Bullish Turns Two! Ballsy Advice on Work, Life, Men, Money, and Unicorns

Jennifer Dziura writes life coaching advice weekly here on TheGloss, and career coaching advice Fridays on TheGrindstone.

In early 2010, I was writing weekly articles for TheGloss about beauty, skin care, and lady-inventions to solve lady-problems.

Also, somewhere in the deep recesses of the box in which I keep my old to-do lists was a napkin I scribbled on on an airplane: notes for a book entitled, “How to Make Money Without Becoming a Republican.”

I had put the napkin away, thinking that I should make a lot more money before trying to pitch that somewhere.

Eventually, it occurred to me that I was running out of beauty tips, and that I should pitch a career column to TheGloss. (I now write fairly constantly about pitching. Pitch something and the worst that could happen is a “no,” which even then may lodge in someone’s memory and later become a “yes.”)

On April 6, 2010, the first Bullish was published! Accompanying Working Girls: Introducing Our New Business Column, ‘Bullish’ was a photo I took of a tourist caressing the brass testicles of the Wall Street bull, which incidentally is not on Wall Street but on Broadway, a couple blocks away. (I live right off Wall St and sometimes feel like I have a part-time job directing European tourists to “El Toro.”)

In 2011, The Grindstone was born, and my career columns moved to that site, freeing my up to write on TheGloss about boys and time management and gentlewomanly living and unicorns. See Bullish: This Year’s Most Aggressive Lady-Advice (And Bullicorns!) for a curated list of 2011′s columns on The Grindstone.

So now, Bullish is turning two!

There have been nearly two hundred columns. I’ve received many letters, and several especially charming intimations that a few readers have printed out the columns and put them in a binder filled with post-its and margin scribbles, or even posted them on a wall, as though the columns were some aggressive and highly textual substitute for the Jim Morrison sexy-gaze poster that peered down from dorm room walls of yore.

I’ve received a few letters from men, and more than a few from young women in Europe and Australia, where the social welfare system makes bullishness a lot less of an urgent matter. In fact, a young Dutch woman I met up with was really annoyed by her fellow citizens’ lack of ambition and moxie (it’s hard to get paid for overtime when no one in the country can understand why you’d want to work it).

I’ve gotten letters from young women who’ve said that something I wrote — often this — has helped them leave a soul-destroying job or relationship.

And every once in awhile, some whimsical innocent wanders through the comments, leaving some remark like, “Why are you making such a big deal? Let’s just all relaaaaaax.” (My stock reply: You know the people who said that in high school? Most of them regret that. Your twenties are the high school of your forties.)

During this time, I’ve also begun writing regularly about a topic I call “gentlewomanly living,” and about unicorns. Why unicorns? I think a lot of people out there are giving similar business advice, but with different aesthetics. The same time management principles are called “lifestyle design” when marketed to women and “life hacking” when marketed to men. Nothing wrong with either; sometimes the same product needs different packaging. So why be an “email ninja” when you could be a “productivity unicorn”? If baseball and golf metaphors are judged work-appropriate and men bring the lessons of Little League and playground scuffles into the boardroom, well, then: WE DEMAND UNICORNS. I support metaphor equity. (Also: bullicorns!)

So, here’s a little run-through of some Bullish columns on TheGloss, categorized by topic. (A complete archive of columns on TheGrindtone is here.)

Start Here!

Are you new? I welcome you and your sparkly horn.

Bullish: Maybe Work-Life Balance Means You Should Work MORE

Bullish: Social Class In Office

Bullish: When To Make A Massive and Ballsy Life Changes For Your Career

Bullish Life: Breaking Free From Terrible Situations

Bullish: How To Run Your Career Like A Business

Bullish: How To Be A Productivity Unicorn

Careers

“Business is a lot like dating. Like cold-hearted, competitive dating among people who don’t love each other. In other words, like awful, awful dating.” And don’t forget, “your employer is totally seeing other employees.”

Bullish: How Business Is Like Dating

Bullish: How to Dress for Battle

Bullish: Are You Under-Reinvesting In Your Career?

Bullish: What to Charge for Your Work (and What to Pay Your Assistant)

Bullish: How to Quit Your Job With Your Dignity and Career Intact

Bullish: Is It Better To Rule Through Love Or Fear?

Bullish: How To Win When The Workplace Runs On Feelings

Bullish: How To Get Out Of Meetings, Permanently

Bullish: How To Make Money As An Artsy Artist Commie Pinko Weirdo, Part II

Bullish: How To Make Money As An Artsy Artist Commie Pinko Weird, Part 1

Bullish: Three Career F*ckups I Made So You Don’t Have To

Bullish: How To Woo A Mentor Or Forge Your Way Without One

Skills and Expertise

“If you’re going to play capitalism, really play it. I’m a broken fucking record on that score: develop expertise that can be quantified and documented. Become so good you cannot be denied. Make enough money for organizations that they happily give you some of it — and whatever else you want — so they can make money off of you.”

