To Get the Career You Want, Should You Assist Someone Who’s Already There?

You do not get invited to contribute original work and ideas simply because you are skilled at pouring coffee or entering data into accounting software.

How I Changed My Life and Became a Cheesemaker in Three Difficult Years

I can't quite put my finger on when I decided I wanted to learn how to make cheese. The idea of cheesemaking intrigued me, and as I was searching for farm work, I would get excited at any mention of cows, goats, milk, or cheese. It might have stemmed from my initial experience of farming as one task, done for eight straight hours. Cheesemaking/dairy farming seemed like varied, interesting work.

Who’s Taking Care of Your Baby?

As I passed by him he shouted something else that I didn’t quite hear. I turned around, said, “What?” “Who’s watching your BABY?!” he repeated, laughing a little. I spun around to make eye contact with him. “My HUSBAND!” I said and spun back around and crossed the street.

The Dilettante’s Approach to a Career

Work is work. We do it because we need to make money, to pay bills, to have a roof over our heads. We do it to imbue our life with a tiny bit of meaning. It’s the thing that makes it so that we can do the stuff we really like, like yoga classes and coffee with friends and fitful bursts of shopping on windy Saturdays. It is energy expended in order for money to be made. The very word sounds trying. The hard consonant is a closed fist. "I can’t meet you for apple cider and donuts," you say, "because I have to work." There are sympathetic sighs; a tacit understanding. The discussion is closed.

Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

I have never been good at not comparing myself to others. It is one of my favorite activities—something I do in between work emails and the lull between episodes of Parenthood loading on Netflix. A simple glance at Twitter or a mindless scroll through Facebook reveals the various successes, personal and professional, of friends, people from high school, old roommates. They are all seemingly doing things. Big things. And here I sit, on my couch, doing smaller things, like watching TV, working and conducting consumer research on duvet covers or televisions. My mind starts to wander. "I should be doing better," a voice says, insistent and grating. "I should be doing more." This voice is the worst. It is career suicide.The correct response to this: "Keep your eyes on your own paper."

On Feminism And Fashion

Omg, I love Maya Singer's wild, sweeping, manic rant / call-to-arms for Style.com about how fashion is about more than clothes and women who declare fashion to be frivolous are carrying water for the patriarchy. I am currently wearing a cotton dress that I'm pretty sure is a nightgown and an Old Navy denim shirt with a hole in the elbow, but you better believe I am first bumping through that hole.

Beyond Entry-Level

Often, when someone asks if she can meet me for coffee so she can "pick my brain," part of that brain-picking process is simply listening to me explain how I got my start and what I did to get to where I am now. This person is usually young and already has a year or two of work under her belt, and what she really wants to know is: "What do I need to do to get to the next level in my career?"

What Does a Venture Capitalist Do All Day?

Kevin Roose interviewed Marc Andreessen, a partner at Andreesseen Horowitz who is famous for being bald, saying crazy shit on Twitter, and other tech things. The interview is full of gems (Andreessen kind of says he supports a universal basic income?! He concedes that, "yeah, the meritocracy works if you know the right people.")

Yes, I Do In Fact Owe My Entire Career to Browsing Reddit

I don’t foreshadow casually, so when I dropped “I actually owe my freelance career to Reddit and will tell you that story someday” in the tags this morning, well… you knew this was coming.

Back when I was trying to make a go of the touring musician thing, I realized that I was running out of money very, very quickly. (I was making surprising amounts of money as a musician, but touring was expensive so I wasn’t actually making a profit.)

At that point, I could have walked myself down to the nearest temp agency and done my usual trick of “I can type one billion words a minute at a Six Sigma error rate, please hire me.” The problem was that I was in the middle of working on Giant Robot Album and I had shows booked all over the country.

So I had to figure out something else.