How to Handle Racial Microaggressions at Work

How to Handle Racial Microaggressions at Work

Even if you’re not familiar with the term “microaggression,” if you’re a person of color, there’s a fair chance you have experienced more than one at your job, school or other social environments.

While modern usage of the term has expanded to include all sorts of marginalized groups, psychiatrist Chester Pierce first coined “microaggressions” in the 1970s to mean “subtle, stunning, often automatic and nonverbal exchanges which are ‘put-downs’ of blacks by offenders.”

In other words, microaggressions are small, subtle, verbal or non-verbal insults that indicate racial prejudice. These remarks or behaviors may not seem “as bad” to the people who perpetuate them compared to more overt acts of racism, like calling someone a racial slur or physically assaulting someone because of their race. But they’re still a big deal.

Little things can harm a lot

Here’s a microaggression I experienced at work: My former supervisor, who is white, was telling me, a black woman, something about her daughter. As she was pulling up a picture of her daughter on her phone, she playfully informed me that her daughter had “crazy hair” like me. At the time, I was sporting some sort of curly, afro style with my hair in its natural state.

Illustration of two coworkers high-fiving at their desks. Microaggressions pbs rewire
Are there any colleagues, other team members, people in other departments that can help give you insight and support into this situation?

While my supervisor probably thought her words were innocuous, suggesting that her adorable toddler and I shared something in common, it’s inappropriate to refer to a black person’s hair as “crazy” under any circumstance.

Another example is a workplace throwing a “Mexican-themed” office party with sombreros, fake mustaches, shawls and piñatas, as if Mexican people are costumes and props for a fun day of drinking. That’s a microaggression. If you have a foreign accent and someone compliments how well you speak English, that’s also a microaggression.

The list of ways to insult someone’s race or ethnicity goes on and on. And a lot of it is unintentional and goes largely unnoticed to everyone but the person who was at the receiving end.

Moving forward

Addressing racist behavior in a work environment can be especially difficult and nerve-wracking. You might fear retaliation from your supervisor or isolation from your co-workers.

Weighing out the options of whether to notify your human resources department, confront the person directly or brush off the incident varies depending on your own personal circumstances. Nonetheless, there are several ways to soothe and protect your emotional well-being when met with these challenges.

1. Don’t accept any blame

Never let anyone reduce a racist incident to a misunderstanding on your part. It’s a common defense by people who casually make racist remarks that they didn’t mean to cause any harm. Therefore, they weren’t actually being racist, and the person on the receiving end shouldn’t take offense.

“One of the most damaging aspects of a microaggression is the plausible deniability,” said licensed clinical psychologist Sunitha Chandy.

Chandy works for the Chicago-based Artesian Collaborative, an organization that provides consulting and training for companies and non-profits on issues of diversity, cultural change and emotional intelligence.

“The person who committed the offense often has no idea that what was said or done was offensive and can justify themselves by their intent, therefore putting the blame on the receiver,” Chandy said.

If you’re a person of color, you’ve probably experienced or at least witnessed a decent amount of racism. You know what’s offensive and what isn’t. Try your best to reject any sort of gaslighting.

2. Seek support from a colleague

“There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how to deal with (microaggressions in the workplace), but a good place to start is getting support,” Chandy said. “Are there any colleagues, other team members, people in other departments that can help give you insight and support into this situation?”

Addressing racism can often feel lonely. Confide in the coworker you feel closest to. It’s especially helpful if the coworker belongs to the same ethnic group as you do or is a person of color—they would likely best understand where you’re coming from—but anyone who you consider a good colleague should want to hear you out.

If you’re new at your job and haven’t built any relationships with your coworkers yet, talk to a friend or a family member so your feelings aren’t suppressed.

3. Find a solution that works for you

How you choose to handle microaggressions in the workplace depends on a number of factors, including your role at work, how long you’ve been there and your relationship to the person who committed the microaggression.

“The real struggle is that this issue is a relational one,” Chandy said.

Unfortunately, for many people, speaking with human resources or confronting the person directly can make matters worse.

“We also have to watch out for the tendency to put the burden of fixing the relational and communication issues on the person reporting the issue versus the offender,” Chandy said. “Oftentimes meetings and strategies are put in place that single out the individual who is worried about retaliation, which just increases their anxiety.”

The most important thing to remember is that there’s no right way to proceed when you feel you’ve experienced casual racism. And there’s no guarantee of a successful outcome when you tell someone they were out of line. You should never feel pressure to take an approach that will only leave you feeling more stressed. Resolution looks different to everybody.

Kyndall Cunningham

Kyndall Cunningham is freelance writer and journalism student based in Baltimore. Her writing focuses on pop culture—specifically music, film and television—and its intersection with politics, identity and representation. Her official website is kyndall-cunningham.com. And follow her on Twitter @Kyndallrene. 

The post How to Handle Racial Microaggressions at Work appeared first on Rewire.

How to Live With Your Parents the Right Way

Maybe you’ve been living on your own, but you’ve just lost your job, started a side business, or gone back to school. Or maybe you want to save rent money to buy a house, travel or get married. Whatever the reason, you’ve found yourself back in your childhood home. And that transition can be stressful and taxing.

When your parents become your roommates, the boundaries can become, well, blurry. Do you really have to abide by their house rules? Is it possible to respect them, but live your own life? How do you live side-by-side when you disagree about pretty much everything? It won’t always be easy, and you should prepare for rough patches, but there is a way forward.

Recognize the shift

In his book “The Next America,” author Paul Taylor points out that the older and younger generations are more different from each other now than in any other time in living memory. More millennials are abandoning religion, getting married later (if at all) and struggling with debt. And of course, more 20-somethings are living at home than previous generations.

Because of the generational differences (and the child’s shift to adulthood), there are bound to be disagreements, conflicts and a greater need for conversation.

Prepare for the move

You’re about to get in very sticky territory. Proceed with caution.

Illustration of woman watching TV on the couch. Live With Your Parents pbs rewire
Don’t forget to be mindful of how much space you’re taking up.

“As kids get older, the nature of the parent-child relationship changes,” said BJ Gallagher, a sociologist and author of “Everything I Need to Know I’ve Learned from Other Women.” “Parents (tend to) still think of their kids as being younger than their current age, so it’s hard for them to cultivate the respect that adult kids need.”

This is why she suggests that parents and children have a conversation about roles, responsibilities, expectations and boundaries before the child moves back home.

Questions that should be addressed between a parent and child, said Sarah Epstein, a marriage and family therapist, include: “Will the adult child be expected to pay rent? Who will cover the cost of food? Do parents expect their child to attend dinner? Will there be responsibilities around the house for the child? Do the parents get a say in the adult child’s life choices while they live under their roof? Does the adult child expect to be taken care of while the parents expect the adult child to take care of his or herself?”

