Shared posts

26 Sep 04:55

my coworker gives everyone the silent treatment for weeks

by Ask a Manager
kfunk

god i'd love to be a fly on the wall at these meetings

A reader writes:

I have a coworker, Jane, who deals with conflict in strange and alienating ways. Recently, she’s been giving people the silent treatment on and off. It makes meetings tense, and she tends to keep it up for days or weeks at a time before spontaneously deciding she’s speaking to her coworkers again. She refuses to speak with me and others about necessary work matters until she calms down, and she makes a point of making meetings as tense as possible, up to and including only responding to direct questions from our supervisor.

In the past, I’ve tried reaching out with, “Hey, I’m not sure what’s going on but I’m sorry that I upset you – can you let me know how I can do better?” etc. but this absolutely enrages her and she shuts down completely, thus extending the length of the silent treatment. She’s told us that she just needs to be left alone to process her feelings until she feels ready to talk to us again, but it’s honestly gotten to the point where it’s disruptive to my direct reports’ and my workflow as well as really bad for morale. Not to mention, she refuses to tell anyone what upset her in the first place so no one has the ability to fix it.

I’ll be on-boarding a bunch of seasonal staff soon, and we’re heading into our busy season. I just don’t have the bandwidth for her mini-tantrums and I don’t want our new temps to feel tension or negativity right out of the gate (attrition is a problem, so it’s important that we keep them happy to the extent we can). Jane and I have the same supervisor so I’ve mentioned this to her, along with the steps I’ve taken to handle this on my own (talk to her, give her space when feasible but it’s not always feasible). Our supervisor’s been sympathetic but mentioned Jane has had such a long tenure here that basically she’ll be here until she retires and there’s not a lot we can do about her attitude. I’m feeling really stuck. I love my job, and I can’t imagine leaving over this, but there just has to be a better way to deal with this issue that I’m just not thinking of. What are your thoughts?

I have two main thoughts: Jane is a toddler, and your manager is at least as much of a problem as Jane is, if not more.

Jane’s behavior is, of course ridiculous. She doesn’t have to socialize and chit chat with people at work if she doesn’t want to, but it’s unacceptable to refuse to talk to people about work issues. She’s essentially saying “I’m going to opt out of doing my job for the next few weeks.” She’s a huge problem.

But your manager? Who sees all this right in front of her and apparently is in meetings where it happens and won’t address it? Who responds to requests for help about it by throwing up her hands and saying “oh well, nothing I can do about it”? She’s a huge problem too. Like Jane, she too is opting out of doing a key part of her job, which should include telling Jane in no uncertain terms that her behavior is unacceptable and if she wants to stay employed, she needs to talk with people about work matters, period.

So we have two people on work strikes here, although one of them probably doesn’t realize she’s doing it. (Overly passive and/or inept managers who decline to manage tend to just think “what a pain, but I can’t think of anything that can be done,” rather than deliberately setting out to abdicate responsibility … but the result is the same.)

So, what can you do? You’ve got two options, and you’ll probably end up needing to use a combination of both.

1. Call Jane on her behavior. When she ignores a work question, walk over to her desk and say, “I need the answer to X” and then stand there waiting. If she refuses to respond, then say, “You don’t need to socialize with me if you don’t want to, but you do need to continue doing your job. How would you like me to get X from you?” Similarly, if she’s being rude in meetings, call it out: “Jane, you’re the one best equipped to answer this question. Can you please respond to Bob?”

She may still stay determinedly silent, but by calling it out, you’ll make what she’s doing look even weirder and more awkward, and it will look even worse that your manager is sitting by silently.

By the way, I would drop the “sorry I upset you, what can I do better” stuff. That’s a fine approach for people who will open their mouths and engage, but with someone acting as ridiculous as she is, I wouldn’t cater to it that way. She’s being enough of an ass that she’s forfeited any right to that kind of coddling.

2. Push the problem over to your/her manager as much as possible. Jane won’t respond to work questions or is holding up workflow? Shift straight over to her manager — “Jane won’t answer this, so can you tell me how to get X?” … “We need X from Jane before we can move forward and she won’t speak to anyone. How do you want us to proceed?” … etc. Hell, you can do that in meetings while Jane is sitting right there. There’s no need to protect her from feeling the awkwardness of what she’s doing.

By taking everything Jane won’t deliver or answer straight to your/her manager, you’ll hopefully make your manager feel more of the brunt of Jane’s behavior … and if she has so little shame / so little ability to function as a manager that it doesn’t move her to deal with Jane, you’ll at least be transferring the problem over to her plate. And since she’s speaking to people, you’ll presumably get at least some sort of answer.

I suspect #1 won’t get you very far (but is still worth doing), and you’ll end up at #2. Then you can see what happens once more of this is falling on your boss to deal with.

Meanwhile, though, don’t lose sight of how utterly not-okay Jane’s behavior is. It’s crazy that your office boss is tolerating it, and it sucks that the rest of you have to put up with it.

my coworker gives everyone the silent treatment for weeks was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

18 Sep 04:27

my coworker is blaming someone else for an anonymous complaint I made, dress code changes, and more

by Ask a Manager
kfunk

Re: #1 A week worth of outfits could easily be achieved with ONE pair of pants and (if you don't mind the laundry) three or even two very neutral tops. This is not five pairs of pants and five tops. Oy. And are these company colors magenta and chartreuse? Come on, two weeks is plenty of time. I also love that the reaction is righteous indignation instead of a quick confirmation with management that this laborious shopping endeavor is even necessary.

Also I like that Alison has paired 1 and 3 (OP, calm yourself) with 2 and 4 (omg OP are you ok???). The rich tapestry of workplace issues is a wonder. (OP 5 is fine. And so frickin lucky.)

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Dress code changes with little notice

My work has one major, face-to-face-with-clients event for one week a year. 51 weeks of the year the dress code is jeans and company t-shirts. This one week is dressier, probably closest to business casual with the women wearing nice dresses, or slacks and blouses, as each woman chooses for herself. For five years, I’ve chosen dresses and have built up a small set of classy dresses in the company’s color scheme without dropping major cash all at once.

This year’s event is 16 days away, and today I heard through a coworker that the dress code is changing and we’re expected to wear all slacks and blouses, in company colors, with the hint, but not the demand, that we’re to match with each other. I’m furious. I don’t have seven days worth of dress slacks and blouses because that had not been required in my regular work attire, was not required for the annual event, and is not part of my street clothes closet.

I get it — the boss can set the dress code and I’m fine with what is expected to be worn, just not the amount of time I was given. Am I out of line to ask for a clothing allowance, or the company card for an afternoon of shopping? I do have the funds, but pardon me for having other plans for that couple hundred dollars I will now be spending on slacks and blouses I will not wear 98.07% of the year. My coworkers seem okay with the change as they have some slacks/blouses and will fill in with a couple of new pieces.

I will talk to the boss but I want to come down off my wall first. I otherwise love my job (and its very casual and comfortable dress code) and the boss is a true human being that values his staff, the compensation is above fair, as is the vacation time, so I don’t want to make a mountain out of nothing where I’ve otherwise got a good deal, but I do feel put out. Is that justified?

You’re absolutely justified to feel put out by the short notice. But it’s pretty unlikely that this is going to end with the company buying you new clothes. That’s just not something that normally happens.

Before you get too put out, though, talk to your boss. You haven’t heard this officially yet and your coworker may be wrong. So first confirm it with your boss and if it turns out it’s true, then say this: “Is there any flexibility on that? I have dresses that will work, but if the requirement is pants and shirts in company colors, I’d need to buy a week’s worth of new clothes, and I don’t have the budget to do that right now. I’d be glad to wear dresses that will match the color scheme.” If you’re pushed to do it anyway, you can say, “It’s really not possible for me financially, unless the company will cover the expense. Given that, what would you like me to do?”

If your company won’t budge, you might be able to do this on the cheap by going to consignment stores or even borrowing from similarly-sized friends. But have the conversation with your boss first, as it may not have occurred to them that they’re asking something that might not be easy for everyone to accommodate.

2. I made an anonymous complaint about a coworker and she’s blaming someone else for it

I work in a fairly toxic environment in the financial sector. Within the team are three women who are very close friends and have created a cliquish and gossipy environment. One of the girls in particular, “Jane,” has also made several racist comments that I find unacceptable. I unfortunately have an extremely incompetent manager who avoids difficult conversations at all costs, so although I have raised it with him previously, he disagrees that there is an issue and hasn’t corrected Jane’s behavior at all. I have challenged some of her comments at the time, but this often results in retaliation and I suffer from anxiety, so I’m ashamed to say I do often stay quiet for an easy life.

Recently, Jane made a racist comment that completely crossed the line in front of our team and two VIP visitors. My employer has a dedicated whistleblower line and I decided to call them and anonymously report this incident. They were appalled and agreed that this needed to be acted on, and said they would forward my complaint to HR. Our HR department then contacted my manager, who took my coworker to one side, told her about the complaint, asked her to “tone it down,” and considered the matter closed. I know this because since it happened a few weeks ago, she has been livid and loudly discusses it with everyone.

While she is now being careful not to say anything racially charged, she and her two friends have decided for some reason that they know who complained — and it’s not me. They are blaming our other coworker, “Sarah.” Their behavior towards her is borderline bullying — ignoring her or talking over her, calling her names behind her back and on social media, and generally making her work life as miserable as they can. She has told them she didn’t make the complaint, but they don’t believe her. Our manager has been witness to some of this and has turned a blind eye to it.

