‘Tis the season

As holiday season approaches, I wanted to take a moment to preemptively discuss the inevitable annual debate: Do you wish someone ‘happy holidays’ or something else? Forewarning: I am straightforward here, and if you disagree, feel free to leave a comment and say why.


1. Say, for example, you celebrate Christmas but you know your friend celebrates Hanukkah. 

Wish them a Happy Hanukkah. If they’re cool, they’ll wish you a Merry Christmas. If they say ‘Happy Hanakkuh’ then just say thank you!! It’s really not a big deal.

I personally exchange gifts with some of my other faith-based friends and we aren’t coy about what we say or how we say it.


2. Say you are atheist and your friend is religious. 

Just wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’ or a ‘Happy Hanakkuh’ (etc.).

Don’t be like this:

or this


3. Say you are religious and your friend is atheist.

Wish them a Merry Happy whatever you are. It doesn’t matter!! Then just move on.


4. Say you and your friend are both atheist and don’t celebrate anything.

Then, so what? Don’t say anything!!


5. Say you are not sure what someone else is.

If you celebrate Christmas, say ‘Merry Christmas and happy holidays!” If they don’t like it, they’ll probably correct you. You did nothing wrong. And, for example, if they respond back with “Happy Kwanzaa” then just say ‘Thank you!’ … because, after all, they cared enough to wish you well.

xx Nicki

5 times the workplace can be an absolute nightmare for women

These are some of my examples, all of which have happened to me in my years during/since college. It is absolutely disgusting how women are treated by this systemic sexism.



1. It was (basically) unspoken, but expected that I would take out the trash.

At one of my much older jobs, the trash was the job of everyone in the office. Or at least, so I was told. I was the only female and when I would start to take out my own trash, the others would say, “Oh, can you grab mine too?” Otherwise, it would just sit there piling up endlessly.

Eventually, I started taking my trash out when no one else was there so I wouldn’t be tricked into taking everyone’s out. While this might have not had to do with gender, the males should have been aware of what was happening. They were slobs, too.



2. I was paid 50% of what my male counterparts were making. 

I was paid a sickeningly low amount at one of my old jobs. I started the job needing it to graduate from college because it was part of the program. I was a full time, day employee with the same skills as the males. I was performing the same work. I had always assumed we all made low amounts, but one day I was informed what one of the males was making. It was double what I was making, and I was told we didn’t have enough money to pay anyone that much.



3. I was forced into being the receptionist.

Two different jobs. I was forced into being a receptionist in two different jobs. NO males were ever asked nor forced into it. I had even asked this question in both jobs, several times, and the answers were either evasive or that ‘the owner likes a woman to sit up front’ and that he is a ‘traditional man’. I was hired to do other work in both jobs, and both times it was also my duty to sit at the receptionist desk. I was performing very well at what I was hired to do, and don’t get me wrong – I still had those duties too, but I was also assigned the job as a receptionist (against my will). I fought it, requested formally by letters and e-mail, and was still made to do this job.



4. Males hush other males who swear and say ‘there’s a lady in the room’

This is something that doesn’t offend me. I have no problem when men swear because I swear too. I feel immediately uncomfortable when people feel the need to call attention to my gender and then stop talking. YET – moving onto #5, this type of conversation is never okay:



5. Males start having open conversations saying things like “Women should have to take a test to have a baby” and use the excuse that I was a ‘cool’ female who was able to hang with the guys as to why they would say such things in front of me.

I overhead many conversations like this at an old job. Most of the comments were by people in positions higher/much higher than mine. I ended up leaving this company, combined with reason #2, and demanding to be paid what I was actually worth. We settled in mediation and I was financially reimbursed.

xx Nicki

Apple and Google are offering to pay for their female employees to freeze and store their eggs

As with any effort to help females in the ever present struggle for gender equality, both praise and criticism will arise. No solution can ever be completely satisfactory.

Apple and Google are offering to pay for EVERY SINGLE FEMALE EMPLOYEE
to freeze their eggs and store them if they so choose – a procedure that can cost up to $10,000 with a $500 fee for storage, according to tech crunches article.

As expected, the gesture is receiving quite a bit of flack. Some females claim this is just another excuse for employers to implicitly pressure employees into choosing work over personal life. Apple and Google have worked hard to preemptively refute that claim by offering extended maternity leave, infertility treatments, and adoption assistance. But of course criticism of the employer being too privy about their employee’s personal life has come to light.

The option is out there. It’s not forced upon employees. I am, however, slightly torn because while this is empowering to women, it also makes them think twice about child birth. They know that the option is there to wait and the microscopic level of employee to boss interaction could be slightly more biased than the corporate headquarters plans for them to be.

