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The Interns Are Coming

4 Jun

All over DC, a slow but steady buildup has been approaching, finally erupting in offices everywhere this week.

You know how during Freshman orientation in college there was always a list of things to do/avoid so as not to be that Freshman? It ranged from getting rid of that tacky lanyard hanging around your neck with your student ID attached, to going to each and every organization’s free pizza party in order to save on your dine dollars.

Wouldn’t it be nice if DC held some kind of massive orientation in front of the Lincoln Monument for all the new interns that have arrived? If we had it our way, these are some of the key points that would be touched upon before they embark on their summer in the capital.

– Do Not ask a co-worker on a date the first week you meet. Or ever. The exact words that were used with one particular intern was “Would it be inappropriate to ask you on a date?” Yes, dear. Yes it would.

– We will give you stupid work. Shut up and do it. That’s what you’re here for.

– Don’t dress like a slut. A bandage skirt that has seen the depths of Saint-Ex does not double as a pencil skirt. And please leave your 5 inch red platform heels at home.

– Your opinions probably don’t matter. Sure you’re in the Student Government Association at your college, and therefore believe you have really brilliant ideas… but let’s be honest, you don’t.

– Gossip in DC is worse than in high school. Go ahead. Hook up with the intern from the legal department. Complain that your boss doesn’t deserve his position. Game on. Because We will find out.

– Standing directly in front of the cafeteria worker with 8 people behind you in line is not when you start pondering whether you want swiss or cheddar on your turkey sandwich. Know what you want for lunch, and order quickly. We’re all in a hurry.

– Don’t show up to work hungover multiple times in a week. We’re aware that you will party like it’s 2011 on random Tuesday nights at McFaddens, but pop some advil, drink a 5 hour energy, and pull yourself together man.

– Don’t go to McFaddens.

– Just because you’re the nephew of a senator, or the daughter of John Boehner’s college roommate’s cousin-in-law does not make you important. Sure, that’s how half of you got your internships. But don’t for two seconds think we want to deal with your douchebagery.

Follow these rules, use common sense, and don’t be a dick. That’s basically the summary of this post. And if you can do that, we will love you forever. If you can’t, we’ll laugh in your face, complain behind your back, and blog about you in the hopes that you see it someday.

Don’t be an intern statistic. We’ve all been there. And we’re rooting for you.

B.

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5 Ways Finding a Job and Finding a Man Are the Same Damn Struggle

22 May

This week, my dream job was posted online and I. Have. To. Get. It. I’ve spent the last 48 hours freaking out to all of the SR ladies and basically anyone who will listen. In an especially inspiring Gchat with Anne (thanks babe), she gave me the motivation I need. “Go for it,” Anne encouraged me. “Shark that job like you’d shark a guy at a bar.”

It got me thinking: finding a job is actually exactly like finding a man. How, you ask?

5. “I don’t want to come off as desperate” is not a thing. If you find yourself saying this, GTFO.

no really

This is a lesson I learned from job searching that I then realized applies to dating. Most of the people around me who have gotten jobs that I think were awesome and/or wish I had have done it by, quite honestly, being pathetic. You have to be honest with people about the fact that you’re looking for a job and you need their help — and a paycheck. This is not dissimilar to being single and having trouble approaching a new guy, or having trouble opening up to someone. It’s hard to show vulnerability but the alternative is waiting for things to happen to you and waiting forever because you never told anyone that you wanted those things to happen.

4. Connections matter. New boi’s roommates like you? A former supervisor is willing to drop the possible new boss a note saying how great you are? You’d be shocked how much it helps. Life is not a meritocracy. You’re IN. 

AKA, if you wanna be his lover, you gotta get with his friends.

Except don’t confuse the metaphors and get with your boss’ friends.

3. You won’t find the best ones online. Ok, ok, this isn’t quite true. (Actually, the SR ladies are stepping up their online dating game this week and although I’m a little skeptical, I’m rapidly dropping my old-school aversion to the idea.) In fact, while in the workplace you put yourself out there by getting offline (i.e. talking to people and networking and other scary things), in the dating world putting yourself out there involves getting online.

But where the similarities remain is that only looking online – for a job or for a man – does allow you to pre-select based only on what you already know. And that may mean that you allow yourself to close your mind to other options. Maybe you never thought you’d work in finance – just like you never thought you’d date an Asian guy.