I am actively job-hunting to escape this, but in the meantime I feel very guilty that Sarah is dealing with the repercussions of my complaint and I don’t know how to fix it without admitting that I’m really the culprit. I know I’m a coward, but I can’t bear the thought of turning their bullying attentions onto me; I am already taking medication for my anxiety and if they knew I was the anonymous complainer, I think they would badly affect my health. Between my terrible manager and having already utilized the whistleblower line, I feel like I’ve already exhausted all my options. How do I fix the situation I’ve accidentally put my coworker in?

Go back to either the whistleblower line or HR — because retaliating against someone for making a good faith complaint of harassment or discrimination is illegal, and your company could be legally liable for allowing these employees to retaliate against the person they believe made the complaint. (And it’s ridiculous that your manager knows this is happening and is saying nothing. He sucks.) So go back and explain what’s happening. Make sure you use the words “engaging in retaliation for a good-faith report of harassment, which I believe is illegal and opens the company to legal liability.” You should also mention that your manager knows all this and has done nothing.

Your company has a legal obligation to shut this down. And if they do, but the behavior just goes underground (like if it’s still there but they’re being more careful about not doing it around your manager, for example), go back to them again. They can’t act on what they don’t know about, and they’d want to know about this.

3. My manager says I have to clean up my desk before she’ll approve more vacation days

My manager is also the HR person where I work. I have been with this company for 11 years and lately she has been questioning the state of my desk, which isn’t any worse then the desks of the other three people in the office. I have been taking Mondays off using my vacation days, and this last week she has decided to not approve my request for the next two Mondays off. The “hook” she has attached to approving it is that my desk is a mess and she won’t let me have the days off until I clean it up. She has gone off in other years about too many staples and paper clips off the floor, just to name a few things that she focuses on. My reviews are very good and my attendance missing almost no days. The other people in my office don’t receive this “extra attention” at all.

I would just clean up your desk. Maybe she’s singling you out unfairly or maybe your desk really does seem worse than other people’s, or maybe it matters more in your job for some reason (like if more people meet with you or people need to retrieve items from your area more often, or maybe your work seems less organized than other people’s and she’s guessing the mess is part of the reason why). But regardless, she’s made it clear that she’d like you to clean up your desk, and you need to do that before she’ll continue approving Mondays off for you. Why not just clean up your space?

I’d feel differently about this if you had an organizational system that worked for you that involved stacks of paper on your desk that she was categorizing as “mess.” But if she’s talking about things like trash on the floor … the easiest path here is to just clean it up.

4. My employer wanted a doctor’s note before accepting that I, a man, am my kids’ primary caretaker

My wife and I have one child and a second due via surrogacy in a few weeks. My job offers a certain amount of paid leave for all parents and longer leave for a primary caregiver. My wife has major back problems and, although she stays at home, I am the primary caregiver for the foreseeable future. In a bout of possibly over-disclosure, I informed my job of the details of this situation because my wife may later become the primary caretaker and there are some reasons why I think it would help to have my employer know that in advance. I regret my disclosure.

HR told me I could have the primary caregiver paid leave if we established with a doctor’s note–that would have to be updated during my leave–that my wife was unable to be the primary caregiver. That seems fundamentally problematic. It seems to me it’s up to us to decide who does the primary caretaking of our child. If my wife were perfectly healthy and we decided that she would watch TV all day and I would work AND be the primary caretaker of our child (probably with the help of a nanny), I think we could do that (although we would not actually do so).

My sense was this was entirely a gender-based issue and if a woman had made an identical request it would have resulted in a different response. Do you think I’m missing something here? My employer ultimately relented, but I’m trying to see their initial response in the best possible light.

Yeah, I would bet money that was gender-based. It would be interesting to know if your company routinely asks women who are taking parental leave for doctor’s notes saying that their husbands are unable to be the primary caretaker. Assuming they don’t — and I strongly doubt they do — this was about you being a man and not fitting their ideas of who stays home with kids. It’s gross, and it’s good that you pushed back.

5. How to follow up with my boss about turning my internship into a full-time position

I’ve been working as an intern at a large consulting firm this summer that has already been extended into the fall (I’m graduating in June 2019). A couple weeks ago, I requested a general feedback session with my boss, which was overall glowing, and asked if there would be a full-time spot for me post-graduation. Her answer was a resounding yes (yay!), and she told me we would work out the details when her boss gets back from vacation in about a week. My boss and her boss are both very busy and I assume that this has fallen off their radar, but I would love to get the details ironed out and signed within the next couple months so I can relax my senior year. When and how should I bring up my offer again without sounding greedy or pushy?

Wait a couple of weeks after your boss’s boss is back (since she’ll likely have higher priorities waiting for her). But after a couple of weeks, it would be fine to say your boss, “I wanted to follow up with you about the full-time spot we were talking about for after I graduate. I’m really excited about moving forward with it, and I wondered if you think it’s something we’d be able to iron out in the next month or so, or if there’s a different timeline I should have in my head?”

my coworker is blaming someone else for an anonymous complaint I made, dress code changes, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

17 Sep 14:23

Forever Is Really Great, But We’re Not Allowed to Tell You Why

by Jen Chaney
kfunk

intriguing. i will watch anything maya rudolph does.

Forever is one of the best new shows of the fall TV season. But here’s the thing: I can’t fully tell you why.

Amazon, which will premiere Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen’s dramedy on its Prime Video platform Friday, has asked critics to stay mum regarding many of the major details that might ordinarily appear in a review. You know, little things like what this show is actually about.

In this case, I completely get the desire for secrecy. One of the joys of Forever — and there are many — is that it constantly takes unexpected left turns, shifting the show’s premise and genre more than once, especially in the initial half of its eight-episode first season. To deprive anyone of the surprises would leech some of the pleasure out of the show and miss its point. This is a series about marriage, but also about how readily human beings succumb to routine and resist being shaken out of it. By luring us into thinking we know what Forever is and where it might go next, then totally switching everything up on us, co-creators Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard are forcing us out of our habitual TV comfort zones, too.

I can tell you this much, and if I’m wrong, I’m sure I’ll be hearing about it from Jeff Bezos: Forever begins with a long series of images that slide by and explain how June (Rudolph) and Oscar (Armisen) met, began dating, and eventually embark on married life together. It’s like that famous montage from Up, but steeped in banality instead of pathos.

In certain ways, June and Oscar are a perfect match, with idiosyncratic perspectives that snap together like two halves of a locket. But when it comes to a desire for adventure, they increasingly live on separate islands. Oscar is a hoarder of habits who loves cooking the same meals and taking the same vacations, day after day, year after year, and can’t comprehend why anyone would want to mess with a blissfully comfortable thing. June increasingly feels stifled by that routine and tries to mix things up by the tiniest of degrees when she suggests that, perhaps, they could try a ski trip instead of their usual visit to a cottage by the lake.

That’s about as far as I can go plot-wise before my Prime membership gets rescinded. While that may not sound like the most enticing of setups — a show about two bored married people trying not to be boring! — there’s a sly sense of humor and a Spike Jonze-esque filmmaking style that engages right from the jump, especially if you’re the kind of person who’s into that sort of Spike Jonze-y, relationship-driven, indie-spirited sort of thing. (Note: I am that kind of person.) Yang, co-creator of Master of None, and Hubbard, a 30 Rock veteran who first worked with Yang on Parks and Recreation, co-wrote the first episode, among others, and Yang directed it. Together, they immediately establish a narrative authority and tonal command that instills confidence in taking this trip with them, whether it winds up at a lake, a ski resort, or somewhere else.

Then there’s Armisen and Rudolph, who spent years together on Saturday Night Live and share a natural ease that evokes the lived-in nature of marriage. Because June is the more dynamic character, Rudolph has more emotional meat to chew on, but she never overdoes it. Just like those of us watching, she projects the sense that she’s constantly trying to figure things out in a multitude of ways. Even when she looks content, her eyes project a suppressed desire for something more. Rudolph is famous for her array of acting gifts and she gets to draw on many of them here, jumping down some serious emotional wells and tossing off some great, wry dialogue. Also, at one point, she sings a highly spirited version of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” and if that’s not an endorsement of a TV show, I frankly don’t know what to tell you.

Armisen has a harder task in that Oscar is basically Walter Mitty without the capacity to fantasize. His character evolves over time in ways that hint at more depth than what’s on the surface, but for much of the season, he’s got to play the straightest of straight men. To his credit, he commits to it completely in a performance that’s so deceptively straightforward, it becomes funnier on multiple viewings.

Rudolph and Armisen are backed up by equally wonderful supporting players, including Catherine Keener, Peter Weller, Noah Robbins (who you might recognize from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Younger), and, in a bottle episode of sorts that completely breaks away from Forever’s principal players, Jason Mitchell and Hong Chau. That’s about all I can say about that.

I so wish I could talk about all the other films and TV series that I was reminded of while watching Forever, but to mention even one might be too much information for anyone who, rightly, wishes to go into this as cold as possible. As much as this series evokes slivers of other projects, though, it is very much its own unique creation. Forever will mystify you, make you laugh, and force you to think deeply about how and why people hold themselves back from taking risks that can elevate their lives. It’s the kind of show you can’t stop watching even though you want to savor it, and that you’ll want to discuss with someone as soon as you finish. Even though I can’t discuss it in nearly enough depth in this review, when I tell you it’s great, I’m hoping you’ll do what any partner in a marriage does for their spouse: Just trust me.

13 Sep 15:31

Travel Guide: Lake Como

by Joanna
kfunk

Lake Como, Milan, and Cinque Terre. Next week. Guys I will be drinking all the aperol spritzes.