Address expectations

Even if you establish boundaries with your parents, you will likely encounter conflicts daily, especially if you disagree with your parents’ rules. If your parents have a problem with premarital sex, for instance, they may ban sleepovers. They might also establish a “no drinking or smoking in the house” rule, especially if you have younger siblings who still live at home.

Susan Newman, social psychologist and author of “Under One Roof Again: All Grown Up and (Re)learning to Live Together Happily,” said that adult children should honor their parents’ house rules for as long as they’re living under their roof.

If a parent disagrees with your lifestyle, however, it’s not okay for them to make judgements or to invade your personal space. Your parents should no longer be parenting you, either. They should be treating you the same way they would another adult.

As the adult child, you can determine what topics are off-limits, like dating, politics or religion. Don’t be afraid to say, “I understand you want to help, but I am an adult and I can make my own choices.”

Remove finances from the equation

Talking money with your parents is never fun, especially when you’re an adult. But, Gallagher said, “money is a fact of life and shouldn’t be a taboo subject.”

If you’re planning to live at home or are already are, you need to get the money talk out of the way—the sooner, the better. You should talk about rent: if you can pay it or if you can’t. If you’re not paying rent, you should ask what else your parents expect of you.

Many times, adults who can’t contribute financially want to contribute in other ways, so they feel like they’re pulling their weight in the family, Newman said. This might mean mowing the lawn, doing the grocery shopping or taking over a household chore like dishes.

Whatever the agreed upon contributions, “money should not rule the relationship,” Newman said. “Don’t let money problems cloud personal feelings.”

Be grateful and respectful

Alison Carville, 28, a self-employed public relations professional, lives at home with her parents. She pays $120 a month in rent, pays the family cell phone bill every third month and does her share of the household chores.

Even though she and her parents have established clear expectations, issues still arise.

“Be mindful of how much space you’re taking up,” Carville said. “Are you leaving rooms (messier) than when you found them? Are you eating all the food and not replacing anything? Try to adjust your habits, as needed, so things at home flow smoothly.”

Living with your parents as an adult is challenging, especially when you’re used to living on your own, but Epstein said that it’s important to “express immense gratitude that your parents are allowing you to live in their home.” They don’t have to, after all.

Look to the future

In her book, Newman offers cardinal rules for adult children living with their parents. Among them: “Don’t rehash past negatives. Move on. Use humor to ease sticky situations. Retain a ‘We’re in this together’ attitude while holding on to your separate life.” To avoid conflict, she said, “stay away from hot-button issues.”

This means you shouldn’t try to change your parents’ political views or beliefs, and they shouldn’t try to change yours. Ideally, this living arrangement is temporary. Try to be patient, respectful and understanding of your parents, no matter how frustrating the situation gets.

When you were growing up, “parents were ruling the roof, they were calling the shots, (but) there is a power shift,” Newman said. “Ideally, the power is split, (and) building that relationship becomes a cooperative effort.”

Remember, even as your parents suggest what jobs you should be applying for, or who you should or shouldn’t be dating: You’re in this together. If you’re lucky, you’ll agree to household rules, live in harmony, avoid disagreements and, eventually, shift from a parent/child relationship to one of mutual respect. Maybe even friendship.

Sarah Sheppard

Sarah Sheppard is a freelance writer, editor and writing instructor. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University and is working on her first novel. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter or contact her at sarahsheppardwriter.com.

The post How to Live With Your Parents the Right Way appeared first on Rewire.

How to Make Holiday Gifting as Eco-Friendly as Possible

Our generation likes to vote with our dollars. And there’s no time when more dollars are being exchanged than the holiday season. Not coincidentally, it’s also the time when we create the most waste. According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25 percent more stuff between Thanksgiving and the New Year than any other time of the year.

One of the forces behind the extra load on our landfills is also one of the most fun things about this time of year.

“Gift giving is one of the most loved parts of the holiday season, but it also creates a significant amount of waste,” said Sarah Hancock, a sustainability writer who blogs about solar energy for Best Company.

It’s not just what we give, it’s also how we give it. Both our gifts and their wrappings contribute to the environmental impact of the holidays.

Want to stay on Mother Nature’s nice list this year? Check out these tips from people who are out here doing it.

Choose your gifts wisely

When you’re choosing your gifts this year, think before you buy. Would something vintage or second-hand be just as good, if not better? Would an experience be even more exciting?

Illustration of man holding a pie he baked. Holiday Gifting pbs rewire
Bake something special for your neighbor, a loved one, local police or fire station or even a stranger.

Giving an experience “avoids unnecessary gift packaging, the possibility of getting your giftee something they don’t need, or supporting a product that was made in an unethical and unsustainable way,” said Marina Qutab, a socially conscious entrepreneur and zero waste lifestyle expert.

“Plus, this kind of gifting comes from the heart and there is more intention behind it, which always lands better with the giftee in my opinion.”

Here’s some inspiration as you write out your list.

A lot of livin’ to do

“Treat your person to an experience that they’ve been wanting like tickets to the theatre, concert or a movie, an art class, or a pass to a local wine tasting or cooking class.” — Marina Qutab

Say it with food

“Bake something special for your neighbor, a loved one, local police or fire station or even a stranger. When you deliver it to this person, take some time to chat with them … Better yet, if you find yourself cooking up a storm, host a dinner, brunch or holiday bake-off at your house.” — Carly Long, international event planning and design firm LLG Events

Unearth your inner artist

“Instead of buying a present, be creative and make something special and personal from scratch. Have a hand at painting, baking a loaf of bread or making some organic soap.” — Marina Qutab

It takes strength to be gentle and kind

“Spend a day doing random acts of kindness, whether with a friend, your family, or just by yourself … It can be for a friend, family or strangers. It can be a fun activity to come up with these kind acts, and if you need help, there’s plenty on the internet. Some of our favorites are taping lottery tickets to car windows, giving a bouquet of flowers to a stranger, putting extra change into parking meters, paying for the coffee of the person behind you, et cetera.” — Carly Long

Put in some time

“Volunteer with your loved one. The opportunities are endless depending on your interests. Look into volunteer opportunities at your local children’s hospital, hospice,… ASPCA, food bank, homeless shelter, et cetera. You can even volunteer to watch your friend or family’s children so the adults can have a fun night out.” — Carly Long

Consider where it came from

“If you really want to give a physical new gift, consider products that help reduce waste, like a metal straw, cloth napkins, beeswax cloth food wraps, metal water bottle, travel mug or reusable grocery bag. Or give a gift certificate to their favorite store. That way they can get exactly the thing they want or need.” — Aran Galligan, designer of eco-friendly jewelry line Aide-mémoire Jewelry

Lose (or re-use) the wrapping paper

If you do want to give a physical gift, think twice about how you’re presenting it. A lot of holiday waste comes from wrapping and packaging that’s used only once and thrown away.

