Envy – Take 2

I mentioned before how I envy some of my make co-workers.

That envy intensified these last few weeks.

I’ve been trying to replace a handful of my work tops. My usual “uniform” for work is black, grey or ink trousers, a top, and then a jacket or cardigan to “finish” it. Ink, if you’re wondering, is a very dark blue. Darker than navy.

I try to follow the whole three-piece rule.

Like this. But, not orange.

If I choose a patterned top, I select a cardigan or jacket in the same color as my trousers.

You may be thinking this isn’t very creative attire for a writer, but my day job has nothing to do with creativity. People who get too creative in my line of work end up wearing orange. Not like the figure above, however.

The kind of orange you wear here.

Besides, this is the basic go-to for most business-casual in my part of America. Wearing it is like wearing camouflage. I fit right in and no one knows there’s an author in their midst.

Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find basic patterned tops to replace a few I have that are starting to show wear.

Off the shoulder shirts, yep those were there in force. Peasant tops, sure.

Available now at Nordstrom’s.

Apparently “cold shoulder” tops are all the rage. These are shirts without shoulders. I’d wear them on weekends, but this is NOT appropriate work wear in my part of the country. Maybe for those of you on the west coasts, this is okay. I found the east coast to be more formal than even we are here in the the bastion of conservatism that is the Mid-West.

It also means I am probably going to be having dress code conversations with some of the more junior members of the department. *sigh* Those always go well.

But, I still needed a few tops, so I went to my standby. It’s a nice and conservative store, one I can rely on for the basics. Don;t expect trendy, but the quality is usually quite good. This is the store I turn to for business suits and jackets. Except, this is what they are serving up:

I have no idea what office this is appropriate in.

 

So, it looks like I will waiting until next year to replace some of my patterned tops. I was able to find some plain shells in the meantime. Once again, gimme a guy’s polo shirt or button down shirt (which can be found anywhere) and khakis.

My Secret Envy

Envy is never a good emotion. It’s one of the seven deadly sins, after all.

Still, I gotta admit to it, especially when it comes to my male co-workers. Here are six things I really envy.

 

1. Shoes

I cannot tell you how envious I am of my male co-workers’ shoes. They are not expected to sport heels of any sort. Their shoes are designed for comfort, and it’s easy for them to get shoes with non-slip soles for our floors. We’re a heavy manufacturer, so we don’t have carpet anywhere except the CEO and President’s office. That’s it. So, those leather or synthetic soles on the bottoms of most women’s shoes turns the floors into an ice skating rink. We’ve actually had several women slip and fall on the floors.

 

Seriously, which looks more practical to you? Which do you want to walk the shop floor in? Or even walk to the bathroom wearing?

So yes, I buck this trend, and I accept the “hit” to my professional appearance accordingly.

 

2. Hair

Men can “do” their hair in about 2.3 minutes. The concept of a bad hair day is about as alien to them as putting their feet in shoes designed for Barbie rather than the anatomical realities of a human foot.

Men don’t have to blow dry, straighten, curl, or figure out which products do what. Best of all, most of the men I know get their hair cut for under $25 including tip. Yeah, that’s less than half the going rate in my area for a woman’s haircut.

If you talk to most guys about coloring their hair, they’ll look at you like you’re speaking Swahili. Yet, women over a certain age are expected to color their hair. Heck, it doesn’t even matter if you’re of a certain age. The moment that grey starts to peak through, you’re expected to take care of it.

I hate going to the salon. Not only is it expensive, but I have to sit there while people I don’t know touch me and try to make conversation. Is there any more of a nightmare for an introvert?

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I am fortunate that I don’t yet have any grey hair. Yeah, I know, odd, but true. When I do start to go grey, I will have to make a hard decision on whether or not I buck the trend. Given my allergies, I am not sure I could even tolerate the chemicals.

Still, I’m jealous of my male counterparts that are considered distinguished with grey hair rather than just “old”.

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3. Make Up

As I confessed in this post, I already don’t wear it. I can’t.