2. You’re almost always more qualified than you think. Whether it’s not applying because you don’t meet all the stated qualifications or not going up to a guy at a bar because you think he’s too hot to talk to you, STOP. We ladies tend to underestimate ourselves but I promise, you’re way more awesome than you think you are…

1…..but sometimes, you might have to accept that you’re just not a good fit

The Thing Ruining My 20s

1 May

Folks,

Over the weekend, I read the truest words anyone has written about what’s poisoning our postgrad years.

It’s not men. It’s not the economy. It’s not alcohol, unless you mean tequila, in which case yes it is literally poisoning you.

IT’S GCHAT.

You might have thought thus far that Gchat was a saving grace, keeping you sane during the workday. Actually, no. Read the article linked above. It’s not only making you less productive (shocker, I know) but it’s having a negative impact on those relationships you think you’re keeping afloat (to her credit, our own Stacie called this a long time ago).

How true is this?

While a concise instant message may seem to be an efficient way to touch base (without strains like rising from your swivel chair), the interaction can quickly turn trite or futile. “A lot of the stuff that happens on Gchat is not necessarily productive and wouldn’t be talked about in real life — it’s surface-level nonsense that’s getting in the way of why you’re in the office to begin with,” Bolt says. The more time you spend swapping complaints about your boss, links to the best video you’ve seen all year and — oh, right — questions about work, the harder it becomes to recover and produce.

And this:

Why ask Google when you can ask a friend? Gchat’s accessibility to smart people with whom we share personal relationships makes finding answers easy — or so we think. But often, typing a “quick q?” to a friend becomes more disruptive and distracting than digging for the answer yourself.

And start gchatting with a new love interest at your peril:

It happens all-too fast: You add your new beau on Gchat, and start chatting from nine-to-five. You debate over lunch spots, talk happy hour plans and vent about the pain of working for a tyrannical supervisor. The days fly by, at first, but the circular conversations can quickly feel confining and inadequate. This day-long chatting poses the illusion that you’ve shared moments and have been in touch, but those experiences are anything but quality.

Fuck that. I’d rather waste my workday blogging.

How to Ask for a Raise

21 Apr

By Capitol Jill

 

I’ve come to the point in my job where I have to do a very scary, uncomfortable thing.

I’m going to ask my boss for a raise.

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EEK!

Working on the hill is a unique beast. The pay is miniscule, but that’s expected. And I know that I will never make a lot of money on the hill. But I do think it’s time I get bumped up a bit, and I’ve decided to ask outright for it.

I’ve talked to mentors about this, and read countless articles (like this one, and this one, and this one too!). Here are the best pieces of advice I’ve gleaned from those conversations.

 

1. Practice what you are going to say – everyone tells me this first. Because it is an uncomfortable conversation, no matter what the situation, its easy to talk in circles and rush through your points. I plan on practicing in the mirror several times this week, working on modulating my tone and keeping my pace even.

2. Make them say no – This one I’ve heard from a lot of people. A managers job is to have these conversations with employees.

3. Do not try to rationalize or explain (too much) – If you’re doing a good job, and deserve a raise, hopefully the boss has already noticed your good work.

4. Use metrics and specifics to explain why you deserve a raise – my best mentor gave me this advice early on, and I have really tried to keep it in mind. Extra projects you take on, past performances you improve upon – all of these things are important in determining your salary. While you don’t need to explain in great detail what you’ve been doing, it’s important to bring up a few key points that show your value to the office.

5. If you act confident, you will appear confident.

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I’ll be making the big leap later this week, in a conversation with my boss about my work performance and ways I can improve. I’m scared, but in a weird way, I’m excited. This is a conversation I am sure I will have to have in the future, and I think that right now, it is time. LEAN IN!!

Maybe I’ll let you all know how it goes!

Wish me luck!

Have any tips for us? Tweet @stoprequesteddc!

XOXO,

Capitol Jill

Betty’s #equalpayday Reading List

10 Apr

There’s been a lot of buzz this week thanks to Equal Pay Day and the bigger question of women’s equality in the workplace. Or shall we say, “the left’s latest bizarre obsession.” Guilty as charged, Mitchy.

More thoughts on this TK, but here is some food for thought that particularly caught my attention this week:

1.
If she can do it, why can’t YOU? A great reflection on why the ‘Lean In’/’Having It All’ mantra is great for privileged women who are in the right place at the right time, but can set unfair expectations for the rest of us.

2.
I Wasn’t a Fan of Sheryl Sandberg’s—Until I Couldn’t Find a Job From the opposite viewpoint of the first article, a young college grad reflects on how Sheryl Sandberg’s credo empowered her to take the reins of her own career in an unfriendly economy.

