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If nothing else, wear comfortable shoes

Over in the country where I live these days, a privileged young man murdered nine people. Nine people - his three roommates and six strangers. Nine people, because he felt entitled to women and women's bodies and women's affections. And when he failed to receive them, he penned a homicidal manifesto, a misogynist treatise that I will decline to link to, accompanied by a series of increasingly evil videos.

He killed nine people. And then himself.

What kind of boys are we raising? What kind of men are we creating?

And so this weekend, I went for a walk. A long walk. The kind that starts wherever you're standing and ends wherever you end up. The kind that lasts a few hours. The kind that by the end of it, your rage and despair and melancholy have been - if not replaced - at least supplemented with a sort of renewed ability to be the best damn change you can in the world.

Sometimes what you need to keep going is a pair of comfortable shoes.

*A version of this post first appeared on the #awesomewomen list. *

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Misc: Some statements of personal policy

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Part One:

1) If you believe that talking about difference or acknowledging that -isms exist is tantamount to either "making the problem worse" or being that -ist - "Talking about racism means you're a racist!" - I will disagree with you.

2) If you contend that "we are all just people" or "I don't even see colour" or "it wouldn't matter if she was a purple alien", I will seriously disagree with you.

Typical, real example: ""Personally, I feel that the way to break down the minority divides is to ignore the existence of a minority at all. Let's forget about gender - we're all just people"

3) If your arguments include such threads as "then why isn't there a White History month?" or "we only wanted the most qualified people for this panel", I will end the conversation.

Typical, real example: "Besides, how would the world react to male-only networking groups/ online forums? I bet that wouldn't be tolerated."

Part Two:

I believe these statements to be true:

1) Highlighting the work of minorities in a field helps dispel two myths: "No one in this looks like me so I don't belong here" and "No one here looks like you so you don't belong here"

2) Giving more visibility to the work (or indeed existence) of minorities does not threaten, exclude or diminish the work or existence of non-minorities in a given industry, business or sector.

3) Acknowledging difference is an important step in understanding when and why unequal access, unequal representation, and unequal outcomes persist. And to quote [a wise friend]("http://twitter.com/dorachomiak"), "we are all different, by definition. If we don't acknowledge those differences then we're not bringing out whole selves to the conversation and everyone loses out."

4) Ignoring the testimonies of minorities who have had different experiences is tantamount to acting like those lived experiences did not happen or are not legitimate or valid.

5) There are minority individuals (and indeed, archetypes) who will argue very strongly a) that their minority status has neither helped or harmed them in any way b) that it is patently false that anyone's minority status could ever be a source of difference in access, representation or outcome. This is valid, because (4). I equally contend that acknowledging difference, including differences in access, representation, and outcomes, does not tokenize or diminish the accomplishments of these individuals or groups, because (2).

Part Three

1) What token actually means.

2) Racism is systemic.

3) "Reverse racism", you say?

4) Oh, misandry! Oh, men's rights!

5) My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.

6) No, I will not 'change my tone'.

Wellness: The path of least resistance (involves not pretending I'll exercise after work)

I'm not a morning person, but I do an excellent impression of one. And that fake-it-till-you-make-it extends to my ability to drag myself out of bed before dawn in the depths of winter to attend a spin class, or to show up for the 7am yoga practice with a smile on my otherwise not-really-awake face.

But no matter how resolute I think I am, how many events I put in my calendar, how often I take my gym clothes with me - if I'm still in the office at 7 or 8pm, I am not going to make it to that yoga class. I am not going to suit up for a run. I am going to get on the first available form of transportation that will get me home and drinking tea in the least amount of time. (I call this "Time To Tea", and I aspire to 30mins or less after a long day)

Whether you believe that ego depletion is real or are convinced you can overcome wobbles in willpower, the key is to architect paths of least resistance during your day. Whether those paths successfully lead to the gym, the studio, the bike, the treadmill - or indeed, to tea - is a function of how honest you are about the tension between your goals and your psychology.

