I actually know one of the winners! And cool to know that nice people who do good work do sometimes really get recognized.
@Lily Rowan I think the key, when peeing in New York hotels, is looking for ones with big lobbies. There are tiny Holiday Inns downtown where I'd feel awkward trying to pee, but the midtown Sheratons, or even the fancy ones like the St Regis and Peninsula are totally fair game. And if they have lots of conferences, all the better, because clearly you're a befuddled tech person just there for the seminar. And the cool hotels with cool bars, because if they're serving lots of booze they've got to have a place to pee.
I've had two union positions: one as a grad student, which gave me vastly better health insurance than grad students at other institutions I knew (our stipends were still crap, though.) And then at a major cultural institution in New York. The HR department there hated the union and was, in general, incompetent. The union gave me the confidence to ask for what I had been promised when hired, and what the incompetent HR people kept trying to deny me (namely, benefits.) Once I discovered the magic words that seemingly solved all my HR issues, life was better. And those were: "Dear [Incompetent HR Minion]: Based on your previous emails, I would like to confirm that you are denying me the benefits guaranteed in my union contract based on your administrative error? Thank you." I would get a call about an hour later from someone higher up in HR saying things had been fixed. It was great! Adding: oh, despite the union, I worked way more than 40 hours a week. All of us did.
I moved earlier this spring, and I got 2 weeks rent comped because the apartment was very, very dirty when I moved in. It's not like there was trash or leftover furniture or anything like that, it just needed some good scrubbing (I had just bought the Clean Person's book so wanted my new life in my new apartment to be sparkling and fresh.) So having a ceiling collapse or constant leaking or any of that really should count for something. But, I have a somewhat unusual circumstance in that I know the owner (not the owner or his manager) of the building, so things get fixed promptly for me. I'm not sure if the same deal would have been cut for someone else in the building. The abatement went in part toward paying for cleaners to come in, but the rest helped offset my moving costs overall, which ended up being a nice bonus after the initial irritation.
Get the prescription sunglasses! That's not even a frivolous expense: it's a legit medical need. And you might be able to use FSA money for it, too, if that's available to you. And, again, congratulations!
I'm totally freeboobing it at work right now. Then again, there's not a lot to support anyway, and they're quite perky, if I do say so myself, so I don't think it looks inappropriate. And I'm the only one here.
@ThatJenn I still harbor a grudge against Old Navy for producing the most unflattering yoga pants ever. These were pants that had one of those gusseted crotches, and, well, the gusset had this tendency to pop out. I referred to them as The Labia Pants. I wouldn't wear them at home, I was not about to inflict them upon some poor soul shopping at Goodwill, so they were cut up into rags. I gathering the rest of you, who extol Old Navy yoga pants, aren't having that problem? Or the problem was fixed? Or, more ominously, I truly do have massive swinging labia... Oh dear.
Meghan, would you report back in three weeks on how well they held up, please? If they last the full time (or longer!) I might be swayed to do this. Of course, I probably should spend the money on getting my hair professionally colored, but that's no fun...
@ruth_zweig I think your advice is spot-on, including the advice to avoid teaching as much possible after you've got a few courses as instructor of record. I got hired into a cushy full-time gig (2/2 load) with one self-designed class and two years of being a TA leading discussion sections, and most of the people I knew at the time who got jobs within a year or two of defending had similarly weak teaching backgrounds. The people with more teaching experience, not surprisingly, took a lot longer to finish, and they seemed to struggle to get interviews and offers as much as the rest of us.
@sara_am Yes! I love being able to pop home. I no longer am a bag lady, carrying ridiculous amounts of stuff in case I need it after work. My walk to work is about 7 minutes (depending on how I hit the lights), and it is glorious. I never want to live farther than short walking distance again.