“Think about it, bitch”

Sam O' Neill Chubby & Tubby

In the late 1960s, Lucy was working as a cashier at Chubby and Tubby, an army-surplus store on Rainier Avenue in Seattle. It wasn’t a particularly nice neighborhood at the time, and the work was backbreaking; she was on her feet all day. But she had to pay for college.

It seemed like an ordinary day.

Even on ordinary days, though, there was usually a policeman on duty in the store, because all the cool little gadgets and items it carried proved an attraction for  shoplifters. The crime could have happened to anyone. But what unfolded afterward could only have happened to Lucy. (read more…)

Small Answers in Other Places

Happy Holidays! We’re taking a break this week, but here are a few things we’ve posted in other places recently:

The Group that You Should Start- Now

By Leda at the Daily Muse: “You’ve bought and read Lean In. You’ve internalized Sheryl Sandberg’s advice on not taking your foot off the career brake until you’re sure you want to, on the dos and don’ts of working with a mentor, and, of course, on taking a seat at the table. You’ve renewed your commitment to yourself and your career. But have you seriously given thought to creating a Lean In circle, as she suggests?”  Read more…

Why Do We Spend Money On Things That Don’t Make Us Happy?

By Steph at The Billfold: “My friend Kate used to annoy me in a very specific way. I’d invite her to do something fun—like a nice meal or a performance—and she’d say that she couldn’t afford it, and then spend money on something else equally expensive and unnecessary. It took me a while to understand that it wasn’t personal to me—Kate and I just had different ideas of how we wanted to spend our money. If how we spend our money is such a clear reflection of our priorities, shouldn’t we try to spend it in ways that make us truly happy?” Read more…

3 Counterinituitive Negotiation Tactics That Really Work

By Steph at the Daily Muse: “Negotiations come up frequently at work, from agreeing to a salary and job offer to everyday conversations about workload, responsibilities, and scheduling. Most of us think of “negotiation” as an uncomfortable process where we make demands, drive a hard bargain, and take as much as we can for ourselves. It’s us against them!” Read more…

An Interview With a Woman Who Started Her Career During the ‘Mad Men’ Era

By Leda at The Billfold: “B., a 67-year-old former marketing executive, worked at a women’s fashion company for 30 years before retiring two years ago. When I learned that B. wouldn’t watch Mad Men because it too perfectly captured the life of a woman working on Madison Avenue, I immediately wanted to hear more about her work history and background.” Read more…

Three Economic Terms to Help Explain My Coffee Addiction

By Steph at The Billfold: “Maybe you’re like me, and you have a coffee habit that involves paying someone way too much money to make you a cappuccino way too many times a week. Almost every day, you find yourself calculating how much money you would save each year if you just didn’t buy coffee, and then deciding over and over again that it’s worth it. (Not only did you just spent $4 on a coffee, but now you’ve wasted your mental energy too.)” Read more…



Image: Jacob Lawrence, “Play” (1999); silk screen

Are you making “enough”?


Two things happened in the early 1970s that weigh on my conscious when I think about them today: Richard Easterlin, looking at the relationship between income and happiness, found that more money does not always correlate with greater happiness. Around the same time, my parents, newly married, bought a two and a half bedroom apartment in Manhattan that became my childhood home.

Easterlin’s 1974 paper revealed an unexpected correlation in the data: rich countries don’t become happier as they get richer, though rich people within a country tend to be happier than poor people. This phenomenon became known as the Easterlin Paradox. Further academic studies have shown that happiness increases with income until a point at which it plateaus — a threshold after which more money does not make people happier. As long as I’ve known about this, it has given me hope that I don’t need a lot of money in order to live a happy life.

(read more…)