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Opinion Editorials

Friday’s here and you know what that means: 5 faves!

(OPINION EDITORIAL) My weekly round up of five favorite things just for you!

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FRIDAY FAVORITES

In the words of @badgirlriri, cheers to freakin’ weekend I’ll drink to that! Shoutout to Labor Day for making our Monday non-existent and our work week only four days — if I’m being honest, it actually really threw me off but whatevs. It’s Friday which means I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites for you.

1. Favorite Video

Okay, so this is technically music video. I had a different video in mind for this, so I’ll save it for next week because I can’t get enough of this. I legitimately think I’m responsible for at least 100 of the 1,400 views it has accumulated in the past few hours since its release.

This song is already a favorite of mine – I have a deep seeded love for 80s ballads- so when this cover came out it had a head start.

This band added the lyric, “Make the most of freedom and pleasure. All I know is take care of each other. An open door, a seat at the table, there’s enough to go around” to the classic song, which is a message that won’t be lost on many.

2. Favorite Cause

The Refuge for DMST in Austin. Per their site, “Our nation has only recently begun to recognize that we have a severe societal problem in regards to the commercial sexual exploitation of children, also known as domestic minor sex trafficking. As more children are identified and rescued from their exploitive situation, there is a growing need for comprehensive, long-term, trauma-informed services to allow the child to heal and live a life of productivity and hope.”

The Refuge for DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking) is developing The Refuge Ranch, a long-term, residential, therapeutic ranch for girls, ages 11-17, who have been rescued out of sex trafficking. Located on 50 acres just outside of Austin, TX, The Refuge Ranch will provide trauma-informed, holistic care for the girls on-site, including: a University of Texas Charter School program, a People’s Community Clinic and various therapeutic programs uniquely designed for the development of a child survivor.

3. Favorite News Story

At the AG office we have a bullpen set up which is great for collaboration, especially when I can’t figure out whether or not to use its or it’s — y’all the struggle is real. My co-workers and I all have headphones and when we need to go into super serious mode, we just put them on and it’s effectively a “leave me alone” sign. But also, sometimes a meme is funnier or a question is more important than your headphones. I get it for as much disruption as I get, I give equal disruption. But it can get hard. That’s why I love Taylor’s article so much.

It’s a good reminder that sometimes the best way to keep your office space healthy is to leave.

4. Favorite Tech Toy

This tech toy is no purchase necessary, huzzah! I was super pumped when we wrote about this Chrome extension that automatically parses your to-do list and color codes activity.

todo to do

It’s not a fancy to do app which is why I like it. It shows me what I need to do and what I’ve done — efficient and effective.

5. Favorite gif

via GIPHY

Uses:
1. When you’re trying to do math to see if how much rent it would cost you to join that cycling class.
2. When your friends invite you out and you have to weigh the cost of putting your pants back on.
3. If you are debating between Papa John’s or Pizza Hut (which isn’t really a hard decision).

C u l8r

Sorry you don’t have another three day weekend lined up… can we make that a thing? But enjoy your two days off. Rest, recharge and gear up to kick Monday in the butt

#FridayFaves

Kiri Isaac is the Web Producer and a Staff Writer at The American Genius and studied communications at Texas A&M. She is fluent in sarcasm and movie quotes and her love language is tacos.

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Opinion Editorials

The offensive myth of getting laid off being a blessing

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laid off, losing job

There’s an age-old trend in news to look for rags-to-riches stories. People love to hear about someone who’s down on their luck scraping together a genius idea and, through sheer grit (it seems), finding the motivation to finally strike out on their own and realize their dream.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Person X is laid off from their long-time but unfulfilling office job, say at an oil company in Alberta, or a marketing agency where their good ideas are consistently shot down.

What seems like a situation to for despair is actually an opportunity in disguise— see, with their newfound freedom Person X has the ability to fully commit to their small business pipe dream.

In fact, the story goes, getting laid off was actually the best thing to ever happen to this person.

This story is a myth.

Although I don’t want to discredit anybody who has had the willpower, luck, and resources to succeed at launching their business, there are many people who are laid off who are truly in critically terrible times.

The insidious underlying message of this myth is that anybody who is truly devastated by being laid off is being weak or lazy.

It serves to alleviate the guilt of those who may have survived the lay off themselves; it helps organizations justify the fact that they might have had to let an otherwise good employee go for their own, corporate-level problems.

The characteristics that many of these laid-off-turned-successful-entrepreneurs have in common are the same sort of privileges that many take for granted – health, youth, a personal support system to help keep the lights on, and an established network of people that can be turned into a market of clients.

What happens to the many workers who are victims of ageism when they are laid off in favor of younger, less expensive workers?

What happens if you’re laid off and you can’t use your newfound time to work on your business plan because you’re raising young children?

