Tag Archives: sociology

The Things #YesAllWomen Know

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about deranged killer Elliot Rodger going on a shooting spree in the quiet, upscale college town of Santa Barbara because, in his own words, he was a virgin and women wouldn’t sleep with him. Even though he clearly had some serious issues, some people are taking to the internet to pity him for his inability to get women. Women, however, are bringing the misogyny behind this statement to light, noting that it’s not ok for men to think they have any “right” to women… and this sentiment is getting worse, not better.

The challenge of being a woman living in 2014 is that feminism seems too past tense, yet it’s clear that women are not treated the same as men in our society. For example, how many men know what it’s like to walk down the street and have a creepy guy in a truck lean out the window and whistle at you or say something to make you extremely uncomfortable? Reading some of these articles and blog posts popping up after this attack, I feel fortunate that I was never the type of girl that got a lot of male attention (despite being upset about it at the time) — it’s terrifying to hear of girls turning down date proposals to prom only to be stabbed over it. Continue reading

The Gluttony of Choice: Why Options Make Us Depressed and Fat

As much as I love that we live in a free society with an extensive selection of options at any given moment regarding what we eat, wear, drive, etc, etc, I’ve forced myself to step outside of materialism for a few moments every now and again, to discover the square root of unhappiness is often the sheer quantity of choices available everyday.

Because we live in a capitalist society, choices available are often what we want, not what we need. I look no further than my experience today at The Cheesecake Factory as a metaphor for all of the “choice gluttony” we face in modern society. The Cheesecake Factory menu is ridiculous. I love the place. It has so many options of meals to eat, including appetizers, entrees, drinks, and of course, cheesecakes and desserts. Continue reading

Passion vs. Money: What I’ve Learned Since Graduating College

They say if you follow your passion the money will come. I agree with that 100%, though you can’t expect always to make a lot of money by following your passion. Also, as you mature, your passion(s) may shift, causing your once “dream job” to become — like any other job — “just a job.”

So should you follow your passion or follow the money? That’s a tough one. Here’s what I did. I was too scared to follow my true passion (performing) due to a few reasons — I fear failure, I don’t believe I have enough talent, I may actually not have enough talent, I’m afraid of rejection, I wanted to make a decent living, I don’t have the physical beauty required for Hollywood, nor the true dedication to performing the same role night after night in a professional performance career.
When it came time to choose what I would do out of college (where I had obtained a “3.0” liberal arts education and obtained an affinity for the “quotation mark”) I was in awe of all the possibilities, yet convinced none of them would open their doors to me. What I didn’t do in college was think through my career clearly. I didn’t take may practical courses. My only internship was at a program that despite being run by outside journalists was within the school and titled using the college name (ie, didn’t sound that impressive, despite that I was doing work for major TV stations and newspapers). As college came to a close I freaked and applied for internships around the country for something I thought I might be good at related to my passion… public relations and marketing. While getting the internships came easy, my passion did not. I quickly learned that veering off to the right of your passion doesn’t qualify as actually following your passion. It just kicks you in the face day after day, which for some people, like myself, leads to depression.
That year was the first year in my life when I felt like I was actually depressed. The fear of what’s next and knowing this wasn’t what I wanted to do (non-profit marketing really requires you to believe in the cause and I lost that conviction – the arts suddenly seemed just as evil as any big corporation, and the strain of constantly needing to raise money and sell tickets, and being an indentured servant (ie slave with free housing) during that situation didn’t help. I know I would have done a better job had I understood how that internship would be a building block to a career I’d love, but I didn’t see that. I left the internship a few months in. Well, I was let go, because I lost all motivation to lick envelopes, check the mail, and organize files when just in the building over live art was being created. I was jealous of the person who landed the creative internship (my first choice, which I didn’t get) and my bitterness was the end of that.
Luckily, it took me a short time to recover from the “job” loss because even in the deepest of my depression I knew I had to keep pushing forward. Mostly this was due to the fact that I had one month of housing left to get my act together, and then I’d be kicked out of the intern housing, and I knew I did not want to go home. So I frantically applied for every job I could find on Craigslist and Monster.com. I applied for more internships. I applied for everything. I must have sent out over 3000 resumes that month.
Then came a call for an internship at a newspaper. It paid diddly squat (you got a small fee when your stories got published, but that would not be enough to pay rent) and it was part time. I took a train for two hours south to interview for the position. I needed to get this internship because I felt that at least I’d have some creative autonomy as a journalist, and I could tell the lack of any creative control is what killed me at my first attempt at a full time job. I was offered the position and despite knowing my savings would take a beating those few months I at least had a direction to keep me afloat. I found a cheap place about a half hour from the internship and started looking for a car, which I’d need to get around my new home. I didn’t know anyone in an hours drive of where I was moving, and this scared me a bit, but not much. I packed up my stuff and moved it all on the train for a day, taking the train back and forth and dragging my heavy luggage (luckily I didn’t have too much with me since I had flown out to my internship in the first place).
This move, which I thought would cure my depression, definitely sent me on the right path, but I don’t think I’ve quite recovered. Since then I’ve been through a few different careers, all involving writing, which has led me closer to whatever it is I’m meant to do, but I’m still on this journey. Every day I’m faced with the question of whether to follow my passion of the moment (always changing) or the money (a constant) and if it’s possible to find something that combines both.
One thing I do know is that my passion isn’t money alone. I couldn’t spend my life as a salesperson (unless I believed in the product 100%). On my last entry, a commenter suggested that I look into a career in sociology and I think that might really be my passion. I minored in sociology in college, more because the reading materials and conversations in those classes were the highlight of my college experience. I could see myself writing books about modern culture, as while my passion for performing a subsided through the years, I’ve always loved a good conversation about what we do what we do and what makes us do it. Not really in the psychological sense, though I’m very interested in social psychology, but in the cultural sense. I’d love to study money, family, gender, technology, childhood, the economy, education and every pieces relation to happiness.
But can that actually be a career? Would I have the ability and attention span to get a PhD and find a small topic to research and become an expert in (even my above interest in happiness and culture is too vague for graduate school.) I might enjoy this more than other options I have, but one thing I learned in undergrad is that majoring in sociology (or any liberal arts field) is a no-no when it comes to obtaining a career. A PhD is another story, but I don’t see myself as a PhD. I don’t see myself a professor. On the other hand, maybe I’d love it. Maybe that’s the type of “performing” I’ve been craving all along.

The Spending Diaries

Ok, so I’m about two years late to post this, but it’s still fairly relevant. NY Magazine did a series in 2006 called The Spending Diaries about 6 different people at different income levels, with a breakdown of where their money goes each week and how much they spend.

It’s a bit annoying that their “poor” representative is a MFA candidate whose parents pay for his tuition AND housing. He’s getting by on $20k just fine in various income sources above and beyond a free education and apartment.

Crazy how much all of them spend per week. I dream of being a millionaire, but if I was, I can’t imagine spending as much as these people do.

Then again, I don’t live in New York.