Thursday, May 29, 2008

Best of Surviving in Politics

It's hard being a woman (and a young woman at that) in politics. With the fight over the Democratic nomination, this topic has been debated all over the press, but they never really address the obstacles facing the women who run and work in the campaigns and political arena.

Some examples:
I once had a boss tell me I couldn't come to an office poker tournament because women don't take poker seriously. I had never played, but I threw a fit, and OUT OF SPITE, I won that game. And the one after that. They then had to tell me to quit winning because the clients and consultants didn't want to play me anymore.

I had a boss tell me, when I was asking for a well-deserved raise, that they didn't want to pay someone MY AGE that salary. Not someone with my experience, but my age. What the hell? But I got the raise.

I had a boss ask me to help schedule a meeting at the nudie bar between he and another guy to talk politics. Politely declined.

How does a woman combat it? I have a list of phrases that I have to repeat over and over to myself to remind me that I'm good enough (and smart enough and doggoneit people like me - thanks, Al) at my job, and I remember WHY I went into politics in the first place (I'm trying to change my little part of this world). Also, I cuss. A LOT. One, it is effective (in making a woman tough). Two, and maybe more importantly, I'm pretty fucking good at it.

But to my phrases:
1) Be so good they CAN'T ignore you. This one has been on a napkin in my desk drawer since I saw it on a tshirt in an airport the year I graduated. If I'm the best at what I do, if I work harder than anyone else, then it doesn't matter if I'm a woman or young. Just make yourself indispensable.

2) Fake it 'til you make it. I give this one to all my interns, and I SWEAR EVERYONE IN POLITICS FROM THE TOP DOWN FOLLOWS IT. I didn't believe it at first, but this is an art, not a science. Sure, consultants, candidates and campaign staff can work smarter and do what has worked before, but there is no fail-safe winning formula.

3) Be as loyal to your employer as they would be to you. As a generally nice person, this one was hard for me to follow at first. Surprisingly, not everyone in politics and not all politicians are in this field for the right and noble reasons. This is my version of the golden rule, and it has helped me from getting completely screwed at times.

4) Hire good people and get out of their way. I learned this tenet from a supervisor when I was 19, and it stuck with me ever since. This is more advice to bosses, but when I supervise interns or staff, I try to observe it. I'm OCD and a perfectionist, but I have learned to let go (for the most part). NOBODY LIKES TO BE MICROMANAGED.

Not that it is directly comparable, but I think that Hillary would have done better, and certainly not made as many enemies (even in her own party) if she would have done some of the above.

Maybe not the cussing part.

Here's the thing. I really do not think she can blame her performance solely on her gender. Sure, it plays some part (like racism plays a part on who will and will not vote for Obama), but so does strategy (she should have focused on some smaller states and not given up on caucus states), so does attitude (she never should have accepted that she was inevitable - everyone loves an underdog), and so does history (because of her husband*, many people, including my father, irrationally despise her). Yes, there are obstacles for all women in politics at any level. But as a woman in politics, you have to expect them and find ways to jump right over. Is it fair? No. But do it anyway, out of spite, and be so good they can't ignore you.

*I was a fan of Bill Clinton early on. My first campaign experience was campaigning for him in Kingfisher, Oklahoma (so just imagine how well that went in the buckle of the Bible belt), in my 6th grade social studies class. I made American flags with my nail polish and attached them to newly-released blue raspberry Blow Pops. They were a success, but he lost the class election. My first lesson in the ineffectiveness of chum.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Best of Being a Grownup

I am not good with money. But with my decision last year to try to be healthier physically and emotionally, I also decided to try to be healthier financially. I AM LEARNING SO MUCH. And much of it is significantly less painful than I thought it would be.

1.) I bought a trampoline and opened a new credit card in 2006. This is as responsible and practical as it sounds. Didn't get me in trouble AT ALL.
2.) It really is important to pay your bills on time. Who knew that a late payment upped your APR 20 percentage points? Oh, you did. That's how dumb I am about this stuff.
3.) Also important not to go over the credit limit. We'll get back to this. I used to think it just wouldn't let you. I'm telling you, I'm about as good with money as I am knowing my left and right.
4.) Last fall, I did a partial balance transfer to a new card with 0% until November 2008. YAY ME! That is going to be one kick-ass month. This was my first step and attempt at being healthy and responsible. It kind of worked out.
5.) Since it has a lower interest rate on purchases than my original card, I try to use it for online purchases.
6.) I should just use my debit card. DULY NOTED.
7.) Before I realized how important number 6 was, I used the new card as my iTunes card.
8.) I love New Music Tuesday on iTunes and am known to spend money on that day.
9.) I also love Democrats and witty t-shirts.
10.) This spring, I saw on Urban Outfitters a t-shirt I HAD TO HAVE. And buy for a few friends. I like to share.

