Tag Archives: Marci Alboher

Friday Pix: Some Recommended Reading for the Weekend

tango

tangoOn occasional Fridays, I point you towards some recommended reading for the weekend:

a. My favorite new discovery for all we writers of a certain age is Bloom, a literary site devoted to highlighting, profiling, reviewing, and interviewing authors whose first major work was published when they were age 40 or older. To which I say: Hurrah! Am loving tapping in to this wealth of talent.

b. And speaking of writing, here’s a wonderful essay from Catapult about why one author needed to learn the tango in order to write her memoir. (Note to self: time to get on the pista??)

c. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I was really inspired by this account of the creation of the famous accelerator, Y-Combinator, by one of its co-founders, Jessica Livingston. I particularly liked the way she described her added-value to the team.

d. For those of us interested in learning more about the evolving landscape for older workers, here’s a super-useful list of which twitter accounts to follow. (Hat tip: Marci Alboher)

e. Finally, from Linked In, a wonderful list of advice from Chip Conley on what he wished he’d known at the ages of 10,20,30, 40 and 50.

Have a lovely weekend!

Important announcement! If you like these Friday round-ups, I will shortly be launching a newsletter which offers a round-up of these “good reads” on a monthly basis, in place of this occasional column. The newsletter will also include lots of other juicy bits for those of us interested in the eternal journey of adulthood, including an update on books and films I’ve liked, the latest research on aging, and a few guaranteed giggles. If you’d like to get these “Good reads for grown-ups” delivered directly to your inbox, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter by clicking on the “Subscribe to my Newsletter” button on the homepage of this blog.

Image: Tango Show Buenos Aires via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

This Friday I point you to some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. As a big believer in slash careers, particularly within writing, I was pleased to see Slate legal columnist Dahlia Lithwick trying her hand at fiction. Apparently, the editors at Slate have given her a (paid) month’s sabbatical to do something really different professionally, and she’s decided to write a chick lit novel in one month before resuming her Supreme Court beat. Read her explanation for why she’s decided to do this (includes a link to the novel in progress). Bravo!

2. And speaking of employment, here’s a great new blog I stumbled across (via @heymarci on Twitter) about an unemployed journalist who decides to drive a taxi. It’s called Recession Taxi. Love it!

3. I daresay that if you’re over the age of 30, you’ll relate to this New York Times illustrated blog post about what keeps us all awake at night in our middle years.

4. Here are two fabulous visual websites: one, a slide show of viral sculpture from the Daily Telegraph and the other, a set of photographs on Mental Floss of  ten unusual playgrounds from around the world.

5. Finally, my thoughts on measuring economic progress over on PoliticsDaily.com.

Have fun and Happy New Year (you know who you are!!)

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Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For the Weekend

This Friday I direct you to some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. NPR’s list of books that helped us grow up. A friend of mine just found a copy of Deenie in her basement-sigh!

2. And speaking of literature, if you’re a David Foster Wallace fan (or wanna-be, like yours truly) you might want to join in the Infinite Summer project, an online book club that’s reading Wallace’s Infinite Jest over the course of this summer (only one third through-there’s still time to join!) While you’re at it, a helpful reader pointed me to this interview with DFW posted on the reader’s blog, Rough Fractals.

3. For those of us looking to jump start our job hunt during the recession, have a look at this video resume. You will not be disappointed. (Hat Tip: Marci Alboher, Working the New Economy).

4. The New York Times’ Judith Warner talks about what it’s like to mourn in middle age.

5. For the visually inclined, take a look at this collection of living pictures formed by thousands of U.S. soldiers. Very cool!

6. Finally, I love the concept of this blog, A Midlife Of Privilege. (Subtitle: A WASP stops to consider.) Love it!

*****

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Freelancing in a Recession: Can you Slash Your Way Out of It?

I got an email from a friend of a friend the other day asking me for advice about how to jump-start a freelance writing career. She’d written some fiction and gotten an MFA along the way, but was now fund-raising for a non-profit and feeling…well, kinda empty.

“There’s not enough time for me to do what I love,” she complained. “I want to dedicate myself to my writing.” But she wanted to know if it was really feasible…i.e. could one really earn a living as a freelance writer? “I like being able to buy myself a new pair of shoes every once in awhile,” she confessed. “I don’t like to stress about money all the time.”