“Most mass-produced wrapping paper can’t be recycled due to the shiny coatings, foils and colors, and therefore usually ends up in a landfill,” Hancock said.

You might have wrapped presents in the comics as a kid, and maybe it’s time to bring that back. These green gift-givers offered their wrapping tips.

Reuse interesting paper

“Use old maps or newspapers to wrap your presents. As a matter of fact, newspapers are known for being the most sustainable material. Old maps will add an extra touch to your gifts.” — Deemer Cass, Christmas tree and decorations expert at Fantastic Gardeners

Try furoshiki

“This Japanese art of wrapping uses cloth to create a beautifully packaged present.” — Esther Hallmeyer, Cutline Communications

Go vintage

“Visit an antique shop and look for vintage cards and tiny ornaments. They are a great place to find some gorgeous world maps, too. Attach those tiny ornaments to a festive ribbon and use the vintage cards to write your wishes for your loved ones.” — Deemer Cass

Raid your shopping bag collection

“Brown paper shopping bags are a great gift-wrapping resource… They are simple and plain, but this is what allows you to make them as festive as you want.” — Deemer Cass

Give a second life

“Skip the everyday wrapping paper and wrap in fabric from a thrift store, newspaper, tins, brown paper, (which) can be put in compost later and will have less dyes. You can also gravitate toward using more gift bags which tend to be easier to reuse over and over for years.” — Terra Wellington, author of “The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green

Snuggle up

“I grew up in Ithaca, New York, in a pretty eco-conscious family. For the last few years—well, honestly, for as long as I can remember—my family has decided to wrap our Christmas gifts in blankets. We heat the majority of our house via a wood stove, which means piling up the beds with quilts and plenty of blankets. In turn, that means we have more than enough blankets to choose to wrap our gifts in.” — Ethan Peck, United By Blue, a sustainable apparel brand focused on waterway conservation

Get more bang out of your wine bag

“Utilize wine bags that are not just made of recycled material but are designed to keep traveling.” — Kristan Vermeulen, Sea Bags, a company that turns old sails into reusable bags

Think natural

“Choose more natural fiber bows and ties—like twine, raffia and thick yarn.” — Terra Wellington

Bows beyond ribbon

“Take pages of a magazine and turn them into a bow.” — Kristan Vermeulen

If you buy new, buy smart

“Use post-consumer recycled wrapping paper that can be composted. You can find recyclable tape in lieu of disposable plastic tape, however I am a huge fan of natural twine made from jute, cotton or hemp.” — Marina Qutab

Save stuff for next time

“When you’re unwrapping gifts, save what you can for wrapping and bagging future gifts. Recycle as much as you can of the rest of the wrappings.” — Terra Wellington

Katie Moritz

Katie Moritz is Rewire’s senior editor and a Pisces who enjoys thrift stores, rock concerts and pho. She covered politics for a newspaper in Juneau, Alaska, before driving down to balmy Minnesota to help produce long-standing public affairs show “Almanac” at Twin Cities PBS. Now she works on this here website. Reach her via email at kmoritz@tpt.org. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz and on Instagram @yepilikeit.

The post How to Make Holiday Gifting as Eco-Friendly as Possible appeared first on Rewire.

Hacked: How Cryptominers Might Be Hijacking Your Computer

Having grown up on the internet, it has always felt like a young person’s playground, a place for us to learn things, do our work, connect and have fun.

I never realized my familiarity with all things digital could lead to a kind of arrogance—a belief I could never become a victim of cyberattack or malware. After all, I’m not clicking on suspicious links or replying to scam emails from mysterious distant relatives.

That changed when my laptop was kidnapped—in a way—to mine cryptocurrency for mysterious hackers.

Gone off the rails

At the height of the heatwave, I descended into subway with my traveling office over my shoulder. I collapsed onto the seat and reached into my bag to remove my computer, but its metal casing was too hot to touch.

Illustration of thief vacuuming data from a laptop. Cryptominers pbs rewire
If a website is “cryptojacking,” you will see a spike in your CPU’s performance.

No wonder the heat had been so intolerable—I’d been carrying this small furnace close to my body. This was only the beginning of my computer’s mysterious behavior.

In the following weeks, I experienced regular crashes, called “kernel panics,” when the computer was attempting to shut itself down so it didn’t overheat. The problem was coming from my central processing unit, or CPU, which was inexplicably on overdrive. The fan ran loudly, and heat blasted up through the keyboard as soon as it started up.

The first three technicians I saw believed it to be a hardware issue and that the CPU needed to be replaced. I contemplated my (very expensive) options: replace the CPU for $600, or purchase a new laptop for $1,200. It seemed like I was between a rock and an extremely hot place.

But just as I was packing my bags to leave my appointment, the incredibly patient technician said almost off-handedly: “You might as well try reinstalling the software before you replace it.” She shrugged. “You never know.”

I reinstalled the software on my computer, and the crashing stopped. The oven-like effect was gone.

It had been a “software issue” after all, and I was back in business.

With the problem solved, I didn’t think much about it. Until a few friends helped me realize what had really happened.

How it happens

You may have already heard about passive cryptomining, when websites run script that uses your CPU to mine a small amount of cryptocurrency while you visit their website.

In fact, some websites openly use this method as a source of revenue, rather than running advertisements. Other sites do it surreptitiously, without notifying you.

A typical personal computer can’t handle the intensity of the calculations necessary to mine most cryptocurrencies. They’re not powerful enough to mine Bitcoin, the best known of the cryptocurrencies. But they can be used to mine Monero and other types through these passive methods.

When making a transaction with cryptocurrency, computers perform a series of complex equations, all of which requires power. By opening your task manager on a Windows operating system, or the Activity Monitor on a Mac, you can monitor the performance of your CPU as you browse.

If a website is “cryptojacking,” as its sometimes called, you will see a spike in your CPU’s performance, which will go away when you close the browser tab.

In some cases, however, the spike never finds resolution. When that happens, one of two types of cryptojacking might have occurred:

  • A Trojan Horse cryptomining application has downloaded onto your computer, and it is constantly mining your hard drive.
  • If you’re running Windows, there’s a possibility that a small window has opened that fits behind the clock on your taskbar. It continues running the script that mines your CPU even after you’ve closed the browser tab. It’s a popular type of malware that can be difficult to detect.

