We’re all in this together. (cue the coordinated dance scene.)

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If you know that Ashton Kutcher isn’t a band, I’m sure you’re aware of the movie Mean Girls. Ms. Norbury, played by Tina Fey, states the seemingly obvious.

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Why are we calling each other sluts and whores? (Along with many other things.) It turns out that Tina Fey wasn’t just trying to make a cult comedy, but had a point to emphasize from the book she adapted the plot from (Queen Bees and Wannabees.)I’m not going to bore you with the endless questions Tina Fey asks the girls of North Shore High and the questions I’m sure girls wonder daily. We females are on the same team. As Troy Bolton and the rest of the Wildcats from High School Musical sings and dances, we’re all in this together. Knocking me down only brings you (fellow female) down too. Maybe not directly, but in the long run you are hurting girls everywhere. You’re perpetuating the endless cycle you hate. Instead of thinking when the next guy hurts you “Would he treat his sister this way?” think “Would I be happy if my daughter put up with this bull shit?” NO.

We can fight the problem of being put down as a sex by starting with ourselves. As the late Michael Jackson sang, “I’m starting with the [wo]man in the mirror.. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.” This all sounds cliche, but quit making the guy population of society our scape goat for our inner self loathing. It’s a cliche for a reason. You think you’re winning by putting me down as a “stupid bitch?” Well, you just scored on your own team, in the goal you’re trying to protect. Welcome to soccer for five year olds.

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I’m not saying we should all live in a world where we bake cakes from rainbows and smiles and we’d all eat it and be happy. But we sure as hell can make it a little less mean.

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l8r sk8rs,
Justine

Why ADHD should be your best friend

Let me start off by saying I am not a doctor. I was, however, diagnosed with ADHD several years ago and with therapy, I’ve come to find out that I’ve always displayed the traits of ADHD since childhood.

I’ll say it: I don’t think ADHD is a disability. It is if you try to fit into the corporate 9-5 world, then sure, I suppose it might be. Trying to force yourself to get up, get ready, and do the same routine every day is exasperatingly mind numbing and down right difficult. For some, it’s peace of mind having structure and routine. For me, it’s torture.

I’m not sure I even believe ADHD is a medical problem – I just see it as more of a personality type. As Einstein notably said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

America runs on the corporate structure and admonishes those with opposing personalities. I’m a hard worker and I did excellent in school – but it came at a price: time. I spent most of my time trying to get myself to focus on the task at hand, eating up my free time to do anything else. While others were outside playing, I was inside getting my work done (and not because I couldn’t understand it, but because I couldn’t get myself to just finish it).

We try to quell our opposing personalities with medications and therapies, but really, we should be embracing them and setting ourselves up for success.

We are driven, as a country, by a need to classify ourselves and establish hierarchies and relationships. Because of this, we ended up with the corporate ladder – a vertical movement that does not support lateral movement. It’s all about who is your boss and who you boss. We can never break those bonds and move laterally because the corporate world does not support that. We will always earn and spend at the same ratio. We will always have the same societal pulls. It will always be a struggle, because it’s supposed to be.

Those with jobs other than the typical 9-5 corporate jobs are often looked at as the ones who weren’t successful in school. I can personally think of several examples of people who went into different fields, worked under a different structure, and benefitted more.

The startup world is filled with people like this – people like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. These are people who just didn’t operate as well in a pre-established structure and defined their own that worked for them.

If the corporate world wasn’t meant for you and you are scared to drop it completely for fear of paying the bills, then try taking on a hobby that supports your personality. You will most likely find that you are excelling. The key, though, is to monetize it, set it, and forget it during your 9-5 job. Let your side project generate revenue while you are at work and do the upkeep after work. It’s not a quick, easy thing, though: it takes time, creativity, and dedication.

xx Nicki

Six things you’re saying and doing that are holding you back

1. Sorry, but..

If you’re saying sorry for things you aren’t doing wrong or you are just saying sorry as often as a teenager says ‘like’ then you unconsciously appear subordinate and weak. Think about it: do you say sorry automatically when someone bumps you or if you need to call someone’s attention? “Sorry to bother you, but…” is a phrase we all need to eradicate from our daily usage. Not only does it make you appear timid, it often times makes people you say it to feel uncomfortable (or feel as though they are your boss even if they are not). Practice saying, “Excuse me, *blah blah blah*.”

