Posts Tagged: lady tip

Lady Tip: Be Nice to People Working Retail

Christmas retail
If you’ve ever worked retail, you probably experience sympathy pains whenever you step into a mall during the Christmas season. While there are pros to working in retail (like DISCOUNTS!), it’s not an easy job. Actually, it’s a super hard job. Out of all of the weird jobs I’ve had, working at a department store was one of my least favorites (ranking below “cook at a Christian summer camp” but definitely far, far above “loading trucks at a warehouse”).

For starters, you get the worst hours. You know those lovely evenings, weekends, and holidays that everyone else gets off? Not you! Those are the times you have to work! But worst of all, you have to deal with grumpy shoppers…and it’s holiday time, which means that everyone is, like, 50% grumpier! At least! And while you’d rather be at home with your family and friends, drinking various warm beverages, you have to deal with people who insist on using Traveler’s Checks (?) and asking you why they can’t use the gift card that they left at home, but really, they totally have one. Swear.

Also, this never happened to me, but I’ve heard several stories about retail employees finding poop in the dressing rooms. So just think about that next time you want to be bitchy to a retail clerk. That person might’ve cleaned up human feces earlier in the day. And don’t be like, “Parents clean up poop all the time!” because I think we all know poop duty is a little different when it’s a relative and not, like, some random dude at Macy’s.

So this holiday season, let’s all remember that the person behind the counter is a human being who deserves not just respect, but friendliness. Their job is hard and sometimes thankless, especially this time of year. Also, sometimes there’s poop.

Image via Flickr

Lady Tip: Pack Your Lunch

packed lunch
Did you know there are people who buy their lunch every day? Maybe you’re one of those people. Who are you? I don’t understand! Let’s say you work a typical five day week. At a bare minimum, going out to lunch will cost you five dollars a day (and, let’s be real, it’s going to be at least ten…I’m just trying to give you the benefit of a doubt). That means that, at minimum, you’re spending 25 extra dollars a week–$100 a month!–on work food. Stop that. Stop it right now!

Packing your lunch is one of the easiest ways to save money, eat better, and avoid sodium bloat from too much restaurant food. Yeah, I know, those Panera salads are delicious. There’s a food truck right outside your office. Everyone else is going.

But it’s not worth it! Packing your lunch costs next to nothing. Have some leftovers–I generally plan ahead and make extra food at dinner, because I’m lazy and I really hate trying to put together another meal. Or, you can just make a big batch of soup or pasta. And what about sandwiches? So cheap when you make them yourself. Like, so ridiculously cheap that you will kick yourself for going to that bistro to get $12 sandwiches. Listen, no one likes a fancy sandwich more than me, but come on. We’ve got other shit to buy. We can’t just be spending all of our disposable income on sandwiches with fig spreads, okay? Make your own damn fig spread. Be the fig spread you wish to see in the world. And, honestly, don’t knock the peanut butter sandwich. Cheap. Easy. Quick. Absolutely wonderful.

Packing your lunch is one of those relatively small changes (like making coffee instead of buying it) that really makes a huge financial difference. Do it! Be a part of the packed lunch revolution! We have our meetings at my desk at noon over a peanut butter sandwich.

Image via Foodlve

Lady Tip: Walk Everywhere

Walking, taking off hat, ca. 1884-1887

I’m a big fan of walking, and here’s why: I’m not really a fan of working out. Okay, so that’s not entirely true…I work out a few times a week, and I generally enjoy the way it makes me feel. That being said, I’m not always the best about getting a work out into my packed-with-work days, and no one’s paying me to work out (YET).

But we all know that physical activity is important, right? That’s why I’m a big proponent of walking everywhere. I realize this is only a realistic option if you like in a city like I do, and eventually I’m not going to be able to walk everywhere, but for now it’s working really well. I walk to work, walk to the library, walk to dinner, walk to drinks, walk to donuts (sensing a trend here?), walk to the coffeeshop…basically, all of my interests (work, food, and books) are within walking distance, and I try to avoid cars at all costs.

The upside to this is that even if I have to skip a workout, I always know that at least I’ve walked one mile that day. And that isn’t a lot! But it’s so much better than nothing. Plus, walking everywhere saves gas money (duh), makes you seem way environmentally friendly, and just generally feels good. And, as a creative-type, walking is a great way to clear my head and get ideas. “Walk it out” is not just a terrible (I mean WONDERFUL) song…it’s also some pretty solid advice for anyone dealing with a problem.

So, again, I know this one isn’t feasible for everyone, but I think it’s a great thing to do. After all, if you walked a mile to get a donut, that donut is practically good for you. Shhh, don’t try to tell me nutritional facts, I’m not listening.

