Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East. History nerd, linguistic geek, and devoted news junkie.
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update: I didn’t get a job because I was a bully in high school

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Remember the letter-writer who was blocked from a job by someone who she’d bullied in high school? Here’s the update.

I know you didn’t solicit an update, but I felt compelled to send one. I’d written you in the spring because I was having trouble breaking into a niche industry in which a high school classmate I’d bullied was a rock star. I wanted to know if you thought apologizing would help me get a job.

At the advice of your readers, I did delete the draft of an apology email I’d had sitting in my inbox for some time. I applied for one more job with Rock Star’s company, and when I didn’t hear back, I decided it was really and truly time to look elsewhere. I found a shop in a town seven hours away that was desperate to hire someone for a paid 9-month fellowship that started in June because the candidate they’d originally extended an offer to found a full-time, permanent position. I said goodbye to my boyfriend, packed up my car and two cats, and drove to a town I’d never been to.

And I hated it. Not the work. I actually loved the work, but the town sucked. Being away from my boyfriend and my family sucked. Not being able to make friends sucked (everyone else my age was married with two kids already). I called my boyfriend every night crying. He was supposed to come visit me over Labor Day but cancelled at the last minute because he had to work. Seeing how bummed I was, a coworker offered to swap shifts with me so I could make the trip home for the long weekend. I hopped into my car after work on Friday and drove all evening, arriving at the place I’d been sharing with my boyfriend before I moved a little after 1 a.m. Well, you probably know where this was going. He was cheating on me. I was devastated. I spent the rest of the night sobbing on my sister’s couch and drove back to where I was working the next morning.

Except I couldn’t make myself get out of bed on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. I was fired after my third no call no show.

I tried to get the part-time job I’d had before moving for the fellowship back (they’d said come back anytime), but they’d found someone who was faster and more efficient than I’d been. Unable to afford a place on my own, I had to move back in with my parents. Not sure what else to do, I sent another desperate application to Rock Star’s shop. In an effort to cheer me up, my sister and my friends took me out for a nice dinner for my birthday at the end of September. This is where it goes from bad to worse. I drank too much wine at dinner and got pretty weepy. I excused myself from the table to try to put myself together … and ran into Rock Star and her husband celebrating their anniversary on the way to the bathroom.

I ended up yelling/crying at her that she’d ruined my life. I was asked to leave to leave and told I wasn’t welcome back.

That was Saturday night. I spent Sunday hungover in bed, trying to figure out how to clean up the mess I made. On Monday morning, Rock Star’s manager (the one hiring for the job I’d applied for) emailed me to let me know I’d been removed from the candidate pool. She advised me that I would not be considered for future positions at their shop … or any other in the network. That afternoon, without mentioning me or what happened at the restaurant over the weekend, Rock Star tweeted a long thread about how she’d been bullied in high school and she wishes teenagers would realize that high school ends and it does get better. She also tweeted out links to local mental health resources and the National Suicide hotline that were liked/retweeted many, many times.

So, just to recap, no job, no boyfriend, no money, no hope of ever breaking into the industry I spent five years preparing to enter. It’s hard not to feel like some of this is Rock Star’s fault, especially given how she rubbed salt in the wound after my whole world had come crashing down.

Me again. You’ve had a really hard time, letter-writer, and I’m sorry. This sucks. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is Rock Star’s fault; it makes sense that this would happen after the altercation in the restaurant. It doesn’t sound like she was trying to rub salt in the wound, just that she’s dealing with her own pain from the past. I say that not because I want to rub salt in it either, but because I hope seeing it more clearly might help you more forward more quickly.

In any case, you’re having a really tough time of it, and I’m sorry and hope things get better for you soon. Hang in there.

update: I didn’t get a job because I was a bully in high school was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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hannahdraper
4 hours ago
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Maybe she can get with the international school teacher who ghosted on his long-term partner?
Washington, DC
HarlandCorbin
3 hours ago
Karma comes to a bully? Sorry, but you made this mess, starting as a kid, and you need to figure out how to get yourself out of it. Maybe give up on this industry that you blocked yourself from and start over trying to do something else.
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Walmart And Amazon's Food Fight

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Amazon and Walmart each want to sell you groceries as part of their plan to sell everyone everything. So now Walmart is inventing new kinds of foods to lure customers into the store.