2. Not maintaining eye contact

If you aren’t looking people in eye when speaking to them or being spoken to, you appear as though you are not paying attention, are lying, or are otherwise untrustworthy. You also give off an air of submissiveness here too. Maintaining eye contact shows the person you are listening to or speaking to that you are on their level (we are all humans, after all) and that you are worth their time.

3. Not giving a firm handshake even if you are a female

This one is tough because I have attempted to give a firm, full-palmed handshake many times and have been cut off at the pass by both males and females into giving them one of those half handshakes. You know the ones I mean – where you just shake their finger tips.

Even if you are very feminine, these half handshakes are sending the wrong message. You want to show the person you are shaking hands with that you are trustworthy, capable, and strong. If you cohabitate with males, then most likely you are doing similar work to them, and you ARE just as physically (and definitely mentally) capable. You bring a lot to the table, but this half-handshake shows underlying tones of weakness.

I personally love when a very down-to-earth, but feminine woman, gives me a full handshake. It shows me she is comfortable in her skin and confident in her capabilities.

4. Not dressing for your body type

I hate to say it, but one size does not fit all. I am a larger woman, and I dress accordingly. It’s not that I am ashamed of myself, or wish to hide myself in larger clothes; I just wear the clothes that fit my body because… *newsflash* …they look better!!

I am not saying you should wear drapey, sack-like clothing, but I am saying you should know and understand your body and it’s proportions. How you present yourself DOES matter because it shows how you feel about yourself inside. If you dress like you don’t care, then you are showing (whether you mean to or not) that you don’t find yourself important enough to take the time and care. Again, as I said in my last post, you don’t need to dress to the nines all day, every day. What you should be doing is showing you made an effort in one way or another. People do notice and it will shape how they think about you. If you truly don’t care, then okay – no problem. BUT… if you work in an industry where you want to get promotions then you need to learn to play the game, even if you don’t agree with it.

5. Speaking too fast

A lot of women speak very fast (men too), but by doing you you are sending the message that you don’t feel worthy of the person’s time to whom you are speaking. It’s as if you are trying to condense the amount of time you are ‘taking’ of theirs. Not only will they probably ask you to repeat yourself, but they will probably retain less of what you said, and spend more time thinking about how hard it is to understand you. It can be hard to retrain yourself, but it comes with practice. I wish there was a magical solution to completely overhauling your speech patterns, but really – you just need to practice speaking slower. (If you have a magical solution or some cool trick, please share!)

6. Always having contact with your phone

This one is really hard because our phones are a kind of safety blanket that redirects awkward conversation. By pulling your phone out every couple minutes, you are showing an inability to connect with others in a truly honest way. People will notice that you avoid their conversation, and it will send them the signal you don’t find them important enough for your undivided attention. Even leaving your phone on the dinner table shows that you are ready to respond to any notification or buzz immediately, and that makes it harder for people to get into deep conversations because they have it in the back of their mind that you will stop paying attention as soon as it happens. You’re better off putting your phone in your pocket or purse and silencing it for important conversations. By doing so, you will strike a chord with a lot of people and they will remember you for it.

xx Nicki

What your makeup (or lack thereof) says about you

Beauty rituals are for more than just the stereotypical ‘basic’ female. Something can be said for the person (male or female) who understands that their appearance speaks towards both their outer and inner personality.

An old saying goes, generally passed from female to female, is that the way a man (or woman – but that’s not the saying) treats a waitress or waiter is how he will someday treat you. It’s the unconscious outlook towards something that speaks louder than the words themselves.

The same can be said for appearances. It’s not necessary to be in perfect shape or wear perfectly tailored clothing to show you put in time and effort into how you are perceived. Even something as simple as a little makeup that accentuates your features favorably shows you are conscientious and can make beneficial decisions towards a better whole.