After falling in love with Florence, Sean and I headed north toward the Alps to the Lake Como region… and boy, was it magnificent! I will still attest that Florence was my favorite part of the trip, but to Sean, Lake Como was the ultimate dream vacation destination. Aside from the truly stunning and enormous lake, this region boasts jaw-dropping views of mountains and the most darling, charming small Italian towns. If you are an outdoorsy person, Lake Como is definitely the region you must visit while traveling in Italy!

Lake Como Travel Guide

Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #italianalps #thealps #alpsTravel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #italianalps #thealps Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #italianalps #thealps #alps

While planning our trip to Lake Como, I wanted to make it all about Sean’s favorite things: water, mountains, and motorcycles! He had traveled through Italy before, but had not been to Lake Como on that trip. We immediately knew that we had to plan a trip to the lake and take in all that it has to offer. As a surprise treat for his birthday, I treated him to a guided motorcycle tour around the lake and through the Alps. He said repeatedly that it was his favorite part of the entire trip and I’m so happy that I splurged a little bit on this experience.

It’s also worth noting that literally everywhere we went in the Lake Como region smelled like jasmine. It was truly intoxicating and just the cherry on top of our trip. I’m such a fragrance-driven person that experiencing that much jasmine was spectacular.

Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #alps Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #italianalps #thealps #alps Things to Do on Lake Como

Things to Do on Lake Como

I definitely wish we had more time allotted for our time on the lake. There really wasn’t nearly enough time to do all the things we wanted to do there! We really enjoyed taking the ferry to Bellagio, especially during sunset. While waiting for the ferry, we explored a little bit of Varenna which was beyond gorgeous and charming. Again, I wish we had had more time to explore! So many of the houses and buildings in Varenna and Bellagio were the pastel color of candy: coral, pink, mint, and yellow… it was amazing.

A few other activities that we enjoyed during our time on Lake Como:

  • Moto Guzzi Museum — the town we stayed in, Mandello del lario, was the birthplace of Moto Guzzi and has a museum dedicated to the Italian motorcycle maker. Unfortunately it was closed the dates we were there, but it’s a must-see next time.
  • Lake Como Motorbike — Mauro took Sean on a private motorcycle tour of the Swiss Alps and we cannot recommend it enough! This was truly the experience of a lifetime and next time we go back, I might book a tour for myself, too.
  • Bellagio Sailing — we booked a sunset sail on the Dama de Bellagio and it was spectacular.

Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #varenna #italianalps #thealps #alps

Where to Stay on Lake Como

While booking our trip, I wasn’t sure where to stay on Lake Como because I had heard it could get really crowded, especially in the summertime. I ended up booking this Airbnb in Mandello del lario because I liked that it was near the motorcycle tour meet up spot, but also a 15-20 minute drive to Varenna where we could take the water taxi to Bellagio and other spots. It felt like a really great central location that was in a smaller town and not too crazy — and we were totally right! The town was actually quite sleepy and just so lovely. And our hosts were incredible. I loved every minute of hanging out with Dario and sipping wine by the pool.

Where to Stay on Lake Como Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #bellagio #italianalps #thealps #alps

If you’re local to the Lake Como area or have been before, what’s missing from this list? I’d love to know what some of your favorites are!

And in case you missed them, here are the travel guides for our entire Italian vacation:

Travel Guide for Lake Como in Italy including what to see, where to eat, and where to stay and tips for traveling in Bellagio, Varenna, and Mandello del lario. # #travelguide #italy #wanderlust #lakecomo #varenna #italianalps #thealps #alps

Photography by Jojotastic.

Want even more travel inspiration? Find more travel guides here.
12 Sep 17:19

The Romanoffs Trailer: Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner Returns to TV With Every Actor

by Jackson McHenry
kfunk

oooo

In Amazon’s big, expensive new anthology series, not one character paid attention when Lorde sang about never being royals. The Romanoffs, from Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner, is a collection of eight separate stories, all about people who think they’re related to the Russian royal family and maybe watched Anastasia one too many times. In a change from the streaming service’s all-at-once binge format, The Romanoff’s will drip out its star-studded episodes weekly starting October 12. The show’s first teaser literally gave a glimpse of the many names involved, and now we have a chance to see some of their faces. Look, it’s Isabelle Huppert! Look, it’s Corey Stoll! Look, it’s young Colin Firth from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!

Amazon’s staying coy about a lot of the details about The Romanoffs, but it has given out information about the first two episodes. The first, “The Violet Hour,” stars Marthe Keller, Aaron Eckhart, Inès Melab, and Louise Bourgoin; the second, “The Royal We,” stars Corey Stoll, Kerry Bishé, Janet Montgomery, and Noah Wyle. The rest of the cast includes: Isabelle Huppert, Diane Lane, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery , Amanda Peet, Jack Huston, Andrew Rannells, Mike Doyle, JJ Feild, Paul Reiser, Kathryn Hahn, Jay R. Ferguson, Ben Miles, Mary Kay Place, Griffin Dunne, Cara Buono, Ron Livingston, Jon Tenney, Clea DuVall, Radha Mitchell, Hugh Skinner, Juan Pablo Castañeda, Emily Rudd, Adèle Anderson, Annet Mahendru, Hera Hilmar, Michael O’Neill, and David Sutcliffe. Rasputin is coming for all of them.

11 Sep 18:09

Friday Link Pack

by swissmiss

Choreographer & acrobat Yoann Bourgeois and pianist Alexandre Tharaud have collaborated on a performance that combines a trampoline, a staircase, and Claude Debussy’s most famous composition, Clair de Lune.

This commercial made me giggle.

Animals interrupting wildlife photographers. The best.

Letters from immigrants.

– I feel this: The Alternative to Thinking All the Time (via)

– So much respect for Cory Booker. Hear him in conversation with Krista Tippett in On Being. (via)

Doodle Addicts is an online art community of 20k+ artists, built by a team of two. Love going through the submissions. Lovely.

– Wow, Coca Cola, you have my respect. This is good. (via)

– My friend Yng recommended this solo show by James Clar about all forms of reality at the Jane Lombard Gallery in NYC. I’ll definitely check it out. (It’s free to see!)

– I can’t stop laughing at this.

Urban wind turbines. Wow.

– For our CreativeMornings Summit last week we ordered Custom Oxford Pennants. They looked fantastic.

Wait for it.

– My kids would dig this beanbag.

– I love this piece of advice my friend Larissa got from her grandfather.

– “Give All” Agency open sourced every method they’ve used with clients for the past 10 years. All available here: Design Strategy Toolkits.

– Oliver Jeffers collaborated with Veja. I’d wear these. (You can get the same designs as Tattly as well)

– I want a family t-shirt like this.

People are creating threads of simple pleasures. (via)

Glyphs App lets you make your own fonts.

– Use this checklist to determine how your three closest friends are positively influencing your life and which areas need improving: Blue Zone Checklists


Cool jobs to apply for:

MailChimp is looking to hire a Senior Product Designer in Brooklyn.
Spredfast is looking to fill multiple roles from Sydney, to Austin, to London to Paris.
Asana is looking to hire UR Engineering interns and content writers.
JustWorks is hiring from Receptionists, to Business Intelligence Analysts, to Products Operation Coordinators. Check them out.

There are over 700 jobs listed on the CreativeMornings job board.

07 Sep 12:05

5 Monclear Craig Green

by swissmiss
kfunk

me, shielding myself from reading the news in 2018

This made me giggle.

(via)

04 Sep 17:00

more people cry at work than you think

by Ask a Manager
kfunk

This is kind of reassuring.

If you’ve ever cried at work, you probably felt mortified – and you might not have realized how far from alone you are. While we tend to think tears have no place in an office, the reality is that a lot of people cry at work at some point in their careers.

That shouldn’t be terribly surprising – work can be frustrating, and it’s often full of disappointments and strong emotions, and many people are deeply emotionally invested in their careers. But we’ve also been taught that “professionalism” means not showing certain types of emotions.

At Slate today, I wrote about crying at work — why it happens, recovering after it does, when it can become a problem, and how managers should handle it. You can read it here.

more people cry at work than you think was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

29 Aug 22:05

Photo

kfunk

the universe sometimes has a beautiful symmetry





29 Aug 13:55

Photo

kfunk

#museummood



28 Aug 18:23

The New York Public Library is turning classic novels into Instagram Stories

kfunk

cool!!!

The first title in their initiative is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
27 Aug 15:40

My New Obsession, The Classic Aperol Spritz

by Joanna
kfunk

did you guys think i was going to shut up about these? NOPE.

APEROL CONTENT FOREVER.

If there is one thing I discovered during my time in Italy, it is just how delicious an Aperol Spritz is! While there, Annette whipped up a few of this delightful aperitivo for a light pre-dinner moment and I immediately fell in love. The recipe I am sharing today is from her book Cocktail Italiano and could not be easier to follow — literally it’s a matter of following a 3-2-1 ratio. I put a slight twist on the recipe by garnishing with Castelvetrano olives instead of the traditional orange slice. While in Venice, I had this version and loved it even more. I’m definitely more of a savory than sweet person, so I’m sure that’s why I’m drawn to this change to the classic Aperol Spritz.

The Classic Aperol Spritz cocktail recipe, aka the official drink of summer. #aperitivo #italiancocktail #italy #aperol #cocktailrecipe #cocktail #spritz #aperolspritz

This refreshing prosecco-based cocktail is the perfect thing to sip during pretty much any occasion… especially because it reminds me so much of our amazing Italian vacation. As soon as I taste this balance of sweet and bitter, I’m immediately transported back to leisurely lunches and the sounds of a bustling Tuscan city. Some have even called it the official drink of summer, which I happen to wholeheartedly agree with!