Wellness: I think I'll just pass out in this corner, thank you

The emergent popularity of books like Susan Cain's "Quiet" means that more people now understand - or have at least been exposed to - the traits of introverts.

But this growing awareness hasn't yet been coupled with widespread attempts to design schools, workplaces or even conferences that give introverts the time and the space to rest and recharge, to avoid burnout.

Today, after a week that consisted of back-to-back meetings bookended by breakfasts and dinners, I slept until 3pm. And then, after making some lunch and still completely exhausted, I went back to bed for a nap.

Most Western societies are optimised for extroverted behaviour. I'm not.

Wellness: What's your burnout indicator?

I've learnt to recognize when I am burning out. Sleep fails to refresh me; I wake up with a sore jaw from having clenched and ground my teeth all night; I don't laugh as often or as easily.

For me, burnout is rarely about stress. It is usually about losing control of my time (manifested, most often, as unbroken blocks in my Google Calendar - representing back-to-back meetings that consume the day).

Because those blocks mean I fail to make it to yoga - as I write this, my rolled-up mat rests accusingly in a corner. Those blocks mean I cancel the coffees and dinners with the friends who recharge me.

Burnout means I begin to resent those blocks.

Time to make time for yoga.

Misc: No, you may not 'pick my brain'

I am not sure when the phrase "pick your brain" began to be used as a substitute "I would like you to give me free advice and possibly throw in some consulting work and you will probably have to pay for your own coffee".

And I am not sure why my reaction to seeing or hearing it is so visceral.

In 2013 I started saying no to certain of these kinds of requests: if I asked you for specifics - and in some cases, I went so far as to assign 'homework' - and you couldn't follow-up or weren't willing to commit to, I declined.

I say often that people don't scale, and I certainly don't. My commitment to supporting the members of the various communities of which I am a part, and to mentorship, would be undermined if I devoted hours to people who are not willing to do the work. Saying no meant saying yes to more meaningful engagements with people who are themselves committed and driven. And it is a regular reminder that when I ask for help, I too need to be prepared to do the work.

An extract from my weekly #awesomewomen newsletter

Misc: When you play with amateurs, you're going to get hurt

Damon Collins speaks convincingly about the importance of aligning yourselves with people who know what they're doing in any collaborative venture.

What strikes me as (even more) interesting is that other folks talk about the tendency of 'amateurs' to be dangerous in a different context - that of 'disruption'. A little learning might be a dangerous thing, but it can sometimes be liberating.

Read: Best of the Week to Jan 10

SNLís Real Race Problem - Tanner Colby, provoking thoughts:

When racial-justice advocates call for more diversity, what theyíre saying is that the hiring pipelines into Americaís majority-white industries need to be expanded to include a truly multicultural array of voices and talents from all ethnic corners of America; they want equal opportunity for minorities who donít necessarily conform to the social norms of the white majority. When exasperated hiring managers use the word diversity, what they really mean is that theyíre looking for assimilated diversity

11 Awkward Things About Email, which inspired my short reflection on exclamation marks.

Writers and Rum - Adam Gopnik knows:

writing is, if not uniquely hard work, then uniquely draining work. Some basic human need for a balance between thinking and acting is still kept intact even by the most tedious of other tasks. All rewarding effort involves a balance between wit and workóbetween the bits you do alone in your head and the bits you do in company with your hands (or voice or body or whatever). Laboring in your head, exclusively, does feel unnatural; whatever else we might have been doing, back out there on the primeval savannah, we werenít sitting and moving the ends of our fingers minutely on a stone surface for six hours at a stretch.

Travel: my favourite gadgets

Win friends in airports while charging all the things: [Belkin SurgePlus 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports] (http://amzn.to/1aLczSw)

iPhone at that deadly 20% threshold? Never fear: Satechi Portable Energy Station Extended Battery Charger Pack

Cabin lights so bright, meeting so early tomorrow: Bucky 40 Blinks Mask

Oh hey, 12 hour time difference: Lewis N. Clark No-Jet-Lag