The Weird and Easy Hack I Use to Make Failure Fun

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I made a resolution this year to apply to one guest post and one job every week. This means I’m putting myself out there, but also means I’m getting a lot of rejection.

Rejection is hard! It hurts the self-esteem. It dampers the spirit. It can be hard to keep going when faced with so much rejection. So how do I do it?

Well, full disclaimer, I’ve only been doing this for two months. But I’m still very excited about these goals! I keep myself excited by playing a little game.

Do you know how to play football? If you don’t, basically each team has to advance across the length of the field. Each team gets four attempts (called “downs”) to advance the ball 10 yards. Generally, if the team doesn’t advance the ball 10 yards in three downs, they’ll kick/punt the ball to the other team; otherwise the opposing team gets the ball at the last place the ball was downed, which is usually advantageous to the opposing team.

Basically, I’ve made a little football game for myself to deal with rejections. I apply for three jobs and if I get three rejections, I give myself a bit of a rest. In my mind, I punt it away. If I get an acceptance along the way, I keep on trucking along! I hold that acceptance in my mind and reset the counter. It makes me feel like I’m advancing towards my goals even if the win is a little bit trivial at times.

It’s a fun, silly way not to see myself as endless rejections. Even great teams go three and out sometimes. Then they take a break, regroup and try again. It gives me a bit of grace to deal with a string of rejections but also keeps me pumped up when I succeed. I can just envision myself trucking along the field until finally, hopefully, one day, I’ll get my touchdown!

What do you think of this method for facing rejection?

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PSA: Every Woman’s Job is as Important as any Other Woman’s Job

In an article about an upcoming movie featuring gun-toting women with STEM degrees, the characters were described as “badass bitches.”  I thought, if these women were baby-toting women with sociology degrees – would they also be called badass bitches?

The main difference is that the first group of women are breaking the stereotypes of what it means to be a woman. And while that’s unique, it doesn’t make those choices better or worse than the choices to engage in more traditionally feminine activities.

Women in male-dominated fields are not better.

It makes me sad when women doing traditionally male activities are exalted. And this isn’t jealousy from me not getting enough attention. I work in a field dominated by men. I love watching football and I love biking, traditionally male activities. I also wear dresses nearly every day, love to cook and entertain and love my nephews. I don’t think my stereotypically male activities make me better, cooler or more valuable than the stereotypically female activities. That would be denigrating things that a lot of women like and, in turn, denigrating women.

The point of getting women into certain male-dominated jobs isn’t because these jobs are better – it’s because they pay more. Of course, we now know that women face a boys’ club and sexual harassment and all sorts of other problems when competing for these positions.

We also know that if women start to take over a male dominated field, the pay collapses.  It seems like women are being sold a house of cards. Work really hard in this career so you’ll get paid more, but it’ll be a difficult job where you’ll likely face a lot of sexism and harassment. When the sexism and harassment tide turns and it starts becoming easier for women to enter the field, the pay will drop.

It doesn’t make sense for women to chase male-dominated jobs. It reinforces the idea that male jobs are better, but the only reason we think they’re better is because they pay more and the only reason they pay more is because they’re male-dominated. Maybe you help a few women for a short term earn higher pay, but it would be far more fruitful in the long-term for people to respect typically female jobs.

Of course we should all support women who want to go into male-dominated fields if that’s what interests them. But it’s not inherently better for women to be in male-dominated fields.

Women in female-dominated fields are not better.

I’ve heard some women (annoying women I may add) stress that motherhood is the most important job anyone can have. Ok fine. You are entitled to your thoughts, annoying woman.

The problems with this belief are at least threefold. It’s other-ing to women who cannot or don’t want to have children or who are single. It’s other-ing to women who put their career first. It’s shaming for women who have to work and who have to hire outside help for raising their children.

There’s nothing wrong with not having children. I don’t have children and I’m fine. I know a lot of women who have fertility issues. Obviously women without children are not any less worthy of being mothers. They are excellent aunts and sisters and daughters. We need all of these roles. Being a mom isn’t the job that everyone can have or wants.

My mom stayed home for a few years when we were young but when she went back to work, her salary went to pay for our nanny. At no time did I think I was neglected by my mother or my father because I had a nanny. My parents still raised us. I will fight to the death anyone who would shame another mother for having a nanny or for having help in raising their kids.

My sister is a stay-at-home mom. That’s fine too. I will also fight to the death anyone who says that her staying at home is easy or useless. These are all perfectly good choices.

Sometimes I worry that feminism spends too much time exalting one group of women’s choices over another’s and that’s not what feminism should be about – it should be about helping every woman and man make the choices that are right for themselves. Let’s stop saying more women should do STEM or stay home or whatever. More women should be able to do whatever they want without judgment from others.

End rant.

You Can Be a Feminist and Have a Big Wedding

you can be a feminist and have a big wedding

Photo by Terje Sollie on Pexels.com

It’s wedding season – which means new brides will get inundated with personal finance advice telling them that if they spend too much money, they’re a bridezilla!