Image via Flickr

Lady Tip: Go The Speed You’re Comfortable Going

man on bike
When I started driver’s ed, I was terrified of driving. I’d been in a serious car accident about a year before, so the thought of even being in a car, let alone driving one, filled me with dread. To make matters worse, my driver’s ed teacher was a cranky recent divorcee named Mr. Vaughn who wore gray outfits every single day. Just being in classes with him was bad enough, and I was planning on putting off driving with Mr. Vaughn until I felt comfortable with it. Which would be, you know, never. But then one day when I was out with friends, Mr. Vaughn called my house to set up a driving time and ended up speaking to my dad, who cheerfully signed me up to drive. The next day.

Since I’d literally never driven a car before, I freaked out and made my dad take me out right that minute. And then I promptly almost drove into a ditch. Basically, it wasn’t pretty. As I was creeping along the highway going a healthy ten miles below the speed limit, someone honked and angrily blazed around me. Shaking with nerves, I shouted, “I need to go faster!”

And that’s when Papa W., in his infinite calm, said the words I still tell myself today whenever I’m freaking out: “Don’t worry about everyone else around you. Just go the speed you’re comfortable going.”

I’ve been a late bloomer in just about every area of my life. I didn’t learn to ride my bike until third grade. I was always the oldest kid in my swimming lessons class. I didn’t actually end up getting that license until I was 17, and I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 18. I didn’t get married until I was 26 (okay, so that one’s actually young, but try telling that to the women my mom runs into at the grocery store in my hometown).

Some people are built for speed, but I’ve always been a slowpoke. I mean that literally (uh, have you seen me run? No you have not, because I go very slowly and look terrible.) and figuratively. Sure, once I decide to do something I tend to jump right in, but it takes me a hell of a long time to get there.

Some of us are just slow, and that’s okay. We’re all moving along at different speeds, but like I’ve said before, there’s no checklist for being an adult. There aren’t any deadlines for when you need to reach those “important” personal or career goals. Recently, I’ve been reading a ton of wonderful books by super-talented writers who are my age. I haven’t published a book yet, because my book…well, it’s not exactly finished. But that’s okay. I’m going the speed I’m comfortable going. These revisions might take me forever, and this might not even be the book I publish. I might write 15 other novels before the public ever reads one (let’s hope it’s not quite that many, though). But that’s okay. This is my speed. It’s okay to be learning, and learning slowly. It’s okay to be figuring it out. It’s okay to not keep up with everyone else.

So, fellow slowpokes, when it feels like everyone else is speeding around you and honking their horns, just remember the words of Papa W. No, not “I think I’m gonna make Same Love my ringtone,” which is a real thing he said to me a couple of weeks ago (my dad: Macklemore’s target audience). Go the speed you’re comfortable going. Let everyone else pass you if they want. You don’t need to go any faster.

Image via Flickr

Lady Tip: There’s Nothing Wrong with Having a Day Job

Once last year, at a party, I was talking to some people about my new-at-the-time job. As you might recall, I was (and am) very excited about this job. I write things, and I get paid for it. What could be more awesome? Anyway, this person I was talking to asked me what I wrote at my day job, and as I was explaining it, he cut me off and said, “Oh. So you don’t get to write about what you want?”

Now, who knows…maybe this guy genuinely didn’t mean for his comment to come off as dismissive. But still, it was a little bit of a slap in the face. “Well, no…not really,” I stammered, trying to figure out what he was getting at. Here I was, clearly excited about my job, and all of a sudden it wasn’t good enough for this dude because I was writing about business instead of, like, blog posts about television shows?

I felt bad about it for a little while without really knowing why, but pretty soon, I realized I wasn’t the one with the problem. This guy was. There are a lot of people (I used to be one of them!) who think that real writers or artists are the ones who make a living entirely from their art. You know, the ones who live in fashionable poverty while working on their artistic visions.

Newsflash: you know how many writers/artists make a living off their art? Very few! I mean, sure, everyone would love to be JK Rowling, but that is not a very realistic dream for most people. While I do make some money off the “fun” writing that I do, the vast majority of my income comes from “practical” writing. Writing about business. Writing blog posts for large companies. Copywriting. Those jobs might not be as creative as writing a book, but they are interesting and enjoyable, and they greatly improve my writing (seriously, doing this sort of writing will teach you loads about being clearer and more concise).

In the moments when I’m not at my day job or doing “serious” freelance work, that’s when I do the purely fun stuff. The blog posts. The HelloGiggles column. Pitching to various websites and magazines. Working on that book. This part of my writing life, the purely creative part, is the part that really makes my heart sing. But just because it isn’t the only thing I’m doing doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.

So what I want to say to you creative types out there is this: do you have a day job? Good for you. Seriously. There’s nothing lame about supporting yourself financially, about having insurance, about paying your own rent. That’s called kicking ass at life. Your creative work is what makes you who you are, but its value has nothing to do with the money you make from it. That might be a slightly Pollyanna thing to say, but I truly believe it.

And anyway, the best writers/artists had day jobs. I mean, William Carlos Williams was a doctor. A doctor! I bet he never felt shitty about his job, either.