Saturday, August 20, 2016

Female Friendship: Exemplars

I've written about Patriarchal sisterhood, the ways in which women are turned against each other, even in the closest familiar relationships.

Here’s the truth: friendships between women are often the deepest and most profound love stories, but they are often discussed as if they are ancillary, “bonus” relationships to the truly important ones. Women’s friendships outlast jobs, parents, husbands, boyfriends, lovers, and sometimes children. -- The Rumpus, Emily Rapp 

I also have begun to tackle ideas of a better sisterhood and friendship, the ways in which women can help and support each other.

I've read a lot about the women who founded Black Lives Matter, the ways in which black women supported each other in order to create a grass roots movement about improving community relationships. I'm certainly not at that level, but I think it's an exemplar of what women can do when we work together and build on each other's ideas.

In the early history of the Women's Liberation movement we can find the focus on decentralized friendship and consciousness raising through sharing experiences among a gaggle of united women. The movement didn't focus on a singular leader, allowing women to collaborate in an organic way, like the amoeba with natural exponential growth.

One narrative reading that affected me, especially as a young person beginning my career and activism was this story, of a woman who met a cohort of older and more experienced women. The way that Emily was able to learn from them, be guided and supported, while also giving her energy to a shared cause was something that resonated with me.

What I realized, sitting there, was that these women had been in these kinds of emotionally challenging situations for over 20 years. Together. They understood, together, as friends, and apart, as individuals in the world, the urgency of compassion, and that it often goes unnoticed but that this doesn’t make it any less important or vital or difficult to sustain and cultivate. And they also understood that you could try as hard as you possibly could, and disaster could still strike – mercilessly. Without warning, without fairness, and with fatal consequences.

I joined a few online groups that allow me to speak and think with women. Sisters send each other notes of love and support when we describe our challenges. Elder women advise younger ones on the strength inside of our hearts and minds, the resillience of the female to continue through struggles that our fore-mothers have survived; they share the tricks gained through experience. Young women share the silly Buzzfeed posts that give giggles and reality check the hurt of male negation.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Police Round up

I listened to the Democracy Now podcast for August 3rd. They had a lot to say about the resignation of Chief Bill Bratton.

It's been a long time coming; what's truly amazing is how normalized these aspects of police violence are like stop and frisk. I remember when I first watch this video and was aghast.

Now we have to be grateful for police offering to wear body cameras, cameras that open a whole host of privacy issues, security storage issues, and finally seem to mysteriously turn off when actually needed.

I don't know if Black Lives Matter's or the Million Man's March platform directly lead to the resignation of the chief architect of a form of police surveillance. But I think that the stakes are too high for us to stop marching and protesting.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

So, I have a job at Boston University in the Development and Alumni Relations’ Research.
You can read my cover letter for my application, to get a sense of how I described both my previous experience from working during college and my current experience of working part time. I can go into more detail on the experience of writing dozens of cover letters or provide a tableau of them if it would be helpful. I spent a lot of time tailoring my cover letters to the position I was applying to. Often I went line by line between my resume and the job requirements. Certainly, working as a temp gave me a sense of how Boston University described its goals, such as their focus on the current campaign fundraising goal or wiki-databases. But most of the cover letter was focused on the tasks listed in the job posting.
Research coordinator positions can cover a broad range of tasks, especially as clinical research coordinators, development research coordinators, and project research coordinators have completely different areas of focus. A decent description of my job can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook. I find the handbook to be really helpful for both salary and responsibility descriptions. Reading the descriptions, I often direct my focus on duties based on whether the position is in federal, non-profit, academic, or profit.

Fundraising managers typically do the following:

  • Manage progress towards achieving an organization’s fundraising goals
  • Develop and carry out fundraising strategies
  • Identify and contact potential donors
  • Create and plan different events that can generate donations
  • Meet face-to-face with highly important donors
  • Apply for grants
  • Assign, supervise, and review the activities of staff
Neither my job duties nor my salary are quite so expansive. Maybe with a promotion! My job is a mix of the above and an Administrative Service Managerposition. I do a lot to maintain records and the daily running of the office.
My research coordinator position focuses on the research needs of the Development researchers, researchers who focus on identifying potential donors and tracking the likelihood of giving. I also cover some tasks similar to a clinical research coordinator in that I manage several large subscription and database services. I do also manage the budget for the department with the oversight of the director and the assistance of the sourcing and procurement teams. Unlike a clinical research coordinator, I don’t have to balance research grants; that falls to another member of the Development team. Managing paper files is also a large part of my job. These paper files are used by researchers and prospect managers to find information on previous correspondence, promises to give, and fund updates.
Really, these paper files are a very large part of my job. Data and record keeping are critical for financial and privacy reasons. I’d really like to improve some aspects of the record keeping. I do my best to pay attention to how people use the files I’m in charge of, so that I can be vigilant for changes that could be helpful and cost-effective.
What can be strange is that I’m very used to academic and non-profit workplaces due to my experience at MIT and at museums in D.C. and Boston. But Boston University is not only a different place; I’m in a different position within the higher education field. The Development field is kind of a mix of these two areas, the lofty goals of funding new research to solve big problems and the lowly limited budgets found outside of industry. Plus, fundraisers do brush elbows with donors and travel to meet international parents, but researchers type away and pour over FEC filings. I do like the work, especially the balance of personality and workplace found by going across some of these boundaries.
Another part of my job?