3.
Why Women Don’t Ask For More Money A great read + listen (there’s audio too – gym listening anyone?) on the perpetual question of women asking for raises.

Together, I think these raise some interesting questions about whether the lower position of women in the economy/workplace – something I think most of us would agree exists, even if we don’t agree on how to handle it – has to do with individual initiative or structural economic and political factors. Which, of course, also underlies basically every domestic political/economic debate in our country since LBJ.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments. We’re looking forward to more debate on this in upcoming posts!

-Betty

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

13 Mar

I’m on a little bit of an office-life kick these days in terms of my blog posts. That’s why, when I started to write my post, immediately got distracted by the Internet, and saw this gem on Facebook, I realized there are some days when your post just gets written for you.

17 Things You Suddenly Start Doing When You Get An Office Job

#3, LOL.

Thought Catalog, you speak my soul once again.

 

 

A Tribute to Office Space

27 Feb

Office Space was on TV the other night – an all-time classic, especially when you’re as pissed off at your own office environment as that film’s noble, Jennifer-Aniston-loving protagonist.

As tribute, I would like to begin a list of all of the most irritating things people do in the office. I am sure this will be a running list, because hell is other people [sidenote, click the link. that is fucking hilarious].

By the way, many of these items are things that I do. Like warming up maple & brown sugar oatmeal in the shared microwave and stinking up the office for the rest of the day. What can I say? I was out of granola bars.

  1. Yelling through the door. I know you have a phone. Just call me. Also, feet. Also, don’t talk to me.
  2. Forwarding me emails that I was already CC’ed on. OH MY GOD.
  3. Also, though, the passive-aggressive BCC. Just don’t do it. It’s as bad as breaking up over text message.
  4. Assuming that I can do work when I am out sick. Or even assuming that I can respond to your emails. I cannot. I am sick  cutting work to hang out at one of these places.
  5. Talking to me and assuming I will hear when I have my headphones in.
  6. Not answering me because you have your headphones in. Who the hell do you think you are?

What are your contenders for most annoying office habit? Leave them in the comments!

xoxo,

Brownout Betty

Reality Bites: The Dark Side of #PGP

24 Oct

Dear readers, I have a confession to make.

Before I get into it, though, some background on where I’m coming from. When I was a junior in high school, a friend described me as “independent – to a fault,” and I thought it was an apt description of me. I enjoyed the challenge of handling things alone, and was often stubborn about asking for help because I thought I could handle it better on my own.

Six-odd years later, that remains a really good description of my personality, whether it’s at work, in life in general, or whatever. When I lived in New York, I didn’t even like taking cabs, because I felt like it was more ‘independent’ or ‘self-reliant’ to take the subway. (nb: that has all changed since I came to DC, because WMATA vs. Uber – are you kidding me?).

The independence factor is probably the one reason that I have been having a fucking baller time in DC since moving here. I got my current job pretty much on my own, I made friends on my own, and I even found my janky-ass apartment without much help from anyone. I think that’s really contributed to my enjoyment of all of those aspects of my lifestyle (i.e. it’s why I put up with a washer/dryer that dates back to 1979 – because hey, I snagged it on my own!). I know it sounds nuts. But it’s the way I am. I’ve loved living on my own, paying my own bills, dealing with problems my own way, even if it’s not the perfect way.

But I must confess: in the past few weeks, I’ve started to feel like – well, like I need help. All of a sudden, handling mundane life issues by myself has become So. Fucking. Hard. Dealing with the fallout of a lost wallet? Getting the washer repaired? Remembering to order new contact lenses before the old ones run out? Installing a shelf when there’s no one around to tell me whether it’s straight and centered? Running back and forth between my doctor and my old health insurance and my new health insurance trying to figure out who’s responsible for a bill?

It’s all so hard. It’s all weighing on me so hard. And I no longer feel exhilarated by my independence. I feel FUCKING DEPRESSED by it, because I’m constantly being told that I don’t have the life skills to handle it. Every day, I come home from work and feel like there’s another thing I have to do – and I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t WANT to call my parents and have them handle it all for me, and ordinarily my independent-to-a-fault self wouldn’t dream of it, but I’m feeling like I have no other choice.

Which brings me to the title of this post. #PGP, or #PostGradProblems, is a favorite website of the Stop Requested ladies (may I personally recommend their always-on-point Twitter feed?). The idea is basically to point out silly life things that post-grads are bad at doing, like cooking health food or not getting drunk on Monday nights and making out with co-workers. It’s a similar idea to this BuzzFeed article that really speaks to my soul.

