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If you want to eat the rich, stop feeding Amazon.

If You Want To Eat the Rich, Stop Feeding Amazon

I’ve been waiting for years for Americans to stop feeding Amazon. We had a good chance last week. Amazon employees in Bessemer, Alabama had the opportunity to form a union. But it didn’t go well. It wasn’t even close. By a margin of two to one, warehouse workers voted against it.

It’s a really disappointing outcome. But it’s also not surprising. Labor unions are weak in America.

You know who isn’t weak? Amazon.

The world’s largest retailer is one of the most powerful entities on the face of the planet. And their union-busting policies are robust, well-funded, and prodigious.

According to many reports, they paid $10,000 every day to anti-union consultants who created an environment of pervasive secrecy, fear, and misinformation. Amazon spies on its employees and fires labor organizers. Bessemer workers were bombarded with anti-union messages in every private space from bathroom stalls to their personal phones. They forced their employees to attend several hours of anti-union propaganda meetings every week filled with ominous warnings about the “union threat” to their jobs. And they fired organizers, made fake social media accounts, and even changed traffic light patterns. They even flat-out told workers they’d lose their jobs if there was a union—all for the single purpose of discouraging the workers from using their constitutional right to organize with each other.

And it worked.

I knew it would. Story after story has made it incredibly clear that Amazon doesn’t give a flaming hot shit about the well-being of their employees. To an extent that is downright cartoonishly villainous! And they don’t have to, because they won’t face any consequences for it.

No legal consequences, because everything they’ve done is perfectly legal. 

And no business consequences, because despite everything, you’re still shopping there.

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My Career Transition Succeeded When I Gave Fewer Fucks, Made More Friends, and Had More Fun

CAREER TRANSITION SUCCESSFUL: THIS BITCH IS EMPLOYED!

AIR HORNS FOR CAREER TRANSITION

As our Patreon community already knows, I, your humble Bitch Piggy, have a shiny new job! This life update comes in the wake of being laid off from a large publishing house a year ago. (You can read about the painful details of that identity-crisis-cum-career-bellyflop here.) Since then, I’ve been rocking the self-employed life as an editorial consultant, literary agent, and blogger. The hustle, my friends. The hustle.  

But now I’m very proud to announce I’ve joined the editorial team at The Motley Fool. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I’m the new managing editor for distribution acquisitions. Mostly that means that instead of wrangling book authors for a living, I’m going to be wrangling money writers.

Switching from a career in book publishing to one in financial media was no easy feat! But it did feel a helluva lot like destiny. Here’s how I made the career transition.

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How to Make Any Financial Decision, No Matter How Tough, with Maximum Swag

We get literally hundreds of questions on how to make a financial decision.

“O great and mighty Bitches, should I pay off my debt or add to my savings?”

“Our Bitches, who art in Bitch Nation, should I take a gap year or try to finish my college degree as quickly as possible?”

“Wise and benevolent Bitches, should I buy a house or keep renting?”

“Most beloved and humble of Bitches, how should I allocate my investments?”

“Bitches, I beseech thee: how much of my income should I budget for necessities vs. entertainment?”

One of the things about our blog I’m most proud of is that we answer as many of these questions as possible. Hence our Ask the Bitches series and the entire Q&A premise of our podcast!

It’s not entirely altruistic, though. We get off on being human Pez dispensers of advice tablets. And when we get multiple questions on the same topic, we often just write a whole ass article on said topic. BOOM! Question answered in perpetuity!

Despite the pleasure we take in our methodology, I’m about to shift it from a BGR-exclusive service to something even amateurs can do at home. With this article, I’ll wipe out about 70% of the questions people ask us in one fell swoop.

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Sexual Harassment: How to Identify and Fight It in the Workplace

When I hear about our followers enduring sexual harassment in the workplace, I wish I had the power to turn into a centaur wielding a flaming sword. I would burst into their workplace to trample the sexist bullies under my mighty hooves. Then I’d destroy filing cabinets and computers and shit with my flaming sword just for good measure. And I’d do it all while screaming the Misogyny Speech at the top of my lungs.

Valkyrie on a pegasus, flying in to destroy sexual harassment.

In other words: I feel heckin’ strongly about workplace sexual harassment. It makes me a sad panda.

