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.)
Are you new? I welcome you and your sparkly horn.
“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.”
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.
The Feminine Condition
Lady concerns can be very distracting and time-consuming.
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.
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.”
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.
Part of being a good citizen is being kind and compassionate. But it doesn’t have to take all fucking day.
“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).”
I was once a lesbian boxer with a shaved head. None of these things really worked out for me. But there was punching!
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.”
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.”
If you’re in your twenties, this should give you some motivation to make your thirties ridiculously awesome. There should probably be scotch.
No, seriously, there are plenty more columns where those came from. Find me on Twitter at @jendziura, or email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.