Also, just so you know, I feel really uncomfortable saying “chutzpah” out loud.

Bullish: Personality Qualities That Are Way More Important Than Anything on Your Resume

Personality Qualities Way More Important Than Anything on Your Resume (Part II)

Bullish: Where Job and Life Skills Come From (and How to Become an Expert)

Bullish Life: How To Communicate With Chutzpah

Bullish Life: 5 Ways To Improve Your Life In 5 Minutes

Bullish: Not All Publicity Is Good Publicity (And How to Get the Good Kind)

The Feminine Condition

Lady concerns can be very distracting and time-consuming.

Bullish: Financial Planning for Motherhood (Just In Case You’re Not Swedish)

Bullish: What Egg Donation Taught Me About Being a Dude

Bullish: How to Age with Panache and Strategic Awesomeness

Bullish: Be Thin or Be Fat, Just Be On Your Game

Bullish: How To Build A Modern Woman’s Hope Chest Without Looking Like An Insane Harpy

Bullish: What To Do About Being Temporarily Pretty

Bullish: How To Use Your Age To Your Advantage (At Any Age)

Personal Finance (is More Exciting Than You Think!)

None of these articles talk about 401Ks. I think a Bullish lady in her twenties should reinvest in her future earning capacity.

Bullish: Preparing For Getting Hit By A Truck

Bullish: Save Up An Emergency Fund, But Be The Kind Of Person Who Never Needs One

Bullish: Money-Saving Tips That Don’t Involve Bread Bags Or Baking Soda

Bullish Life: Be Broke Without Going Crazy

Bullish: How Talking About Money Can Make You More Of It

Mental Discipline and Emotional Management

“Nothing in life means much if your mental real estate isn’t your own. If you think you can’t control your thoughts, then you are at a serious disadvantage in every area of life. Every one. From running your career to remembering to exercise to not eating entire pints of ice cream and regretting it to not letting an insult, a catcall, or some downright bullying derail your entire day. I’m sure you’ve read somewhere about the marshmallow test; there is nothing more important than mental discipline. It makes you more money and gives you the ability not to do things you know will not be kind to your future self.”

Bullish Life: Get Your Back-To-School Game On (Even If You’re Not In School)

Bullish Life: The Things We Can’t Have Now

Bullish Life: How To Remember Names (Without Stupid Mnemonic Devices)

Bullish Life: When Achievements Just Leave You Feeling Empty

Bullish: Be Your Own Life Coach

Bullish: Responding To Disappointment With Awesomeness

Bullish Life: Sometime It’s Best Just To Not Think About It

Bullish Life: Getting Bullish In Practice As Well As In Theory

Bullish Life: How To Make Better Decisions

Bullish: Gratitude Is Nice, But Don’t Let It Keep You From Action

Bullish: In Praise Of Anger (And How To Use It)

Productivity and Time Management

A big theme for me has been defining your values. This first article talks about that. Sometimes we procrastinate because we are ambivalent about where we are going; we move slowly and stall along the way because we don’t fully want to go to the destination.

Bullish: Maybe You’re Not Actually a Lazy Procrastinator

Bullish: Productivity Tips for People With Short Attention Spans

Bullish: How To Stop Procrastinating About Stopping Procrastinating

Bullish: Pre-Internet Productivity Tips For The Young And Sprightly

Bullish: How To Do Many Different Things At Once

Bullish: How Many Minutes Of Your Life Have Been Stolen By ScarJo’s Ass And Various Kardashians?

The Unbullish

Part of being a good citizen is being kind and compassionate. But it doesn’t have to take all fucking day.

Bullish: How To Remain Blissfully Unfrustrated In The Face Of Other People’s Incompetence

Bullish Life: What To Do When You’re Surrounded By Lazy Idiots (And Sweet, Fragile Simpletons)

Bullish Life: Are Your Friends Supportive Or Enabling?

Stress

“When I ran my dotcom, I could stress-procrastinate for many hours (‘stress-procrastinating’ is when you are doing nothing, but feel that you are morally excused for that because at least you are suffering).”

Bullish Life: How To Reduce Your Stress Level Immediately

Bullish Life: How To Bitchslap Performance Anxiety

Bullish Life: Overcoming Perfectionism (And Still Being A Special Unicorn)

Personal Essays

I was once a lesbian boxer with a shaved head. None of these things really worked out for me. But there was punching!

Bullish: What I Learned About Success In A Korean Cram School

Bullish Life Fashion Week Edition: What Modeling Taught Me About Men, Money, And Life

Bullish Life: What I Learned From Being Captain Of My College Debate And Boxing Teams (At The Same Time!)

Boys, Men, Sexytimes

“Your dating life is very much like your career, in that you will achieve only disaster by thinking that someone else has a grand plan for you.”