My computer had been infected with malware. And while it was causing me trouble—and costing me money for every day I couldn’t use my computer—it was all the while mining money for someone else, somewhere far away.

A moving target

IBM’s Security Intelligence tracked the number of these Trojan hijackings in each month of 2017, and there are not an overwhelming number of cases: they peaked around 250 in August of last year. Considering the number of us using computers, it’s relatively rare, but your chances of being hacked increases as you search the internet about emerging technologies. In other words, your search habits make you a target.

As these systems become more complex, and as miners become more eager, it’s easy to imagine that the malware will intensify as well, both in its undetectability and its power.

Protecting yourself against cryptominers

You should always protect your computer with basic anti-virus software. It sounds obvious, but this was news to me. I had always been a vigilant internet-user and had never encountered malware, especially to this extreme.

If you experience difficulty on particular websites, monitor your CPU’s activity while visiting those sites to scan for potential cryptomining, and avoid unknown websites and URLs that aren’t secure.

Beware of phishing scams. Phishing scams are not always about retrieving your email and password. These hackers attempt all methods to install software onto your computer. In some cases, such as mine, this can require a full system recovery. Check out this fascinating episode of the “Reply All” podcast for more on why phishing is a thing.

These schemes are only becoming more difficult to detect, and even more difficult to diagnose. It’s important, even for those of us who grew up online and feel at home here, to recognize that it’s still a world-wide place where almost anything can happen.

A headshot of Jamie Lynne Burgess. PBS Rewire. Jamie Lynne Burgess

Jamie Lynne Burgess is a freelance writer and editor from New England who recently swapped goat dairy farming in Northwest Colorado for goat cheese eating in Blois, France. She loves personal essays, public libraries and the life of Louisa May Alcott. Get in touch on Twitter at @jamburgess or follow her on Instagram at @jamielynneburgess

The post Hacked: How Cryptominers Might Be Hijacking Your Computer appeared first on Rewire.

Get Your Social Media in Order Before Starting Your Job Search

A job search is hard work. If you are in the process, you have probably been all over the web looking at resume and cover letter templates, reading how-tos and scouring job boards. And these are all good things to do.

You may be missing out, though, on one powerful job searching tool—social media. We used to think of social platforms as a way to keep in touch with friends, post photos and share opinions. Yet, the majority of studies shows that recruiters tend to use social media in their hiring practices, for posting openings and checking out candidates’ profiles.

So how can you use this powerful tool to your advantage? Here is your ultimate guide.

1. Clean up your act

You already know to dump all those posts that contain suggestive language, reposts included. Check for other controversial subjects too—politics, religion and delicate social issues.

“We live in a divisive climate, and people have strong opinions,” said Jessica Fender, content editor at OnlineWritersRating. “Yours may be offensive to another. Leave your opinions at the door.”

2. Focus your efforts

If you try to be on every social media platform, you will manage none of them well.

Graphic of a person holding a smartphone. Job Search pbs rewire
Remember, in this situation you are a “product” to be marketed.

Keeping up a professional presence takes time. To get started, access related groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, and follow influencers in your niche on Twitter and Instagram. Enter into discussions rather than trying to keep up a profile of your own, and then link to your website, blog or portfolio.

Start following companies that interest you and leave well-thought-out comments. John Hargrove, marketing director at Citatior, puts it this way: “Becoming a regular contributor to discussions is the best way to gain recognition. Just be certain that your contributions are worthwhile and show your thought leadership.”

3. Mesh the professional with the personal

Show your passion. Outside of your work life, what do you do? Maybe you have been a guest speaker for a high school class; perhaps you do some career-related volunteer work. Posting photos of yourself in these circumstances lets potential employers know that you’re willing to put in work beyond what goes toward your paycheck.

4. Be consistent

You need to develop a personal “brand.” Who are you? What is your background? What is important to you in your career path? What value do you bring to your field?

And don’t forget the personal aspect as well. You need to show your personality. Do you have a good (and appropriate) sense of humor? What inspires you?

Remember, in this situation you are a “product” to be marketed. And your social media content should promote that product and its values.

Pick your platforms

What are the best ways to use specific platforms? And how do you choose the ones to focus on? Here are some quick platform-specific tips that should help.

1. LinkedIn

Your profile should look professional, but not too formal or “standoffish.” Take a look at employees’ profiles in your niche. What is their tone like? It will be very different between a banking executive and a website designer, for example. Figure out the differences and follow the right style.

Get into as many related groups as possible. After all, this is where networking occurs and where you can come across as a thought leader. But don’t be pushy, especially with hiring managers. Be a solid and valuable contributor.

Consider writing a few blog posts or re-publishing posts from your own blog if you have one. Link to them on your profile.

2. Twitter

Twitter is all about keeping up a steady stream of valuable tweets. If you can’t, you are better off following Twitter accounts of other thought leaders in your field and participating in discussions.

Take the focus off of yourself and, instead, focus on sharing cool stuff about your profession. You can comment on newsworthy events in your niche or share career-related visuals. Re-tweet good content from others in your field too.

Stay away from controversial stuff, and focus on evergreen topics. Leaving a comment on a movie you just saw, or on a funny thing that happened to you, is completely fine. Show your personality and the fact that you’d be fun to have around a workplace.

Follow companies you are interested in, as well as big influencers in your field.

Use keywords in your bio. Sometimes, recruiters will search for those keywords, and you want your account to pop up when they do.

3. Facebook

You can create and curate separate public and private profiles on Facebook. Potential employers will search for you here, so make sure they find what you want them to find.

Make sure your potential employer gets regular updates on your posts. Show both your career-related activities as well as some of your personality. Sticking only to business tells an employer that you have something to hide.

“Like” and follow the companies you’d like to work for. Make comments. By engaging with the companies, you’ll get news about them, which can become interview talking points.

Use the message feature to let specific contacts know you are searching for a job. You may not want that public for your co-workers or supervisors to see.

Join Facebook groups related to your industry. Be a regular participant in discussions. You never know what connections you’ll make and where.

A headshot of Sylvia Giltner. PBS Rewire. Sylvia Giltner

Sylvia Giltner is an HR manager and freelance writer at ResumesCentre.com. She helps people write the perfect resume and land a desirable job.

The post Get Your Social Media in Order Before Starting Your Job Search appeared first on Rewire.

How To Keep Your Relationship Healthy When You Travel Solo

When I decided to take 15 months to travel solo in France last year, leaving my (very) committed partner at home, people in my life questioned if I was destined for some kind of breakup or meltdown. In fact, it was the opposite: I’d finally found the person who made me feel secure enough to feel free.

The deeply rooted desire to see new places and experience new things is part of me, a part I want to honor whether I’m in love or not.

