Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why Millennials Aren’t Having Kids

According to a New York Times article, the number of recently graduated students who plan to have children has gone down about 50% in the last 20 years.  While the decision to have children is incredibly personal, there are themes and patterns for why that number is decreasing, and it’s not because of all the avocado toast.

1. Millennials can’t afford them.

According to Business Insider, 21 to 34-year-olds hold $1.1 trillion of the U.S’s $3.6 trillion in consumer debt.  This leads to lower rates of large purchases like homes and cars.  While millennials are tighter on their budgets and spending less, many are still defaulting on their loans, trying to get by.

This type of financial environment makes in nonconducive to raise and support a family.  Children can cost about $300,000 by the time they’re 18.  Millenials don’t have any room in their budget for that.

2. It’s harder to find a partner to have a child with.

The dating landscape has changed, and not necessarily for the better.  Pew Research Center discovered that fewer millennials are getting married before age 32 than any other generation.  While 69% of single millennials want to be married, many think they are financially unqualified to take that step.

3. They are focused on their career.

Having children can have some negative effects on a career.  The parents have to take parental leave.  Childcare has to be paid for.  A parent has to have the flexibility to leave if a child is sick at school and needs to be picked up.

Working parents do experience professional biases.  More millennials value education and work over starting a family.  According to Time magazine, only 14% of women are now homemakers, compared to 45% in 1975.  Millenial women, in particular, feel like they have more options in their career and lifestyle.

5. Millennials love their lifestyle and self-care.

Self-care, or the #treatyoself movement, has been on the rise.  As mental health has declined in the U.S., millennials are making it more of a priority.  Not having children gives someone the time to go for walks, read, hang out with friends, and be in bed by 10:00 for a full night of eight hours of sleep.  Taking care of oneself does wonder for mental health.

6. Parenting is harder now than it was 20 years ago.

The laws and rules around child endangerment are more strict than they were 40 years ago.  While they positively affect children’s safety, they make parenting more difficult.  In Episode 2 of the podcast Invisibilia, psychologist Roger Hart studied the movements and behaviors of kids in the 1970’s.  He returned when the children he studied were grown up and had children of their own.  Modern children did not venture as far from home, and their parents perceived the world to be a more dangerous, even though the rate of crime in that area had dropped.

After the kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling in 1989, free-range parenting came to an end, and being a parent became a more time-consuming job.  There is now an opposing “free range parenting” movement happening, with Utah being the first state to pass a law protecting the practice.  While the movement promotes children’s independence and exploration, it also means that parenting doesn’t have to be a 24/7 job.

*  *  *

While each millennial has their own reason to hold off on having children, the trend has caused concerns for society at large.  There are, however, public policies that could be put in place to stimulate population growth.

One of those policies in better parental leave after giving birth or adoption.  The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 only requires employers to give 12 weeks of unpaid leave for mothers.  There are no laws around paternity leave or leave for adoptive parents.  Also for families struggling to make ends meet, unpaid time off is not going to cut it.

The rate of school debt among millennials is also a huge national issue.  The financial burden of student loans keeps young people from participating in and growing the economy.  It also holds off future dreams of buying a home and starting a family.

With these kinds of policies in place, millennials might actually be able to build a family and enjoy their avocado toast too.

 

Advertisements

It’s Alright Guys, Women Are Sexist Too

The thing about bias is that we all have it.  Our brain unconsciously delivers thoughts and judgments about other people.

When it comes to a bias like sexism, society often puts the blame on the dominant group.  While men are in positions of privilege and can use that power to institute change, women also have a long way to go.

Women also carry bias about other women.  While men more often interrupt women in the workplace, women interrupt each other as well.  Mothers have a bias about their child’s crawling ability, believing boys will be better than girls.

While this data doesn’t let men off the hook, I hope it will inspire them to become allies, to realize that we have to work together to conquer our unconscious bias to see a more equal and free society for all genders.

How to Get the Job You Want, But Don’t Think You’re Qualified For

You’re a young woman entering a new career field.  As you peruse through the job postings, you become disheartened:

“3-5 years experience required”

“Extensive knowledge in…”

Reading through the requirements may bring you down, but here are some tips to get through your search and into your next job.

