It was the late ’90s and I was at an interesting phase of my career. For the first time in my life I possessed relevant qualifications, experience and could also show a successful track record in my chosen career path. I had the job seeker’s trifecta. It was also summer and my current employer was pissing me off with their penny-pinching ways, so after three years of ball busting effort I decided a break and a job change was in order. Displaying characteristic overconfidence in myself I quit my job (without burning any bridges) and set about applying for others.

I was experienced in managing technical & trade supply businesses. I also had engineering experience and sales experience and had demonstrably excelled every sales and profit target I had ever been given. I started applying for roles that would stretch me and lift my career up a notch. There were plenty of opportunities around and I usually had a few applications on the go at any one time. I was an experienced guy in an experienced guy’s world, this wouldn’t be hard.

Then the rejection letters trickled in. I could take rejection, it goes hand in hand with business, but after the first few months I was frankly confused. I hadn’t had a single interview. Instead of aiming high I lowered my sights and started applying for jobs where there was no career advancement. Now I had everything these employers could possibly want, it would be a shoe in. But still not one interview came my way, not even a phone inquiry.

Somewhere after the four month mark my confidence was starting to take a hit. The people rejecting me were business people too, how could my reasoning that I was perfect for these jobs be so different to theirs? Putting on my most serious business head I went back and scoured my CV. It was the only contact any of my potential employers or their recruitment companies had had with me. My CV was THE common denominator and if something was wrong it MUST be there.

I had fortunately seen a number of CVs in my time. I was happy with the choice of style and layout, and the balance of detail versus brevity. I was particularly pleased with the decision I made to brand it with my name with just enough bold positioning to make it instantly recognisable, and as I sat scouring every detail of that CV a horrible truth slowly dawned on me. My name.

My first name is Kim. Technically its gender neutral but my experience showed that most people’s default setting in the absence of any other clues is to assume Kim is a women’s name. And nothing else on my CV identified me as male. At first I thought I was being a little paranoid but engineering, trades, sales and management were all definitely male dominated industries. So I pictured all the managers I had over the years and, forming an amalgam of them in my mind, I read through the document as I imagined they would have. It was like being hit on the head with a big sheet of unbreakable glass ceiling.

My choice to brand the CV with a bold positioning of my name actually seemed to scream that I was a woman. I could easily imagine many of the people I had worked for discarding the document without even reading further. If they did read further the next thing they saw (as politeness declared at the time) was a little personal information, and that declared I was married with kids. I had put this in because I knew many employers would see it as showing stability, but when I viewed it through the skewed view of middle aged men who thought I was a woman, I could see it was just further damning my cause. I doubt if many of the managers I had known would have made it to the second page.

I made one change that day. I put Mr in front of my name on my CV. It looked a little too formal for my liking but I got an interview for the very next job I applied for. And the one after that. It all happened in a fortnight and the second job was a substantial increase in responsibility over anything I had done before. In the end I beat out a very competitive short-list and enjoyed that job for the next few years, further enhancing my career.

Where I had worked previously there was a woman manager. She was the only one of about a dozen at my level, and there were none on the next level. She had worked her way up through the company over many years and was very good at her job. She was the example everyone used to show that it could be done, but that most women just didn’t want to. It’s embarrassing to think I once believed that. It’s even more incredible to think many people still do.

(via spiralofbees)

What the movement for reproductive rights needs is for the faces of freedom to emerge from the captivity of shame.

Quit that job that’s making you miserable

I was working at a friend’s startup in San Francisco. New life rule: never have a boss more depressed than you are.  You are not your boss’s therapist.  
San Francisco startup culture is depraved.  It consists of men in their 20’s making more money than they know what to do with, and spending it on themselves to fuel Facebook posts about how ‘epic’ and ‘awesome’ their weekends were, when they have no idea what Gilgamesh or Beowulf are, or what ‘awesome’ actually means.  
Startups encourage a selfish environment that doesn’t encourage giving back or thinking for the long term.  Money is easy; building the world you want to live in is hard.  Fighting over the ever-shrinking slices of the mobile pie does not a sustainable business plan make.  Paying $1500/month for a room in a four-bedroom house is driving out the folks who make San Francisco what it really is.
I was also part-timing as a research assistant for a man who almost killed me, and who had the FBI called on him for stealing data from a colleague.  I was relieved when the grant he wanted didn’t come through and I was free to leave without bad feelings.
I found a gig teaching entrepreneurship and mobile app develop in Accra, Ghana, and boarded the plane, excited for a real challenge in an environment that might be toxic due to parasites and open sewers, but not in terms of lack of community or gratitude as was San Francisco.  Ghana was vibrant, family- and neighborhood-oriented, and pulsed with Azonto beats and piecey-piecey cloth colors.  Here was a real place.
End the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic
I was dating “Edward”, who could be described as the male version of myself, but from Vermont and with more of a beer gut.  He was working for a startup that was socially redeeming, and perhaps more than any other company in the Bay Area, but didn’t feel like he was being valued adequately by the company.  He kept his bathroom remarkably clean and had roommates who’d go off the grid for weeks at a time on silent retreats, then return to the world of software design and yoga instruction.  One had been on Suicide Girls.  Edward and I bickered like an old married couple.  We pushed one another’s buttons without realizing it.  He found me flaky and noncommittal; I found him despondent and whiny.  Usually I’m responsible and reliable: relationships bring out the worst in me.  While he was a fantastic support when I brought my friends together, and loved driving as much as I did, I had to walk away, more for him than for me.  
Lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you’re perpetually on the verge of vomiting.
Sometimes you need to walk away.  There’s nothing you can do to make it work.  Try something else.  Do it differently.
You’re young, you’re resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you’re patient and open.
And now I’m in the tropics under coconut trees and getting paid to do what I love, working for a boss who’s not only competent but a decent human being, and not dealing with the startup scene.  

