism has helped to give me hope.

I am not naïve enough to believe that just because I identify as female that I’m going to like every woman or support every decision she makes. But that’s not what feminism asks of me. Feminism simply asks that I fight for every woman to live a life where she is not oppressed or disadvantaged or allowed to die because of her gender. It is not too much to ask. It is the bare minimum, actually.

 

If you want to read more of Shannon’s thoughtful, eloquent writing on feminism, you’ll enjoy these:

Let’s talk about rape culture
Does your partner need to be a feminist?
Why representation matters

Thanks so much for sharing your words, Shannon. Be sure to check out other Feminists to Follow here.

Who are some of your favorite feminist bloggers?

Interweb Finds: Body farms, homemade cookie butter & more

Bradbury building

Oh hey guys. Remember me?

I’m officially on Thanksgiving break, which means I finally feel like I have a moment to exhale, relax and get back to this blogging space I love so dearly. I’m sorry I’ve left you so long.

A few updates from my world: I’m working on a couple of longer stories that I’m really excited about (and hope I can find a home for). I’ve made some very tough but what I hope will be rewarding decisions to take career-related risks that one day I might not have the luxury of taking. (As in, when those student loan bills start rolling in.) And John and I are cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the second year in a row. (This time, with his sister as our guest!) All very exciting things. I’m planning on having a much-needed catch-up session on my blog reader this week, but I’d love to hear what’s going on in your lives.

I thought this space was about due for roundup of the best web finds from the past couple of weeks. Check ‘em out!

How to make homemade cookie butter. (I die.)

Good news for grumpy people: they get the details right.

If you’re fascinated and awed by all things morbid, check out this piece on body farms and how they’re used to learn about the decomposition process.

“The bodies are donated and left out in the elements as part of research aimed at better understanding the process of decomposition, mainly to assist in criminal investigations. When an unidentified body turns up, the first question police typically ask is how long ago the person died — and the observations made at body farms have been crucial in allowing them to answer it.”

Did you see the video of the woman getting catcalls all day as she silently walked around New York City? Here’s a hilarious video depicting what it’s like to walk around as a white guy in NYC for 10 hours.

Best gift ever: a woman wondered if she and her mom would’ve been friends if they weren’t mother and daughter. So she Photoshopped pictures of both of them growing up and the results are perfect.

You should move at least five times in your life.

Check out this awesome, trippy and totally acoustic instrument handmade by the artist playing it. I’d like to meditate in that room.

Is Banksy a woman? This writer makes a case for it. (And if you haven’t seen Banksy Does New York yet, it’s a great documentary available on HBO.)

Here’s how Alexandra Franzen met the love of her life.

“I also expressed — by ticking the appropriate boxes in my profile setting — that I was interested in a long-term relationship. Not short-term-and-let’s-see-where-this-goes. Not casual. Long. Term. Love. That was the truth, so that’s what I put.”

The Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles has its very own gay wing unlike anything else in any other jail or prison. Instead of violence and racism, there is fashion and love. (My badass classmate and friend Ani Ucar knocked it out of the park with her first cover story in L.A. Weekly!)

Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough? Stephanie from Loudmouth Lifestyle talks openly about her own experience with self-doubt and gives us all a much-needed reminder of realizing our worth.

On a similar note, Hannah Brencher kills it with this one: you can’t be all the things.

 

That’s all for this week! I promise not to be gone so long again this time—after the holiday, I’ll have another featured Feminist to Follow.

In the meantime, have a happy Thanksgiving! How are you celebrating?

Dealing with the time change

Daylight Savings Time blues

I didn’t think it was possible to feel S.A.D. in SoCal.

S.A.D., of course, being Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I mean, other than my big career goals and all, the primary reason I moved to an area where seasons are at times indistinguishable was to avoid the gross meh feeling I get at the beginning of fall every year. But lo and behold, I’m feeling a bit meh. I don’t exactly expect sympathy to come pouring in here, though. I still have a tan in November, for God’s sake.