“Fighting back” or “doing something about it” is easy enough in theory. But when your livelihood is on the line, ending the harassment (and punishing harassers) gets a lot more complicated. It can affect your mental health, your physical safety, and your financial security.

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The Most Impactful Financial Decision I’ve Ever Made… and Why I Don’t Recommend It

Much is made in personal finance circles about personal responsibility, attributing success and failure to a particular financial decision. Not in the weird, political, shaming-you-for-being-born-poor way, but in the here-is-how-you-game-the-system-to-get-ahead-now-don’t-we-all-feel-clever kind of way.

In many respects, it’s solid advice! We talk about how making decisions based on ethical consumption saves you money and the planet; how you should be mindful and careful of where your money goes, lest you waste it on shit you don’t actually like or need; how every day the choices you make affect your financial future in large and small ways!

For a bunch of money nerds, gamifying personal finance by connecting calculated decisions to building wealth is exciting stuff. I’m getting a little hot under the collar just thinking about it!

Oo-la-la, hit me with that strong ROI, baybee...
Oo-la-la, hit me with that strong ROI, baybee…

I’ve made some pretty big money decisions in my time. Some decisions were purely financial. Others were personal decisions with a big financial impact. Sometimes I chose right. Sometimes I really, really chose wrong.

Today I want to tell you about one of the biggest personal financial decisions I’ve ever made… and why I would never recommend it to anyone else.

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Be Somebody’s Eliza with a Simple Yet Life-Changing Act of Kindness

Piggy and I are going to take our annual short break. Running BGR is always hard work, but this has been one for the record books! We’ve absorbed a lot of confusion, panic, and sadness through our inboxes this year. So we’re going to do our best to unplug and mentally refresh ourselves with a nice long vacation.

… Hahaha psych! We’re gonna use that time to catch up on tedious admin work. If anyone tells you blogging is an easy way to get rich quick, kindly punch them in the chest. Aim for the heart.

It’s been a helluva year, y’all. I wanted to leave you with a story to contemplate over the holiday. Given how shitty everything has been, I felt compelled to make it a happy one. Or at least a hopeful one. In fact, I’m gonna give you the most hopeful story I’ve got.

Today I’m going to tell you about a person who changed my life.

It’s a true story about how our everyday actions have wider and deeper impacts than we can ever know. It’s a little star that’s always helped guide me, especially in moments of personal cynicism and despair. When I feel powerless, it reminds me I’m not. As we face a winter that feels magnitudes longer, darker, and more isolated than usual, I thought everyone could use a story like this.

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Clutch your pearls and contain your shock: gender and racial inequality are still problems in America.

Coronavirus Reveals America’s Pre-existing Conditions, Part 2: Racial and Gender Inequality

This is Part 2. Click here to read Part 1.

Hello friends, and welcome back to Everything Hurts and I’m Dying with your hosts, the Bitches!

Last week I hit you with a massively depressing article on how the coronavirus has simply exacerbated problems the United States already had before the pandemic ever reached our shores. If you had the mental fortitude to wade through all that, then you have my admiration and respect. Can I also get you a cup of tea and a massage? You earned it.

If not, here’s what you missed:

  • Coronavirus took an already unfair and unaffordable health insurance industry and exacerbated the problem, throwing still more Americans into medical debt and outright killing others who couldn’t afford treatment.
  • All the problems labor rights activists have been fighting to fix for decades were illuminated in stark relief by the mass unemployment that followed coronavirus lock-down relief efforts.
  • The eviction epidemic in the United States, which was already at crisis levels, became an utter catastrophe when low-income workers who were recently laid off couldn’t pay their rent anymore. Eviction and rent moratoriums were but a band-aid on the wound.

All of these issues disproportionately affect low-income and impoverished Americans. So this week, in Part 2, I’m going to address the demographics who are disproportionately represented among the poor and low-income. Hope you didn’t expect sudden egalitarianism in the midst of a pandemic and recession!

Let’s get to it.

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Technical knowledge and industry experience are far less important than the "softer skills" of managing people, priorities, information, time, and (most importantly) yourself.

Your College Major May Not Prepare You for Your Job—but It Can Prepare You for Life

How much does your college major matter? The answer varies a lot, depending on which industry you’re trying to break into.