Typically, Aperol Spritzes are an after-work drink, served during the aperitivo hour with some small bites. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most restaurants and bars serve a spritz with a side of simple, salty potato chips. Once you have the chips and cocktail though… it makes total sense! I also love nibbling on extra olives while sipping this light cocktail, too.

BTW, these gorgeous glasses are from Suite One Studio and were just restocked! You can shop for them here.

My New Obsession, The Classic Aperol Spritz cocktail recipe, aka the official drink of summer. #aperitivo #italiancocktail #italy #aperol #cocktailrecipe #cocktail #spritz #aperolspritz

The Classic Aperol Spritz Recipe

Ingredients (makes 1 cocktail)

  • 1 bottle of Prosecco
  • 1 bottle of Aperol
  • Castelvetrano olives or orange slices for garnish
  • 1 bottle of soda water
  • ice cubes

Directions

Fill a wine glass with ice cubes. Following a 3-2-1 ratio, pour in the Prosecco, followed by the Aperol, then the soda. Garnish with either an orange slice or Castelvetrano olives on a skewer. Don’t forget a side of salty potato chips, too!

 Aperol Spritz cocktail recipe, aka the official drink of summer. #aperitivo #italiancocktail #italy #aperol #cocktailrecipe #cocktail #spritz #aperolspritz

If you’re craving a bit more of a bitter and herbal flavor, you can use Campari or Cynar instead of Aperol. There are so many spins on this classic, too. From frosé to granita, it seems like everyone has shared a version of the Aperol Spritz. I hope you enjoy this one!

Photography and styling by Jojotastic. Recipe developed by Annette Joseph, shared with permission.

Get more cocktail recipes here!

26 Aug 08:08

boss invited our whole office on a 10-day cruise, I had a disturbing dream about an employee, and more

by Ask a Manager
kfunk

Poll: Would you go on a free* 10 cruise with your coworkers? ($1000 out of pocket if you want to bring plus-one)

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. My boss invited our whole office on a 10-day cruise at his expense

I’m seven months into my first adult job after college. I work for a university doing outreach for the VP and AVP of university advancement.

On Monday, our VP (my boss’s boss) called us all into a meeting. He said he needed to “get the ladies’ opinion” on his gift for his wife’s birthday. He then loaded up a PowerPoint presentation (we were all chuckling at this point) in which he shared all about the 10-day cruise to Mexico he had planned for her. In the end, he told us all that he and his wife had discussed it, and that they’d decided they would love to invite the office along with them. This includes my two bosses and four (including me) administrative staff. We have until next Monday to make a decision. VP is going to pay out of pocket for all of us, but if we want to bring our spouses we need to pay $1,000.

I’m in shock. I don’t want to commit career suicide by saying no (especially because I’m hoping to move up here eventually). But it’s tough to consider paying that money for a vacation I didn’t plan when I should really be paying off my car or saving for a down payment on a home. Not to mention it will use up every hour of vacation time I’ve saved and then some — and I can’t afford unpaid time off! I don’t want to go without my fiance either, because I know all the other ladies will be bringing their husbands and I’m already by far the youngest employee. I also would hate to make him feel like I don’t appreciate such a generous invitation. On the flip side, I’m concerned about the professional boundaries of going on a 10-day vacation with all three of my bosses. I shared some of my concerns, about money and vacation time, and VP said that he would “gift” me his extra vacation time and not to worry about the money and we could work something out. This is vague and makes me kind of uncomfortable.

Is this normal?? What do I do?? Can I tactfully say “no thank you” without it offending him? Or should I start saving? VP is an incredibly kind, hard-working, and generous man but I’m so early in my career, my fiance and I both are still paying off our debts from school, and this is tough to think about doing because it certainly means putting off any personal plans we had for the winter.

This is not normal. It is very, very unusual. (And that’s saying nothing of the idea of inviting all your employees on your spouse’s birthday cruise. I would be consulting a divorce lawyer if I were his wife, but apparently she’s enthused?)

Normally I’d say to explain you can’t afford it or need to save your vacation days for something else, but you’ve tried that and it sounds like he’s finding ways to negate both of those. You’re going to have to use a reason that he can’t offer to “fix.” I’d say that it’s a very generous offer and you really appreciate it, but you’ve realized you have an unbreakable commitment during the dates of the cruise, like a big family event that you’d never be forgiven for missing. (Make sure the dates are locked in before you say this; otherwise there’s a risk that he’ll try to find other dates.) Alternately you could say that there’s no way your fiance can get the time off work and you wouldn’t want to go without him, but that opens up the door to him pressuring you to go on your own.

2. Should I take another promotion without a raise?

I have been working at a small nonprofit (~150 employees) for the past four years. About two years in, I was promoted to a manager position, which gave me a new job title, but did not come with a salary increase. Since then, my company has not given annual raises, but has instead given end-of-the-year stipends as a bonus, so my salary is still – 4 years later – at the coordinator level.

My boss turned 65 this year and will be retiring soon. I have previously been told by upper management that I am part of the succession plan: when my boss retires (who is at the director level), I am slated to get her job. I am worried that there will be no pay raise again when they offer me this new position, as we were informed that managers will not be getting raises this year.

When I was promoted to the manager level I did get new benefits: namely, more paid time off. When I move up to the director level, the benefits are the same but the responsibilities increase exponentially. I am a high performer and am regularly chosen to do special projects by the CEO. My annual performance reviews are consistently outstanding.

Do I take the promotion (and the title) with no raise? I love my job, but I am starting to feel like they are taking advantage of me.

They are taking advantage of you. It’s one thing to temporarily freeze salaries; that’s sometimes a thing that happens. But having your salary frozen within the pay range for the job you’re doing is different than being hired into a new job and still paid in the salary range for the older, lower position.

Think of it this way: If they hired an outside candidate rather than promoting you, they’d have to pay a reasonable market rate for the position, right? They couldn’t say to this outside candidate, “Oh, we have a salary freeze so we’re going to pay you a coordinator’s salary for a manager’s job.” That would be ridiculous, right? But they’ve already done that to you once. Do not let them do it a second time.

3. Should I tell an employee I had a dream predicting his death?

I know this is a bizarre question. I just woke up from an incredibly vivid dream in which a fortune teller told me that one of my favorite/best employees was going to die on September 25, 2024. I’m not sure I even believe in psychic dreams, but it felt so vivid and certain that, were this just a friend or someone I worked closely with, I would tell them about my dream. But when I consider telling my employee about it, I just kind of imagine the letter that they could write you from their perspective: “Dear Alison, did my boss just low-key threaten my life?”

I shouldn’t tell my employee, right? I do actually kind of want to warn him.

PS: I promise to update on September 26, 2024 and let you know what’s up.

Do not tell your employee. I’m not sure you should tell anyone if you have this kind of dream about them, but definitely not in a business relationship.

There are really only three outcomes here: (1) He thinks it’s bizarre that you decided to relay this to him and now doubts your judgment more broadly. This is highly likely. (2) He’s unsettled but can’t do anything about it since if it’s a real prophecy, he can’t avoid it, right? (At least that was the lesson I learned from Sleeping Beauty and the spinning wheel.) (3) He thinks it’s silly, but is mildly bothered by having it in his head anyway and is annoyed you felt you needed to share this with him.

None of those outcomes are good. There’s nothing actionable here for anyone. Shake off the dream and move on!

4. Do you need to write a cover letter when contacting a recruiter?

I’m currently looking for work for the first time in 10 years, and I’ve found that a lot of the jobs I’m interested in are posted online by recruiters. In most cases the job posting says something like, “To apply for this position email your resume to [recruiter name] at [email].”

In these cases, should I still send a cover letter along with my resume, even though I’ve not been asked for one? I’ve read advice before that said to always send a cover letter with your resume if possible.

In general, you should always send a cover letter even if it’s not specifically requested, because a good cover letter can bump your application up. (Note that’s only true if it’s a good cover letter. If it just summarizes your resume, which is what 90% of them do, it doesn’t add much.) That said, it’s definitely true that, on average, recruiters tend to care about cover letters less than hiring managers. But that’s on average; there’s individual variation on both sides. And since you don’t know specifically who you’re dealing with, it makes sense to include a cover letter if you want the best shot at the job.

boss invited our whole office on a 10-day cruise, I had a disturbing dream about an employee, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

16 Aug 20:33

Our Twist on the Classic Negroni Recipe

by Joanna
kfunk

#garnishlife

Last weekend we had some friends in town and took them to my favorite pizza spot in all of Seattle, Cornuto. Not only are their pizzas the best on the West Coast (IMHO), but they also have an excellent bar menu. We ordered a few rounds of drinks to experience the entire breadth of the menu, but one of my personal faves was the Negroni. Typically, a classic Negroni is made of one part gin, one part sweet vermouth, and one part Campari, then garnished with an orange peel. Ever on a mission to put my own twist on a classic cocktail, I asked Rocky, our resident cocktail expert for a twist on the Negroni… and it is sooooo good!