Still, with sunset at 4:58 p.m. (and only getting earlier through most of December), I don’t think it’s totally ridiculous to get the fall blues in the Golden State. (Contrary to popular belief, SoCal residents don’t spend every day frolicking at the beach.) Research has proven the time change is overall shitty for your health, safety, the economy and probably everything else that’s good and important, but I’m just guessing.

So how to deal with the lack of vitamin D?

Lately, I’ve been setting my alarm a few minutes earlier than normal to spend more time soaking up the morning light that pours in through the kitchen. These days, our apartment gets dark pretty early, so it’s nice to make up for it by not missing out on the best sunlight. Plus, I actually have time to eat breakfast peacefully, and I’m more likely to conk out at 11:30 at night. (I used to be a night owl – what happened?!)

After a period of going light on the exercise, I’ve been making an effort to step it up and go on more runs. Putting my shoes on is the hardest thing to do when I’m in a fall funk (I’d so much rather eat leftover Halloween candy), but when I come back from a jog, I feel like a new person. There is no better pick-me-up.

I always like to have something to look forward to, but it’s especially essential this time of year. It helps that Thanksgiving is right around the corner (and John’s sister is coming down from Northern California to stay with us!), but little things like a new book or recipe, a Saturday afternoon drive or a movie night in all put me in a good mood.

And, if all else fails, a bottle of wine (to share) always does the trick.

For those of you who suffer from the hell of Daylight Savings Time, how are you coping with the time change? Do you think it’s as stupid as I do?

Through the Lens: photos from October

sunken-city-coast

November already? Who signed off on this?

Oh hello, I’m back! Grad school is crazy lately (crazier, rather), but I’m back to this space because I’ve missed it so. It’s hard to step away from the blog, but, you know, priorities. On that note, I’m accepting guest posts to help keep things active around here. I’m particularly interested in posts about travel, feminism, careers and writing. Have an idea? Send it my way!

A little update on life here in L.A.: we’re having fall-like weather (that means highs in the 70s), and I’m already signing up for my final semester of grad school courses. Unreal.

Despite the madness, I still managed to shut the computer and get out for some exploration. (Again, priorities.) Check out these photos from October.

sunken-city-golden sunken-city-below sunken-city-art

Have you ever heard of Sunken City? Pictured above is the coastal section of land in San Pedro that in 1929 began sliding away from the coast, taking the road and even a couple of houses with it. Now, it’s a hangout spot for teenagers, graffiti artists and tourists (like us) who enjoy a little harmless trespassing. (Sunken City is blocked off with a fence that has a nice person-sized hole dug underneath to climb through.) It’s a fascinating mix of beautiful ocean views, impressive art and eerie ruins.

sunken-city-cass

Below, behold: Corg-a-palooza at the Huntington dog beach. ‘Nuff said.

corgis-playing corgi-legs corgi-beach corgi-puppy corgi-collage corgi-resting

I died a little. And no, I sadly did not walk away with a corgi. But there were plenty of corgi enthusiasts just like me who were there simply to be spectators. Adorable.

Then, a little more South Bay and beyond exploration, and a hike around Griffith Park to Batman’s original bat cave!

bell-sunset friendship-bell Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We kept Halloween local and casual, heading over to a couple of our favorite neighborhood bars.

What did you get into for Halloween? And what are you looking forward to most in November? (It’s finally almost time for the most delicious holiday of the year!)

 

@wittycassiehere Instagram

Interweb Finds: Dream jobs, Gillian Flynn’s influences & more

Interweb Finds

My birthday was the best, you guys.

Not only did I eat the tastiest sushi at my favorite local spot and drink mai tais in the tiniest, diviest tiki bar (pictured above!) with friends, but I also spent the rest of the weekend exploring the O.C. and hanging out with corgis at Corg-a-palooza, or Corgi Beach Day. There were hundreds of corgis. On the beach. It was as magical as it sounds. Pictures to come.

But now, web finds!

Speaking of corgis, Melyssa’s letter to her corgi pup Monja was just about the sweetest thing ever. (Do you feel the same way about your pets?) Aaaand while I’m on a corgi kick, here’s a video of a tiny corgi playing with a pumpkin. Okay, I’m done.

Have you seen Gone Girl yet? Author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn lists her biggest influences for the book.

