On Engagement Ultimatums

Would you issue an engagement ultimatum?

Career Advice for Those Considering the Artistic Life

All of which is to say, don’t quit your day job, or if you do, don’t join a 20-person brass band.

So You’ve Decided To Join The CSA

It’s that time of year again. I’m seeing flyers in coffee shops and boyfriends lugging bags of soil back from the hardware store and imagining people in urban areas everywhere shouting to each other at parties, “So, you guys doing the whole CSA thing this year?” Oh god.

How Much Should I Pay for a Star Chart? and Other Key Questions Answered

Rule No. 1: Don’t be afraid to haggle. These are psychics, fortune tellers and palm readers. Believe me, you won’t be the first person to haggle. Rule No. 2: Don’t do any of this “over the phone” or “online.” Did you learn nothing from Miss Cleo’s fall from grace?

How to Stay Married: Splurge on the Honeymoon, Not the Open Bar

"Couples who make more than $125,000 a year (combined) cut their divorce risk in half." So, yeah. You don't have to be wealthy for San Francisco, just wealthy for Arkansas.

How (Some) Women Dress For Work

As workplaces get more casual overall, not just with regard to clothing, fewer and fewer things are codified, and more is left up to judgment. Just because there are no rules doesn't mean there aren't (wildly varying and complicated) expectations, and often unspoken consequences. It's nice to be treated like a human and not be condescended to in that way, but people aren't born knowing some of this shit, either.

Do You Owe a Present to a Bride Who Owes You Money?

In today’s Carolyn Hax advice column at the Washington Post, someone wants to know whether they need to get a wedding gift for a deadbeat bride who happens to also be a relative. As in all good advice-column questions, you can feel the heat of the writer’s anger rising in waves off the screen:

Dear Carolyn:

Do I buy the bride-to-be a wedding gift, even though she owes me money she borrowed and never paid back? I’m not the only person to whom she owes money, by the way. It’s like we’re paying for her wedding because she’s kept the money and it rankles to have to fork out more cash to buy a gift. It complicates matters that she’s a family member. Is there a polite way to say your wedding gift is that you don’t have to pay me back?

J.

I love this question because the letter writer “J.” clearly believes the answer should be “No, Of Course You Shouldn’t Have To Get This Dumbquat A Present; How Dare She Get Married When She Owes You Money? She Should Be Glad You’re Even Going To Her Farce of a Ceremony.” J. is writing because J.–who I will assign the gender ze/zir for clarity’s sake–wants zir righteous indignation confirmed. I love righteous indignation. I love how enraged entitled people get when faced with other people’s entitlement. 

We Need a New Kind of Financial Advice

The vast majority of us, try as we might, are not going to be the Rich Dad, living off passive income while some hapless schlubs labor for our cigar-smoking benefit. We are going to be the schlubs. We need financial literature that recognizes this. We don’t need advice on how to be rich and idle. We need concrete tips for effectively treading water.

One Answer for All the Advice Column Questions Ever

At 37, I frequently find myself talking with people about whether they should have kids. This is an understandable dilemma, with the sands running out of the biological hourglass and all that, and the key issue always seems to be, "Will I regret not having kids?" or, "Will I not love having kids as much as I thought and thus, regret having them?" (Here’s a letter to Dear Sugar that lays out the general script.)

Working When You Have No Sleep, A Guide

New York Mag's new blog, The Science of Us, published a servicey guide to surviving the work day when you didn't get any sleep the night before. There are no quick fixes -- ain't that the way? -- but lots of coping strategies. Among them: don't hit the snooze button, get outside in the daylight without sunglasses on as soon as you can, eat a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch, do the hard work right away and save the busy work for the afternoon, when you are truly ready to die. True, true, and true.

Does Success in One Area Mean Failure In Another?

Shonda Rhimes’ Dartmouth commencement speech just hit Medium. It’s ostensibly posted by Ms. Rhimes herself, which — I mean, I really want to break this down for a minute, she could have picked anywhere to post her speech, anywhere from HuffPo to The Atlantic to Kindle Singles, and she picked Medium? (Does Shonda Rhimes really need a gatekeeper-free publishing platform to share her message?)

Anyway, the speech is great, and the pull quote about “dreamers vs. doers” works, but to me, the most interesting part of the speech was the section that began:

Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.

That is the truth, right there.