Sunday, June 27, 2010

More on Feminism

I'm reading an insightful book titled Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists by J. Courtney Sullivan and Courtney E. Martin.  The chapters consist of essays by feminists, white, black, straight, lesbian, and also male.  We have grappled with the term feminist for decades.  What feminism, to me, comes down to is being myself without being discriminated against.  One of the essayists talked about equality, and how his mother insisted that equality meant being masculine and participating in the male world (by being a black female mechanic in the military in the time when females - let alone African Americans - simply weren't in the military).  The masculine ideal, then, was forced upon her son, who enjoyed cooking and spending time with female friends.

We've "conveniently" labeled ourselves and defined others in terms that create realities that simply shouldn't exist.  Feminism means I can have a successful career, but still enjoy cooking and hanging out with my girlfriends, getting pedicure and manicures.  I love wearing high heels, not because men think they are sexy, but because I think they are sexy.  I like to look pretty, but I also like being known for my intellect.  I shouldn't have to choose between being a woman and being masculine to succeed in my career.  I'm inspired by people who share this value to advance not only female rights, but human rights.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Downside ...

As promised, I'm chronicling the downside of my PhD program.  As I sit through yet another frustrating three hour phone call, I wonder why on earth I am trying to get this terminal degree.  It certainly won't advance me in my job, and I already make more money than a college professor.  I guess now I am doing it to prove to myself - and others - that I really can do it.  Not the best of reasons.

Statistics is sucking the life out of me.  I understand statistics, but the program we are using is childish and pedantic.  Maybe I say that because I just don't get it.  I hate icons.  Just give me the text, I can read.  The same goes for the phone call.  Let me read it in a book.  I an the opposite of an auditory learner.  I might as well be deaf for as well as I listen.

This afternoon I got a list of items to bring for this outward bound week-long class I have to attend in late July.  I'm less than excited at the prospect of spending outdoor time in the mountains in Colorado.  I'm not an outdoors fan.  Believe me, I've had years to discover this, living in Wyoming all my life.  I don't like bugs, I don't like wearing shoes without heels and peep-toes, and I certainly don't like sleeping anywhere but a comfortable bed with high-thread count sheets and a private bathroom.  I don't need the wilderness to "find" myself.  I don't want to eat a sack lunch or get in touch with my feelings with a bunch of strangers.  Give me a city with a nice hotel, fabulous restaurants, theater, and pavement.  That's what I'm into.  That's where I "find" myself.

Why do people get PhD's?  I have no burning research question I want to answer right now.  I probably won't enter the world of academia.  I really want to write something meaningful.  I'm not sure a PhD will get me there.  Well, this was negative.  But if anyone is listening, you should consider all of these facts before bolding telling everyone that you are smart enough to earn a doctorate degree.  Back to the regularly scheduled phone call ... which is rudely interrupting the newest Top Chef show.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Scaling a Skyscraper

Today is one of those days when I realized how much work 9 credit hours of PhD work, a full-time job, a house and a husband really are.  So really, the former two are the topics sucking the life out of me, the latter two are the ones saving me.  

Statistics class sucks.  I can't wrap this one in a bow for you - or for me.  I don't understand this software, which took forever for me to figure out wasn't compatible with my new Mac.  I finally got through to the software company and got an update patch.  Now I'm ready to wash my hands of it.  The stress of working in HR leaves little brain power at the end of the day.  Holding someone's livelihood in your hands is not a job I want to have.  Yes, the people I discipline and fire have done something drastic to warrant the extreme measures, but being the grim reaper is harder than you can imagine.  While I try to give the employee as much dignity as possible, the stress for all sides is unavoidable.  The day I realize that it's not hard to discipline or fire someone is the day I should quit HR.  It doesn't matter if the employee brought destruction upon him-or-herself, when you know the employee, their families, and how it will affect them, it just doesn't matter.  Some days I wish I'd been smarter about my career.  I'd do something productive, I'd be in a profession that wasn't just "overhead" for a company.  While my career is lucrative, the stress of being in a profession that is less than respected wears on my last nerve.  

It's shortly after 7 p.m. and I'm ready for bed.  Perhaps statistics can be pushed back even further to tomorrow morning when my mind is (hopefully) fresh.  I'm pushing against a deadline, which is unlike the un-procastinating personality I've developed.  But sometimes, you can only think so much in one day ...  

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Charm of Chelsea Handler

Upon the advice of a savvy co-worker, I dove into the hilarious writings of Chelsea Handler.  I'm not an avid E! entertainment channel viewer, and I think Chelsea Lately comes on as I'm hitting the sheets, but after DVR'ing her once, I had to do it again.

I then ordered her three books, Are You there Vodka, It's Me Chelsea, My Horizontal Life, and Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.  She is a brilliant writer.  I rarely laugh out loud while reading books - this was the exception.  She is bold, unapologetic, and wildly funny.  I couldn't put the books down.  While some parts disgusted me (as I'm sure she intended), I identified with a several of her witty tales.  She allows herself to be, well, herself, and it's a great message to women everywhere.  Be yourself - even if yourself is a booze-soaked, commitment-phobe with few responsibilities and a love of little people and big fat babies.  If you aren't a judgmental jerk, you just might enjoy reading these collections of short stories.