In 2001 I had secured offers to four out of the five colleges I applied to for costume design. Had I selected any other program my life would be entirely different today. However, the major factor which shifted my life was my sheer naivety regarding how art itself could have become a viable career for a person with a creative soul like myself, vs running from it so haphazardly because I didn’t want to get caught up in a field so superficial untied to a career.
Maybe I made the wrong choice. I don’t know. What I didn’t know then was that 10 years later I’d be working in enterprise software. That instead of leveraging my creativity to launch my own fashion line or show my work in galleries, I’m ghostwriting copy for reports that ultimately matter only so much as they gain the attention of prospective buyers. I could die tomorrow and nothing I’ve created in the past 10 years of my life would matter at all. In fact, most of it already doesn’t. Continue reading
In middle school I was a full-on metal mouth. Well, I had braces on my upper teeth but for some reason never had them on my lower. My parent’s insurance covered the costs and I hated every minute of it. Even with the braces I still had these giant gaps between my small teeth. The second I got the braces off the last thing I wanted to was wear a retainer every night. So I didn’t. And my teeth decided to return to their earlier position or something else entirely.
Fast forward into the future and I’m a 30 year old with crooked, gappy teeth. I wasn’t set on spending money on adult braces for cosmetic purposes, but on a recent dentist visit it was explained to me that my overbite was actually causing my lower teeth to chip, and the gaps in my teeth were causing food to get stuck and my gums to wear down. Since it was now also a medical issue I decided to start seriously investigating Invisalign as an option to straighten things out a bit. Continue reading
This past weekend I was helping my aunt figure out her budget and set up a Mint.com account. She was recently laid of from her long-time job, which wouldn’t have been a big issue years ago when she was still married with a household income of over $300,000. But going through her budget, suddenly even $10,000 a month of after-tax income looked very tight.
It certainly doesn’t help matters that my aunt lives in a very expensive part of the country. She now rents a lovely (yet small) 3br/2ba house for about $3400 a month (which isn’t that bad considering I currently pay $2350 for a one bedroom (my town is just even more expensive than hers.) She has a sizable amount saved up thanks to her marriage (and no prenup, worked out in her favor) but without a job she still could burn through that well before retirement age (she’s in her early 50s now.)
I’m a huge fan of the latest pushes to get more girls into STEM. Google’s Girls Who Code project, which they recently invested $50M into, is one of the many projects going on across the country to make engineering more attractive to young girls across the country. Today, a viral ad came out which rubbed some people the wrong way, but tried to make a clear point. Girls are often raised to keep clean, stay away from experiments, be cautious, and this is why while 40% of girls say they like math and science in 4th grade, only 18% of engineers are female (watch the ad for yourself below.)
While the math in the ad doesn’t exactly add up (not everyone who likes math and science will become an engineer… there are a lot of other jobs where math is valued in financial services, medical fields, etc), the core point is something that I’m glad is being raised. I often wonder if I was born 20 years later, would even I be an engineer? Well, maybe not.
Today The New York Times posted a piece “The Boomerang Kids Won’t Leave.” Apparently one in five people in their 20s and early 30s lives at home today. And 60 percent of young adults receive financial support from their parents. Despite the challenges I’ve faced in my career, I know I’m extremely fortunate to have been able to… boomer… without the rang.
Nearly 45 percent of 25-year-olds, for instance, have outstanding loans, with an average debt above $20,000. Student loan debt is frightening. I’m a privileged spoiled brat. My parents paid for all of my overpriced, mid-tier private school BFA and a ridiculous amount of expensive art supplies along with the typical library of never-look-at-again textbooks. While I picked up a very part-time job in college at my school (because I didn’t like feeling that spoiled) the reality was the little money I made barely covered, well, not much at all. Continue reading