1. The tools in your toolbox

Before you start applying to job postings, have your tools ready.  This means your resume is up to date and typo-free.  Also have a text version without formatting prepared, in case you need to copy and paste your resume into a text box.

Also, make a template for your cover letter.  This includes phrases like, “I’m keen on working for a company with a <company values> spirit like <company name>.”  Make a template that with a little bit of copy and paste will do well enough.  I never recommend that people spend hours on their copy letter unless it is their absolute dream job.  Odds are, the hiring managers aren’t going to even read it, so use the extra time you save with a template to apply to more jobs.

2. What are your needs and wants for your next job?

When you are looking for jobs, define your needs and wants.  If you are starting a new field or career, the needs list might be a bit shorter, because you just want to get your foot in the door.  When I switched careers, my needs list included less than a 45 min. commute, work that I had done or was interested in learning, and that the company was not a sweatshop.

Your wants list is for the things that are nice to have: good insurance, vacation time, nice office space, women in leadership, etc.  These are things you can look for as you go through postings.

3. Looking at the requirements

When women look at job requirements, they only apply for the position if they fit 100% of the requirements.  For men, it’s closer to 80%.  What you have to understand about the requirements list is that often for the company, it’s a nice to have.  The likelihood that they will find a candidate with all those skills and traits are low.  And if they do, good for them.

The baseline I set for requirements I needed to fill was 30%.  I received my first job as a web developer after applying for a senior level position.  While I was underqualified, they contacted me when they opened up a junior level position, and eventually hired me.

4. Just apply already

Stop lamenting so much and just apply.  When I was unemployed and looking for work, looking for a job was my job.  I made a daily goal of ten applications a day.  While that might be unrealistic if you are working full time, don’t get too picky and take weeks between job applications.  Just do it!

5. The more the merrier

Apply to a lot of places…a lot of places.  Don’t worry about applying to places you’re underqualified for.  If you aren’t right for the job, the worst they will say is no, or nothing at all.  When switching careers, a shotgun method is a little more useful.  Applying to more jobs will lead to more interviews and offers.

6. Follow up

A week or two after you apply, try to follow up.  Some hiring managers maybe hard to get a hold of.  Tweeting at a company has sometimes worked, or emailing jobs@<url.com> or careers@<url.com>.  Just make an effort, so they know you are still interested in their position.

7. Always send a thank you note

If you did get an interview, bring a blank card and envelope with a stamp.  As soon as you get out of the interview, write a thank you letter and mail it.  It keeps you in the hiring manager’s mind and shows them how thankful and appreciative you are.

Nothing sets you apart like a good old-fashioned thank you letter.

 

Hopefully, with these tips and tricks, you can get your foot in the door and get a job in your new career!

Why the U.S. Should Adopt the EU’s New Data Policy

After Facebook’s data breach with Cambridge Analytica, the public was upset.  More articles were shared and posted about how to protect your online data, or remove yourself from the web entirely.

Representatives reflected those sentiments as they grilled Mark Zuckerberg at a Congressional hearing earlier this year.  The problem with the interrogation was that most of the representatives didn’t understand how the internet worked.  Zuckerberg had to explain to Sen, Orrin Hatch (R., Ut.) how Facebook made money:

giphy (6)

The main takeaway from the Congressional hearing: regulation of online data needs to happen.  The large remaining question was, how?

The European Union has already answered that question.  In 2016, they passed the General Data Protection Regulation, a regulation aimed to protect the privacy of individuals online.  The regulation became enforceable in late May of this year.

This regulation sets a series of guidelines for companies and individuals.

  • data must be stored with a pseudonym or anonymously
  • data cannot be available to the public without explicit consent from the individual
  • users must know how long their data is being stored for
  • users can request of the copy being stored about them
  • the user can revoke right for a company to store data at any time
  • the user can request data stored on them to be deleted at any time
  • consent a business receives to store data must be clear and individualized

While these new regulations sent businesses across the globe scrambling to comply (some opting out of serving EU customers altogether), the regulation set a new president.  People want control of their data.  If they do opt-in for their data to be collected in exchange for a free service like Facebook, they want to know that their data is safe.  Removal of or access to that data should be straightforward.

