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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

My husband Chris and I worked the polls all day Tuesday here in our hometown. Our official role was as designated Poll Watchers, as members of our town’s Democratic Committee. At my request, I spent the day outside working the Democratic Committee table, directing voters and handing out sample ballots, while Chris stayed inside as a Poll Watcher, directing traffic, sanitizing, and showing voters how to use the new machines. …


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I thought I would be okay today. I’m not.

I just watched my husband pull away from the curb to drive in to work for the first time since the shutdown in April. His name is Chris. He works IT for the library of Villanova University. We begged for permission from the powers that be for him to sit and work from his car in the parking garage to wait for support requests, instead of sitting at his desk, sharing air with the others they required to come in. They acquiesced, and we thanked them like they were doing us the world’s kindest favor. …


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Photo by Kamala Saraswathi on Unsplash

Rather than get actual client work done today, I spent most of my writing time composing a love letter in the feedback box of my on-demand-personal-grooming-subscription-service-of-choice, Dollar Shave Club. Yes, I really sent them this, no, they didn’t hire me as their copywriter or paid influencer, as though I’m important enough to ever get paid as an influencer, but I would totally do it if they offered. Call me, baby, I’ve got some thoughts about your next viral content marketing campaign.

I just wanted to leave some feedback for you guys about how much I love the changes you’ve made around here. We’ve been with DSC since the early days, and I loved your service but hated how dude-centric your early marketing was. It used to be just super in your face with ‘this is a boys club’, which felt odd since I shaved a hell of a lot more square inches of my body than my boyfriend did. Then I married that boyfriend, and you guys did me a solid by rush shipping me a box of fresh blades for free so I could get my pits silky smooth for that strapless white dress that cost more than my laptop. …


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Working from home for the first time ever? *cracks knuckles* my time to shine. I’ve worked from home for six years, and I’m here to help with tips from the veteran self-employed, presented here in the order you will experience them. Please review carefully:

1. You will feel a thrill unlike any other when you conduct a whole video conference without pants on for the first time, but the novelty quickly fades. Wear clothes and be confident in your webcam placement, friends.

2. You will spend the first few days sleeping in until moments before you’re expected to log on, and you should enjoy that snow day feeling, but this is a phase and it will pass. You are used to waking up at 7 and working by 9, so you will do that again soon, but what you don’t yet know is that this is also a phase and will pass. When someone calls and catches you in a dead sleep at 9:45, I promise you do not sound as awake as you think you are making yourself sound, but remember that claiming seasonal allergies let’s you both pretend that you were actually awake. I have suffered from intense colds/allergies/migraines between 10 and 11am for five years, and I would not admit otherwise at gun point. …


Content warnings: mentions of assault, abuse.

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Institutional memory is short, and benefit of the doubt for nice boys is impenetrable.

I looked up from my bowl of cereal, and noticed that all of the acrylic squirrel figurines decorating my dorm room shelf were gone.

On inspection, there were little gaps in the dust where each figurine had clearly been until quite recently, with little scuffs and drag marks leading from each one. Signs of a scuffle. I called over my boyfriend, sitting on my bed in his underwear with his own bowl of cereal. “Hey, do you see this? All my squirrels are missing.” If Dick Wolf had written this scene, this is when the dum-DUM chimes would play, and a hard cut would show Detective Lennie Briscoe being briefed on my forensic findings by Lt. …


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Sure, fight for your rights — but don’t inconvenience me when you do it.

That’s the message I heard thunderously loud and clear at a BarCamp event here in Philadelphia last fall. BarCamp is an “unconference” — members of the Philly tech scene show up every year, and sign up to give talks on whatever topic they fancy. Attendees vote on what they want to see, and everyone gets a room to present in. BarCamp 2016 was held on November 12th — just four days after the election. The crowd was a group of urban progressives who have startups or freelance in tech and digital and content. We were precisely the “East Coast elites” that Trump marshalled his base against. In a room full of activists, vegans, and Twitter journalists, I’m not exaggerating when I say that the mood felt funereal. …


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First published on Raging Chicken Press

Yesterday, I was asked by a Twitter follower why I didn't choose to change my name on my online work. She asks because I am most well known online at this point for an experiment I did at my old technical writing job three years ago — I switched email signatures with my male coworker, and it went about the way you would expect. My article on workplace sexism that went viral back in March is making the rounds again, because Fast Company did an awesome profile on two women entrepreneurs who invented a fake male coworker in order to be taken seriously over email. …


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She is so clearly done with your shit.

Let me tell you a story about my first real published blog post. I was working as a technical writer for a guy who had just purchased a women’s career blog without any real idea of what he wanted to do with it. (And if you found me via this story about Writing While Female, yes, this was the same guy.) He was selling sponsored posts to more or less anyone who was capable of using PayPal and sending an email in English, and I ended up with the task of creating them. My first blogging assignment went something along the lines of “Write a 350 word post. Four of those words need to be “current stock market trends”, linking to this exact page. You get to choose the other 346. Have fun.” Ah, the beauty of artistic freedom! (Here, enjoy the Schadenfreude. …


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A Twitter thread has gotten some attention recently, where my former-coworker / current-best friend, Marty, recounted the day he realized just how bad, and insidious, workplace sexism could be.

After noticing that a client was treating him like crap while his email signature was accidentally set to my name, we came up with an experiment. We switched signatures for a week. Nothing changed, except that our clients read me as male and Marty as female. I had one of the easiest weeks of my professional life. He… didn’t.

But I knew long before this experiment that my life at this company was always going to be harder. …


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It’s 10:13am, November 9th, 2016.

I’m sitting in a room with four other women, and we’re learning skills and coping mechanisms to get us through our days when our traumas and the chemicals in our brains are telling us that we surely can’t.

I’m crying. (What’s new.) I’m scared. Trump won. My Hillary sticker is still on my jacket from canvassing yesterday. My husband tried to peel it off but he left it when I started crying again.

One of the women is trying to comfort me. “It’ll be all right. You don’t have to give him power over you. You can take your own power back.” She’s talking about my power to control my own emotions and control what I do with my days. I don’t hear this. I want to argue that Trump’s power is real, not in my head, and that it has real dangerous consequences. …

About

Nicole Hallberg

Philly freelance blogger. Follow @nickyknacks for the personal stuff and www.nicolehallberg.com for my work stuff.

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