The entrepreneurs who find opportunity in being suddenly jobless were probably already on their way to striking out on their own, with their being laid off acting as the defined starting point for a plan they might not have known was forming in their heads.

If you, a friend, or a colleague have the unfortunate luck to be laid off, don’t let this myth get under your skin.

It’s okay to have a rough time with a huge life event that is absolutely terrifying and difficult.

Hang in there.

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Opinion Editorials

3 things to do if you *really* want to be an ally to women in tech

(EDITORIAL) Diversity is known to strengthen the overall performance of a company and its teams, and there are a number of ways you can be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce.

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follow your passion career job interview

More and more women are leaving their positions with tech companies, citing lack of opportunity for advancement, wage gaps and even hostile working conditions as some of the reasons why.

What’s better for the tech industry and its employees than cultivating inclusive and diverse departments? Diversity is known to strengthen the overall performance of a company and its teams, and there are a number of ways you can be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce. To name a few:

1. Be open to listening to different perspectives.

It can be awkward to hear so many reports of workplace politics stacking against women, especially if you’re not a woman!

Instead of getting uncomfortable or defensive – ask open ended questions and be interested in a perspective that isn’t yours and may be unfamiliar.

Don’t seek to rationalize or explain the experiences you’re hearing about, as that can come off as condescending. It’s common for women to be interrupted or spoken over in team gatherings. If you notice this happening, bring the conversation back to where the interruption began. Offering your ear and counting yourself as responsible for making space will improve the overall quality of communication in your company.

Listening to and validating what women have to say about the quality of their employment with a company is an important step in the right direction.

Expressing something as simple as “I was interested in what you had to say – could you elaborate on your thought?” can help.

2. Develop an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program.

An ERG is a volunteer-based, employee-led group that acts as a resource for a particular group of employees. An ERG can help to foster inclusiveness through discussion, team-building activities and events. It’s common for a department to have only one or two women on the roster.

This can mean that the day to day feels disconnected from concerns commonly shared by women. disjointed it might feel to be on a high performing team, without access to relatable conversations.

3. Be responsible for your company’s culture.

Chances are, your company already has some amazing cultural values in place. That said, how often are you checking your own performance and your co-workers performances against those high standards? Strong company culture and values sound great, but whether or not they’re adhered to can make or break the mood of a work environment.

Many women say they’ve experienced extremely damaging and toxic cultural environments, which lead to hostility, frustration, and even harassment. Take action when you see the new woman uncomfortable with being hit on at team drinks.

Call out those who make unfriendly and uncouth comments about how women perform, look, or behave.

Setting a personal threshold for these kinds of microaggressions can help you lead by example, and will help build a trustworthy allyship.

(This article was first published here in November, 2016.)

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Opinion Editorials

How the Bullet Journal method has been hijacked and twisted

(EDITORIAL) I’m a big fan of the Bullet Journal method, but sticker-loving tweens have hijacked the movement. Worry not, I’m still using black and white bullet points with work tasks (not “pet cat,” or “smile more”).

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bullet journal

It’s taken me some time to come around to the Bullet Journal method, because it took me some time to fully understand it (I have a tendency to overthink simplicity). Now that I understand the use, I find it very beneficial for my life and my appreciation for pen-to-paper.

In short, it’s a quick and simple system for organization tasks and staying focused with everything you have going on. All you need to employ this method is a journal with graph or dotted paper, and a pen. Easy.

However, there seems to be this odd truth that: we find ways to simplify complicated things, and we find ways to complicate simple things. The latter is exactly what’s happened with the Bullet Journal method, thanks to creative people who show the rest of us up.

To understand what I’m talking about, open up Instagram (or Pinterest, or even Google) and just search “bullet journal.” You’ll soon find post after post of frilly, sticker-filled, calligraphy-laden journal pages.

The simple method of writing down bullets of tasks has been hijacked to become a competitive art form.

Don’t get me wrong, I like looking at this stuff because I dig the creativity. But, do I have time to do that myself? No! For honesty’s sake, I’ve tried just for fun and it takes too much damn time.

With this is mind, this new-found method of Bullet Journaling as an art is something that: a) defeats the purpose of accomplishing tasks quickly as you’re setting yourself back with the nifty art, and b) entrepreneurs, freelancers, executives, or anyone busy would not have time for.

Most of these people posting artistic Bullet Journal pages on Instagram are younger and have more time on their hands (and if you want to spend your time doing that, do you, man).

But, it goes against the simplistic method of Bullet Journaling. The intent of the method.

And, beneath the washi tape, stickers, and different colored pens, usually lies a list of: put away laundry, feed cat, post on Insta. So, this is being done more for the sake of art than for employing the method.

Again, I’m all for art and for people following their passions and creativities, but it stands to reason that this should be something separate from the concept of Bullet Journaling, as it has become a caricature of the original method.

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