On Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

should be "One Nation Under Therapy" - sorry

Posted on April 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm 0

On Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

As author of a self-help book for progressive activists (The Lifelong Activist), I was really happy to read this article, and particularly your suggestion that people like Bradford, etc., be added to the canon. There is definitely a bias against self-help among self-described intellectuals. (Although now under the rubrics of "positive psychology" and "behavioral technology" it's more accepted.) It never made sense to me - life is complex and difficult, so why not learn from others? Additionally, people on the left tend to think the whole field of self-help ignores issues of societal and institutional oppression, and some of it does, but not all of it. (In my work, I really try to help people identify the oppressive forces in their lives.)

The right, of course, has a different objection to self-help. In books like One Nature Under Therapy, they talk about how there's too much self-help, therapy, etc. - because we're all supposed to just shut up and effortlessly cope, I suppose.

Posted on April 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm 0

On On Expectations (And A Writer's Lack Of Same)

>I don't mean to say "quit yer whining" but I think it's really a sad thing to get caught up in. Disappointment, in huge quantity, is the hallmark of the thing worth doing. It takes a bit of pluck but if you can sit there after being cut from an audition or opening a rejection letter and find a way to connect that low directly to the greatest high you ever got from doing what you do, then I think the bitterness and frustration mostly resolve themselves.

I totally disagree with this commenter. There's a huge difference between resilience (an essential/admirable quality) and being caught up in an essentially disempowering system. SJ's reaction makes perfect sense to me, including her(?) rage - although I think that rather than being angry with herself, she should be angry at the journal that incompetently, irresponsibly and disrespectfully held onto her story for more than 2 years.

Writers routinely put up with crap that no sane businessperson would put up with (and, yes, it is a business, even if we're talking about a literary journal subsisting on grants); and they also regularly get told that it is their duty to put up with that crap for art's sake or whatever. That's total BS, and it's why I and so many others have moved to self-publishing and self-promotion - not just because we don't want to get exploited or disrespected, but because we know that disempowerment is unhealthy on every level, especially when endured over years.

Hillary Rettig

Posted on March 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm 0

On Diary of an Unemployed Class of '10 Philosophy Major in New York City, Part 3

there is a lot of FUD around job searches and consequently a lot of misinformation. networking is not a crapshoot; it's a rational and effective and fun (once you know what you're doing) strategy. briefly: you find ten places you want to work, research them exhaustively. in the process of researching you learn who some decision makers are and research them. then you reach out to them as follows "I really admired your article/speech/etc. for these specific reasons. I would love to work with your company. I know there are no openings now but would appreciate a few minutes of your time to discuss what you're looking for in candidates and how I can better be prepared when an opening does arise..."

OR, you join a professional organization and participate in a meaningful way. if you join the membership committee, you will meet everyone. ditto for helping to organize an event. or, if you write an article for the newsletter you can call pretty much anyone you want. (volunteering can accomplish the same goals.)

going to random events is NOT effective networking, particularly if those events are filled with unemployed - vs employed - people.

hope these tips help. I wrote an ebook with this and other strategic tips. Of course, I did it to help sell my coaching, but it's free and no obligation so download it if you want and share it if you want. I hate seeing people waste time and lose confidence through a bad job search strategy.


Hillary Rettig

Posted on July 6, 2010 at 11:50 am 0