five things: 29 jan to 4 feb 2018

The color of the year; let’s talk money; sexism is why I’m shivering at my desk; productivity hacks; and how to ally.

  1.  Did you know there is an annual Color of the Year? How did I just find this out?!? I am all about Annual Things and Yearly Traditions. Like I love Anniversary Gifts by Year – both traditional and modern (I’m on Furniture). And I love Chinese New Year (Year of the Dog!). Well, every December of the preceding year, Pantone Color Institute, the globally recognized leader of color information, announces the color for the following year. Pantone not only forecasts global color trends, it assists companies in their branding and product development by applying color as a vehicle for brand strategy. Accompanying the color is a theme, and this year’s color is Ultra Violet, which is meant to convey “originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” It’s a gorgeous color, and just so happens to be the exactly same color as my daily breakfast of blueberry oatmeal!

Color of the Year

2.  The Hollywood Reporter has a wonderful piece on Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo and how she negotiated to become the 20 million dollar woman. There are several things to parse from this juicy article with respect to work, such as knowing your value and the reframing of company loyalty. However, the overall takeaway for me is the open discussion of money. Pompeo is frank about what she made per episode, what film actresses are paid compared to her, and what ABC/Disney refused to pay her — including their strategy (think McDreamy). What I am left thinking about is why don’t more women talk about money? Part of this seems to be cultural. Westerners seem to think of the topic of money as crass; however, my parents taught me about money early on by modeling it and lecturing about it — the value of it, the accumulation of it, and how to manage it. For the most part, I’ve only been able to discuss money, including market trends, with either men or a handful of women, mostly with other women from immigrant homes, and this puts women at a severe disadvantage. I am not a broker or finance wizard, however knowing the basics of money has given me a foundation for financial security. So while it is common for women to bond by having a GNO or …TBH I don’t know how women bond… my experience is that discussing job markets and investment strategies also helps build sisterhood. Let’s bring it out in the open and make financial literacy a tool of empowerment.

3.  It was especially cold in our office last week, and as I stood shivering in my long sleeves in the middle of high-70s SoCal weather, I was reminded of something I had read about the sexism of office temps. Me and the other female staff are generally freezing, and several of us have illegal space heaters and an extra sweater or coat that we keep at our desk. Turns out that the thermostat is controlled by the outer offices, traditionally given to those in executive positions, and those positions are generally comprised of men. Ha! Anyway, men run cold and men set the temp. So…I’ve seen this movie before.

4.  One of the podcasts I listen to is all about brain hacks. One of the easiest ones, and one I’ve experimented with, is what I listen to when working at home. I was surprised to discover that something like soothing water wasn’t the optimal sound to work to. Nope, it’s Baroque music. According to the Stanford School of Medicine, the BPM of Baroque music harmonizes with your resting heart rate and puts your brainwaves into an alpha state of relaxation and awareness. It definitely kept me on-guard, but it may be distracting because I found I didn’t enjoy it. Anyway, the next thing I’m going to try is this app called Coffitivity that recreates the ambient sounds of a coffee shop, like the steam of the cappuccino maker, the clinking of coffee cups, someone mangling your name. I kid, I kid.

5.  My favorite story of the last couple weeks is Jessica Chastain using her power to obtain Octavia Spencer a pay raise. Like many people, I want to help fix, well, everything. Gender pay gap, immigration reform, illegal use of police violence against black people, etc. ad infinitum. But with so many inequities, and me just one person, I often feel at a loss of how to be effective. I realize that not everyone is in Jessica Chastain’s position, but I feel that in some area in our life, we do have access, privilege, or some type of power to help if we’re open to being inspired and doing so. Anyway, Jessica Chastain just came through big time by unequivocally binding her contract to Octavia Spencer’s and ensuring that she and Octavia would be paid the same amount of money and five times the money Octavia originally asked for. Well done, Jessica Chastain.


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