While U.S. representatives seemed clueless in how they regulate a company like Facebook, perhaps the EU can give them an idea about where to start.

Dear Rep. Nick Zerwas, Stop Making Bills Based on Your White Privelage

Dear Rep. Nick Zerwas,

Full disclosure, I have attended protests a handful of times, both legal and illegal.  I attended the Women’s March in D.C., sporting my pink pussy hat, and I’ve sat cross-legged on I94 after the election of President Trump.

A9AE5967-04E2-4F7C-9A6F-A68EAE7AED80.JPEG

I fully acknowledge the Minneapolis Police Department’s right to arrest protestors who impede or block traffic.  During the post-election protest, I knew that was a definite possibility.  But I am a white, middle-class woman.  I have friends and family, who could afford to post bail.  I myself could probably afford the maximum fine of $1,000 for a misdemeanor.

I, like you, however, come from a life of white privilege.  When I get pulled over by a cop, I never think that it’s because I fit a police description.  Growing up, I was never afraid of police officers.  I had never known someone who had experienced police brutality.

America was made for people like you and me.  While we no longer have slavery, and women are now allowed to vote, this is not a country of equals.  In your MinnPost opinion piece earlier this year you suggested citizens, “get involved in their community through communicating with their elected officials, running for elected office, serving on local governing boards, and protesting the status quo.”

Those who are disenfranchised in this country have been trying these methods for decades.  They have been met with roadblock after roadblock.  They have been beaten, imprisoned, lynched, and raped.  They have been fired from jobs and denied housing.  But we don’t listen.  As white people, we don’t have to.  We can put on rose-colored glasses and pretend that we are living in a free utopia.

We do not live in that rose-colored world, however.  People are being hurt by those meant to protect them.  When I go to a Black Lives Matter protest, it’s as an ally.  When a person of color goes, it’s to save their life.  I understand the community’s frustrations when they are stuck in traffic, or can’t get to the airport because they are blocked by protestors.  Currently, those protestors can be charged with a misdemeanor, with the max fine and jail time being $1,000 and 90 days.

c553f5-20161110-u-protest05
Photo credit Evan Frost | MPR News

The bill you introduced would raise the charge to a gross misdemeanor, with a max $3,000 fine and year of jail time.  Is a group blocking traffic worth that?  Is their attempt to be seen and heard by their representatives and fellow citizens worth one year of their life?  I say no.

When the founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights, they did not put any restrictions on freedom of assembly.  They were proud of there acts of civil disobedience under the British because it was also about life and death.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

While I respect your position and the work you are trying to do, please remember that you are representing people different from yourself; individuals with different lives, dreams, hopes, and fears.  Your duty is to all of them.  Every single one.

How to Talk to Your Racist White Friends

1. Pick a private setting to talk.

No one likes to be called out in front of their family, friends, or peers.  See if you can pull them away to a more private, relaxing location, like a waterfall at the edge of a meadow, or a gazebo crawling with wild ivy, or the broom cupboard under the stairs.  Take your pick.

2. Don’t call them a racist.

White people are easily startled and offended.  Words like “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobic”, “bigoted”, etc. cause them to be defensive.

“What, who?  Me?  No!  I don’t see color!  I have black friends”

giphy (4).gif

Deep breath.

Whether they are a racist or not, they probably don’t want to be.  It’s nearly impossible not to be one, however, when you’ve had heaps of white privilege since conception, and have been raised in an incredibly biased society.  You don’t think about racism when band-aids match your skin tone and when store employees actually do just what you to let them know if you need anything.

3. Talk about how the action made you feel.

Okay, so you can’t call them the r-word.  What can you say?

Tell them how their actions made you feel?

“When you went in and touched Aeva’s hair without asking, that made me uncomfortable.”

“When you came up and said, ‘waz up my niggas!’ that made me really angry.”

“When you got cornrows on your trip to Barbados like Monica in season 10 of “Friends”, that made me feel….embarrassed….to be seen with you.”

giphy.gif

4. Talk about unconscious bias a lot.

People love to believe in free will, which also means that they will never admit to any wrongdoing.  If they have free will and did something bad, then that was all them.

