Tag Archives: facebook

An Open Letter To My Facebook Friends

Dear Facebook Friends:

Hi.  How is everyone doing?

I’m writing this letter to all of you, my 645 closest, bestest, most wonderful friends in the world.  For some of you, I still don’t remember who you are, but I’m sure we shared an unmistakable bond that led us to become Facebook friends in the first place.  Bret, are you the guy from the “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” bar?  If so, please confirm.  Chris, I think I threw up in your car once.  I’m sorry.  And lastly, Miguel… I do not know you, but you are my only friend named Miguel, so you are staying.  Yay, FRIENDS!

Now that we’re nearing the end of 2011, I feel that I should pull a Hilary Duff and “come clean”1 about my utter failure on Facebook this year.  I’ve been a terrible Facebook friend to most of you, and you don’t deserve that.  You deserve more.  Much more.  Especially you, Miguel.  So, I am writing to apologize to everyone that I have virtually neglected this year.  In particular, I deeply regret the following:

MISSING BIRTHDAYS

I apologize to all my friends whose birthdays I’ve missed this year.  I know that you were just waiting for me to post a thoughtful message on your wall, indicating to you that a) I was on Facebook that day, and b)… Well, that I was on Facebook that day.  So for all the walls I didn’t write on, the birthdays I didn’t acknowledge, and the friendships I inevitably ruined, this is what I would have written:  “Happy birthday!!”   See?  There.  The double exclamation mark is what really sells it, telling you that I was truly excited, that I was pumped, that I knew it wasn’t just an ordinary day, but the actual anniversary of your birth!

(Of course, for my fundamentalist Christian/anti-abortion friends, you know that life begins way before birth.  So, please give me the date of your conception so I can wish you a Happy Conceptionday! instead.  Yay, LIFE!!)

NOT COMMENTING ON YOUR MOMENTOUS LIFE OCCASIONS RE: BABIES/MARRIAGES/ENGAGEMENTS

To all my friends who got engaged, married, or knocked up this year, here is my heartfelt message: “Sooooo happy for you!!!”  And really, I am happy, thrilled, over the moon, jumping for joy, doing heel clicks down the street, shouting to the sky, arms wide, eyes closed, big grin, feeling all rainbows and butterflies and sun and smiles, so freaking happy for your happiness and blah blah blah get a room.  So of course, I won’t write that your new fiancé is, at best, a 3 to your 7.  And I won’t mention that your new baby’s limbs look like overcooked sausage links strewn together on a human body. And I certainly won’t tell you that your new wife’s nickname in college was Slutney McFetus.  Instead, I will look through the 150 photos of your atrocious sausage baby spitting up in a onesie and be soooooo happy for you.  Yay, ACQUIRING DEPENDENTS AND THEREFORE TAX BREAKS!

UN-TAGGING MYSELF IN PHOTOS

I feel terrible when I un-tag myself from photos.  I know that it took you not an insignificant amount of time2 to save, upload, and tag these photos.  I know that your intentions were only good.  And I know that you didn’t mean to include this horrid picture of me and publicize it for everyone to see.

I realize that yes, I probably look like this (fat face) most of the time, and yes, I shouldn’t care that my 645 best friends see me like this (fat face), because they will love me no matter what I look like (fat face).  However, you may have underestimated my incredible vanity and desire to have an acceptable photo for the news if I’m ever sensationally murdered.  So, the delusional perfectionist inside me demands a picture-perfect, scrubbed-clean, virtual representation of myself which will ensure that the news outlets make my headline, “Friendly, Respectable Woman Brutally Killed” and not, “Half-Naked Asian Chick Bites It”. So that is why I un-tag myself in most photos: it’s not you, it’s me.  Me and TMZ.  Yay, NORTH KOREAN-STYLE CENSORSHIP!