My Experience Planning a Wedding

When I thought about planning my own wedding, I was very cognizant of this judgment and of the possibility of being labeled a bridezilla. I figured I could cut out nonsense like releasing doves or hand carved ice sculptures and save a ton of money.

But two things stood in the way of having my uber-budget wedding. One, my fiance was not afraid to be called a groomzilla. He was very interested in wedding planning and would not sign off on a shoddy menu or anything less than an open bar (in his defense, I thought these were perfectly reasonable requests). Two, and most importantly, weddings are crazy expensive even if you cut the luxury items.

We were planning a wedding in a small town, in a “budget” space, with a mid-cost well-reviewed caterer serving the cheaper buffet option in the wedding shoulder season. Our wedding budget spreadsheet was filled with 0’s. I would wear an old dress and shoes. He owned a tux. No decorations. No video. No DJ/band. Invitations were emailed.

The wedding (including rehearsal dinner, bachelor/ette parties and flying relatives in) was still going to cost $30k.

Are these Numbers for Real?

I ran the numbers over and over again, sure I’d missed something. The average wedding costs $25,576, but that number is going to be skewed by the weddings of the wealthy and, you know, Prince Harry and Megan Markle. Most weddings cost less than $10,000 to feed and entertain 120 guests.  Though our guest count was higher, I was still aghast that we would be above average in our budget.

The biggest costs for a wedding are the space and the food and drink. I read every single article on the Internet about saving money on a wedding. The only ways to cut these costs were 1) having the wedding during weekdays and/or in the morning; 2) not serving alcohol or having a cash bar; and/or 3) passing costs to our guests, like having friends and family perform services for free. These were all concessions we loathed.

Perhaps even more stunning than the estimated budget was the fact that we could afford it. We didn’t have to put the wedding on credit or get help from family members. (See, we are actually frugal!).

Still, I had it ingrained in my mind that a wise person shouldn’t spend too much on her wedding. It felt frivolous. It felt almost shameful.

Why Brides are Shamed for Spending

Personal finance blogs can be the source of some great financial wisdom but also a lot of judgmental and conflicting advice. For instance, many financial bloggers espouse the idea that one should choose experiences over stuff. So it should come as no surprise that if a young couple saves money to travel the world, that’s equated with living the dream. Contrast that with  a young couple who buys all their loved ones dinner and drinks to celebrate their commitment to one another – i.e. they have a wedding. This couple is stupid and wasteful and stupid again.

A wedding is an experience – it’s not stuff. So why should the couple throwing the wedding be derided?

I have a theory that the reason that spending on weddings is viewed so negatively is because weddings are considered “feminine” activities, and thus, they’re not valued. But “feminine” activities are not inherently less important. Spending on them shouldn’t automatically be considered a waste of money.

The Hyprocrisy Over Weddings

Contrast the scorn over wedding spending to the lack of vitriol for expensive bachelor parties. Some cost $850 for each member to attend (meaning the cost of the entire party is in the thousands). Bachelor parties can be quite expensive but, unlike weddings, they don’t serve a communal purpose. And even if a man spends way too much on a bachelor party, there’s no equivalent term to bridezilla – no bachelor-zilla.

Weddings are about love, commitment, family, friends, and community. Most people would agree that these are the most important things in life. And if you have 120 guests who love you and support you and you want to (and can afford to) buy them dinner and celebrate your love, there seems to be a good argument that that’s a good use of money.

Having a wedding within your budget (and a happy marriage!) should be a couple’s main goal. You shouldn’t have to worry about being labeled a bridezilla or a bad feminist. I hope we can someday reduce some of the stigma associated with spending on weddings, because weddings can be beautiful affairs.

How a Feminist Made Peace with Having a Big Wedding

Eventually, I learned to love the idea of spending on my wedding. I mean, I wasn’t happy that everything cost so much money and if I could spend less, I would. But if that was the cost of the wedding we wanted, then we were willing to pay, I was willing to pay. Though I ultimately had to cancel my wedding, I don’t regret any of it. Our wedding was going to be a celebration and I couldn’t think of a better way to use my money than to bring my friends and family together for the ride.

So if you’re struggling with the idea of spending money on a big wedding, because it’s a gift to your family and to your community, well just know that this anonymous blogger is on your side.
Also, congratulations!

Help! My Lifestyle is DEflating!

Placeholder ImageFinancial experts say one should continue to live like a grad student even after starting work to avoid lifestyle inflation. I took this advice to heart when I graduated from law school. I maintained my 18-year old car and rented a one-bedroom apartment in the ‘burbs in a 1970s-era building.  Much of my income was spent killing my student loans, nesting and building a corporate wardrobe.
Fast forward six years to today and I’m car-free and in a cheaper apartment. I still wear the corporate wardrobe I bought at the start of my career. I am typing this on the couch I bought off Craigslist for $40 when I moved into my first apartment. The money I spent on loans is largely moved toward investments.
All the while, my income has increased by 25%.
 Turns out, lifestyle deflation can creep up as easily as lifestyle inflation.

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