I’ve always thought it’s much easier to be the one who leaves than the one who stays behind. Yet in the past year, I turned this over and over in my mind. The one who stays has all the reminders of the relationship; they walk by the restaurant where you had your first date. They see the remnants of your connection scattered around the apartment. It’s easy to maintain that feeling of nearness as they drink from your favorite mug or pull your hair out of the vacuum cleaner.

But whether you stay or go, solo travel can be an important part of your romantic life—rather than something to be considered as separate from or outside of it.

Being apart can bring you together

As a cohort, we love to travel: young adults today go on vacation more often, and we go farther and wider than previous generations. We also believe in transformative experiences: unique and unusual events and locales, like those provided through the sharing economy.

Graphic of luggage and packing items. Travel Solo pbs rewire
Make plans—even vague ones—and stick to them.

If it’s been a significant part of your life, truncating a love of travel might feel like cutting off an essential part of yourself. Your significant other shouldn’t expect that of you. Still, you must recognize the value of your commitment and live up to it even while apart.

There are some very real, practical considerations associated with solo-travel, before you start jetting off for anywhere.

If you’re the one who’s leaving

Make plans—even vague ones—and stick to them. It sounds contrary to the solo-traveler’s independent, wayward lifestyle, but being in a relationship means there’s someone on the other end of the line. It’s important to stick to certain plans, especially if there’s reason your partner might worry.

Donna Wilson, who has been married for 26 years, regularly takes solo trips and most recently went on a month-long hiking adventure in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.

“It’s not so easy for (my husband) to be the one waiting, wondering if I’m okay, but I do my best to ease any worries by being a meticulous planner and staying in contact when possible,” she said.

You’re entitled to go off the grid, but being in the places you said you’d be, when you’d be there—or letting your partner know if plans have changed—is part of your responsibility as an attached traveler.

Manage your responsibilities. When you’re looking forward to an adventure, it can be tempting to let everything fall to the wayside. Your partner, however, isn’t on the hook for you if you leave important paperwork undone while on you’re rafting for 28 days in the unreachable Grand Canyon.

This means anticipating future bills and paying them in advance, especially for long trips. It also means emergency paperwork, like a durable power of attorney, a list of emergency contacts and even emergency healthcare documents, like a healthcare power of attorney. Everyone should have these, but travel plans can be a powerful impetus to get this stuff done.

Assuming your partner will take care of administrative details while you’re out of town can leave them feeling like they have to do all the grunt work while you have fun. This is especially true when it comes to pet care. No one wants to come home and find their partner has been exhausted by responsibilities of pet ownership they never asked for. Keep your relationship a priority by doing this work in advance, or at least talk about expectations ahead of time.

Do your part to maintain closeness and connection. Before, during and after your time apart, there are opportunities to show your loved one that this isn’t just a selfish attempt to get away, but could actually help you become closer. Before you go, hide some love notes where they’re sure to find them, or cook and freeze their favorite meal for them to eat while you’re gone.

Travel is a great way to explore your own thoughts with more depth. While you’re on the road, you might find that you’re thinking even more than usual about the person you love, wishing you could share this time with them. But they won’t know unless you tell them. Use question prompts—like these 36 questions, or these 13 questions—to help you think more deeply about your life together while apart, and share those thoughts and ideas.

If you’re the one who’s staying

Budget your time well. When your partner is out for the night, what little guilty pleasure do you indulge in? Do you order from that takeout place they don’t really like? Play video games in your bathrobe? Maybe you like to take a swanky bubble bath while blasting Taylor Swift’s debut album (really, just me?). It’s always a fun little fantasy to be alone. But when it’s more than just a night, you might find yourself missing them pretty soon.

Making plans a week in advance is a great way to make sure the nights don’t slip away from you. There’s a lot of new stuff you can do right where you are. When they come home overflowing with new stories from afar, you’ll have your own stories and feel recharged rather than resentful.

Be clear about your expectations. If you feel that there’s an appropriate time to be in touch, say so. Don’t field middle-of-the-night phone calls from different time zones if you know you have work in the morning (unless you want to). You are entitled to your own space, too, and that means defining what is acceptable within the limits of your commitment, which is individual to every couple.

It’s also worth recognizing that your significant other isn’t surrounded by reminders of your relationship like you are. They may, at times, require more connection than you expect to feel close to you while apart.

Make home a safe place to land. One of the best parts of traveling is coming home.

“Having solo adventures helps me process the experience on my own terms, and makes me a richer, more compassionate and patient person at home,” said Juliana Dever, who has been to 60 countries and authors the travel blog CleverDever Wherever.

“Taking the time out on my own makes reuniting a thrilling joy every time.”

Even in love, we look forward to experiences of isolation and independence. Not only is that normal, it’s healthy. No matter how comfortable we are with our partners, it’s also important to cultivate relationships with ourselves.

A headshot of Jamie Lynne Burgess. PBS Rewire. Jamie Lynne Burgess

Jamie Lynne Burgess is a freelance writer and editor from New England who recently swapped goat dairy farming in Northwest Colorado for goat cheese eating in Blois, France. She loves personal essays, public libraries and the life of Louisa May Alcott. Get in touch on Twitter at @jamburgess or follow her on Instagram at @jamielynneburgess

The post How To Keep Your Relationship Healthy When You Travel Solo appeared first on Rewire.

Do Boycotts Actually Work?

There’s probably a company that you make a point to support because you believe in what they do. And there’s probably a company you avoid for the opposite reason. Now that it’s easier than ever to get information about nearly anything, it’s also easier to develop opinions about brands you might not have known enough to have before.

Granted, the idea of consumers deciding to abstain from purchasing a company’s product or service as a means of protest is nothing new. In fact, its roots reportedly reach back to the late 1700s.

However, the heightened political divide seems to have sharpened our collective desire to stand up for what we believe in, and boycotts are among the more accessible means of peaceful protest.

Illustration of many people protesting something. Boycotts pbs rewire
In a 2017 study, a quarter of Americans said they had boycotted a brand based on their political leanings.

Today, most of us want what we spend our money on to align with our beliefs. According to research by Boston-based media company Cone Communications, 76 percent of consumers said they would be willing to boycott a product if the company behind it advocated for values that contradicted their own.

That’s an impressive statistic, especially in light of recent headline-grabbing efforts like the boycott against Nike. When the company included controversial athlete Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign earlier this year, some saw this as an endorsement of his Black Lives Matter activism and boycotted the company. Nevertheless, Nike’s sales increased by 31 percent in the aftermath of this decision.

So this begs the question: Do boycotts actually work?

The case for boycotts

“With a few exceptions, most threats to boycott do not impact the cash register,” said Whitney Dailey, vice president of Cone Communications. “They are, however, a powerful means to pressure companies to take action.”

