Stop Over-Apologizing at Work

Stop Over-Apologizing at Work

Over-apologizing at work is a plague among our core demographic of readers (young people, women, judgmental introverts).

If you’re anything like me, you were raised to apologize way too often. I grew up in the American Midwest, Land of the Rising Ope. Socially, we value politeness above all else (corn subsidies and casseroles excluded, obviously). I never thought critically about how much I was apologizing. Until, without realizing it, “sorry” became my default response to every conceivable situation, whether positive, negative, or neutral.

  • Me, when I’m five minutes late: “Ope, sorry!”
  • Also me, but when I’m five minutes early: “Ope, sorry!”
  • And me when I’m exactly on time: (Okay, this has never happened to me even once in my life. But if it did, I would absolutely apologize for setting incorrect expectations of future punctuality.)

This habit was especially noticeable at work. For years, I unconsciously gravitated towards soft, supple, accommodating language in every communication I sent, lest my coworkers find me bitchy and unlikable. It was tedious, but I truly thought I was being a polite, flexible communicator.

In reality, I was sabotaging myself.

Now that I’ve recategorized “being bitchy and unlikable” from fears to goals, I have embraced a more authentic communication style. And that’s allowed me to express myself more easily and effectively than I ever thought possible.

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Don't Turn Your Passions Into Work

Don’t Turn Your Passions Into Work

Turning your passions into work is really popular advice. At my day job, I’m mentoring a fresh crop of school-aged interns. One of them learned that I had a blog and was super excited to ask me about it.

“I run an Instagram account where I talk about beauty and self-acceptance,” she told me, “and I LOVE it.”

And I could tell that she meant it! Her whole face lit up. She was practically wiggling in her seat with excitement. She described the positive, loving feedback she received from doing it, and how it gave her a true sense of purpose. “I want to eventually figure out how to monetize it and potentially turn it into a career. Any advice on how to do that?”

“Yeah,” I said with a sigh. “Don’t.”

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Should You Trust Your Human Resources Department?

Ah, the human resources department: the Dolores Umbridge of work departments!

From Catbert the Evil Director of Human Resources to Office Space‘s The Bobs, HR as an institution has a less than stellar reputation. Some consider it downright evil.

But why? Why does HR get such a bad rap? Especially when they’re supposedly set up to provide employees with recourse against shitty coworkers and a direct pipeline to the EEOC?

Is HR really all that evil? And more importantly… should you trust them?

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Beware These 5 (Perfectly Legal) Discriminatory Hiring Practices

Admit it, Bitch Nation: you missed us and our relentless griping about labor rights during our two-week summer hiatus. Well cheer up, people, because the Bitches are BACK (and still griping about labor rights)!

Today’s topic: discriminatory hiring practices.

One of our most popular articles to date is our list of illegal job interview questions. In that post, we explained how how there are laws in place to mitigate discriminatory hiring practices. An employer can’t ask a job candidate’s age, for example, to avoid ageism when hiring.

If you’re on the job hunt, you should familiarize yourself with the questions a potential employer can’t ask you. Know your rights lest you unwittingly allow an employer to use your personal demographics (rather than your job qualifications) to exclude you from a job opportunity.

Yet despite all the things an employer can’t legally ask in a job interview… some weaselly fuckers still find ways to introduce bias into their hiring practices. In fact, a lot that can happen during job applications and interviews that probably should be illegal… but isn’t.

Let’s go over some discriminatory hiring practices that are somehow still legal. Y’know, before we get to the inevitable pro-labor call to action. ¡Viva la revolución, comrades!

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How to Use Labor Shortages to Your Advantage

How to Use Labor Shortages to Your Advantage

Labor shortages? With a 6% unemployment rate? On the heels of a recession and global pandemic? Seriously?

Seriously. If you’re like me, you’ve seen the signs hanging in almost every restaurant, coffee shop, and gas station window you’ve walked past. “Now hiring! Check our website for details!” But there’s something off about them. Usually such signs have a cheerfully neutral tone. But these are radiating powerful desperation stink.

“We’re hiring! Like, SERIOUSLY hiring. Literally every role is open! Do you want my job? You can have it! We have signing bonuses. If you show up all five days your first week, I will give you my cat. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cat like a son—but if someone doesn’t help me bus these tables, the fabric of my reality will unravel all around me lol.”

When employers are desperate for employees, they’re weak. And when they’re weak, you are strong. You can use this moment as an opportunity to claw back lost ground.