Something I heard when I worked in retail was the ‘third piece’ of the outfit concept. There’s the bottoms (pants) and the tops (shirts, etc.) Then theres the final touch – the accent jewelry, the cardigan, the hat – whatever. It’s that final step one takes in completing the task… but mostly, it’s the ability to coordinate individual items into a harmonious, tied-together whole. It’s being able to start with scratch and imagine an outcome from nothing. Those are the kinds of things that make a person stand out – not how much makeup you wear, but how you wear it. Even if you wear none, doing so in a meaningful way can still work for you.

Sites like Reddit have subreddits called Makeup Addiction. While the name appears to dwell obsessively over cosmetics, the subreddit serves as an inclusive forum for anyone with the desire to learn more about makeup. Users can post images of themselves and ask for kind, constructive feedback. Text based posts can do the same – asking about products, etc. With the ability to accept that there is always room to grow, and with the mindset ‘always surround yourself with smarter people’ you can step up your game and really make a difference in how you come across to others and yourself.

xx Nicki

I know how to buy coolant, you idiot.

I’ve had a variety of cars, to put it gently. And with variety there is the “spice of life.” Let me just put it this way- 50% of the cars I’ve driven regularly in the past five years involved wood somewhere on the vehicle. So I’ve had to learn a little about the cars I drive to make sure I can get them to go and stop and all that good stuff.

My second car- a Buick century (with a spoiler!) was particularly Mickey-moused. It was purchased from a cousin with questionable hobbies. He even left a little bit of “herbs” as a welcome gift. Anyway, the radio installed was given to me by a guy I worked with (I actually knew a guy) and you couldn’t use the power locks otherwise the radio would shut off. It was supposedly “hot.” The little triangle window in the back seat was covered with wood because when my cousin got locked out, he thought he’d punch in the smallest window. (Smallest window, smallest repair cost, right? No, apparently you need a whole new door to replace that stupid triangle.) And there were a lot of other characteristics to the car, like the personalized “F*** You” etched into the back seat. But the Buick’s fatal flaw was a problematic radiator.

I was broke and just finished my freshman year of college when I opted to just keep on refilling the coolant instead of selling/junking the car and buying a new(er) one. So I became very familiar with buying coolant, thanks to my car-savvy brother and car-savvy boyfriend. I had no problem walking into a store or gas station and buying coolant. I knew what I needed, I knew where it was, where and how much to pour in, etc. But apparently, my blonde hair and clothing choice showed otherwise. I would go into Autozone, Shell, BP, Hess, Walmart, etc. and get the same treatment every time. “Oh sweetheart, what are you looking for? Do you know? Let me get it for you from that tall shelf. Oh, no no no, don’t buy that brand. Where’s your dad?” This wouldn’t even just come from store employees, but men who felt like it was their responsibility to rescue the damsel in distress. Now I’m all for the helpful citizen and people doing stuff for me, but it should be out of the kindness of their heart. If I had a buzz cut and flat chest, would you help me then? Probably not.

Women are capable and knowledgable. This isn’t the 50’s, if you want someone to patronize, go look up June Cleaver in the phone book. I’m no man-hating feminist (my boyfriend changes my oil while I nap- s/o to John!) but don’t condescend me due to my sex. Then we’ll have some beef, buddy. And I throw a pretty mean punch for a human.

l8r sk8rs,
Justine

TED Talk describes perfectly why women don’t advance to executive levels in the workplace

While men soar to the top in the workforce, women are often left capping out at mid-level management. Are we destined, as women, to live in the middle? Susan Colantuono, speaker at TED x Women, disagrees.

One part from the talk struck a nerve with me – that while women work up the courage to gain confidence in themselves, men are learning the industry (having already been endowed with gender confidence). They learn the financials, the ins-and-outs, and how they fit within the puzzle. Mid-level management employees don’t necessarily need to know the financials of the company. Rather, they focus primarily on their own skills and bringing out the skills in others. What differentiates them from executive is the financial/business aspect in addition to the rest.

So, women: if you are wondering why you are withering away in a mid-level management position, watch this talk and see if it changes how you think about your career movement.

Here is the TED Talk, by Susan Colantuono on why women are often unable to become executives in their industries.

xx Nicki