Her solutions may not work… but she has them.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio (via Pexel)

Howdy neighbor,

This is a crazy time — the COVID. The protests. The Oscars AND the Golden Globes were pushed back. I received an email today from Pottery Barn about the steps they’re taking to fight racism. (I was especially inspired by their curated collection of “justice” pots and pans.) And I felt like I should do something, too. My passion for fighting injustice has risen like a loaf of gluten-free banana bread made with instant yeast. Consider me an ally. I promise to fight racism in every way possible (of course, without risk of arrest, discomfort, or anything that would cause me to miss This Is Us). …


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Photo by Ruby Schmank on Unsplash
  1. Is borderline obsessed with some of her peers but flashes her canines at others, no rhyme or reason.

2. Waits until I’m curled up in my favorite sleep position, with all the lights off, almost in REM sleep, to ask for a bathroom break.

3. Tries to run away from me whenever we’re in public.

4. Speaks using only a wide range of grunts, squeals, whines, and growls.

5. Is attracted to strangers with meat-flavored treats.

6. Sheds so much hair that the hallway looks like a bird’s nest.

7. Either chews with her mouth open like a cavewoman, or

8. Doesn’t bother chewing at all, and instead slides food down her throat like it’s a trash chute. …


Small acts of sacrifice can be just as powerful as grand gestures

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Photo by Matt Collamer (via Unsplash)

In late March, at the peak of Americans’ panic buying, my husband and I were having a hard time finding basic items — eggs, chicken, and beans, to name a few. So, we decided to divide and conquer. I went to one store, he headed to another. I came up emptyhanded, but he found eggs. As he waited in line, relieved that he hadn’t wasted another trip to the store, the woman just ahead of him caught him off guard — she told the cashier she’d pay for his eggs.

My husband was truly touched. I even got a little teary-eyed when he told me the story (and not just because we’d finally found everything on our grocery list). It was the kindness of this stranger’s gesture. She’d recognized how trying that moment was, that my husband had probably gone through a lot more than usual to get that carton of eggs. It was a moment of solidarity — she and my husband were navigating the same scary, unfamiliar territory together. …


Changing your target doesn’t mean you’ve failed

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Photo courtesy of Unsplash (Estée Janssens)

April 2019 was the best month of my entire freelance career.

I earned more from writing and editing than I’d previously thought possible. And my success during that month changed my reality — it helped me see that I could accomplish more than I knew. I could push my limits. The career path that I’d chosen (as a full-time freelancer) was actually viable.

But there was also this little nagging voice in the back of my head.

That voice filled me with doubt. Maybe this month was just an anomaly, not a sign of things to come. It wasn’t a success to celebrate; it was an impossible expectation I was setting for myself. The following year, when I looked at my LY results, this stellar April would be a mountain to climb. …


The focus on hustle culture feels out of step with this moment

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio (courtesy of Pexels)

Everywhere I look, I see articles about boosting or maintaining my productivity during the coronavirus pandemic — 8 Ways to Stay Productive During Coronavirus, How To Stay Productive If You’re WFH Because Of The Coronavirus, Three Tips to Maintain Remote Productivity. And I get why this might be important for corporate employees who are working from home for the first time. They still have professional responsibilities, and they have to deliver, regardless of the circumstances. But there’s a different undertone in a lot of these pandemic productivity articles.

There’s an implication that the nationwide quarantines aren’t just a measure to slow the virus’ spread — they’re also like a government-mandated sabbatical. If you aren’t hustling or tackling that long-dormant passion project during this time, you’re not doing enough. …


With another Great Recession (or worse) upon us, this is the moment to take preventative action

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Photo courtesy of Pexels (Andrea Piacquadio)

Just before the Great Recession, I’d been living in New York for less than a year. I was a twenty-something, entry-level manager at a huge clothing store on 5th Avenue — the biggest, highest-grossing store in the company. Given that we were in a prime location in one of the nation’s most populous cities, we were doing well, and we were handsomely rewarded with monthly bonus checks.