But situations like these have been super rare in recent history. Honestly, unless you’re a Boomer or older, this really hasn’t happened in your lifetime! (Yes, to my eternal surprise, BGR does have enthusiastic Boomer and Silent Gen readers. We salute you—the few, the proud, the kickass—for enduring our 90s pop culture references and ageist hissy fits with grace and poise.) Younger readers will be forgiven for not knowing how to take advantage of it.

So that’s what we’ll teach you today! C’mon, finance, let’s get fin~nancial!

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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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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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One Easy Thing All Allies Can Do to Help Close the Gender and Racial Pay Gap

1 Easy Way All Allies Can Help Close the Gender and Racial Pay Gap

If you’re a rad intersectional ally who wants to make life fairer for everyone, there’s one incredibly easy thing you can do—right now—to close the gender and racial wage gap. It has to do with pay transparency. It’s an incredibly powerful form of activism, and it can be done by almost anyone. Are you ready? Here it is…

Tell your coworkers how much money you make.

Especially women, people of color, disabled people, immigrants, and any one else who is part of a historically marginalized or exploited group.

And be specific and honest! No ranges, no euphemisms, just the exact number that appears on your paycheck. Don’t skip over any bonuses, raises, or other perks you’ve earned or negotiated, such as extra vacation time, remote work days, or tuition reimbursement.

Pay transparency is a tremendous boon to yourself as well as them. And we need it now, more than ever. Here’s why.

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When I started freelancing, I bumbled around like a drunk baby panda until I fell into success by happy accident.

11 Awful Mistakes I Made as a Self-Employed Freelancer, and How YOU Can Avoid Them

A few weeks ago we introduced you guys to our new favorite term: “survival entrepreneurship.” It’s all the rage, now that mass lay-offs and unemployment in The Plague Times have forced so many of us to pivot into full-time self-employment. When you’re out of traditional employment options, survival entrepreneurship is often your only option.

That’s why we brought in Katelyn Magnuson, the Freelance CFO, to walk you through all the concrete steps you need to take to start your own business. If you missed our interview with Katelyn, go back and read it now. Because unlike your humble Bitches, she knows what she’s talking about!

Did you read it? Ok good. Now that you’ve heard from the professional business-starter, it’s time to hear from me, a decidedly unprofessional freelancer who has turned flying by the seat of her pants into a competitive sport.

Specifically, it’s time I told you all the freelancing and self-employment hacks I’ve learned through trial and error over the years. That’s right, kids…

Learn from my mistakes, children. And LEARN WELL.

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Starting your own business is the lemonade many have made out of 2020's nasty-ass lemons.

Becoming a Millennial Entrepreneur (in the Midst of a Pandemic) with Katelyn Magnuson

HOO BOY, WHAT A YEAR, AMIRITE?

In these trying times, it’s good to know we can still come together to celebrate what’s most important in life: raising chickens and naming them after TV characters.

This is Katelyn Magnuson, the Freelance CFO. More on this majestic Mother of Chickens in a moment.

With record numbers of layoffs and unemployment rising like a helium-filled dumpster, a lot of us have turned to what we call survival entrepreneurism. That includes full-time self-employment, freelancing, and stringing gigs together like so many Hobby Lobby clearance rack seed beeds. Not only is this #entrepreneurlife a way to make ends meet when absolutely no one is hiring, but it’s a method of advancing one’s career. Starting your own business right now is the lemonade many have made out of the nasty-ass lemons 2020 has given us.

I myself transitioned to full-time self-employment when I lost my job just as the coronavirus hit the fan. Yet while this makes me a card-carrying millennial entrepreneur, it’s not something I’ve written (or thought) much about!

To be honest, starting my freelance business and then making it my full-time job was, in the words of our Lord and Savior Bob Ross, “a happy accident.”

As usual… I have no idea what I’m doing.

Every so often when I’m researching money topics, I sigh dramatically and collapse onto my fainting couch, limp wrist held to my clammy forehead in the very picture of Victorian femininity. “Oh woe!” cry I, “This money shit is so confusing and complicated! If only some genuine professional would do the research for me and just let me copy their homework!”

Which is usually when I decide to interview an expert instead of doing the work myself.

Enter Katelyn Magnuson, the self-styled Freelance CFO and Mother of Chickens (long may She reign). Katelyn’s whole thing is working with small business owners and freelancers to take the practical steps necessary to bring their passion to life. Her courses, Facebook group, and free resources are not just full of empty platitudes and cheerleading… she actually has made her own business out of setting up the businesses of others.

So when Bitch Nation clamored for information on becoming “solopreneurs” (Katelyn’s word, but I’m stealing it), I knew she was the hero we needed and deserved; someone to cut through the bullshit and give us some step-by-step guidance.

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