Thursday, January 19, 2012

All Moved!

My Orange Chair is all moved.

Seriously, go follow me over here!!

And take some polls while you're at it :)

Bye Blogger!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Orange Chair is Moving

My Orange Chair is moving to Wordpress! It's my 2012 gift to myself to try something new and maybe even  become (No promises all know how cheap I am)

It all started about a month ago when I was on the phone at work with our IT support. The guy had to remote onto my computer and I had google chrome which of course featured all of the pages I visit most often; blogger dashboard was one of them. The IT guy didn't say much but I heard a *mumble mumble* 'I don't understand why people use blogger' *mumble mumble*. 

I took the bait and we had a brief conversation about the pros and cons of each. My interest was piqued so I did a bit of playing around with wordpress and lo and behold, I like it better. 

So, if you have My Orange Chair bookmarked please update it to:

And if you're following by email, kindly give your address again over here:

And then go over here and read any posts you missed:

Happy 2012 Everyone!! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Advocating at Work

What would you change at work and how would you do it? As young professionals in a very hostile job market it can be difficult to face work environments that don't give us everything our generation expects. We've got a laundry list of things we want and probably should have:

  • Good benefits
  • Decent salary that keeps up with cost of living 
  • Flexible work hours 
  • Telecommuting opportunities 
  • Lots more! 
But we're like houses in the current housing market - there are lots of us, meaning oodles of choices and good deals for the buyers (or employers in this case). 

But once you have a job and you're settled into work you have a new opportunity to advocate for the things you want. Only, the gutsyness we were raised with seems to be steadily fading away. If you take an issue or suggestion to your employer and their response is 'you're lucky to be employed', this isn't very encouraging, and you might be unlikely to try again in the near future. 

Junior staff at an organization one of my peers works for gathered a list of issues, suggestions, and questions for HR and the higher-ups to address. I think coming together as a collective is a great way to approach this, especially for less experienced workers. But the staff didn't want to turn in this document before reviews because they were afraid it would affect any potential raises. So when is a good time to advocate for yourself and your benefits? It seems like the logical time would be around reviews but young workers seem to be scared that speaking up will end up hurting rather than helping in the long run. And maybe it will be more harmful - There seem to be organizations that are mistrusting of young staff - higher-ups see them as flighty, uncommitted, and too expensive as it is. But the truth is, young professionals might stick around longer if they were better taken care of. Unfortunately, the current model in many non-profits seems to be: get out to move up. So how can we become loyal employees who are taken seriously when we're not likely to get ahead in our organization? It's a bad cycle. 

I think that there are office cultures out there that embrace the better model: If you take care of your employees, they will take care of you. But I really want to know the best way to advocate for yourself in an organization that doesn't function this way. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lady Judgement

I have to admit, I have historically not been the most inclusive feminist; in fact, I've been a judgmental feminist. Younger me didn't grasp the fact that feminism was about choice and the freedom to have choices (even if that choice is a traditional one). But older me gets it - the women's movement has always been about being able to choose what we want to do with our lives.

So it was a real slap in the face when I sat on the other side of the lady-judgment table.

The other day at work I was talking with some women coworkers. We were just getting to know each other - gabbing about work, school, career ideals, and our big goals. My coworkers are impressive women with awesome goals which is great! But when they asked me what I wanted to do long term I took the circuitous route: I told them my interests (women, global health, west africa) and how I want to affect change. But then I said that I thought marriage had given me some perspective on what I wanted in terms of work life balance - which is, more life, less work.

and BOOM!! Came the lady judgement.

"Really??" they seemed to ask - as if they couldn't understand how marriage could change someone's perspective on this.

And I felt I had to backtrack and explain myself.

"Woah!" I said, "It's not like I want to stay home and make babies - I don't even want kids - it's just that there are a lot of things I want out of life and my career doesn't define me. I want to travel, become a better musician, a better chef - and sure, I am passionate about women's health across the globe but it's not the sole focus of my life and I won't treat it that way."

See, I'm a big proponent of non-traditional work schedules, and telecommuting, and, you know, having organizations function in the 21st Century. And I don't think that's unreasonable. But as a woman - even to other women - I still felt as though I needed to explain myself, and it was silly. Even here I feel compelled to explain that I don't want to NOT work, I just don't want to work in an old-school system that doesn't appreciate or understand the modern workplace.

I've grown up with very high-achieving people which has propelled me forward - heck, I am 23 and have a Master's degree which is pretty cool. But a certain level of judgement has always existed in my circles about choosing a less-career dominated life and I've played into it - so it was a unique experience to be on the other side of that for the first time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's Play a Game

And the name of the game is, Multicultural or Racist? (developed by my sister).

I'll start you off easy and for each Santa you see, think to yourself, is this multicultural, racist, or neither?


*Thanks to Ikea for these gems! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm Political and I'm Upset

I am a political person. I care about the politics of women and I have no problem using My Orange Chair to talk about this. Recently, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' used her power to overrule the Food and Drug Administration's decision to make emergency contraception available over the counter for all women, including girls under 17. This decision was unprecedented, unexpected, and in my opinion, ridiculous. 

I understand that many people will have different opinions about this issue. Parents may support Sibelius and the administration because they want to know what their teens are doing. Others may morally opposed plan B outright. 

My feeling is that, in its truest form, this act ONLY serves to take away a woman's choice to manage her body. AND I have to say, if you're waiting for a confrontation with your parents, a doctor's appointment, and a prescription, you're rendering plan B useless - you really are just removing this option altogether for young women and we have so few options as it is. 

Many of the arguments I've heard so far in support of Sibelius only point to the fact that we have deep systemic issues. 
The problem: We shouldn't be giving medication to young girls when they do not have education about it. 
The fix: (1) Comprehensive sex education in all schools, (2) Allowing pharmacists to do what they're trained to do, not just deal with insurance issues. 

The problem: Parents should know what is going on with their teens. 
The fix: Get realistic expectations about teenagers and give young women some credit. I lived in a pretty open environment with my parents and I wasn't even comfortable telling them I was sexually active. I can't imagine having to tell them I was pregnant. And if I were - I know exactly what I would've done and I would've taken it seriously. But there's a lot of shame and blame going on in our culture towards women who have sex which makes it inherently more difficult to talk about. 

I don't believe for a second that Sibelius made this decision on her own - I'm irritated with the administration's phony paternalism. Here's a clip from Salon writer Rebecca Traister: 

“As the father of two daughters,” Obama told reporters, “I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine.”
First of all, the president was not talking about “various rules.” He was supporting a very specific rule, one that prevents young women from easily obtaining a drug that can help them control their reproductive lives, at an age when their economic, educational, familial and professional futures are perhaps most at risk of being derailed by an unplanned pregnancy. “As the father of two daughters,” Obama might want to reconsider his position on preventing young women from being able to exercise this form of responsibility over their own bodies and lives.
But as an American, I think it is important for my president not to turn to paternalistic claptrap and enfeebling references to the imagined ineptitude and irresponsibility of his daughters – and young women around the country – to justify a curtailment of access to medically safe contraceptives. The notion that in aggressively conscribing women’s abilities to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy Obama is just laying down some Olde Fashioned Dad Sense diminishes an issue of gender equality, sexual health and medical access. Recasting this debate as an episode of “Father Knows Best” reaffirms hoary attitudes about young women and sex that had their repressive heyday in the era whence that program sprang.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Are You Working At Work?

Here's an interesting infographic I came across recently. Obviously some of these items are a big part of what people DO at work but I think a lot of us are looking at facebook for play. I don't have a problem with this - I think people need their cool down time and a chance to reconnect with others outside of their office.