#July #YAOTM is Charlene Wang ‘03 founder of Tranquil Tuesdays (@tranquiltues)! 

Thanks to Sara Simon ‘13 (@sarambsimon) for this month’s submission!

Years ago, Charlene Wang sat down to a meeting in Beijing and had a hard time paying attention. Why? There was a distractingly good cup of tea in front of her! A lifelong tea enthusiast, Charlene was struck by the smooth, soft flavor of the green tea. She needed to know where it came from and what made it so good.

Then with the U.S. Foreign Service, Charlene used her travels around Asia to learn as much as she could about tea. No amount of knowledge or tea could quench Charlene’s thirst for more. Eventually, her passion for China’s tea history took over. In 2010, she left her job and founded Tranquil Tuesdays, a social enterprise dedicated to showcasing China’s best teas and teaware through a collection of Chinese tea gifts.

All of Charlene’s work is rooted in her commitment to quality, authentic tea. She frequently travels all around China, personally sourcing all of Tranquil Tuesdays’ teas from small family-owned tea farms.

Cherry on top?

As a women’s empowerment social enterprise, Tranquil Tuesdays partners with local NGOs to hire women who might not otherwise have good work opportunities. So far, Charlene has hired and trained eight women, each of whom contributed tremendously to the organization.

It’s been so inspiring interning at Tranquil Tuesdays, learning from my fabulous Wellesley sister, Charlene!


Same-sex-couple plastic figurines are displayed during a gay-wedding fair (salon du mariage gay) in Paris. Photograph by Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters.

Check out a slideshow of photos celebrating same-sex marriage rulings around the world: http://nyr.kr/1cZQS1Z


Welcome to our first discussion post! We’ve selected a topic for each Thursday of this month, and asked our Disability in Kidlit contributors if they had any brief thoughts to share on that topic. This way, we can showcase a variety of perspectives and opinions.

This week’s topic: inspiration porn. Don’t know what that is? You’ll find the answer below–we asked our contributors how they define this concept and what they feel about it.


To me, it’s such a dangerous thing because, even if the intentions are good, it implies that the average disabled person is weak or lacks independence.  - Kody Keplinger

Inspiration porn is photos of disabled athletes with sappy captions. It’s news stories about brave little disabled children boldly ‘not letting their disabilities stop them.’ It’s handing awards to disabled students for doing what everyone else is already doing, like they’re freakish, fascinating objects rather than human beings. - s.e. smith

Recently on my bus commute home from work, an older lady leaned over to me and said words I have heard so many times in my life: “You are so inspiring.” I still don’t know how to respond to that even though people have been saying it to me since I can remember. - Mindy Rhiger

But what exactly does this inspire you to DO? Does it inspire you to step on a land mine, be lucky enough to have the money and resources to have blades as prostheses, and become an athlete? - Haddayr Copley-Woods

Click through for lots more excellence! [read more]

Interesting discussion on ableism and the trend of “inspiration porn” aka showing photographs of individuals with disabilities as a source of inspiration. The one thing I have to say is what I learned from a disability law professor: ” being disabled is a club that everyone joins sometime in their life.” Whether at old age or younger. Food for thought.

(via malindalo)


Amazing 16-Year-Old Girl Created a Beat for Jay-Z’s New Album

Canadian teen Ebony Oshunrinde, who aptly goes by the moniker WondaGirl in the studio, has just finished the 11th grade. She’s also just been credited as a producer on “Crown,” a track on Jay-Z’s new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail.”

Her story is insanely inspiring and impressive: after watching a video of Jay-Z and Timbaland working in the studio together at age 9, she began to download music software and teach herself how to use it by watching YouTube tutorials. “I wanted to do the exact same thing that [Jay-Z] did,” she recently told the Star. When she was 14, she made it to the quarter-finals of Toronto’s Battle of the Beatmakers. (FOURTEEN. I didn’t even know how to make a grilled cheese when I was 14.) She won the title the following year, because she is incredible, and went on to sign an exclusive management deal with Black Box.