She called out one example specifically. Soon after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, activists called for a widespread boycott of the National Rifle Association and its affiliates. In response, companies like Best Western, Enterprise Holdings and Delta Air Lines severed ties with the NRA.

As consumers have discovered the impact of their purchasing power, they’ve chosen to exercise their right to support businesses that reflect their own values, and vice versa, even more in recent years.

In a 2017 study, a quarter of Americans said they had boycotted a brand based on their political leanings. This newfound awareness has run parallel to the rise of technology and the ability to “go viral” with your intentions to stand against an entity whose actions or values fall short in your eyes. It’s easier than ever for a movement to gain steam—even if for only a short while—so boycotting as a grassroots tactic has much more of an opportunity to explode into the mainstream.

Even when boycotts don’t make a dent in sales, the risk to a company’s reputation can present an even more perilous threat to their long-term future, said Brayden King of Northwestern University’s Institue for Policy Research.

If enough negative press is generated from a boycott, it can lead to a drop in stock prices, ultimately resulting in a corporate about-face intended to minimize the damage. Success also depends on the level of persistence, such as a recent two-year battle to secure full, independent access for the Worker Rights Consortium with Nike.

Back to the drawing board

Just because you have sustained support for your boycott, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that action will translate into the outcome you’re hoping for. But a failed boycott doesn’t have to be the final disappointing note in your quest to enact real change.

If your boycott doesn’t inspire action on the part of your target organization, you do have other options available to you that could prove more effective.

A company’s biggest fear when facing a boycott is the toll it will take on its reputation and, because of that, its long-term profitability. If a company fails to offer a sufficient response to boycott activism, you can return to the place where your movement likely started: social media.

“In today’s day and age, creating noise and, more importantly, raising awareness around an issue can sometimes be nearly as important to consumers as the act of boycotting,” Dailey said. “Sometimes the threat of a boycott or the noise made around the issue can be enough for a company to address issues.”

Drawn-out discussions about a company’s misdeeds can make a greater impression than abstaining from actual purchases. In addition to trending hashtags, this can take the shape of online petitions or even contributions—either of money or volunteer time—to nonprofits that have the resources to continue fighting the good fight. In any case, you have plenty of reason and opportunity to stick unwaveringly to your beliefs if you think the cause is worth the effort.

A headshot of a man. PBS Rewire. Robert Yaniz Jr.

Robert Yaniz Jr. is a full-time freelance writer specializing in business, marketing and entertainment. Over the last 15 years, he has covered everything from the regional business scene to the latest movies and TV shows. You can usually find him—laptop on hand—sipping a latte or chasing after his young daughter. For more on his work, check out robertyanizjr.com or email him directly at robert@robertyanizjr.com. You can also find him on Twitter @robertyanizjr.

The post Do Boycotts Actually Work? appeared first on Rewire.

Monicat Data Makes Technology Work for Creatives

The day I met with Jasmine Russell of Monicat Data, she was wearing a yellow shirt, sitting in a yellow conference room and telling me about Yellow, Monicat’s creative tech workshop. She assured me the color coordination was coincidental.

“We were trying to figure out a name that was strong, had some type of, like, direct action to it,” Russell explained. “Yellow can be perceived as a cautionary color, but it’s also an alert color that wakes you up and intrigues you to seek more.”

Three people pose outside of a building, one man and two women.
The co-founders of Monicat Data: Kurt Blomberg, Jasmine Russell and Cassie Utt. Photo by Sara Grove Photography.

What’s the wakeup call? Russell, along with Kurt Blomberg and Cassie Utt, friends and Monicat Data’s co-founders, think “creativity deserves a better track record.”

In their view, creative endeavors and the powerhouses behind them are often overlooked for technical solutions. These professions can be seen as superfluous or as having little financial capital to invest in themselves.

But Russell, Blomberg and Utt know differently. The three share a passion for and background in arts, education and technology. They know just how essential tech can be for the arts.

“For the three of us, this is about getting back to serving groups that are usually overlooked for technology, but they’re using it all the time,” Russell said. “They’re thinking about their sales, their patrons, their donors, they’re using it to assess events, how people are interacting with their pieces and work online.”

If you build it

The three friends were initially on different paths. Russell had completed an MBA and was pursuing a career in digital analytics, Blomberg danced professionally for six years and was going to school and Utt was in the midst of a Remote Year, a work and travel abroad program for professionals.

They rallied together around Russell’s idea of creating something uniting technology and creativity.

In 2016, Monicat Data took on its first client, Minnesota-based Springboard for the Arts, a nonprofit organization that offers workshops and resources for artists of all disciplines. Their relationship began as market research to discover how arts organizations utilize technology. The conversation revealed Springboard for the Arts needed a service that Monicat Data could provide.

From there, their client base quickly expanded. Now they serve independent creatives and creative organizations, all looking for ways to benchmark their success. They develop technology platforms or measurement tools to help them improve their internal processes or report out to stakeholders.

“When creative teams or independent creatives come to us, they’re either really overloaded by siloed processes, outdated processes or they’re trying to quickly scramble and get information together,” Russell said.

“Monicat Data’s approach is to break down their creative needs: ‘What are your current needs? What are your current internal processes and how would you like to improve them? What are your current in-house systems?’”

Data that can serve

It’s not uncommon for organizations—often nonprofit organizations—to have invested in management systems or analytical tools that are too cumbersome or too alien to their work and process. Or, if they are gathering and processing analytics, any downtrend can be paralyzing. But there’s more that can be learned there.

“Just like creativity is flexible, data is flexible as well,” Russell said.

“Negative numbers aren’t always just an indication of, ‘your craft is bad.’ It may be demonstrating this is a market lull or maybe this just isn’t your key time …

“Seasonality is really important for any market, understanding when dips occur, so that during that dip time key creative planning takes place. Data can create some consistency for creative teams and independent creatives so they know what to expect.”

Russell, Blomberg and Utt want to support the tech needs of the creative industry with resources that are scalable.

“Our biggest goal is that by the end of the project, we want the client to be able to do this on their own. So although, yes, we would love if they keep coming back,” Russell laughed, “we want them to be able to feel less dependent on what we’re doing and more confident from the data analysis or technology implementation tools to elevate their work; reach those right audiences, and truly connect with people that their work speaks to.”

To the moon and back

Monicat Data’s growth has been a result of bootstrapping and networking, all fueled by their own entrepreneurial ambitions.

3 people dressed in stylish clothes sit on a couch together, listening as one talks.
The Yellow Summit gave independent creatives the opportunity to connect. Photo by Sara Grove Photography.