When the Recession hit, my life was minimally affected. I was a valued employee, and I easily survived a round of layoffs that slimmed the leadership team down to its bare bones. We stopped making our monthly bonuses — and the bonus structure shifted to reflect a new set of criteria that we rarely satisfied. …


The Judgment-Free Zone wants you just as you are… exactly as you are

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Photo courtesy of Pexels

PERSONAL APPEARANCE GUIDELINES

The Member must not resemble physically fit A-list celebrities like Larry David, Mama June, or Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. These persons will be denied membership and given a complimentary pamphlet about body dysmorphia.

If The Member shows any new muscle definition (in calves, biceps, triceps, or quads), they will be removed from the gym floor and escorted to our Cake Consumption Unit, where they’ll be force fed Soft Lady Fingers until their body fat rises at least a half percentage point.

The Member must NEVER raise their shirt to check their abs in the mirror. The nearest Fitness Czar will slap their hand and then secure the sides of their shirt with Black Gorilla Tape and Krazy Glue. …


Because making a living is overrated.

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Photo by bruce mars

Welcome to FindAGig.com, one of a million places on the internet promising writers fair pay and new opportunities and delivering on exactly none of it.

1. Seeking Crème de la Crème Freelancer

We’re looking for an established writer, preferably a Pulitzer Prize winner, though any other major literary award will do. We need a 10,000-word listicle about why Valencia is the best Instagram filter. We need this turned around fast, in 2 hours if possible. Oh, and we’re a startup with limited capital, so our budget for this is $5. Reply to this email with your CV, two references, your portfolio, and your 2019 book sales.

2. Distraction-Free Startup Seeks Writer with Initiative

We’re a high-growth pet food startup based in San Francisco, and we’ve had a lot of trouble finding a good writer. We’re big proponents of dopamine fasts, so we don’t want to work with someone who likes to ask questions about our expectations. No emails, no phone calls, strictly telepathy, and even that’s only between 2–4 p.m. PST. Use our website as your ultimate source of inspiration. It’s currently just a stock photo of a dog and a paragraph of placeholder text, but there’s enough information there to figure out our mission and values and brainstorm relevant blog topics and SEO keywords. We’re looking for someone who can churn out at least one 2,000-word blog post every day, including weekends — no questions asked. Seriously, if we have to answer any questions, like even one, you’re fired. …


The dated concept hasn’t evolved for the digital age

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Photo by rawpixel.com, courtesy of pexels.com

Work-life balance is a myth.

The version millennials have been sold — the mythical 50/50 split between our professional and personal lives — is positioned as a sort of North Star. But like most North Stars, it remains out of reach, not because of its high degree of difficulty, but because it isn’t based in a modern reality.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, work-life balance is “the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy.” Essentially, it’s the belief that our lives only have two facets and those two facets should remain separate, like church and state. Work-life balance suggests that every person’s life can be split into two neat halves; it assumes that the way we spend our time is easily quantifiable, that each of us possesses the surgical precision necessary to slice work out of the rest of our lives. …


Your personal definition of success should not be crowdsourced

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Photo by rawpixel.com, courtesy of pexel.com

Success needs to be disrupted.

Success (noun) /sək — ses/:

a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

It’s that last part about prosperity that we get hung up on. We lose focus on our own aims, and we judge our progress not by personally established benchmarks (like finishing a project or booking a major interview) but by status symbols celebrated by the masses (like unicorn startups and features on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list). That’s why we look at someone like Mark Zuckerberg — a 35-year-old billionaire who’s one of the most powerful people in tech — and think, “What have I done with my life?” …

About

Jefferey Spivey

Storyteller. Freelance copywriter/editor. Semifinalist in WeScreenplay Diverse Voices (2020). Bylines: Slackjaw, The Startup, SOULE

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