How the Republican Tax Bill Affects Grad Students (Spoilers: Not in a good way!)

I don’t often talk politics on this blog because that’s not what it’s for, but in rare cases I come across a political topic like the Republican Tax Bill that affects not only creative people with Day Jobs, but all of us who don’t quite fit the Traditional Middle-Class Mold of going to college, getting a high-paying job, and working that high-paying job until retirement.

For the past few weeks President Trump’s been talking about a new tax bill that he and others have touted as a way to bring tax relief to the middle class, in addition to reducing paperwork and loosening restrictions on businesses to make them more competitive.  Though the exact rhetoric around the bill has been mixed, the White House has been careful to plant the seed that the bill isn’t designed to help the wealthy, and Continue reading »

Why I’m Not Interested in Early Retirement

In what little spare time I have I follow a few money and finance blogs, which has helped me develop my philosophy about how smart financial decisions can help creative people get where they need to go.  I’ve found a lot of the advice from these blogs to be solidly helpful (make a budget, track your net worth, pay off debt, etc.), but there’s one thing financial bloggers are always talking about that I couldn’t be less interested in: retiring early.

Now just so we’re all on the same page, retiring in the technical sense of the word isn’t about having your hair turn white or moving into an old folks’ home.  On the contrary, Continue reading »

Why I Left My Work-From-Home Day Job

For those of you who missed last’s week’s Life Update, I totally got a new Day Job to replace my old Secret Work-From-Home one, so what follows will make way more sense if you check that out first.  (TLDR Version: My new job’s in an office doing a writing/editing-type activity, the conditions make it ideal for keeping up with my novel, this blog, and other creative projects, and to lessen my commute I moved to a new apartment a mere 3.6 miles from the new job.)

Now that we’re all on the same page, some of you might be wondering Continue reading »

The Perks of Being a Renaissance Man (or Woman)

Renaissance Man (ren-uh-sahns man), n, also called polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much”)

    1. a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. Such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems (Wikipedia)
    2. a person who has wide interests and is expert in several areas (Merriam-Webster)

I had a friend who was obsessed with the idea of the Renaissance Man (or Woman)—the ideal of gaining expertise in several different areas that you could then use to live a more well-rounded, versatile, and diverse life.  Meriwether Lewis, he insisted, was chosen to lead the Corps of Discovery Continue reading »

Simple Debt-Paying Advice for Creative People

The other day I was talking to some friends about finances (yeah, these are the kinds of conversations you start having after age 25…) and one of my friends whose debt was spread out over a lot of different loans started talking about his strategy:

FRIEND: So basically I’ve got these two student loans and I usually pay an extra hundred bucks on one of ‘em and an extra fifty on the other, and then I’m also trying to pay off my car so sometimes I pay some extra there, Continue reading »

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: An Interview with Poet James Crews

I met James Crews at the University of Nebraska where he worked as a mentor for my first-year teaching class while finishing his poetry PhD.  We kept in touch, and when we both found ourselves in the northeast I drove out to southern Vermont to the farmhouse he shares with his partner in Shaftsbury (which, coincidentally, is just up the road from Bennington College, where I did my undergrad). Continue reading »

What I Learned From Working 70-Hour Weeks for Two Months

Writing about overtime hours last week reminded me of last spring when I took on the challenge of working 70 hours a week, every week, between three different jobs.  It was pretty intense.

How did this happen, you ask?  Since there wasn’t much to do at my regular Day Job working at the research greenhouse, I sought out a work from home opportunity (a.k.a. my Continue reading »

Unpaid Overtime is Not Cool (and What You Can Do About It)

There’s a lot of things I hate (rude people, traffic jams, being called “buddy” in conversation), but not getting paid for the work I’ve done takes the top slot.  This isn’t because I’ve been stiffed on a paycheck, but because I’ve had jobs where I had to face off against my arch nemesis unpaid overtime.

Check out this graph from the Economic Policy Institute showing Continue reading »