Bullish Life: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – Do Not Touch The Phone When You’re Drunk!

Bullish Life: 3 Romantic Mistakes That Young Women Make That Cause Weeping Among the Angels And Kittens

Bullish Life: Let’s Just All Agree On Some Basic Principles Of Sexual Ethics

Bullish Life: How To Keep Your Love Life From Ruining Your Actual Life

Bullish: Picking A Boyfriend Who Doesn’t Hold Back Your Career Or Bank Account

Good Citizenship

The opposite of narcissism is citizenship.

From the “1%” column: “I’ve always been interested in the question of what, exactly, to do with privilege. If you’re reading this, you’ve got at least some: living in an industrialized nation and having been taught to read, for one. Of course, for every young college grad struggling to get by on an entry-level job in New York and hating Trust-Fund guy, there’s someone your age delivering takeout on a bicycle who feels exactly the same way about you.”

Bullish: How to Tell if You’re a Narcissist (and How It Might Be Holding You Back)

Bullish: Boost Your Career By Never Being Late Again (It’s Not Actually Cute)

Bullish Life: On Vanity, Plastic Surgery, and Gentlewomanly Living

Bullish Life: Do-Gooding On A Dollar A Day

Bullish Life: Actually, We’re All Kind Of The 1% (And How Not To Be A Jerkface About It)

Gentlewomanly Living

If you’re in your twenties, this should give you some motivation to make your thirties ridiculously awesome. There should probably be scotch.

Bullish: How To Travel Like A Gentlewoman

Bullish: How To Run Your Career Like A Gentlewoman

Bullish Life: How To Hold A Ladies’ Working Brunch (For The Ambitious Yet Leisurely!)

Bullish Life: O Magazine Can Make You Feel Awesome About Turning 55 in 20-30 Years

Bullish Life: Be A Crazy Awesome Bitch Like Angelina Jolie, As Per Her Former Assistant

Bullish Life: Gentlewomen Don’t Crash Diet (Take Care Of Yourself While Taking Over The World)

Bullish Life: A Day In The Life Of Bullish (Caffeine, Pinstripe, And A Lack Of Time-Wasting Bullshit)

Bullish Life: Achieve Goals And Glory By Recreating Like A Total F*cking Badass

In closing…

 

No, seriously, there are plenty more columns where those came from. Find me on Twitter at @jendziura, or email bullish@thegloss.com with questions.

And, as I send my Bullish book proposal into the ether: if you know anyone who would benefit from a pep talk, some gentlewomanly living, or, um, a much more aggressive pep talk, it would be great if you’d send them here.

Onward, unicorns!

Send in your questions to bullish@thegloss.com. See a Bullish archive here.

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    • Eagle Eye

      I meant to email you the other day to thank you, I had an off day a little while ago, I didn’t sleep well the night before or something like that and, as a grad student, my brain was just mush and not prepared for the mountain of reading/ research I had to accomplish. Normally, this would send me into a spiral of panic over all of the work that I needed to do but wasn’t going to complete to the degree that I was happy with.

      Instead of just sitting in a panic mode and being totally unproductive, I used that day to tackle off the stupid bull-shitty tasks that are always super boring on good brain days but were perfect for bad brain days. All of my printed out readings were 3-hole punched, stapled and organized into binders depending on the course, I took stock of my research papers and made lists about what books I should start reading once I was back on my game, and I think that I finally cleaned the house and did some laundry.

      By the next day I was back to normal and back to work, without feeling horribly guilty about a lost day!

      • Jennifer Dziura

        I love this so hard.

        You collated like a motherfucker!

        Unrelatedly, I just realized that there is a sentence missing after “In sum…” It is:

        —As Bullish enters its Terrible Twos, look forward to much more shouting “No!” and sticking forks into outlets.—

        It’s not my most insightful sentence ever, but I figured it deserved an airing in the comments.

        Jen

    • Rebecca

      Thanks for posting this. I am, by objective standards, succeeding in my chosen field, although that certainly does not come without (a great deal of) struggle. I LOVE this column and want you to publish more, all the time. K, thx.

    • Miss C

      Respect: I had a 3-Stage Terminal Plan to be the Uzi Phoenix Of 5 Ways To Do Everything You Ever Wanted, Like A Ninja, Backwards, With Both More & Less Effort Than You Thunked, In Ten Minutes, By Last Year – sadly, just as I was about to hand it all on, I had the squits, then passed out face-down in my pizza!

      Seriously: I honestly both love and hate productivity teachers, mentors, writers, all that happy crappy – my life is pretty fucking sweet, so thanks for all the good, and – meh, whatever I think is “bad” is all about me…

      Btw my ninja phoenix 2-hour-work-decade book/site/”internet marketing opprotunity” is due out my ass ANY day naow!!