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hannahdraper
5 hours ago
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The fuck? Fruity pickles have been available in the Mississippi Delta for years. Way to steal ideas, Wal-Mart.
Washington, DC
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The Secret Sign Language of the Ottoman Court.

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Amelia Soth describes an interesting phenomenon of Ottoman court life:

In the 1600s, the court of the Ottoman Empire employed some 40 deaf servants. They were chosen not in spite of their deafness, but because of it. The deaf servants were favored companions of the sultan, and their facility in nonverbal communication made them indispensable to the court, where decorum restricted speech in the sultan’s presence. As Sir Paul Rycaut, an English traveler to the Ottoman court, wrote:

[T]his language of the Mutes is so much in fashion in the Ottoman Court, that none almost but can deliver his sense in it, and is of much use to those who attend the Presence of the Grand Signior, before whom it is not reverent or seemly so much as to whisper.

The deaf attendants taught pages in training to communicate by means of signs. It isn’t certain whether theirs was a fully fledged sign language, though Rycaut suggested that the attendants “can discourse and fully express themselves; not only to signifie their sense in familiar questions, but to recount Stories, understand the Fables of their own Religion, the Laws and Precepts of the Alchoran, the name of Mahomet, and what else may be capable of being expressed by the Tongue.”

Another European observer, Ottaviano Bon, wrote that “both the Grand Signor, and divers that are about him, can reason, and discourse with the Mutes of any thing: as well and as distinctly, alla Mutescha, by nods and signes, as they can with words.”

She has much more to say about the rule of seclusion and its history (it goes back to the Abbasid Caliphate) and the various courts of the Topkapi Palace. Another good post from JSTOR Daily!

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hannahdraper
5 hours ago
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Washington, DC
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Ryan: Have More Babies Or the Social Security Gets It

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There was a fascinating moment in Paul Ryan’s press conference a few moments ago. It was quick and tucked into a conversation about “entitlement reform.” But it was bracingly specific. Ryan noted that to avoid steep cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare, American women will need to start having more babies. Here’s the video.

Here’s what is important to understand. As Americans live longer and have fewer children, the political economy has needed more young people than what economists call ‘natural increase’ can manage. That’s a key reason why relatively high rates of immigration has become so key to sustaining not just economic growth but the ability of working age payroll taxes to sustain these programs which mainly but not exclusively go to older people. There are other ways to help these programs: like ending the tax breaks that allow wealthy people to pay lower rates than working people.

But fundamentally, we do need more working age people. That’s where immigration has been so key. Ryan is being quite candid here. With the dramatic reductions the GOP wants in immigration as well as the tax cuts he’s pushing, he needs American women to start having a lot more babies. As he says he’s “done his part.” Ryan and his wife Janna have three children.

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hannahdraper
5 hours ago
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Washington, DC
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Passenger Pigeon

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One of the most important and horrible stories of environmental degradation in the United States is the rapid decline of the passenger pigeon from perhaps the most common bird in North America to complete extinction in less than a century. We know why it happened–massive overhunting combined with the rapid loss of habitat as the fields were plowed up. Perhaps the most important representation of this in American culture is the scene in Cooper’s The Pioneers, where Natty Bumppo expressed extreme disgust over his neighbors’ wanton massacre of pigeons. But that never answered the question over why they went fully extinct instead of just became endangered like so many other species that later came back or at least have some level of population stability. There is some new evidence on this:

As co-author Beth Shapiro explains, the research — which involved studying a number of complete and mitochondrial passenger pigeon genomes, as well as genomes from a close relative, the band-tailed pigeon — overturns a previous theory about why passenger pigeons went extinct so quickly.

“A few years ago, a study was published that suggested that their populations actually fluctuated quite considerably over time and that this might have meant that they were already on a decline when humans turned up and started shooting them,” says Shapiro, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “And we found that this is, in fact, not true — that their populations had been extremely large and stable for at least the last several tens of thousands of years, even during the last ice age.”