Through stories of her encounters with racism, Amanda explains what it’s like being biracial:

“Being biracial means I’m always, eternally, perpetually both races, not what’s convenient for you.”

A long and fascinating read about a sting in the desert that ruined lives—and it was all over illegally removed Native American artifacts.

Creepy and unethical, or harmless fantasy? I vote the former. People are stealing baby photos on Instagram.

Grumpy Cat has an angry competitor, and I couldn’t love him more. (THAT FACE!)

The once-beloved Beverly Hills hotel is practically deserted, and the celebrity boycott is only hurting hotel employees.

Have you heard of Dream Jobbing? I’m on the lookout for my next gig!

I hadn’t noticed, but the musical fade-out is fading out, and the explanation is actually pretty interesting.

“The Beatles preferred cold endings throughout their career, but they became more open to the fade-out after they stopped touring in 1966. No longer burdened by the need to recreate their songs onstage, they got a lot more creative with their endings, and it was during this period that they recorded some of the all-time great fade-outs.”

Unbelievable photos of Melanie Griffith and her pet lion. (Um?! That playful swipe of the paw looks deadly.)

Something to make you feel better that your’e not the only one, and worse because, well, it sucks: student loan repaying is so complicated, even a top expert can’t figure it out.

We need to stop saying babies ruin bodies. It’s not just harmful, it’s completely shallow and is a disservice to the beauty of motherhood.

You’re in a relationship and you’ve laid out your baggage and issues. Great. That doesn’t excuse you from never working on them, as Jas so wisely explains:

“Instead of transferring the blame of our own shortcomings to the ones who refuse to indulge them, why don’t we ponder the following: you don’t get a free pass just because you alert your partner to your emotional baggage and bad behavioral patterns. It doesn’t make you a better partner and grant you a pardon from the negative things that you do.”

 

That’s all the web finds for this month! Why don’t you say hi on Twitter?

A quarter-century of wisdom (take it or leave it)

25

The internet is obsessed with being twenty-something—in list form.

Especially when it comes to turning 25.

A few choice headlines from Thought Catalog:

“The 25 Scariest Things About Turning 25.” “25 Things A 25-Year-Old Should Do.” “25 Things Every Woman Should Have By The Time She Turns 25.” “21 Immature Dating Habits You Should Grow Out Of By 25.”

(Couldn’t the author of that last one think up four more immature dating habits to make the headline a tad more consistent?)

I, too, am particularly moved by the significance of turning 25. Partially because that’s how old I turned today. And because it’s how old my mom was when she had me. (Whoa.)

But I don’t feel compelled to tell my peers what they should be doing, as so many lists suggest. What gives me the right? I’m only 25.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a lot worth sharing, though. My crazy gray hair that won’t quit clearly indicates there is some wisdom to be gleaned from my quarter-century on this earth.

For example, I’ve learned (thankfully early on) that it’s more important to be smart than pretty. And that it’s even more important to be kind than smart.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no when it truly is right for you, but that sometimes, you need to say yes when it would be easier to say no.

I’ve learned the value of finding and honing your voice, both written and verbal. After about 20 years of writing, I truly feel at ease in a voice that belongs only to me, and that’s a beautiful gift. It’s a lot more challenging to be vocal off the page, but talking about the things I’m passionate about has helped me find my voice in other important ways. Like everything else, this takes practice, and I’m getting better at it.

I’ve learned not to struggle against the uncertainty of life, because what’s the point? I’d rather see the beauty in it. I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now, and I’m oddly excited by that.

And I’ve learned that there’s nothing “scary” about turning 25 (or 30 or 50), and that unsolicited advice about what you “should” do or be or have or aspire to is bullshit. Society tries so hard to tell us otherwise, and a lot of companies make a lot of money by doing it. But when I look at real people – the people I’ve grown up with, the people I’ve met and had a connection with and never saw again, and the people I hope to meet someday – I know that there is no such thing as the right or wrong way, but just our many, varied, flawed and beautiful ways of living our lives.

And no way of life worth striving for can be easily summed up in 25 bullet-pointed commandments.

So cheers to 25 and beyond – here’s to not having our shit figured out and being quite all right with that.