Before reality started crashing down on me like this, I thought #PGP was hilarious, because it was poking lighthearted fun at the idea of being a dysfunctional 20-something. And I was able to laugh at it because I was only dysfunctional on things that didn’t matter, like eating too many burritos or falling asleep at my desk or whatever.

Now, though, the website (which I still adore) is starting to hit a little too close to home, because I’m realizing that post-grad life is actually really goddamn hard. Even though I’ve got a job and an apartment and can make rent, I’m still having trouble with little things like remembering to get my dry cleaning and replacing the batteries in the remote and researching grad programs and keeping the cabinet stocked with cleaning supplies. I feel so frozen in place, unable to handle so many important things in my life! #PostGradProblems has become #PostGradParalysis.

It’s so true what your parents say when you complained about your homework: just wait till you enter the real world. I’m here in the real world, and it was awesome for a while, but now I feel like it’s crushing my soul.

I think this is just a phase. And I desperately hope it is. Because I think adulthood is awesome – I guess I just haven’t quite figured it all out yet.

The First of Many Lists

20 Sep

This week I’ve done a bit of drinking thinking about what my blog is supposed to be about. I’ve never done this before. I wouldn’t consider myself an accomplished writer by any means. And as you’ll soon discover, I am the worst decision maker of all time. So to overcome my serious writer’s block, I’ve sat down with my favorite Belgian White – Blue Moon – and come up with a list of subjects that I imagine will likely make appearances throughout these next few months.

1. Negative, but likely ironic, day to day experiences/feelings. That is to say I’m afraid that this might happen. People love to complain – and I’m no exception. Consider it one of my many character flaws. But it’s not just because I enjoy the feeling of being comforted at the end. Actually, it’s also because of you, dear readers. Why am I afraid that the majority of my blogs will be complaints about relationships, friends, family, work, society, crappy movies, and Miley Cyrus? Because that’s what many people enjoy reading about. Have you heard of the term schadenfreude? The first time I heard the word was in the musical number in Avenue Q (youtube it, bro). In their words, Schadenfreude is “happiness at the misfortune of others.” Sure, it’s nice to hear good news about friends or family – someone recovering from an illness, a friend being accepted into a great school, or your sister finding a fabulous pair of boots for under $25. But tell me it doesn’t irk you to log onto facebook and see yet another friend who is suddenly engaged to her boyfriend of 14 months whenever you’ve been riding the struggle bus with yours for over 3.5 years. Or find out your co-worker is going on yet another Caribbean cruise that Daddy dearest is paying for. Wouldn’t you rather read an article that you can relate to, and possibly even feel a little bit better about yourself in the process? Exactly. Schadenfreude. If you still don’t believe me that schadenfreude is real, remember the feeling you got when you found out Kim Kardashian was getting a divorce after 72 days…? Yup. Sometimes it just feels good to see the mighty fall.

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Lean (In) On Me, or, How I Never Read Sheryl Sandberg’s Book But Wrote 1200 Words About It Anyway

20 Sep

by Brownout Betty

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VAYAMOS ADELANTE, bitches.

The Stop Requesters are, we’re happy to report, a group of gainfully employed gals. As budding young DC lady-professionals growing up in the shadow of Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg, this means that we have all read and memorized Lean In. JK, of course we haven’t. Because we live in the ADD internet age where memes have replaced books, it means that we:

a)    have all read the Sheryl Sandberg parody of the crazy sorority girl email and laughed knowingly at it despite not having read the book

b)    use “Lean In” as a punchline when discussing life as a young female professional

c)     have made tipsy promises to each other at happy hour that we’re starting “Lean In” at that book club we’ve been talking about that we’re legit starting NEXT WEEK. SERIOUSLY GUYS I’M SENDING AN EMAIL TONIGHT, and our first book will be “Lean in”. BUY YOUR COPY.

Hahaha, yeah right. If we do start a Book Club, the book is obviously going to be This Town, and if anyone actually reads it for said book club they’ll probably be disappointed because we’ll just end up drinking wine and eating hummus like the shitty (but awesome) girls we are.

Since that book club clearly isn’t happening, SR readers, I would like to share my latest personal Lean In story. A Lean In Story, by the way, is a story about the workplace in which gender dynamics sort of figure in, but not necessarily in the way Sandberg describes, and in which I dilute the term Lean In to describe basically anything related to gals at work. Sorry in advance for bastardizing your concept throughout this post, Sheryl, but hey, at least you got us discussing these important issues. Kinda.

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