I didn’t know what to tell her. I wanted to give her my usual spiel about how great it is to freelance:  the flexibility to set your own hours, the freedom to do what you love, the ability to wear your pajamas to work.

But I’d also just finished reading Emily Bazelon’s sobering analysis in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine about self-employment in today’s economy. According to Bazelon, while the number of self-employed workers increased by 27 % between 1995 and 2005,  the current recession has hit this segment of the labor market particularly hard. There is both greater supply (due to the rise in the number of unemployed people willing to compete for such jobs) and less demand (at least in freelance-friendly service sector jobs like tutoring and personal fitness). Not such a pretty picture.

Of course, if the jobless rate is, in fact, tapering off, then perhaps things will look rosier in the future for those of us in the freelance world. More likely, however, and even if things do improve, freelancers will have to find new ways of blending different careers in order to make ends meet.

I’ve written before about Marci Alboher’s concept of “slash careers” as a way of enabling people with multiple interests to realize all of their professional dreams at once (see her book One Person, Multiple Careers for the full story). But Alboher has also written about slashing by necessity – how to add in the requisite slashes to make it through lean times. For freelance writers, in particular, she advocates a mixture of writing, teaching, speaking and consulting (which is, by the way, exactly what she’s done with her own career).

I don’t know if this is the way forward. But in a sea of otherwise depressing data, it’s at least something to think about.

*****

In the meantime, if you’re looking for inspiration, have a look at Cards of Change, a website devoted to the business cards of the unemployed seeking re-employment.

Image: 1930 Unemployment Line aka Bread Line by SIR: Poseyal Knight of the DESPOSYNI’s photostream via Flickr under a creative commons license.

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Free Pimms and iPod Chairs: Why I Really Joined the PTA

Last Wednesday I found myself in an upscale, Italian furniture store called Natuzzi (pronounced, in case you’re wondering, Nah-TOOT-see). I’m not exactly the home furnishings type (though I did notice the leather chair where you can plug in your iPod and listen to it in surround sound and made a mental note to never, ever bring my husband here).

I was there because the store had generously sponsored the annual quiz night at my kids’ school and, in exchange, I was arranging for an event to be held at the store next Autumn.

I do this sort of thing quite a lot, actually. In between blog posts and article pitches and agent queries and whatever else I’m up to as a writer, I’m also frequently dashing off emails to the local bakery to see if they’ll donate a cake or nipping into the local off-license (liquor store) to see if they’ll slide us some free Pimms for our upcoming Summer fair. (Never tried Pimms? Get thee to an English pub tout de suite!)

People get involved in the PTA for a lot of different reasons. It’s a great way to make friends, to improve the resources at your kid’s school and to feel on top of what’s going on at the school.

All true.

But while I’m active in the PTA for all of those reasons, the main reason I do it is because it uses a different part of my brain.

As a writer, most of my day is spent (a) alone (b) typing and (c) in my pajamas. So when I go to a meeting or organize a project or cajole someone into donating money to the school, it’s a way to use my now dormant (but bursting at the seams) administrative gene, the one I left on the side of the road the day I left an office job (along with Karaoke night and bagel Fridays). Sigh.

Marci Alboher has a great book called One Person, Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success in which she describes the advent of what she calls “slash careers” – e.g., police officer/personal trainer or violin maker/psychologist.

The thrust of the book – which I’ll talk about some other time – is that slash careers enable people with multiple interests to realize all of their professional dreams. But having a slash career (yes, parenting counts as a slash!) is also a way to utilize different parts of your brain.

For me, then, doing the PTA is about taking my Admin side out of the garage every so often, dusting it off, and going for a whirl – though I’m sure there are many parents at the school who’d love it if I just gave that part of my personality a rest!

And, hey, whenever I get a bit too overzealous in my PTA duties, my friends offer me some Pimms and all is right with the world…

*****

The website Babble offers an arch, funny take on parenting. Read here for a tale of one woman’s reluctance to embrace the PTA, only to discover that she found it quite gratifying.

Image: Pimms No. 1 by Naughty Architect via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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