Through their conversations with clients, Blomberg saw a need to connect with people more directly. In 2017, they launched their Data for Art Workshops which later crystalized into Monicat Data’s first Yellow Summit in the fall of 2018. The all-day conference brought together creatives to discuss how successful management strategies could strengthen artistic professions, locally and nationally.

The team’s ambitions continue to grow with their success. Earlier this year they were accepted into an incubator program by Lunar Startups, an organization that supports underserved or underrepresented entrepreneurs. As one of six groups within the inaugural cohort, Russell, Blomberg and Utt hope to use this opportunity to focus on Monicat Data’s growth, with plans to reach beyond the Twin Cities.

“Minnesota is the top funded state (for the arts), but in Minnesota we still face quite a few creative disparities… (such as) funding and groups being able to sustain themselves,” Russell explained. “Where does this put creative economics in other markets? These regions need just as much strategic and technical support to elevate their creative process.”

A management starter kit for creatives

Getting started can often be one of the hardest steps to take. Russell and the Monicat Data team shared some insights about technology management for creatives:

1. Manage how you work

“Implement an accountability tool. Whether a working creative individual or team, all work processes can benefit from accountability tools, keeping your creative projects on track.”

She recommend using a project management system like Podio, Asana or Trello for a ready-made solution with pre-built workspaces and daily email reminders.

Alternately, Salesforce or HubSpot offer a more robust system with customer management capabilities, sales analysis and the ability to integrate with cloud-based storage systems such as Google, Dropbox, Evernote or Share file.

“Ultimately, the accountability tool you select should provide structure, flexibility and review of your creative process as you grow and scale.”

2. Manage what’s released

“A creative’s greatest asset is their body of work, but is your work easily discoverable online?” the Monicat team challenged. If not, make some changes.

Create a “central digital asset,” to centralize all of your online work. Build a custom portfolio website, a Dribble design website or a creative writing blog and feature your creative projects, perspective and community contributions. This way you can funnel audience traffic to one common location that you control.

Manage your content even further by cleaning your website URL paths. For example, change www.yourcreativewebsite.com/12345home to www.yourcreativewebsite.com/home.

“Digital page titles and links should provide clear directives for audiences to identify and connect with your work. High digital engagement begins with strong digital structure.”

3. Manage what’s measured

“Gain your bird’s eye view. You’ve put in the hours of dedication, discovery and planning to develop your creative project and now you’re ready to release it to the world, but how do you know who to cast it to?”

Wherever you organize yourself, Russell recommended making analytics a regular part of your routine. Understanding what generates the most success will propel new work to greater heights.

Use tools such as Buffer, Sprout Social, Google Analytics or Hootsuite to draw data from your websites and professional social media platforms onto a centralized dashboard. This “customized data hub” will shed light on your key audiences, your top performing platforms and the optimum time for release interactions. Digging into this info can help evaluate past and future creative project performance.

This article is part of  “Living for the City,” a Rewire initiative made possible by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Marissa Blahnik

Marissa identifies as a Leo, an only child, a Jersey girl, a musical theater geek, a media producer and a champion of cheese. She cut her teeth with Court TV’s documentary unit in NYC, earned her stripes developing cable programming with Powderhouse Productions in Boston and in 2009 jumped into public media with Twin Cities PBS in Saint Paul. She’s adapted well to the North Coast lifestyle and thinks everyone needs a little hygge in their heart.

The post Monicat Data Makes Technology Work for Creatives appeared first on Rewire.

Why Welcoming Pets Makes Transitional Housing More Accessible

Imagine needing desperately to escape, but being held back because someone you love couldn’t come with you.

That was the case for a woman in Wichita, Kansas. She had tried to leave her physically abusive husband multiple times—but she always found herself at a loss for a place to go because of her two dogs.

When it opened its doors to dogs earlier this year, the Inter-Faith Ministries shelter in Wichita became the first in the state to allow pets. And it helped this woman finally leave her dangerous home situation, dogs in tow, Inter-Faith Ministries Executive Director LaTasha St. Arnault said.

In Kansas, homeless pet owners weren’t just underserved; they weren’t being served at all, she said.

“Their pets are their family,” she said. “If we’re denying an individual based on the fact that they have a pet then we really aren’t serving them.”

‘The beginning of a change’

That’s not just the case in Kansas. Homeless shelters across the country typically don’t allow pets, leaving a gap in resources for homeless pet owners who don’t want to lose their companions. But more are starting to rethink their rules.

A few dogs in cages at Transitional Housing. pbs rewire
Inter-Faith Inn in Wichita, Kansas, began accepting dogs in its homeless shelter earlier this fall. Currently only dogs are allowed but it is hoping to start accepting cats soon. Photo courtesy of Inter-Faith Ministries.

Right now, Inter-Faith Ministries only allows pets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when a veterinarian is present to take a look at the dogs and provide basic care.

Way ahead of its time, The People Concern organization in Los Angeles has allowed pets for years in its interim housing programs, including one in El Pueblo that opened in September.

Kait Peters, development director at The People Concern, said the pet-friendly programs have been successful because of a community network. With the help of volunteers, the nonprofit provides vaccines, food and grooming for the pets.

Welcoming pets is about creating a more accessible environment, Peters said.

“Every individual person out on the streets has their own individual set of needs,” she said. “It’s up to us to create the circumstances that will help each individual person succeed to the highest power.”

Sometimes programs will arrange for a person’s dog or cat to be fostered in another home while they get back on their feet, but  that isn’t always a great option.

“Having their companion with them is a really important lifeline,” Peters said.

“When we are trying to make it feel comfortable and welcoming for people to come inside and start to rebuild their lives, it’s absolutely necessary that we remove as many barriers and obstacles as we can.”

Bringing pets inside hasn’t only helped the owners.

A man staying in a The People Concern facility was very sick and died, Peters said. His dog had nowhere to go.

The staff noticed another man, who had been having a hard time moving forward, paying attention to the dog. Staff decided to formally introduce them—and it was a perfect match.

“That responsibility given over to this guy and the relationship and love that comes from a dog, that was a beginning of a change,” Peters said.

Not enough beds

Although there are more homeless shelters allowing pets today than in the past, the trend isn’t spreading fast enough, Pets of the Homeless founder Genevieve Frederick said.

Woman feeding a dog at a Transitional Housing. pbs rewire
Christen Skaer of Skaer Veterinary Clinic helps check out the animals that stay at the Inter-Faith Inn in Wichita, Kansas. Photo courtesy of Inter-Faith Ministries.

It’s not uncommon for Frederick to get a call from someone she can’t help, she said. Not every area has an accessible pet-friendly shelter. If you’re in Kansas, outside of Wichita, you’re likely out of luck.