GENERAL STALKING

Finally, I just want to issue a blanket apology for generally being a creep on Facebook.  I don’t like to admit it, but I have spent countless hours ghosting around like some kind of internet predator, checking people out, going through photo albums, looking up friends I haven’t talked to in years and trying to catch up on their lives without actually interacting with them at all.  It is shameful, embarrassing, and cowardly, and I can only take solace in the hope that everyone else does it too.3  But if you must know some of my observations from such stalking (really, sociological research), these are my takeaways:

  1. Most everyone is getting fat.
  2. My friends from elementary school have either gotten pregnant or arrested.
  3. Everyone who drives a nice car has a picture of their car on Facebook.
  4. People who have a profile picture of themselves in a bathing suit are terrorists.
  5. 60% of my friends have developed bone spurs or know someone who has.

So, this is it.  My dear Facebook friends, lovers, colleagues, and randoms (that’s you, Miguel!) I have enjoyed all the time we did not spend together in 2011.  Let’s make sure to keep this up in 2012.

Love,

T

———————-
1.This is a reference to the 2004 Hilary Duff single “Come Clean” because I assume this is where the phrase “come clean” originated from.
2. I apologize for the double negative, but the time it takes to tag photos isn’t really a significant amount of time… it’s sort of between not insignificant and time it takes to eat a Chipotle burrito.
3. You guys do this, right?

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Sometimes I Hate Technology

A week before Christmas, my cell phone died.  Understandably, I had a mini panic attack.  Without my phone, I couldn’t wish my friends “Happy Holidays” with a thoughtful mass text.  I couldn’t ignore strangers on the subway by playing BrickBreaker to pass the time.  Sans phone, I didn’t even know what time it was.

Personally, my cell phone has often caused me tremendous stress (dropping calls) and bouts of uncontrollable rage (dropping dead).  While being wireless-less is terrifying, having a cell phone is also a chore.  With web-enabled phones hooking us up to Twitter and Facebook, there is always the expectation that we need to start sharing.  Back in the old days (as in, the 19th century), we’d only have to answer the dreaded trilogy of questions once (“Where are you?  What are you doing?  How was your day?”), when we got home from plowing the fields or mining for gold.  Now, we must answer those questions every time we pick up the freaking phone.

Digital cameras are just as bad.  We have all become compelled to capture every second of the day on camera.  Even insignificant moments are saved in perpetuity: I probably have several hundred pictures of strangers, unknown places, and unflattering close-ups of my face.  Taking terrible photos (and deleting them) occupies an incredible amount of time and energy.  Can you imagine if we had this photo-mania in the old days?  “Let’s sit for an oil painting in front of your dorm!” [two hours later] “Now, let’s sit for an oil painting with these cute squirrels!” [two hours later] “Come on, let’s get an oil painting of you with all these people you don’t know.  Squeeze in, real tight, like you’re all friends.  Stay there for two hours now, and smile!”

Back in the old days, things were so simple.  We didn’t have to worry about cell phone radiation or parental paparazzi-induced blindness.  We weren’t playing Oregon Trail; we were living it.  Back then, we only captured memories of things that were important.  We actually had to make an effort to reach out to our friends (real friends, not Facebook friends).  “Mother, I am taking the horse and buggy to Josiah’s… I need to return a poke.  Be back in four days.”

Albert Einstein once said, “It is appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”  With our voyeuristic, snap-happy, poke-slutty ways, I believe his quote is rather appropriate.  Of course, he was talking about atomic bombs, not cell phones and cameras… But, if the shoe fits…

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Work Diary, Sept. 24, 2009: Babies and Marriage

Female, 24, Midtown Manhattan, working in corporate finance.  Just a note: I include “waking up” and “getting dressed” as part of my work day, because if I were unemployed, I would do neither of these things.  Well, I might wake up, but definitely not at 7:30 AM.

7:30 AM – Fired Up to Start the Day. This morning, I awake to a marriage proposal on the radio.  This is pretty much how it went:

Man: “Will you marry me?”

Woman (matter-of-factly): “Yes.” (Silence)…

Radio show hosts: “What?!?” and then proceed to berate the woman for her lack of emotion.