Reassure them that it’s not their fault.  Society made them that way.  And their brain is sabotaging them in an attempt to make them look like a racist, sexist a**hole

5. Ask them questions.

Asking questions is a great strategy for validating a person’s feelings, without ever having to agree with whatever nonsense a person is spewing out.

“Are you okay with strangers touching your hair?”

“Why did you clutch your purse when that black man got into the elevator?”

“Have you ever had a black person over for dinner?”

“Do you think this neighborhood is bad, or just diverse?”

When you ask these questions, don’t be sassy or snarky.  Control your facial expressions to show curiosity and focus on what the speaker is saying.  Even if they are saying utter nonsense, fake it ’til you make it.

Pro tip: nodding a lot helps

giphy (3).gif

7. Make sure that they know you come from a place of love.

Reassure them that you love them and care for them, which is why you don’t want them to be such a bigot.  If you both have a relationship built out of respect and honesty, you both can make space for these conversations without any shaming.

giphy (5).gif

As long as they don’t do that again, you’re good!

*  *  *

Yes, these conversations can be awkward, but they don’t have to be difficult.  It’ll take practice, but you can do it!  So when your uncle says black people are just lazy at the Thanksgiving table, or your boss says the black, female candidate doesn’t seem like a “good culture fit”, or your friend wants to call the police on some rowdy black men hanging out in the park, take a deep breath.  You got this.

giphy (1).gif

 

 

St.Paul waste removal

I just bought a house in St.Paul about a year ago. I’m still new to being a homeowner. Following city ordinance, like paying for water, electric, trash, environmental service bill??? About a month ago, I’ve received a letter from the city of St.Paul informing the residents that they will be the sole provider of collecting waste.

There are some unhappy people about this. A property owner of 1-4 units has to pay for trash removal more than usually would pay. One person is suing the city of St. Paul regarding the pricing policy that violates The Waste Mangement Act.

I see why he did that. People who don’t generate a lot of trash has to pay the same rate as other people who do. That’s unjustified.

Why?

The rate the city of St.Paul is charging is more then what I’m paying with the trash company I’m using. I don’t want to change my trash company.

 

 

Out of control – OC- OPIOID CRISIS

Why is there an epidemic?

 

Because more and more people are using opioid.  The number one prescribed pain reliever in the United States is Hydrocodone. When people start taking opioid it can lead to addiction, misuse, abuse, and death. How many opioids can a person actually be prescribed?

From the Opioid epidemic in the United State article, “Drug dealers are no longer the primary source of illicit drugs. Our greatest enemy is now inappropriate prescribing patterns, based on a lack of knowledge, perceived safety, and undertreatment of pain.”

The physician who is prescribing opioids should educate and monitor the amount of opioid that their patient.  There’s has been studies why this is one of the leading cause of death.  If you are concern that someone or yourself is taking to more opioid for nonmedical use. Talk to someone because you’re not alone. This opioid crisis can end!

 

 

 

 

Manchikanti, L., Helm, 2., Standiford, Fellows, B., Janata, J. W., Pampati, V., Grider, J. S., & Boswell, M. V. (2012). Opioid epidemic in the united states. Pain Physician, 15(3 Suppl), ES9.

First home!

I bought my house about a year ago. It’s an old house with many characters. It’s my first home and at the sametime, I’ve also adopted a cat her name is River! Isn’t she cute?!?!

I’ve noticed that this house needed a lot of home improvement. I’ve done some renovation to the house like the bathroom, basement, and yard. I like working in my garden. My Lillies so pretty… Last year, I didn’t get to see it blossom because the squirrels destroyed it first. This year I am planting Sunflowers, corns, cucumbers, and more. I love watching the plants grow.

Being a homeowner comes with a lot of freaken work. But I really enjoy it. Now, I’m working on my patio! Hopefully, I can sell this house next year.

 

 

 

 

It’s Been A Blast!

I really had a great time in this course. The condensed nature of the course and the long class sessions were rough. The readings were extensive and exhausting, but great choices, relevant, and they made for some great discussions. The group work was a challenge but I met some great people, learned a lot, and had fun. It was particularly helpful to have two groups working on separate projects so we could compare notes and see how we handled problems differently and so forth.

I hope to cross paths with you all in future classes or otherwise bump into you along life’s path. Wish you all the best of luck!