Pets of the Homeless doesn’t know about any pet-friendly shelters in Minnesota, Missouri or Utah, either.

“People will stay on the streets before they will relinquish their pet to the animal shelters,” she said. “They just will not separate from these animals.”

She said she gets at least one call a week from a victim of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence shelters are way more accepting of animals,” Frederick said. “Because they know these people will not leave their animal behind, just like they’re not going to leave their children behind.”

Opening more doors

Pets of the Homeless also helps connect homeless clients with veterinary care and pet food. The organization offers crates to churches, fire and police stations and transportation services.

“These are the people that come in contact with the homeless every day,” Frederick said.

But one of her biggest goals is to expand the network of pet-friendly shelters. Frederick said the organization is willing to work with shelters to create programs that work for them. They’ll even supply the crates for the animals.

But she often gets turned down. Shelters are “worried about the liability,” she said.

Bringing pets inside hasn’t brought additional issues to The People Concern or Inter-Faith Ministries, St. Arnault and Peters said. At the shelter, pets are required to be on a leash, and staff is thoughtful about where animals and their owners are placed within the shelter. Staff also keeps up constant communication with pet owners.

“The most important piece is that we’re always talking about what the expectations are,” Peters said.

Meeting people where they are

Police in Frederick’s community in Nevada hand out Pets of the Homeless business cards to pet owners who are homeless. It’s just one way to help get the word out about what services are available and help people move forward.

“Once they’re in that building,… maybe they will be able to hook up with a social worker that can help them get out of this situation.”

But first, they have to be able to get through the door.

Accommodating pet owners is just one example “of helping people rebuild their own individual lives in the most individualized way,” Peters said.

“I think the idea of pets being able to come inside with people is at the core of what’s really important in how we serve other people,” she said.

Headshot of writer Heather Adams. Heather Adams

Heather Adams is a freelance reporter based in Los Angeles. She often reports on religion, foster care and disability rights. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more on these topics, plus photos of her two dogs.

The post Why Welcoming Pets Makes Transitional Housing More Accessible appeared first on Rewire.

Make Your Love Outlast Your Partner’s Continuing Education

Most people’s response to getting a degree isn’t “Let’s do that again!” But for people who are supporting partners going through school, that’s basically what’s happening.

Sure, partners of students don’t have the homework or the pressure to pass tests, but you’re still carrying an academic load. And whether your partner’s in the trenches of medical school or the drag of night classes, being in it without really being in it can get old.

“Going through school once was hard enough,” said Shauna Young, an event coordinator for Kids on the Move who supported her partner through law school. “But then I realized it was almost just as hard to support a spouse while they are getting a degree.

“While it was an amazing three years for him educationally, I know that both he and I would never wish it upon ourselves again.”

Although it won’t be easy all the time, supporting your partner is key. But how do you make sure school doesn’t come between you? Here are some tips from relationship professionals and folks who’ve lived through it.

1. Get comfortable doing your own thing

Your partner being in school probably means you’ll be spending less time together than you’d like. Rather than bingeing your loneliness away with Netflix or constantly checking up on them, try putting your efforts into something more gratifying. This is a great time to resurrect a hobby or devote more hours into your renovation project, novel, garden or community.

Young couple doing separate things outside. Partner's Continuing Education pbs rewire
Giving your partner space will help you and them feel better about the time apart.

Giving your partner space will help you and them feel better about the time apart.

“There were a lot of evenings I spent by myself, or visiting friends and family, because I wanted to leave the house quiet,” Young said. “It was difficult to have to tiptoe around, but I knew that it was worth it to help him do his absolute best by giving him that space.”

2. Be intentional with your time

Yes, your partner will be busy. But don’t assume you won’t have any time together. It’s important to keep your relationship at the top of the priority list.

Since time together is scarce, it’s important to spell out your intentions for how time will be used. If one partner is expecting date night when the other wants a few more hours to cram for a test, both will end up feeling misunderstood and neglected at the end of the day.

“We became intentional with the time we had with each other,” said Micah Klug of the blog Home Faith Family. “We knew the day and times where we had family time, as well as a date night once a week.

“Having this specific time helped us avoid the pitfalls of miscommunication, feeling unwanted and unloved, and the everyday stresses that come with a partner being in school.”

 

3. Remind yourself that you’re on the same team

If you have more discretionary time than your partner, you’ll likely end up shouldering the majority of the tasks that someone in the relationship must do, like preparing meals, cleaning the house and doing laundry.

For couples with kids, this list of obligations quadruples. After a few weeks of doing more than your share of the dreaded chore list, it’s easy to feel unappreciated and resentful.

Try to keep this sort of thinking out of it.

“You want to avoid any overt or covert competition over who is doing what, who is doing more, etc,” psychologist Jesse Matthews said.

“I encourage couples to think of themselves or their families as a team. A team is always on the same side, working together toward mutual goals, so it doesn’t matter who is doing what or who is doing more because it benefits all involved.”

But let’s be honest: the team mentality won’t always be enough. When that happens and you just can’t deal any longer, communicate.

“Being able to renegotiate your relationship responsibilities over and over is vital to maintaining balance,” said Sarah Epstein, author of Love in the Time of Medical School.

If you ask your partner, chances are they’ll have time to squeeze in dishes during a study break or drop the kids off at school on their way to class. Even if their contributions are small, they can go a long way toward keeping your relationship balanced.

4. Remember that it’s only temporary

No test, class, semester or degree program lasts forever. The time might even go by faster than you expected.

Even though the degree might feel like it’s an eternity away, remember that you’ll both get there eventually. In the meantime, try focusing on the positive aspects of having a partner in school. Long vacation breaks, access to university resources, increased opportunities and school sports are all wonderful perks.

“I would say having one partner in school leads to a more mindful approach to the relationship or the family,” Matthews said. “Since time is at a premium, there is more thinking and planning ahead, more consciousness regarding different aspects of the relationship or family life, and often more gets accomplished. This is all contrary to our natural tendency to become complacent or to live on auto pilot.”

School can be rough—no amount of advice will change that. But the right attitude paired with relationship management skills can go a long way toward keeping you and your partner happy through it all. Keep each other as the priority, and you won’t lose your sanity—or your relationship—to school.

Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes is an editor and freelance writer who thinks words are probably the most important thing we have. She spends too much time thinking about them, whether that means reading the labels on her shampoo bottles or sending novel-length texts to her husband. When she’s not doing word work, she enjoys doing leg work in the mountains with her goldendoodle, Dobby. You can find her wherever there is chocolate-chip cookie dough within walking distance.

The post Make Your Love Outlast Your Partner’s Continuing Education appeared first on Rewire.