Pigeons in these large, stable populations were well-adapted to life in big groups, Shapiro says. Individual pigeons likely didn’t have to work hard to find a mate, or worry as much about predation or finding food. But over the course of just several decades, she explains, our “industrial-scale murder” sharply reduced passenger pigeon numbers — and in smaller groups, the average passenger pigeon suddenly faced a host of new survival worries.

“If that ability had been lost over the course of tens of thousands of years of living in large populations, it would have been tough for them to survive as a tiny population,” she says.

For Shapiro, the passenger pigeon’s story is a cautionary tale — and a chance to learn from our misconceptions.

“We often think of things that are in large populations as being not particularly vulnerable to extinction, but perhaps that’s not true,” she says. “And perhaps when we’re thinking about whether a species is in danger of becoming extinct, we really need to think more holistically, start to consider the entire history of adaptation of that species.”

One similar population type could be fisheries, Shapiro says. “We know that fisheries have been very large, they tend to be large populations that are connected to each other,” she explains.

“And when we think about restoring them, we often don’t think about restoring them to these formerly enormous populations, but somehow being able to achieve smaller populations, potentially even isolated populations. But this may not be what these species really need to be able to come back.”

A cheery tale, just like everything else during the Sixth Extinction.

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hannahdraper
9 hours ago
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Washington, DC
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Womanhattan

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The year is 2042. It’s been over a decade since men have been banned from New York City’s main island and society has rebuilt itself.

This is Womanhattan now.

In Womanhattan, offices are kept at 72 degrees and have designated areas for those who run warm. Everyone is comfortable in a sleeveless top.

In Womanhattan, bodegas are lit by candles and soft lamps and have entire aisles dedicated to beauty and skincare. There are still many cats.

In Womanhattan, crosswalks no longer count down with panicked ticking or scream “WAIT!!!” They encourage you to “GO AHEAD, GIRL” or play Solange until traffic has cleared.

In Womanhattan, witches are elected officials.

In Womanhattan, there are no barkers in front of bars and venues. Women simply stand by the door giving passersby reassuring looks that let others know we have a great show for you tonight.

In Womanhattan, cops and Juno drivers are just girlfriends you haven’t met yet.

In Womanhattan, the Empire State Building turns a deep crimson five days out of the month.

In Womanhattan, everyone gets a seat on the subway. If there are more people on a train car than open seats, we take turns. If someone is pregnant, handicapped, over 60 or looks like she’s “had a day,” it’s understood they get to sit the entire ride.

In Womanhattan, public masturbation is an urban legend.

In Womanhattan, laundromats are wine bars where you can also wash your bra if you’d like.

In Womanhattan, maternity leave is available to everyone every year, regardless of pregnancy status. We’re all someone else’s mother if you think about it, and figurative breastfeeding is exhausting.

In Womanhattan, Columbus Circle has been renamed Rodham Roundabout.

In Womanhattan, constant, oppressive honking has been replaced by a polite chorus of apologies.

In Womanhattan, many remain happily single while others travel to surrounding boroughs for their romantic and physical needs. Still, no one has gone to Staten Island.

In Womanhattan, karaoke bars found with Journey, Sublime or Weezer in their music libraries will be fined.

In Womanhattan, bouncers are simply greeters whose main purpose is to pump you up for a fun night ahead.

In Womanhattan, Wall Street is a daily craft fair where the currency is based on bartering and compliments.

In Womanhattan, all traces of Woody Allen have been destroyed.

In Womanhattan, professionals do not expose their genitals to their colleagues except for gynecologists helping each other out.

In Womanhattan, electricity in Times Square promptly shuts off every night at 6 pm. The area transforms into a public outdoor meditation workshop followed by an optional seance.

In Womanhattan, young girls have to ask, “Mama, what did urine baking in the sun used to smell like?”

In Womanhattan, cat calls from construction workers are no more. Construction by man is no more. Robots do not know what sexual harassment is.

In Womanhattan, Murray Hill is underwater.

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hannahdraper
1 day ago
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Honestly sounds awesome.
Washington, DC
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