Last week on Facebook, some Bullish ladies got a little bit drunk on Internet and decided to troll me with some very un-Bullish questions.
I have elected to respond. I’m not even saving it for April Fools.
Dear Jen, what’s the Bullish way to take a caffeine nap at work?
Ha! This is a real thing. What is the dude obsession with hacking the human body in ways that really cannot be good for you? Like Soylent. I tried some of that shit. THE WORST. I guess putting a bunch of healthy shit in a blender and drinking it is still too much work.
The founder of Soylent wrote a blog post in which he said he orders clothes from Chinese factories and donates them when they’re dirty (note: you are supposed to wash clothes before you donate, because giving someone else a chore isn’t very charitable), and that he is so opposed to food prep that he only drinks Soylent at home, has removed his refrigerator, and doesn’t want to live with “red hot heating elements and razor sharp knives” (that would be his stove, and the kind of knives you eat with and no one is using to stab you, not even a little bit) because “That sounds like a torture chamber.” Bring a zester into this guy’s house, he runs away screaming, thinking you’re going to zest him. I mean, I can walk into a garage without feeling threatened by all the wrenches. It’s not a big deal.
On the other hand, there are a lot of men who are really resentful that women in their lives don’t take care of their every emotional and bodily need, or who are even resentful of the women who do (“You’re like my mother, stop nagging me, it’s not sexy when you remind me to go to the dentist.”) In contrast, some men are also opposed to performing what has traditionally been considered “women’s work,” but instead of finding ways to manipulate women into doing it, they simply do without, or drink plastic bottles largely full of maltodextrin. It’s an improvement in terms of gender relations.
It’s your body and you can do whatever you want with it, but I will not help you with this.
Dear Jen, how can I repackage my career to sound cute to my boyfriend? heart emoticon heart emoticon
Just put the word “girl” in front of everything, as in “I have a meeting with the investors over a second girl-round of girl-funding. Working on my girl-deck.” And then hide all the money from him. When you break up, it’ll be easy to move out, or hire a moving truck to show up just as your Beyoncé mix turns to “Irreplaceable.”
Dear Jen, I’d like to make more money but I don’t actually want to do anything scary or challenging or time consuming. Any advice?
Manifesting, obviously. Just open yourself to abundance and the money will flow to you. Consider a vision board. IT’S YOUR TIME.
Dear Jen, I’ve been working really hard, long hours for my employer for years, but I haven’t been promoted or gotten a raise. What can I do to really demonstrate my commitment and loyalty to the company so they will notice me and reward my hard work?
You are living one of the great career lessons imparted on us by a healthy diet of twentieth-century Disney princess movies – it’s really important to put yourself in the right place and then wait for a man to pick you! This works very well at the office! Do not ask for a meeting, at which you make a case for your raise. Do not go on interviews, get an offer, and come back to your current employer ready to negotiate. Instead, prick your finger on a spindle and fall into a deep slumber. Wait for your boss to wake you with a pay raise. Collectively, this will solve the pay gap.
Dear Jen, I’m not a feminist, so I can’t take all your lady-biz advice for myself. Can you write something for my husband so he can learn how to make more money to support us?
Tell him to read Bullish, substituting masculine pronouns for feminine ones. If his head explodes, it wasn’t meant to be.
It’s also worth pointing out that plenty of women use business advice to become successful, but are not very good feminists. Like if you’re a white, able-bodied, heterosexual woman who can’t get past, “If I can do it, other woman can too!” Just earning shit for yourself is neither feminist nor unfeminist. Pulling up the ladder after yourself is unfeminist. Tearing down structural barriers for others (whether those barriers apply to you or not) is feminist.
Dear Jen: I’m not happy with my career or my relationship. How can I train myself to think positively in order to manifest happiness and success?
It’s probably all the fire and knives in your home. Soylent?
Dear Jen, I’ve been offered a job but I want to get paid more than they’re offering. How can I send subtle hints to the employer so that they’ll spontaneously offer me more money? I don’t want them to think I’m too greedy!
Here’s a piece of crap blog post where someone with bad graphic design skills misinterprets quantum physics to argue that you can “raise your vibration” in order to get what you want. This sort of thing is just crapping all over women who work hard in order to become actual physicists. Maybe the author could try manifesting some better stock photos? I think buying an actual vibrator would be more likely to lead to career success, because at least you’d be happy and relaxed.
Dear Jen, I’m trying to be taken more seriously at work. Which should I bake to bring into the office: cookies or scones?
I literally did this one time. I was working in an office where I didn’t quite fit in, so I brought in cookies, which no one touched. In retrospect, I should have worked with my naturally off-putting personality qualities to become the go-to person for, for example, negotiating with vendors. You think I’m kind of a bitch? Great, welcome to capitalism, let’s monetize that shit. Oh look, now our advertising is 20% cheaper. TEAMWORK.
I just got asked to write code to help a research group with their data. How do I make sure not to intimate the men on the team with my technical knowledge?