Our Twist on the Classic Negroni Recipe made with Aperol, Gin, Vermouth, Celery Bitters, and Grapefruit Bitters. Aperol Negroni aperitivo, Italian cocktail recipe. #italy #italiancocktail #aperitivo #campari  #negroni #aperolnegroni

So how exactly is our Negroni different? Well, we swapped in Aperol instead of Campari and added a few dashes of special bitters for an even more flavorful cocktail. Both Campari and Aperol are Italian aperitivo spirits, or aperitifs, but Aperol is is decidedly less bitter — and has a really fun vibrant orange hue! The flavor has a lovely herbal taste with notes of fresh orange (and some even say rhubarb, but I’m definitely not that fancy). The result of this mix is a beautifully balanced aperitivo inspired by my time in Italy!

Our Twist on the Classic Negroni Recipe made with Aperol, Gin, Vermouth, Celery Bitters, and Grapefruit Bitters. Aperol Negroni aperitivo, Italian cocktail recipe. #italy #italiancocktail #aperitivo #campari #aperol #negroni #aperolnegroni

Our Twist on the Classic Negroni Recipe

Ingredients (makes 1 cocktail)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass over ice for 45 seconds. Strain into a small rocks glass over ice and garnish with a castelvetrano olive (or two!) on a cocktail pick.

Honestly, my favorite part of this drink is the olives! When serving this delicious cocktail to guests, I always put out a bowl of leftover olives for snacking. While I was in Italy, I also noticed that most aperitivos are served with a bowl of salty potato chips. The pairing is really quite satisfying!

Our Twist on the Classic Negroni Recipe made with Aperol, Gin, Vermouth, Celery Bitters, and Grapefruit Bitters. Aperol Negroni aperitivo, Italian cocktail recipe. #italy #campari #aperol #negroni #aperolnegroniOur Twist on the Classic Negroni Recipe made with Aperol, Gin, Vermouth, Celery Bitters, and Grapefruit Bitters. Aperol Negroni aperitivo, Italian cocktail recipe.  #italiancocktail #aperitivo #campari #aperol #negroni #aperolnegroni

Also, considering how easy our Aperol Negroni is to make, this is a great cocktail to serve guests because it’s not too labor intensive (um hello, Ramos Fizz). Also, Aperol is not as alcoholic as Campari which makes it perfect for some quality late summer day drinking. The next time we entertain on the sailboat, I fully intend on making a few of these for our guests!

Shop the post:
Turn on your JavaScript to view content

Photography and styling by Jojotastic. Recipe developed by Raquel Roof for Jojotastic.

Get more cocktail recipes here!

14 Aug 19:46

Is This the Year Antiques Roadshow Will Finally Win an Emmy?

by Kathryn VanArendonk
kfunk

"A young girl offers what she thinks may be a real scrimshaw found in a bag of rocks; the expert quickly shows her how to recognize it as a fake, and then pauses before giving a valuation to ask how many rocks were in the bag."

The 2018 Emmy nominees for Outstanding Structured Reality Show include ABC’s four-time winner Shark Tank, HGTV’s home-makeover behemoth Fixer Upper, Paramount Network’s made-to-go-viral Lip Sync Battle, Netflix’s much-beloved Queer Eye reboot, and TLC’s celebrity-ancestry show Who Do You Think You Are? The last nominee in the category is the longtime PBS/WGBH appraisal series Antiques Roadshow, and this is its 14th consecutive nomination. When you combine the current Structured Reality category with the earlier Outstanding Reality Program award, it has more nominations for best reality show than any other series. But Antiques Roadshow has never won an Emmy.

Antiques Roadshow is not cool. It is not trendy. Clips from Antiques Roadshow do not go viral. With vanishingly few exceptions, the celebrities of Antiques Roadshow do not break out into a broader cultural awareness. It is a public-TV stalwart that just finished filming its 23rd season, and despite small format changes here and there since its 1997 premiere (inspired by an even longer-running British series of the same name), the core of the show has remained essentially the same.

An object sits on a table, carefully propped up for display and often set against a backdrop of midnight-blue cloth. It might be a painting, a tea set, or a doll, or it could be some strange, unnamable old thing with no obvious utility or beauty. On one side of the table is an antiques appraiser (in Roadshow parlance, the “expert”), and on the other side of the table, the object’s owner (the “guest”). The expert asks the guest questions. Where did you get it? When? How much did you pay for it? Are there any family stories about it? Do you know anything about it at all? The expert listens, thoughtfully, while the guest lays out what little they know, the family anecdotes and years-long mysteries of the object. Maybe it’s an egg warmer? At home they just call it “the egg warmer.”

And then, the magic. “Let’s take it apart a little bit,” the expert says, carefully opening a painted ceramic container with three round, cupped openings on the top. “It’s not an egg warmer. It’s what we call a bough pot,” he explains, before laying out a lengthy 18th-century history of English pearlware ceramic boxes made to grow and display bulb plants. (“Like tulips or hyacinth,” the expert adds.) This bough pot dates to about 1810, and it’s very unusual to see one “this appealing to the eye.” Then, the money shot: The expert, in this case an appraiser for New York’s Heritage Auctions named Nicholas Dawes, lays out what he thinks the guest could get for this object if he wanted to sell it. Maybe $1,000? Maybe $1,500? If the guest has a matching pair, the set could go for more than twice that much. “Good!” the guest replies, happily.

A dozen times or more, for each hour-long run of an Antiques Roadshow episode, that appraisal process repeats: The display of the object, the guest’s knowledge of the object, the expert’s unbelievably meticulous explanation of its likely history, and the reveal of a probable price. Astonishingly and without fail, it is mesmerizing — a regular cycle of mystery and revelation, the assured delight of giving an object a name, of identifying a lost creator, of connecting knowledge with an unknown.

Antiques Roadshow’s hypnotic effect is not an accident. It is the painstaking design of showrunner Marsha Bemko, who’s carefully, subtly tweaked the format and rhythm of the show throughout the 19 years she’s worked on it. An example of Bemko’s adjustments: Antiques Roadshow films episodes in many cities around the country, and Roadshow used to include a field report segment that ran in the middle of the episode. The show’s host Mark Walberg (no, not that one) would visit a local historical location and talk about it with one of the experts. But that field report is gone now. “We learned from our ratings, that’s when you like to go to the bathroom,” Bemko told Vulture. “I don’t want to make TV for people to go to the bathroom.”

What viewers want from Antiques Roadshow is more appraisals, so Bemko has figured out how to provide them. They’ve added a “feedback booth” that plays over the end credits, where guests talk about their experience at the taping. A sample feedback booth features an elderly man standing next to someone dressed in a Planters Mr. Peanut costume and flatly delivering the line, “I told my wife we’re going to Antiques Roadshow … and she went nuts.” There’s also man wearing a massive black coffin like a backpack, who says, “I’ve got a coffin on my back!”

They’ve also added several shorter segments that display brief, expert assessments of objects that don’t warrant a full center-stage disquisition. In those “snapshot” segments, you can catch a glimmer of slyness in Roadshow’s editing. An expert tells a woman that her enamelware tray is “really quite special.” “But not special enough to be on TV?” the guest retorts. A young girl offers what she thinks may be a real scrimshaw found in a bag of rocks; the expert quickly shows her how to recognize it as a fake, and then pauses before giving a valuation to ask how many rocks were in the bag.

Over its soon-to-be 23 seasons, the most significant change in Antiques Roadshow has been in its audience and its guests, who used to show up at a Roadshow event with absolutely no idea what they were holding. In the age of the internet, guests now tend to arrive with reams of paper demonstrating all the research they’ve done. You’d think this would make the show less necessary now — why go on Antiques Roadshow when you can look it all up yourself? — but Bemko passionately believes in the irreplaceability of expert knowledge. “What our experts offer that they’ve made look easy, is decades and decades of experience,” she said. “What is so impressive, and I think what people intuit by watching the show, is it’s not easy to know what they know.” At a time when the biggest resource on the internet is false information, Antiques Roadshow offers the truth. Yes, it is a Fabergé. No, it is not a Tiffany lamp.

The show’s producers are ruthless in their fact-checking, too. They call artists’ estates to verify whether a work has ever been seen before, they bring in multiple experts to validate the likely provenance of an object, and if anything is matter of opinion, Bemko insists that it be noted that way in the final valuation. The level of fact-checking is especially impressive because none of the show’s experts are paid. For almost everyone who appears on camera, Antiques Roadshow operates on an exposure economy, and some appraisers make their careers by becoming Roadshow stars. But all 160 members of the show’s active expert pool donate their time, regardless of whether their role is an on-camera close-reading of an ancient teapot or a phone call to verify an Edward Hopper etching. Bemko says the show would be impossible to make otherwise: “If we [paid them], I wouldn’t be talking to you because we’d have to add so much to the budget. I don’t know how we’d get all that money!”

For a show ostensibly about money, where the big moment is always the financial valuation at the end of an appraisal, the money almost always ends up feeling secondary. “Oh!” a guest will inevitably gasp at the reveal of a five- or six-figure valuation. “You’re kidding!” Nearly every time, though, the follow-up is: “But I could never sell this, and it will stay in our family.” The guests come to the Roadshow looking for information or validation. They want to know that what they own has value, and the shadowy, unseen foundation for Antiques Roadshow is that there is a market for rare, unusual, especially lovely things. Money could change hands; fortunes could be made. But this never happens on the show. The economy of Antiques Roadshow is information: It’s what gives Bemko a good story to tell, it’s what lets an appraiser make a valuation, and it’s what the guests come to find.

