Archive | June, 2013

We need more child-rearing and chalk-throwing career women as role models and anti-telecommuting policies make this difficult

22 Jun

For those of you who know me know that I want to be a boss. You know, like a baws. And as such, I often look for role models to emulate, especially lady bawses.

My master’s supervisor would respond to emails at 4 a.m. in the morning with a newborn latched onto her breast.

I’m embarrassed to admit that when I first found out she was pregnant, dreams of graduating on time and producing an award-winning thesis vanished into thin air faster than my paycheck at a Nine West sale. What I didn’t realize at that time, however, was that she was a stubborn woman who loved what she did and wouldn’t give up on herself, or on her students.

In light of the new anti-telecommuting policies set forth by Yahoo President and CEO, Marissa Mayer, I can’t help but think of my Superwoman mentor. Where would she have been if her workplace enforced such rules? More importantly, where would I be? Although I never won a Nobel Prize for my work, I was driven to succeed and make the most of my graduate experience because I knew that a woman who could soothe a crying baby while performing logistic regression analysis would expect no less of me.

In fact, she would throw chalk at me if I even so much as whimpered a complaint.

Mayer’s stood by her controversial decision to prohibit virtual work, stating “people are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.”(1) Although I don’t disagree with her logic, the argument is countered by current technology. Modern day business is global, and conducted through mediums such as email, text messages, and Skype. Even if an establishment isn’t up to date with technology, there’s always the old-fashioned telephone to fall back on.

The truth is that a woman’s success is largely influenced by the surrounding social and political climate, including policies set forth in the workplace. India, a country riddled with sex slavery and violence against women, ranked last in a poll of the best G20 countries for women(2). This was followed by Saudi Arabia where only 35% of women with tertiary education are employed, and women were only given the right to vote in 2011. Canada and the United States ranked number one and six, respectively, with pro-labour factors such as small wage discrepancies between men and women, and time for maternity leave playing a large role in this ranking.

These findings highlight the importance of economic independence and security for women, but there is still a long way to go before women are given the same opportunities for financial and professional success. Canadian women commit greater time and energy rearing children (3) than men, meaning that not only do traditional gender roles persevere, but that there is a greater demand for working women.

By denying working women the opportunity to work from home, anti-telecommuting policies place roadblocks in front of women who want more than a career. This is especially true for women working in ‘time-sensitive’ fields since time away from work can seriously jeopardize career ambitions. In academia, for instance, the most prestigious and recognized researchers are those with the most publications. The more the publications a researcher can produce, the greater the likelihood for tenure, and the more generous the funding for future research. Taking 15 weeks off for maternity leave without the opportunity to work remotely doesn’t exactly fit well into this equation.

Mrs. Ronzulli, an Italian member of parliament, with her daughter at a vote at Strasbourg.

Licia Ronzulli, an Italian member of parliament, with her daughter at a vote at Strasbourg.

So what choice is to be made? A career or motherhood? For ambitious women who want to have it all, blanket policies such as those enforced by Mayer’s immobilize progression in the workforce in hopes of bettering the organization, without consideration for the individual nature of the worker. The fact of the matter is that if I’ve made the choice to check my Facebook or Twitter, it’s not going to matter if I’m at the office or not because I’m going to commit to that choice. Alternatively, if I am serious and passionate about my work, I am going to work, and I am going to use whatever resources I can to make that happen. As a result, my value to a company should be based on a measurable output, and not necessarily by my attendance record.

Being given the choice to work from home means that I, and women like me, can remain intact with the culture and growth of my organization while fulfilling my desire to care for my family. It means that I can one day inspire a young protégé as I was once inspired, and it means that I don’t have to choose between my career and motherhood.

On that note, I’d like you to leave you with this message on why we may actually have too few women bawses, aka leaders:

Works Cited





20 things you should know about Indian weddings

12 Jun

1. There are lots of events for an Indian wedding. Plan your clothes in advance and have back ups.

2. You need to go big or go home. Cake your face, wear all the jewellery you own, and wear the boldest colours you have. We don’t mess around. You don’t want to fail at looking good because you will stand out and everyone will hate you.

You can't mess with a venue like this (Photo credit: Mistry Brothers)

You can’t mess around with a venue like this (Photo credit: Mistry Brothers)

3. But don’t worry, you have plenty of time to get ready. If it says to show up at 6, you really don’t have to be there until 8:30.

4. Saris are made of a lot of material and can be very confusing. Allocate a lot of time and patience to iron them. Don’t panic, stay calm.

5. In line with the above, tie a sari properly and use safety pins to secure it so you don’t get lost and confused in your own clothing and need to be rescued.

6. Indian weddings cost a lot of money, so give the couple money, not gifts. They don’t need a toaster, they need to pay off their debt and not cry themselves to sleep at night. If you’re cheap or tight on cash you have to give at least $50. Then you have to add a dollar to that for good luck (e.g. give $51, $101, $151).

7. You’re gonna cry at the wedding. I’m serious, it’s literally an organized item on the itinerary. Your crying is going to be facilitated by sad music and a parade of sad people that will cry alongside the bride as she leaves the venue. PLUS, all of this will be recorded so you can watch it again and cry some more. Invest in waterproof mascara.

Practice your crying face

Practice your crying face

8. If you’re gonna dance, wear an Indian suit and not a sari unless you’re a boss. And if you’re gonna dance, you’re gonna take your shoes off and your feet are gonna get hella nasty. You know what, just assume you’re gonna dance, you can’t escape it.