For example, I’m a white collar worker, and work alongside folks with undergraduate degrees in history, finance, literature, and psychology. Yet I’ve noticed among medical professionals, it is generally frowned upon to dispense medical wisdom under the mighty authority of a BA in Film Criticism. Hmm. Curious!

I spend a lot of time working with recent graduates in the course of my Clark Kent day job. And I’ve noticed that a lot of them seem apologetic or insecure about their majors, especially when those majors don’t relate directly to the assigned task.

Just the other day, I was getting sloppy with my speech in a one-on-one meeting with a mentee, using too many unnecessary bits of industry jargon. “I’m so sorry,” she said, “but could you please explain what that means? I love marketing, but I only found that out about myself once I started doing internships in my senior year. It was too late to change my major, so I’m really behind.”

It kinda broke my heart! (And was totally my bad. I didn’t need to say “stakeholder feedback needs to be strategically leveraged against known best practices” when I could’ve just said “clients are ignorant babies, ignore them whenever possible.”) There’s a learning curve for every new job, no matter how familiar you are with the industry; no reasonable person expects you to instantaneously intuit absolutely everything.

I think a lot of our readers could benefit from a healthy reminder that you bring great value to your job role just by being you, regardless of what you studied in school or learned in internships. In my observation, technical know-how and industry experience are far less important than the “soft skills” of managing people, priorities, time, data, and (most importantly) yourself.

Piggy and I have our own observations, but they’re based on the narrow experiences we’ve lived or observed firsthand. So I thought I’d float this discussion in our Patreon community. I asked donors for their insights into skills and habits they learned in their majors, and how it serves them in the job role they perform today. And like the dedicated employees of the United States Postal Service, they delivered!

The best advice comes from real, lived experiences—and the more diverse, the better. Here’s hoping this advice will inspire younger readers who are still deciding on this issue, as well as more established folks who may be questioning the feasibility of a major career shift.

… Omg, a “major” career shift! Get it??

Here are some things that your “off-topic” major might teach you…

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Season 2 Episode 10: "Which is Smarter: Getting a Loan? or Saving up to Pay Cash?"

Season 2, Episode 10: “Which Is Smarter: Getting a Loan? or Saving up to Pay Cash?”

The financial lessons we received from our parents are problematic for many reasons.

For one thing, they’re often out of date, as the economic atmosphere of the 1970s and 1980s is a far cry from what we’ve experienced in a post-2008 world. We’re long past the quaint advice to pay for college by “getting a summer job” and to start a career by “walking into a business and asking for a job in the mailroom.” Heckin precious.

But there’s also the way an assumption of background knowledge can lead to further confusion. For if you don’t understand basic financial principles, the sweet knowledge nuggets your beloved Boomer dad drops on you might go down like lead balloons. Just as you can’t understand where Beyoncé came from without Destiny’s Child, you can’t talk about getting loans until you understand how interest works!

This week we’re dealing with just this issue. Petey is one of my oldest and strangest friends. I made him walk down the aisle with Kitty at my wedding in the hopes that those two weirdos would have a vulgar joke-off (alas, they conducted themselves with the decorum expected of a bridesmaid and a groomsman and saved the nasty shit for the dance floor).

Petey has his head all in a tizzy over his dad’s vague and incomplete financial advice. So we decided to set the poor boy straight!

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S2 E5: "What do I need to know about moving into my first apartment?"

Season 2, Episode 5: “What Do I Need to Know about Moving into My First Apartment?”

It is Bitches Get Riches canon that Kitty and I met when we were randomly assigned roommates freshman year of college. We bonded through the adversity of cohabiting in a forced triple with an infuriating third party who shall forever remain nameless. The two of us shared a bunkbed and ceded one entire half of the room to that creature’s baffling habits and excessive belongings. I won’t go into it except to quote General William Tecumseh Sherman: “War is hell.”

Yet BGR lore rarely tells the end of the story! For after that fateful freshman year, we went on to rent our first apartment together, taking our roommateship to the next level. Nothing tests a friendship like shopping for a shower curtain together.

We survived our fourth-floor walkup with its busted dollhouse dishwasher and coffin-like shower. But more importantly, our friendship survived.

And thus, we feel uniquely qualified to dispense advice on Baby’s First Apartment!

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