It’s a step in the right direction. It’s not the final solution, but any female acknowledgment is better than none.

xx Nicki

Transcending Gender

My husband kind of clued me in a couple years ago that I am what some might consider a feminist in ideals.

We talked about it, and yes, in some ways, I am. I would consider myself more an advocate for equality and for cultivating powerful women. It might be because I hate pity, and I never want to see someone pitied. Pity is worse than hate or any other feeling towards another person.

I watch too many women perpetuate what is so pitiful about being weak and submissive. I hate when a woman is scared to talk to a man, or anyone for that matter. I hate when someone is scared to do for his or her self.

There is a difference between a woman who is trying to act tough and a woman who is tough. You notice a woman who tries to act tough, and you see that she is over compensating. You can’t help but to feel that she is out of place and is trying to ‘fake it until she makes it’ in the world – but does she ever really?

You don’t notice a woman who is rightly powerful – you don’t think about her gender so much, and when you do, you think about it in an accepting, almost loving way. You don’t think she is out of her playing field and you will respect and listen to her. She just belongs because she transcends gender.

She transcends gender. 

I consider myself feminine, but I also love to do things that are not. I just like to do… things… that interest me. I enjoy putting on makeup and doing my nails. I enjoy all of that. But I like masculine things, too.

I have done my share of studying and working hard. I earn my paycheck. I have pursued additional education. I am capable.

My husband cooks and cleans and does laundry better than I do. I’m motherly to our pets. We both drive standard cars. He loves hunting and fishing. I love doing sports. There’s a lot of gender role reversals in our marriage, as well as normalities. BECAUSE NO ONE FITS A MOLD. Society has molds designed for us that are largely unattainable. And to perpetuate them is sad, especially in this day and age.

As a little girl, I was called bossy all the time by boys. I was probably bossy to a certain level, as any kid can be, as any boy can be. Sometimes bossy is just that – bossy. But there were times I was treated like I was being bitchy and bossy because I was taking charge and standing up for my views. An argumentative woman is a bitch.

I’ve never been one who handles being controlled well. I do not stand for being walked all over. If I am being used, I rebel. I’ve tried in the past, admittedly, to change. But my inner conscience gets the better of me, and I have no desire to change anymore.

I once had a group of friends who were not treating me well. I ended up standing my ground, which labeled me a bitch. I did not cave. I attempted to work a solution several times, without folding on my stance, but because I didn’t agree to their view, I was in the wrong. (Believe me, sometimes I am wrong… but on this, I do not think I was.)

I was labeled many hurtful things.

I will never be sorry for standing up for myself. I will never be sorry for not being submissive. I will always fight back when I am being wronged.

If you don’t like me as I am, it’s okay. There’s over 6 billion people in this world, and one view is irrelevant. Plenty of other people will take me as I am.

xx Nicki

Inherent Sexism

Gender roles aren’t something that can be completely eradicated because when to comes down to it, women get periods and women have babies. There are weeks women are biologically programmed to be hormonal and months that they are host to a living being growing inside of their body.

While women take maternity leave, men continue to work and get raises and promotions. And no employer will admit they expect every young woman they hire to leave (possibly for good) within a couple years to give birth to a child. If you get married and are within the child bearing age, you are basically setting yourself up to never get a raise again. (There are always exceptions to this, but many women find this to be the case.)

It doesn’t matter if you paid for the same college education as a male or have achieved just as much – you are a liability to your company by just being born with two X chromosomes.

And meanwhile, the world continues to be run by males, pretending to be more female friendly. It’s 2014, of course we don’t have sexism and gender inequality anymore. I argue that being a female is one of the worst things you can be in the corporate world.

The business world is run with an arbitrary set of rules that make it appear that there is only one option for success: 9-5 hours, in office.

From my experience, the vast majority of business could easily be run off property, off hours, and remotely from home. Yet, somehow the corporate world still finds a way to largely shun this (with exceptions) and make it so choices need to be made that put a women in the position to choose between their careers and their children.

Until the structure of the corporate world is changed, women will continue to struggle. I have read many company policies that use a 4 day work week, 32 hours, that run better than 40 hour companies. The employees use their time more wisely and get more done. Remote access and video calls are easy. Men can be required to take (any or more than they currently get) maternity leave to help their wives. (After all, they too deserve the time with their newborn child.) That way, maternity leave advancement is not a threat to only one gender. These are just ideas, but they are all worth thought. And though anything can be argued for or against, starting the discussion is the first step to change.

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