9. If you don’t have Indian clothes, just stay home.

Translation: forget about it!

Translation: forget about it!

10. Any older woman who isn’t your mom is an ‘Aunty’, even if you don’t know her. Any younger woman you just met is your best friend. Any older man who isn’t your dad is an ‘Uncle’, even though he may look at you like he wants to take you home with him. While at the wedding, any younger, hot, single man is your brother, although you very well may go home with him because he’s that beautiful. Just don’t let the Aunties and Uncles see you sneak into his Civic. And don’t tell your best friend because she’s a bitch and will tell on you.

11. The entertainment on the night of the engagement and/or reception will consist of family and friends dancing for the bride and groom. I’m talking Bollywood style dancing: choreography, props, costume changes, and a smoke machine. It’ll either be horrible or awesome.

An example of an awesome performance.

An example of an awesome performance.

12. There’s almost always an open bar. And there’s almost always a group of Uncles lingering by the bar hogging the alcohol and waiting to give your female and shameless ass a dirty look. You have three options in this situation:

  • Don’t give a damn and get your own drink (works well when you crashed the wedding and don’t really know anyone)
  • Get a male friend or relative to get your drink for you
  • Slip the bartender a note indicating that you need your vodka served in the glasses they use to serve water, and that you won’t be needing a straw for the remainder of the evening

Option 1

13. When men dance with glasses on their heads, they’re just having a good time. However, it is a potential safety concern, so you may want to keep your distance. Because they are pretty much smashed at this point.

14. Don’t step on broken glass. Or someone’s earring. Or a sequence from their clothes.

15. Don’t be alarmed by grown men dancing on top of other grown men’s shoulders, it’s perfectly normal. But again: safety precaution.

16. It is imperative that you control your boobs at all times.

17. Although drinking can be somewhat excusable for women, smoking rarely is. Pop some Nicorette if you’re tempted.

18. Lines do not exist. At a buffet, it is a free for all. The scratches and crushed toes are worth it though, because Indian food is ah-mazing.

19. Indian food stains, and dry cleaning can be expensive. Try to contain your excitement and eat carefully.

20. You’re not getting home from the engagement party or the reception until at least 3 am and you’re going to have a great time. You’re welcome.psy

I’m a hugger now. Tips on how you can be one too.

3 Jun

In case you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a huge weirdo and pretty socially awkward.

(Plus, I never seem to know what to do with my hands. Do I put them in my pocket? What if I don’t have pockets? Do I hold my own hand? Is that strange? Because it feels strange).

I’ve never really been a big hugger and I generally suck at hugging. I tend to move out of the way when someone tries to hug me because a) I’m a little paranoid and I think they’re gonna attack me and b) I often think they’re trying to reach around or behind me. You know when you think someone is waving at you, but they’re waving at the person next to you, but you already waved back? Yeah, I try to avoid that as much as possible.

I recently met an awesome group of people when we got together to perform a dance for a mutual friend’s wedding. And they are all pretty much huggers. So since I’m a grown-ass woman now, I thought it was about time to learn how to hug. I mean there are only so many times I can pretend to tie my shoelace when someone starts coming at me for some sugar.

The first few times I tried to initiate a hug were a bust. I angled myself in for a side-hug when they wanted a front hug and it was a weird collision of torsos and arms. I almost lost an eye.

The second time I misjudged the length of my forearm and ending up punching the poor girl in the boob.

Did you just punch my boob? Yes. Yes, I did.

Did you just punch my boob? Yes. Yes, I did.

But I didn’t give up and I’m glad I didn’t because when your friend is getting married and moving to the States, you bawl at the wedding. And when you bawl, the people around you bawl. And eventually there’s a lot of sobbing, blubbering, and hugging with strangers, but it’s really comforting and heartening.

So since I’ve moved past this phase in my life, I’d like to share some hugging guidelines I’ve compiled. Not that I’m an expert on the matter or anything, but I just believe there are some other weirdos out there that could use some help.

1) You have to commit to your choice to hug. If you’re already in the momentum of a hug and they want to shake hands, too freaking bad! Grab their hand and turn it into hand-holding hug and move on to the next person.

2) Always go for the front-hug. Life is too short for side-hug nonsense.

There you go, you've got it. Just work on not hating each other.

There you go, you’ve got it. Just work on not hating each other.

3) If things get weird, let them be weird and don’t be the one to acknowledge it, because you may be the only one who actually noticed. And if you’re not and they actually bring it up, laugh it off and be all like ‘shit don’t faze me, I got more people to hug, and you can’t slow me down’. And then run away giggling.



4) Wear deodorant and try to practice good-smell etiquette. But I understand that sometimes, you can’t help it. As my dear friend put it after I hugged her at the wedding: “You smell like alcohol and like a boy”.

5) Speaking of smelling, don’t smell the other person’s hair, as good as you think it’s going to smell. You think they won’t notice, but they will.

6) In my opinion, it is perfectly appropriate to head-hug someone that is shorter than you.

head hug

7) Don’t linger in the hug unless the other person is crying or pulls you towards them again. But if it’s getting creepy, feel free to end that shit ASAP.

8) Don’t pat them on the back unless there’s serious crying going on or you know them well enough. Even then, maximum three pats.

9) If you’re on the bustier side of things or are dealing with a perv, you may want to make like Liz Lemon and strategically angle your boobs out of the way.

No boobs for you!

No boobs for you!

10) Don’t over think it, just do it. Do it and enjoy it, because you never know when you’re going to see that person again.