According to Ian Stanger, a representative with Black Box, “It’s amazing to see somebody with that much talent working as hard as she can to make the most of it at such a young age. It’s her work that people should be paying attention to, not the fact that’s she 16.”

And her work is exactly what people have started to pay attention to. Earlier this year, Oshunrinde sent the beat to her friend Travis Scott, a young rapper and producer. He happened to be in the studio with Jay-Z when he received it — and when he told her that the cut had made it to the album, she thought he was joking.

"Usually that kind of thing doesn’t happen to 16-year-olds," she explains. No, Ebony, it usually does not.

(via postwhitesociety-deactivated201)



15 year old Ann Makosinsk from Victoria Canada has invented a flashlight that doesn’t need batteries and instead is powered by the warmth of our hands. She was researching alternative energy methods when she came across the 
Peltier tile, a tile which generates electricity when cool on one side and warm on the other. She did some calculations and discovered that the energy generated could be enough to power a flashlight. Ann did months of research on transformers and circuitry before coming up with a working prototype. She is a top 14 finalist at the Google Science Fair and is going onto the finals of the competition later this year.

Source: A Mighty Girl

(via afrafemme)

Take a look at this:

"The laws surrounding pregnancy and family leave are complicated and vary by state, which is why I am so grateful that the nonprofit organization A Better Balance, which lobbies for better pregnancy protection and parental-leave laws, has published a book called “Babygate: What You Really Need to Know About Pregnancy and Parenting in the American Workplace.”

I e-mailed with Dina Bakst, one of the authors of “Babygate” and a co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, on how to deal with some confusing situations that women might run into when they’re dealing with pregnancy at work. Since young women are now getting the majority of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and entering professions that were once male dominated, I asked Ms. Bakst what to do if you’re the first woman in your company to be pregnant.

The first step, she says, is to find out if you’re covered by the F.M.L.A. If your company has more than 50 employees and you’ve been there for more than a year, your employer must give you 12 weeks of unpaid leave — that has to cover any pregnancy-related illness, prenatal doctor visits and recovery from childbirth or bonding with an adopted child. “Unfortunately, the law applies to only about half of American workers,” Ms. Bakst said. And, “In this challenging economy, few workers can afford to use their full F.M.L.A. leave, especially those with the fewest resources.”

The second step is checking state laws; “Babygate” includes a handy guide. Some states, like California, give women extra coverage in addition to F.M.L.A. But if your employer has fewer than 15 employees, you really want to scour those laws because, according to Ms. Bakst, depending on the state you live in, “you might not even be protected from pregnancy discrimination.”

The third step, if you’re the first pregnant woman at an office and there’s no established maternity-leave policy, is to look around at other companies in your industry to see what their policies are. “Also, be prepared to use research that shows that employers benefit financially by providing maternity leave and other flexible work options,” Ms. Bakst said. One argument to make might be the additional cost of recruiting, hiring and training a new employee.

Finally, I asked Ms. Bakst what to do if a woman is in the situation I was in last year before I became pregnant. If you are interviewing for a new job and thinking about having a child, she suggests asking for the company’s employee handbook before agreeing to take the position, or looking for the information about a company’s leave policies online. That way you can check out its policies without letting a prospective employer know that you’re thinking about getting pregnant.”



She was the daughter of a single woman, she was a teenage mother herself….It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example. -Rick Perry. (full quote here)

He really said that today.

(via inothernews)

Lawmakers, either get out of the vagina business or go to medical school.

- Sen. Wendy Davis, who is currently filibustering to prevent the passing of anti-abortion laws in Texas. Watch the live feed HERE. (via atouchofdestiny)

Wellesley if you are in Austin today with Senator Wendy Davis, let us know!

(via lipstick-feminists)

What is it you’re looking for in this endless quest? Tranquility. You think if only you can acquire enough worldly goods, enough recognition, enough eminence, you will be free, there’ll be nothing more to worry about, and instead you become a bigger and bigger slave to how you think others are judging you.
Tom Wolfe from A Man in Full (via wearemostaliveindreams)

(via whiskeysoaked)


Thanks to everyone who helped us identify the student with the chive-bedecked tam, Carly Gayle ’13.

We emailed Carly, who replied (from a boat!) with the story behind the chives:

“The night before graduation, my friends in the Sustainability Cooperative were creating pins, stoles, and crowns to commemorate the beloved parts of their Wellesley experiences. I spied a bowl full of chive flowers on the kitchen table; I weaved them into a square mat, then stitched it onto my tam with embroidery floss. The chives are from the Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden, a place dear to my heart. Crafting and laughing with friends was a beautiful way to spend my last night at Wellesley, and I enjoyed the opportunity to showcase an ‘ordinary’ plant in a new way to deepen folks’ appreciation of edible plants.

I love that we could personalize our graduation attire to reflect how each of us found ourselves and blossomed at Wellesley.”

Thanks, Carly. Wishing you smooth sailing.