Avoid any words that sound like “castrate,” such as “castigate,” or “cut your dick off with the force of my mind.” And then maybe just say the word “team” a lot, indicating that you’re part of a team and your awesome work helps everyone and you’re really collaborative and not planning to cut anyone’s dick off at all. It’s better to be subtle about these things, though. You want to imply that your code is simply a powerful but gender-neutral work product and not a means of castrating men, so try to keep it positive and avoid saying things like, “I won’t cut your dick off, not even a little bit.” SHOW DON’T TELL.
Dear Jen, I started selling Mary Kay! How can I get all my friends to buy it to support me? Also, now that I’m a real entrepreneur, how can I make sure I don’t intimidate people?
HAHAHA. I want to make it clear that I’m not against Mary Kay because of makeup or pink cars. I love girly shit, especially when used ironically or politically, or when jacked up to 11 so it’s kind of campy, which is pretty much Mary Kay’s deal. If your aesthetic is “West Village drag bar” but you live a conservative lifestyle and don’t feel comfortable visiting a West Village drag bar, you could sell Mary Kay! I’ve never tried the makeup, but I certainly do believe people who like it. Lots of companies have great makeup.
The problems I have with Mary Kay and other MLMs (Multi-Level Marketing companies) are:
- They prey on financially vulnerable people, including stay-at-home moms who want income while maintaining flexibility.
- But flexibility doesn’t mean anything when you’re actually losing money instead of making it. 99% of people lose money in MLM. Mary Kay is among the more legit of these companies (for example, no one is earning commission off new salespeople’s startup fees), but the promises still don’t stack up for most people – see this post from Pink Truth.
- It is a lie to tell unsalaried sales reps that they’re “starting their own business.” Being a salesperson for someone else’s company is not starting a company. I object to the small-time thinking and boxed-in business models being sold to vulnerable women in emotionally manipulative ways.
- A few MLM companies have a noble history of providing income opportunities to women in an era in which there were serious structural barriers to women starting their own companies. It is, however, no longer that time. Presenting the best option of 1950 as the best option in 2016 is incorrect and unethical.
- There is an opportunity cost to everything. Pursuing an unsalaried sales position when you could be starting your own actual business wastes time, energy, and resources – and burns through your friend/professional networks, using up all the favors you might have wanted to cash in for something other than a small commission on someone else’s product.
- Legitimate companies give their salespeople territories. Scam companies encourage salespeople to recruit their friends, family, and neighbors as salespeople so that there are no actual customers left, and the only next step is to recruit even more salespeople. Supply greatly outpacing demand is BAD.
- MLM salespeople are profoundly annoying, poisoning personal relationships and infiltrating networking events where they hand you catalogs with their number stamped on the back. Hint: if you have an ID number given to you by someone else’s company, you did not just “start your own business.”
- In-person, friend-to-friend sales once made sense BEFORE THE INTERNET EXISTED. You think you’re going to compete with Amazon Prime? Or even with fun, glam trips to Sephora?
- Selling to your friends is a TERRIBLE BUSINESS MODEL unless your friends are MUCH RICHER THAN YOU, in which case you would still do better starting your own actual company. Rich people don’t want to buy Mary Kay. They do like to invest money so as to make even more money.
Dear Jen, my boyfriend doesn’t like that I earn more money than him. How can I best accommodate his feelings?
Is he really good at sex or cooking or something else that outweighs this terrible fact about him? If so, tell him you took a terrible pay cut at work, and then put all your extra money in a secret bank account. Tell him you have to go on business trips to boring conferences, but actually go to Cabo by yourself every single month. Drink margaritas and get massages. When you’re back home with your guy, practice making thrifty bean-and-potato burritos. Write a memoir about your double life. When you break up, you take the money, he keeps the burrito recipes.
Dear Jen, this morning while I was meditating, the universe sent me a vision about using all my savings to travel to India and teach yoga to the impoverished children there, and I think my future self will always regret it if I don’t follow my dreams. I don’t have a question, I just wanted to let you know that your work hurts my feelings.
You go, girl. Everything you do is awesome just because you dreamed it and “dreams” are beyond all logical or moral reproach! Feminism is about “choice,” no matter what those choices are! (See related April Fools post about manifesting).
Dear Jen, I saw that you have it all and I would like to have it all too, except minus that whole ‘working hard in your 20s’ thing you keep talking about. Can you promote the blog that I’ve delegated to my unpaid virtual assistant in Cambodia to everyone you know so I can have some passive income? It’s about the year I spent traveling with no luggage other than a multipocketed vest that I stored all my spare underwear in.
I can’t believe someone remembered the multipocketed underwear vest from How to Travel Like a Gentlewoman, in which I argued that an obsession with packing light and wearing “performance” clothing can be rude and culturally inappropriate. Don’t treat other people’s countries like a fucking campground. You think you’re going to go enjoy the delicious cuisine of someone else’s culture while dressed like you’re whitewater rafting? Do you come to New York and try to go to nice restaurants in a lumpy vest full of space-age socks and underwear? Don’t do it in someone else’s country, you life-hacking asshole.
As for virtual assistants, weirdly, I think America is the only country where you’re going to get someone to work for you for free, in hopes of building up a resume allowing the worker to get paying work from some unspecified source at some kind of unspecified future time. Isn’t that interesting? It’s almost like capitalism needs a web of regulation to keep it in check or something.
OKAY LADY-TROLLS, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?