As a professional woman, there’s a price to pay for this. My male counterparts are expected NOT to wear makeup. A few lines or wrinkles adds distinction.

If only…

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4. Pants

I work in heavy manufacturing. Wearing skirts or dresses, while possible, is pretty impractical. Even if I didn’t work in manufacturing, dresses are really impractical. I want to see a man put on pantyhose just once. Or having to sit with their legs just so. Or worrying about skirt length as they’re walking up or down stairs.

However, buying pants as a woman is a nightmare.

I can buy my husband’s khakis in about 3 clicks. Wrinkle resistant? Yep. Waist size? Yep. Inseam? Yep. Click buy and 95% of the time they fit perfectly.

Women’s pants don’t come in inseams. Or waist sizes. I think this is a ploy to keep tailors in business. See, I have to scour the internet to find a pair of weirdly sized pants (what exactly does 8, 10 and 12 relate to?!?), and once I find a pair that fits  (the size of which will vary by brand, by cut, and by phase of the moon), I then get to take them to the tailor and have them hemmed to fit me and the waist taken in.

I once asked a sales clerk why the pants were so darn long as I walked on the hems while trying them on. I’m average height for an American woman, so why don’t the pants fit me? She explained that they’re designed for women to wear shoes like the ones above. Um, yeah. I’ll just keep paying the tailor.

 

5. Bras

My male coworkers don’t wear them.

I cannot explain the “joy” of wearing one, or how long and hard you have to look to find the right one. I once told my husband to imagine having to wear a jock strap constantly. But, having never had to wear one, I have no idea if it’s accurate. The way he squirmed when I said that made me think it’s at least part way there.

 

6. Underwear

Men buy them in packs of 6 for under $20.  ‘Nuf said.

 

How about you? Ever feel envy for something, even if it was something small? What was it and why?

10 Reasons Science Says We Should Say Goodbye to Social media

As an advocate of science, it’s time for me to say goodbye to social media. Or at least reduce my time spent there and change who I spend it with.

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The blog will continue three times a week, as always. I’ve come to enjoy blogging, especially getting to know other bloggers. But social media is different.

I embarked on the journey into Twitter and Facebook specifically for my writing. Instead of giving me the visibility and platform to succeed as an author, I’ve found it stealing my energy, draining my time, and overall, making me unhappy.

So, if you see me less active on Twitter or Facebook, understand that it’s not you. It’s me.

I can’t handle the barrage coming at me. People asking me why I didn’t “like” something. The stupid feelings of inadequacy because not enough people like or retweet something I posted.

So. Done. With. It.

Besides, the point of social media was to help my writing, not suck insane amounts of time from me that I should be spending writing. Or with my kids. Or my husband. Heck, cleaning the dust bunnies out of the basement would probably be a better and more fulfilling use of my time.

I figured it was just me feeling this way, but after a little research trying to learn how to overcome these feelings, I learned I am not alone in this. A bit more digging into the multitude of research papers out there shows that social media makes us less happy in a lot of ways. This helped me feel better about my decision.

Here are ten reasons research says why we should let go of social media, or at least reduce it:

 

1. You Enjoy Experiences Less

Counter-intuitive, perhaps, but studies show that the act of recording something for social media can actually take some of the enjoyment out of doing the thing you’re sharing. Whether it’s snapping a picture of a delicious dessert, or going to the zoo, studies show you will enjoy it less if you immerse yourself in the experience and don’t worry about sharing it with the world.

Perhaps this isn’t so counter-intuitive. Hard to truly enjoy something if you’re trying to get the perfect shot of your cake before you eat it, and are then worrying how many people will “like” your post and if it’ll be seen as “cool” enough.

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2. You Can Miss Out on the Experience Altogether

Research corroborates what most of us know or have witnessed. That parent too busy trying to get the perfect pictures that they don’t enjoy their child’s first birthday. They’re so busy trying to take pictures of all the cool things happening that they don’t participate. 