It’s what the viewers come for, too. When we watch, say, a Law & Order marathon, what we’re seeing is an absence of knowledge and a need to restore the status quo. Who did it? How will the cops bring the criminals to justice? It’s a rhythm that repeats over and over with each episode, an absence and an answer. An episode of Antiques Roadshow is essentially the same: We get a sequence of questions, a slow parade of objects without names, and every time, Antiques Roadshow provides an answer. It has all the soothing, rhythmic comfort of a police procedural, but rather than blood and violence, Antiques Roadshow offers us objects that lost their names, paintings and toy cars and wooden tables and necklaces that became unmoored from their context. Then Antiques Roadshow gives us their names, and tells us about them. It is a procedural about finding lost stories.

One of Bemko’s favorite moments from the show is from 2007, in an episode filmed in Orlando. Someone brought in photos of President John F. Kennedy, and a photo of Lyndon B. Johnson in the moment he was sworn in after Kennedy’s assassination. The guest had them because he took the photos himself; he was former White House photographer Cecil Stoughton, and he’d come on Antiques Roadshow for a valuation of the items and also to reassert his ownership of them. That LBJ photo is iconic, but Stoughton is rarely credited with taking it. It’s a great segment — and one of Stoughton’s very few known interviews — and it matters because it puts his name back in the story of those images. But my favorite Antiques Roadshow moments are the smaller, stranger, more surprising objects. A perfect-condition miniature salesman replica of an icebox. The “holy grail” of Hot Wheels cars. Ceramics that were partially turned into glass by the Hiroshima bombing. A hardtack biscuit from the Titanic. A book of early-20th-century original mugshot photos. They’re unexpected remnants. They’re survivors.

It may never be Antiques Roadshow’s year to win an Emmy. The show will never be the cool, politically pointed, buzzy new thing. Voting for it will never feel like making a statement. It will never feel of-the-moment. It will always feel like some old, half-forgotten, ubiquitous entry in a crowded reality-show category. A show that’s been banging around the TV attic for years. A show your grandparents had. A show that, come to think of it, might be worth reconsidering just out of curiosity. A show that maybe does have some worth. A show that might actually be pretty rare. A show that might even be a treasure, if you look closely.

13 Aug 22:55

Rejection –> Re-Direction

by swissmiss

“As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”
– Steve Maraboli

(via)

11 Aug 16:05

KITTENS KITTENS KITTENS KITTENS

by JenniferP
kfunk

cat content. (the twitter posts are indeed delightful)

happy friday!

My new coworkers are seriously interfering with my productivity.

henriettaanddaniel

Image: Two tiny brown tabby kittens, one lying down and one stalking/lurking in the back.

They’re here.

Meet Henrietta Pussycat (back, with the darker markings) and Daniel Striped Tiger (lying down), adopted via the wonderful Feline Friends Chicago fostering rescue. Check out the tiny watch they photoshopped on Daniel to make him more like his puppet namesake! Obviously he had to keep that name, so Nutella here became Henrietta for the full Mr. Rogers experience.

Daily (hourly?) updates on Twitter whenever they hold still long enough to photograph.

 

10 Aug 15:34

The Scene is not Desolate

by swissmiss

“As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time.”
E. B. White

08 Aug 03:32

Diversity politics have made blockbusters of films that pivoted to non-white stars. Enter Crazy Rich Asians.

kfunk

these photoshoots are awesome

How do you get a well-known Asian actor if you don’t ever cast Asians in leading roles, which you are constrained from doing because none are well enough known?

↩︎ Vanity Fair

View Post →

21 Jul 18:12

#1125: “I’m stressed and embarrassed whenever I have to go places with my bigoted parents.”

by JenniferP
kfunk

Really good scripts in here about stopping bigoted speech.

Behind a cut for the casual fatphobia, racism, and misogyny of entitled white folks of a certain age. Update: People are sharing some of the specific slurs and types of comments their bigoted relatives say and asking how to challenge those things esp. in the comments, so I would counsel POC and other marginalized folks especially to be careful before clicking – y’all already know this stuff and maybe you don’t need it in your eyes while we white folks sort out our bullshit.

Dear Captain,

I (23 woman) am very temporarily living at home, so my problem can sort of be solved by waiting and moving out as I am planning, but it would be great to stop this problem for any future visits. My issue is that I feel incredibly uncomfortable/stressed/anxious going out in public with my parents due to any combo of their rude/racist/sexist/entitled comments they make to store employees or about strangers walking by.

For example (not said directly to them, but sometimes within overhearing distance): wow they’re fat/ugly/slow, so many Koreans, threatening an annoying kid, coughing while saying asshole when someone they don’t like walks by, etc

or yelling and almost crying on the phone talking to an employee.

or talking to an employee (at some store, tone escalating)

Cashier: Do you have a rewards card?
Mom: Well I do, but for some reason your system has it as my daughters name.
C: Well we only get names if you give them to us, so she must have signed up.
M: She didn’t. She doesn’t go to Storename.
C: We only can get names that are given to us, she must have signed up.
M: She didn’t. and why would she use the home phone number?
C: If that’s her name in our system, there is no other way for us to have gotten that unless she told us.
M: That’s what you said, but I’m telling you she didn’t. She had no reason to come to Storename! So I’m just wondering where it came from.
Me: Mom, I must have signed up at some point, it’s no big deal.
M: They only started doing this a few months ago, and you said you didn’t sign up, so how did they get it?
C: We could have only gotten it if she gave us her name.

That’s the gist, honestly went on longer in the same inane circle, we had finished paying and were just holding up the line behind us. The cashier had nothing else they could possibly say! The conversation started pretty level, but I don’t think my mom realizes her tone escalates until it feels like a big deal. She repeatedly *says* it’s not a big deal, but her actions say otherwise. I’m just standing here feeling like I can do nothing to escape this awkwardness.

Frankly, I am embarrassed and stressed out by these interactions. I am constantly on edge, I find myself noticing these people I worry my parents will talk about, I feel like I have to be overly smiley and apologetic to these employees because they have to deal with customers like this all day.

I told my mom I was stressed about it, and later overheard her whispering to my dad about how I said I was stressed and her tone definitely conveyed that she though it was ridiculous/she couldn’t believe it!

I don’t know what to do. I feel like I can’t police their actions in public, but trying to be honest is met with incredulity. I am just considering refusing to be with them in public. I still feel awful for everyone they interact with.

-Stressed in Public

Dear Stressed In Public,

My mom used to do the whole “Let me talk to your MANAGER” voice thing to berate retail employees when I was a little girl and I would stress-pee my pants. Usually a bastion of good manners, she had this very ugly way of speaking to service workers that implied that the brassieres that should have been on one rack were instead placed on the sale rack deliberately to deceive her. Good times. To all the former employees of the Auburn, Massachusetts Sears, I’m sorry for all the times I urinated on your carpets out of terror. Terror of what? I don’t even know. Just, raised voices ==> fear ==> pee.

Good news: I’m not five anymore and neither are you. So, Letter Writer, could you get comfortable raising your voice a little and intervening?

Good news/bad news: Your feelings of embarrassment and stress are very real and upsetting, but you are not the person who is most being harmed by what your parents are doing when they harass and bully people around them. They are at work, where they can’t leave, and they can’t say anything back if they want to keep their jobs. You are uniquely positioned to say something to help those people, and ***unless your very survival depends on it**** I think you have a responsibility to do something about it. Not a responsibility to stop it before it happens or fix it or change your parents (they are responsible for themselves), but a responsibility to not just let it keep happening over and over again in silence.

Let’s take the store card example. What if you raised your voice a little and said, Mom, Let’s drop it! We can go talk to the service desk, or call them or adjust it online when we get home.” Mom! Let’s pay and get out of here. You’re holding up the line.Mom, this person can’t help us, and it’s not her fault, let’s not yell at her, ok? Let’s just pay and sort it out later.” Also, if you can, de-escalate and pull her away from the conflict if you possibly can so that if she reacts badly it won’t get even worse for the target of her bullying.

It won’t change your mom’s mind about “being right.” And she might be a total jerk to this very same employee the very next time she’s there. But it might snap your mom out of it enough that she’ll stop. And it might help you to channel your stress in that moment into action. The employee can’t really fight back or stop it. You can.

Your mom clearly cares what you think, since she’s talking to your dad about it, so why not place the awkwardness you’re feeling back where it belongs?

With their more passing comments, try “Wow.” or Really? Dad! or “Dad, do you even hear yourself right now?” or Mom, I cannot believe that came out of your mouth!” “We do NOT talk about people’s bodies like that.Gross! If you are going to say racist stuff, I am going to go home, see you there.”  Raise your voice. Make it awkward and boring for them to do this stuff in front of you. Make them know that you will call this out every single time from now on.

There is probably a bigger talk that’s like “Mom, Dad, you have to be nicer to people who work retail. You just do. They have hard jobs. They want you to be happy with their service. They aren’t your enemies. You are so rude to them sometimes, it completely embarrasses me! Do you want to end up in one of those Permit Patty or Sidewalk Susie YouTube videos? ‘Cause that’s what you sound like!” 

Many bigots and bullies think that everyone in their families and workplaces secretly agrees with them and are just hiding what they really think because of “political correctness.” Many others try to use the social contract of ‘civility’ as camouflage, like, they can say and do whatever they want but if you call them out on it you are the one being rude or mean. It can be a double-form of bullying – bullying the people in the marginalized group but also bullying witnesses by basically daring you to “be uncivil” (and invite reprisals) by speaking up and challenging them.