You would have bought it, too (and you still can). After I placed the order, they told me it was on backorder for two months.
11.) I'll wait for a really cool t-shirt.
12.) I continue to buy really cool music. (I'm legal, and I only buy the songs. No stealing music for me.)
13.) I get the shirt!!!!!
14.) My next credit card bill tells me that I'm over my limit, my interest has shot up to 29% EVEN ON THE BALANCE TRANSFER, and my 99 cent iTunes songs cost me about $26 each. NUMBER 3 IS REALLY IMPORTANT AS WELL.
15.) I'M BITTER.
16.) What the hell happened? I thought that I paid for the shirts when I ordered them. Nope, they charged my card when they shipped them (two months later). So when I checked my balance and thought I was cool (and thought that the payment for the cool shirts had already gone through), I WAS WRONG. VERY VERY WRONG. And I kept buying really expensive songs. Now I feel like even if the songs were good when I bought them, that they can't be that good, and it is just depressing to listen to some of them.
17.) I still love the shirt. And I'm dating a Democrat so that works out.
18.) This story has a happy ending.
19.) A month ago, I read an article on CNN about how easy it is to lower your interest rates, but I doubted it, and I thought I was too busy to mess with it. Something happened to me this weekend, though, that makes me want to get my life in order, so I just called and explained what happened (true), told them I had offers in the mail for cards with lower interest (true), and Erica fixed everything. She gave me my original standard purchase rate of 8.9% back, and also restored the 0% on the balance transfer. I know I can get it paid off by November.
20.) It went so well, I called my two other cards to ask them. One said no, but I could call back in September and get a lower rate. (This is the card that had a late payment. That's a no-no according to number 2). The other card, that I transferred the balance from, said no to everything. I will be all too happy to just close that account.
21.) Just wondering - what song would you pay $26 for?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Best of Regrets

There is irony in this post - I'm about to share with you something I regret putting on the internet about 8 years ago. My face stayed red for a full day after a friend and coworker found it when they tried to search online for THIS blog.

Even though it made me cringe, it made him laugh and I think experience ecstasy, so I might as well share with the class:

Go have fun.

DISCLAIMERS: I was 19, yellow was my fave color then, I had braces, and I had to make the site for a public speaking class. If I recall correctly, though, I got my website-building at-the-time-boyfriend to put it all together. You'll probably like the "Me" or "Pics" section the best. Also, I've tried, and I can't figure out how to make OU take this down, so I might as well embrace it.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Best of Nothing


That's what I absolutely have to do today.

And after a short-but-it-seemed-too-long campaign, I have a SATURDAY that I can spend doing exactly what I WANT TO DO. It feels pretty much the awesome.

I slept in, I had coffee & breakfast with Grant (who did our laundry - yes, you should be jealous), I cleaned, I'm organizing, I'm BLOGGING, I have a book to read, and I'm still in my pajamas.

Happy sigh.

We're also going to Kingfisher this afternoon, and, while I would love just sitting around my house getting things in order and taking a break for a nap, getting to go see David who is home from Japan is worth another jaunt across our great state. He just had to fly across the world, so I think we can handle a 3 hour road trip.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Best of Presidential Candidates


(That's all I wanted to say)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Best of IMs & Emails

Best of We Are Finally Figuring out That We Deserve Better*:
Peggy: i have a new boy
me: details!!!!!
Peggy: he is funny and super adorable
it's weird because he is so sweet to me
me: i think it's weird that it is weird for us to be with sweet people

Best of Describing My Work in Norman:
Micah: me too. can we get a drink tonight?
i wish
i am basically living in norman until may 13
Micah: damnit
i forgive you but only because you are giving kids books
to prevent crime or something

*This conversation occurred at 2am when we were both up working, and I have since closed that IM window, so this is just from my photographic memory, baby. I don't save my gmail chats because I know that somehow it would get me in trouble. YOU KNOW IT WOULD. This blog would be the most widely read thing in Oklahoma if someone could figure out how to steal those and post 'em.