Except, social media takes this so much farther. Suddenly all of life’s events must be documented, and the person doing the documenting is missing out.

3. You Do Things You Know You Shouldn’t for the “Like”

I haven’t been on social media long enough to experience this personally, but I ’m not even going to Google how many people died last year taking dangerous selfies. Or what those selfies were.

But think about that. People have died taking selfies.

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4. Instagram Life

Rather than focusing on the good moment, the parts of life that enrich us and nourish us, social media can lure us into focusing on the moments that look good. We spend time chasing the Instagram-worthy times and miss out on some of the very best parts.

I can see this happening if you do post a lot on social media. You’ll never see a picture of me snuggled up in the recliner with both of my girls on my lap and all of us still in our jammies. But let me tell you, it’s my favorite part of the weekend when I can get it, and I’m going to miss it desperately when my girls are “too old” to snuggle.

5. Problematic for Relationships

  75% of people have admitted to being rude and disconnected because of their phone. This results in later feelings of guilt, regret, disappointment or embarrassment. Here’s a sign posted on a daycare door, per my Facebook friends.

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I can’t even imagine . . .  I normally have drop-off duty, but when I do get to pick up my girls instead, the joy of their faces makes whatever happened that day melt away. My preschooler can’t wait to tell me about her day, and my toddler is singing momma, momma and clinging to my leg. To miss out on that, for whatever’s on my phone . . . Please, please take a hammer a to my phone first.

6.  Social Media Feeds Envy

Particularly Facebook, makes people envious of others.  The reason this is particularly true of Facebook is that those in our social network are perceived like us. While you may “follow” JK Rowling or Stephen King or even the President of the United States on Twitter, Facebook tends to be fillwed with people we think of as peers. If all we see are their accomplishments, and never their failures or set-backs, people start to feel lesser about their own achievements.

In a society already inundated with marketers trying to make us feel unworthy unless we buy their product, this is the last thing I need.

Makes me wonder if this related to #4.  If all you ever see if other people’s Instagram life, or the special moments they post on Facebook, you may think that’s the entirety of their life. When, in fact, there’s still dishes to do, laundry to fold, and floors to sweep. 

7. Social Media Makes People Lonelier

My first thought when I read this was that maybe they weren’t doing a solid scientific study. Perhaps lonelier people were naturally drawn to social media. But they’d thought of that and proved that lonelier people aren’t drawn to social media in the first place.

So if you weren’t lonely in the first place, why would experiencing social media make them lonely? There’s some speculation that the lack of deep and meaningful relationships on social media is the driving cause behind this. While social media interactions tend to be more plentiful, they also tend to be more superficial and less fulfilling than other interactions.

Unless, of course, you’re in-person interactions are like those of the parents the daycare posted about.

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8. Social Media Causes Depression

Even just “lurking” can cause negative emotions. Given that depression is the leading cause of disability in the US for people between the ages of 15 and 44, anything to reduce this disease is desirable.

 

9. Social Media is Addictive

Of course it’s addictive.There’s a reason why we keep coming back to it over and over again. Companies like Facebook spend a lot of money keeping it that way. They know what lures us on, what keeps us clicking. Social media companies are for profit organizations. They make money by keeping you on their site. They know how to get your brain to give you a hit of that oh so good dopamine, you know, the neurotransmitter involved in pleasure.

It’s why Candy Crush is worth $6 billion. They know how to get you to spend money on a game one step above solitaire. And how to keep you doing it.

10. Social Media is Boring

Addictive, but boring. I can see this. I’m only half engaged on most social media platforms, anyway. Skimming through feeds, looking for stuff to click “like” on without spending too much time looking at any one thing.

Interestingly, according to the study, boredom is part of what keeps bringing us back.

We’re bored, so might as well check Facebook. We’re still bored, might as well go check Twitter…

 

 

How about you?  What’s your relationship with Social Media? Do you feel like it enriches your life, or is it a time thief? Maybe somewhere in between? Ever suffer from any of the downsides research has shown us social media has?  How did you deal with them?