My Grampa Oscar (RIP) used to send horrifying and racist emails from the Rancid Old Man Internet™ to our entire family, allllllll our elected officials, and local news media. If I replied (copying all the same people) to methodically debunk whatever it was, I would get tons of heat from the family – “Why are you antagonizing him?” Sorry fam, I wasn’t the one who just casually advocated building concentration camps for Muslim people because of 9/11, and also why do I have to do all the “antagonizing” all by myself? Family: “He’s an old man!” Me: He’s an old man who fought Nazis up one side of the world and down the other and he literally knows everything about how this kind of hateful ideology spreads and corrupts, making him an old man who should know better. (While I’m issuing apologies, sorry to all the Massachusetts congressional and media interns who got CC’d on these exchanges between 1998-2011. I used to like to imagine that y’all had a binder somewhere of this old man and his mean uncivil granddaughter, duking it out between our AOL addresses.)

Here’s the secret, though: My Grampa cared what I thought. He cared a lot. It super-bothered him that I wouldn’t go along with him, that I wouldn’t tell him he was brilliant, that I didn’t validate his “superior” knowledge of world affairs. He loved me a lot and he was proud of me (about most things) and it bothered him into his grave that he couldn’t convince me to sign off on his gross Fox News talking points. And over time, when I was like “Oh Grampa, let’s not talk about politics, we have so little time left and I don’t want to spend it debunking your crap” he would literally wail at me in frustration. He wanted my agreement and my good opinion and my compliance and, while he had my love always, as long as he advocated for hatred and bigotry he could. not. have. those. things.

One of the things I could reliably use against my Grampa that you might be able to use against your parents are the things they taught us in better times when they acted like better people. “But, you taught me not to say those kinds of things.” “You taught me to be kind to people.” “You taught me that everyone is equal and worthy.” “You taught me that if I don’t have something nice to say to someone I shouldn’t say anything.” “You taught me that all human beings are valuable and deserve kindness and safety.” “You taught me that everybody is the same and deserves respect, this isn’t like you, I know you are better than this!”  

They’ll say “I didn’t mean you should talk like that to ME” or “I didn’t mean Those People” and you’ll say “but of course you did, the Golden Rule is about everyone.” And their faces will turn red and maybe it will be embarrassment or maybe it will be anger that they take out on you and I’m sorry for that if it goes that way.

Your parents probably won’t change their minds or their behavior when you aren’t around, but I’ll say it again: They notice and care what you think. They want you to agree with them. They want you to think they are good people. They want you to be a reflection of them. They want you to comply with them and support their points of view in public. They probably don’t care as much about not stressing you out in public as they do about wanting to look good in your eyes. You can use that, even if it’s just to shame them into pretending to be better.

Back to practicalities:

1. Practice speaking up in the moment. It won’t feel good, it will feel scary and weird, but you aren’t a kid who can be sent to your room without supper anymore. It doesn’t ever feel easier but it becomes easier with practice. And it is the best tool you, as a person who shares your parents race and class status, has for assigning consequences to bigoted remarks. Make it socially expensive and awkward for them to behave like that around you.

2. Talk to your parents about what you are observing. “Mom, Dad, I’ve noticed some troubling stuff lately when we’re out together, you both say some things that really aren’t kind [give a recent example or two]. What’s going on there? That’s not how you brought me up to behave.” 

Listen to their defenses and then say something like “Ok, well, I respect you a lot, which is why I brought this up with you directly. I don’t want us to fight all the time, but I also don’t want to just be silent when it happens – it’s so rude and stressful for me and the poor people who are just trying to do their jobs – and if you can’t figure out how to put a lid on it I don’t know how much I’ll want to go places with you.” 

3. Enforce the boundaries. You’re at the store with a parent and they say or act rude? “Ugh, [Parent], we talked about this. Please leave this person alone.” 

If they won’t cool it, leave, even if it’s to go sit by the car. And stay home the next time they ask you to go somewhere. Give them less of your time and attention.

4. Think in terms of baby steps. Catching themselves about to say something, muttering under their breath, a pointed “I could say something but MISS SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR is here so I WON’T,” stony silence, making ugly faces while they tamp down their ugly thoughts in front of you, “I guess I gotta behave myself because SOME PEOPLE won’t give FAMILY a BREAK,” calling you a snowflake, etc. etc. are what victory looks like here.

Stay firm. If they say mean stuff about you, try agreeing with them to remove the teeth- “Yes, I’m very sensitive and might melt like a delicate snowflake out of embarrassment if I see my Dad say something racist to the waiter again! Let’s not risk it!” 

Converting hearts & minds is great and hopefully the long-term plan, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Getting bigots to stop harming people in the moment is important even if the hearts and minds stay withered and small.

P.S. I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from people who are like “I live with bigots but I am literally dependent on them for survival/housing/health care needs and if I antagonize them I might die.” 

In these cases, I think you speak up the best you can when you can, and forgive yourself for when you can’t. Sometimes the best you can do is to live to fight another day. You’re the best judge of what you can and cannot risk.

I also think you organize online and find other people who are doing good work in your community and in the world, so that you’re not alone with these people all day and night. You may not ever convince your folks, so, if you decide that they are lost causes, what work can you do? Do that. There’s more than enough human rights defense work to go around right now, you don’t have to throw yourself down an impossible emotional black hole for the revolution. Can’t convince them? Out-organize them. Out-vote them. Out-number them where it counts.

But if it’s not about survival? It’s just a little stress and discomfort and some raised voices and the risk of some people falling in your esteem or thinking you are hard to get along with? It’s celebrating holidays in a different way, seeing less of people you wish you could count on to be better? In those cases I think a lot of bigots have mistaken silence for compliance for way too long, and that a whole lot of us can endure some awkward family dinners or car rides or shopping trips if we have to, like, “yep, I’m really unreasonable and hard to get along with about these topics so you should stop saying horrible stuff where I can hear it or I might literally explode from being so dang sensitive! Thanks for noticing/Bless your heart!” This is literally the least that we can do.

And we can do it. It takes resolve and practice and having each other’s backs, the way the Letter Writer is about to have the backs of a whole lot of service industry folks who can’t escape from her terrible parents.

17 Jul 11:40

Heaven

by swissmiss

“The connections we make in the course of a life–maybe that’s what heaven is.”
― Fred Rogers

17 Jul 11:25

Highlight the Remarkable

by swissmiss
kfunk

Damn.

This Stabilo Boss campaign highlighting the remarkable, as in history’s forgotten women, is fantastic.

13 Jul 19:14

record a question for the Ask a Manager podcast

by Ask a Manager
kfunk

AWESOME

There are now two ways to ask a question on the  Ask a Manager podcast:

1. If you want to come on the show yourself to discuss your question with me in real time, email your question to podcast@askamanager.org. The advantage of this option is that we get to have lots of back and forth and refine the advice to make sure it works for your situation. We record over Skype and it’s quite easy.

2. If you just want your question to be answered on the show, but don’t want to come on yourself, you can record your question on the show voicemail at 855-426-WORK (855-426-9675). Any question you leave there might be played and answered on a future show. This is a good option for questions that seem shorter/simpler (stuff like the daily “short answer” posts), or if you’re just not up for lots of back and forth or having so much focus directed on you.

record a question for the Ask a Manager podcast was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

11 Jul 03:31

my intern is refusing assignments because of her politics

by Ask a Manager
kfunk

I am immediately curious about what museum, what exhibition, and what politician.

A reader writes:

I am a curator at a large museum, and we are currently running a major special exhibition. There has been an enormous amount of public interest in the exhibition, and demand for tickets is very high.

Recently I was asked by my higher-ups to give a private tour of this exhibition to a prominent and controversial political figure. It’s not Trump, by the way (lots of people have asked!), but it *is* someone whose name would be nationally recognized.

I have a summer intern and have offered to let her come along as an observer. This kind of inclusion would usually be considered a major perk for an intern. But she is adamantly refusing, citing this gentleman’s political views and threatening to physically attack him if she is “forced” to be in his presence (although I’m hoping that she is rather tastelessly joking about that last part). She is also refusing to do any of the logistical or planning tasks that would normally fall to her, and that’s a problem as well.

Here’s the tricky part: I completely and totally agree with her opinion of this politician’s views and behavior. I have actually literally protested outside his office in the past. I’m not looking forward to spending any time in his presence. But my perspective is that my personal views aren’t relevant in these circumstances, and that a significant part of my job is representing my museum with dignity, even when I really don’t want to. I will never agree with this politician (nor he with me, probably) but I keep telling myself: at the very least, this is a good opportunity for us to showcase to him the value of well-funded cultural institutions.

I’ve told my intern she can sit this one out, but I feel like we need to have a conversation about this when the dust settles. I am very torn, though. As I alluded to above, I’m active in social justice work and various kinds of protests, but all on my own time; no one I work with is aware of my outside activities. I don’t want to force anyone to do something they don’t believe in, but I worry this young lady will be shooting herself in the foot if this is her stance in the long term. What advice would you give me?

Yes, talk with her. The way she’s handling this is juvenile and it doesn’t reflect well on her professionally, and I say that as someone with a deep appreciation for social justice activism (and possibly for her stance as well, just not the way she’s executing it).

It would be one thing if she’d said, “I feel very uncomfortable interacting with this person; would it be possible for me to sit this out?” Even that isn’t necessarily ideal, and you still might need to talk to her about what it means to work for an institution that welcomes all visitors and the benefits to the museum of not turning away people whose views might be at odds with those of its staff. But that would have been a reasonable way for her to handle it. But threatening to physically attack him? Even assuming she’s joking, that’s just an incredibly unprofessional thing for her to say in a work context, and she should probably think about whether she wants to normalize that type of response in our discourse more broadly. She might also benefit from contemplating whether she really wants any employee to be able to refuse to serve anyone they disagree with or find immoral — because that goes both ways, and people tend not to like it when it’s reversed on them.

That’s not to say that there isn’t room for people to act on their consciences at work. There is. But there’s a professional way to do that and an unprofessional way, and she’s choosing the unprofessional way. The professional way would be voicing her concerns, asking if they could be accommodated (not demanding it), realizing the answer might be “no” — and knowing that if it were, then at that point she’d need to decide if she felt strongly enough to leave the job over it.

So yes, talk with her. The fact that you share her views about this particular politician might give you more credibility when you do. (Or who knows, maybe she’ll just think you’re a sell-out.)

You could say, “We’re not in the business of deciding who can and who can’t tour our exhibits, and that’s a good thing because access to museums shouldn’t depend on individual employees’ personal viewpoints. I’d be outraged we turned someone away because they supported Issue X or Issue Y (insert issues here that you support), and I suspect you would be too. We’re on very dangerous ground if we let people say that their own personal views will determine who they do and don’t serve at work.”

You could also say, “It’s not that you can never take a stand on work based on principle. You can. But it’s a big deal to refuse to do parts of your job, and so if you do that, you need to be professional about it. That means raising your concerns in a mature manner, not threatening physical attacks, and asking if work-arounds can be found, not just assuming you can refuse and that’ll be that. Sometimes it might not be possible for you to be recused, and if that’s the case, you might need to decide if you’re willing to leave the job over it. But the way you handle moments of conflict at work will have a big impact on your professional reputation, and so here’s why you’d want to approach this differently in the future…”

All that said … there are people whose actions are so directly harmful to others that I can understand why someone might take the stand your intern is taking. Sometimes our morals do compel us to stand up and say, “No, I will not act as if this normal because it is profoundly wrong.”

But it’ll be helpful to her if she learns how to do that in a way that maximizes her chances of getting the outcome she wants, and without hurting her own standing in the meantime. And of course, sometimes something is important enough that it’s worth hurting your own standing! I don’t mean to imply that professionalism is the be-all, end-all, because there are other things that are more important. But it’ll help her to learn to figure out when she has no choice but to take that hit, and when there are more effective paths to achieve what she wants.

my intern is refusing assignments because of her politics was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

06 Jul 16:12

Stay cool!

by swissmiss

I am feeling this GIF by Thoka Maer these days. Stay cool everyone!

06 Jul 16:07

Are Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime About to Release a Secret Trump Show?

by Anne Victoria Clark
kfunk

???

2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals

A real-life television mystery is coming together and the clues are everywhere. This week, Showtime released two promos for a mysterious new show, refusing to reveal the title but announcing the lead character is “shameless,” “unhinged,” and “cold-blooded.” It will apparently be “perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television” and premieres on July 15.

On July 4, Sacha Baron Cohen tagged Donald Trump in a mysterious promo that announced “[h]e’s back as you’ve never seen him before.” However, there was no date set in that promo aside from an ominous, “Soon.”

27 Jun 15:27

Friday Link Pack

by swissmiss
kfunk

sharing for the muppet outtakes link, about halfway down

How to Befriend the Universe: Philosopher and Comedian Emily Levine on the Art of Meeting Reality on Its Own Terms

Bill Gates’ reading recommendations for Summer 2018

This Is How a Brick-and-Mortar Store Can Thrive in the Age of Amazon

– Love this statement of a parent of twins. (via Paul)

How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

– The New York Times Witty, Irreverent Photos That Satirize Family Living

You Can Now Mute Your Annoying Instagram Friends

– This will be my next read: A life of one’s own

A livesize puppet struggling to get through a revolving door.

Morning Sloth is a personalized wake-up service to help people start their day with a creative boost.

– This made me laugh: Muppet outtakes (Thank you Manu)

– Be still my heart: The Obamas Are Officially Making Netflix Shows Now

– Add yours: What are female owned/run service or e-commerce companies you LOVE?

– Want to see what your Twitter timeline would’ve looked like 10 years ago today, if you followed all the same people you do now?

– Amy Wambach Barnard Commencement 2018: Give me the Ball!

– The USPS is launching scratch-and-sniff stamps!

– Absolutely love this DesignMatters episode with Priya Parker who just published a book called The Art of Gathering.

– I’ve watched 120 hours of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway meetings — these are the top 5 things I learned

– There’s nothing like arriving at a family gathering or party with the FUNNEST Pack from Tattly. instant super friend/aunty status

– So many creative jobs on the CreativeGuild Jobs Board.

– A big thank you to Parsons at Open Campus for sponsoring my blog this week.

18 Jun 21:41

Standing On A Little Ball of Dirt

by swissmiss

“You’re just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars. From that perspective, do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car?”
― Michael A. Singer

13 Jun 18:03

Photo

by trillpocahontas
kfunk

me.



12 Jun 19:00

12 New Podcasts for Summer

by Lindsey Schuette
kfunk

There is a Good Place podcast!!!!!!! I am very excited about this.

New shows abound, from indies to the big networks

Summer is upon us, and we’ve got a great list of new shows to be excited about. In our list, you’ll find some new voices (plants! inanimate objects!) and some old favorites (Manoush! Judy!), all of them are guaranteed to help get you through those hot summer days.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Fun Fiction (May 22)

From the BS Network comes (another) pop culture podcast. The twist? Hosts Scottye Moore and Brenna Clark discuss movies, TV shows, music videos — and the fanfiction that rises up from that fertile (or not so fertile) ground. This is the podcast I never knew I needed.

For Teenage Girls (May 25)

Hosted by Bee Hyland, this podcast by and for teens interviews women and woman-aligned people about the experiences that shape their lives. Listen for the special ways teens use audio to cultivate and express some truly beautiful ideas.

Branch Out (May 30)

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is behind this podcast about the surprisingly compelling world of plants and the vital roles they play in our society. The show describes how humans have used botanical science to improve our lives, and strikes a good balance between information and entertainment. The sound mixing will make you feel like you’re right there with them at the Garden. Oh, and the first episode clocked in at a completely manageable 10 minutes.

The Good Place (June 1)

You love the show? Of course you love the show. Well now there’s an official podcast from NBC for fans of The Good Place and…that’s genuinely all I can tell you about it because I’m terrified of season 2 spoilers. Well, and also that it’s hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn on the show.

Binge Mode: Harry Potter (June 11)

Binge Mode, from The Ringer, specializes in pop culture recaps, and this summer they’re recapping the entire Harry Potter series. Beginning June 11, grab the wand that you bought for far too much money at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (worth it)and strap in for a deep dive.

Bubble (June 13)

If anyone could convince me to try out a scripted show, it’s Maximum Fun. Bubble tells the tale of a group of monster killers eking out a living in the gig economy. The cast, including Alison Becker & Keith Powell, is top-notch, but what we’re all really here for is the promised appearance of Judy Greer (of Archer fame). With an 8-episode arc, Bubble could be a gateway podcast for people who might be overwhelmed by the idea of catching up with other long-running scripted shows.

Middle:Below (June 13)

I’ll leave it to my esteemed fellow podcast critic, Elena Fernandez-Collins, to sum this one up: “Middle:Below is the one about ghosts and cats by that dude who did the one audio drama I like.” Okay, but more specifically, this new horror comedy from Tin Can Audio follows a ragtag group (of people? animals? still unclear.) as they travel between the earthly and not-so-earthly realms. Expect serious shenanigans to ensue.

Playback (June 13)

Medium is stepping into the podcasting arena with its new show, Playback. Hosted by Manoush Zomorodi (formerly of WNYC Studios’ Note to Self) and Kara Brown, the show offers up interviews with Medium’s most popular writers, such as Roxane Gay & Baratunde Thurston.

ZigZag (June 14)

Radiotopia is coming out with an exciting new lineup this summer, including the sure-to-be-excellent ZigZag podcast. Also helmed by Manoush Zomorodi and her former Note to Self producer Jen Poyant, it’s the surprisingly funny and bluntly earnest portrayal of two determined women trying to make it on their own in a new media venture.

Aftereffect (June 21)

I’m going to be frank with you here: the trailer for Aftereffect, hosted by WNYC’s Audrey Quinn, is just plain difficult to listen to — but it’s also important. Aftereffect is an incredibly raw look into how America treats people with disabilities, from police violence to physical abuse in psych wards. It’s a show where you already know you’ll leave it just little bit different.

Everything Is Alive (July 17)

Do you ever see a concept for a strange idea and just want it to work? That’s how I feel about Radiotopia’s Everything is Alive. Hosted by Ian Chillag of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me fame, the show is a series of interviews with inanimate objects. In those precious seconds between when I hit download and pressed play on the trailer, I worried whether it could live up to my dreams—less than a minute in, I was ready for more.

The Realness (July 19)

WNYC Studios’ The Realness tells the heartbreaking story of Prodigy, the rap star who lived his life with a debilitating illness that would eventually lead to his death. One thing that is clear from the interviews with people who knew him: the pain sits just under the surface. Get ready for some tears.

Militantly Mixed (July)

An indie podcast out of Los Angeles, Militantly Mixed is set to tackle tough conversations around mixed-race identities. Activism, intersectionality, and lived experiences feature heavily in their episode lineup. They also have an open call out for interview candidates, so hit them up with your stories.

The Bello Collective is a publication + newsletter about podcasts and the audio industry. Our goal is to bring together writers, journalists, and other voices who share a passion for the world of audio storytelling.

Subscribe to the Bello Collective fortnightly newsletter for more stories, podcast recommendations, audio industry news, and more. Support our work and join our community by becoming a member.


12 New Podcasts for Summer was originally published in Bello Collective on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.