“I just woke up,” she insists, saying “I’m excited…” with all the conviction of a death row inmate heading to the chair.

But girlfriend, I’m with you.  If my hypothetical boyfriend asked me to marry him on a radio show, I would say “Yes” as icily as possible, if at all.  A marriage proposal by radio is almost as insulting as proposal by email or proposal by ballpark jumbotron.

duanereade8:15 AM – I Definitely Have to Do Laundry Tonight. I’m down to my last pair of underwear.  (Sorry if this is TMI.)  I briefly consider buying underwear just to delay the laundry…  However, I immediately scrap that idea, since there are no clothing stores on my direct route to work.  (I must admit I contemplated going to Duane Reade.)  I still have swimsuit bottoms though, so I might make it to the weekend.

9:35 AM – First Thought of the Day on Leaving Finance. My co-worker sends me a WSJ article about a Wall Street trader-turned-waiter.  He and I talk about career issues all the time… We’re like third-graders: “How cool would it be if people could fly?? How cool would it be if people actually liked their jobs??”

drawings11:12 AM – Clock-Watching. Today is just crawling.  Our internet is down, so I take my allotted “online browsing” time to doodle and to eavesdrop on my co-workers’ conversations instead. 

1:30 PM – I’m Thinking About Weight Watchers. I meet the President of Ad Sales at a diversity fair, which I attend because there is free food.  I shake his hand while trying to balance my heaping plate of pizza, pasta, salad, and fudge brownies.  I hope that my firm handshake will distract him from my pile of brownies, inadvertently drizzled with Caesar dressing.

2:07 PM – We’re No Longer Friends… One of my best friends sends me a message over Gchat: “Something for you to write about that annoys me: co-workers responding to e-mails and ending them with ellipses. WTF.”  I realize I do this all the time…

 4:46 PM – Not a Fan of Office Baptism. Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel really awkward when someone I don’t know brings a baby into the office.  Showing off a baby at the office has become a sacred ritual.  Everyone gathers around the baby, as if it’s the second (or third?) coming of Jesus.  They all coo over the baby, and tell the parent how beautiful the baby is, even if it looks like a wrinkly prune.

officeToday, one of the salesmen brings in his baby.  I hear the festivities in the hall, with the usual “Oh my God!  He’s so big!” comments.  But since I don’t know the proud papa, I feel strange about joining the crowd.  At the same time, it seems sacrilegious to avoid baby Jesus.

So, I play it by the same rule that I employ when I meet people at bars: if he doesn’t come over to me, then he doesn’t exist.  As the baby never made his way over to my desk today, he didn’t get the pleasure of my company.  Take that, baby.  (I’m going to end up old and alone, with cats, aren’t I?)

6:36 – I May Be Out of a Job Soon.

Right before I’m about to head out, my redheaded Irish co-worker pings me on our company instant messaging system:

giantbabyJM: this will be your child [he sends over a link to this picture]

Me: thanks honey

Me: but won’t my baby have red hair?

And with that, I sign off.  I love sexually harassing co-workers at the end of the day.

TOTALS: Two non-encounters with babies (one imagined, one real), three Facebook Scrabble games finished, four brownies guiltily consumed, two inappropriate messages to co-workers, one possible case of sexual harassment, and the omnipresent gnawing feeling that I’m going to end up old and alone with cats, unless I say “yes” to marriage on the radio.

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I Hate Superficiality… But Please, Tell Me How Pretty I Look Today

The nice thing about living in New York City is that, no matter what you look like, every single woman will get catcalled at least once.  You could be wearing sweats and shoveling an empanada into your face.  You could be toting around your five kids and ten grandkids.  You could be heinously unattractive.  It doesn’t matter.  If you are a woman in New York City, you will get hooted at, hollered at, and hit on.  Even that girl in the photo below will get catcalled in NYC.  The creepy men of New York are wonderfully indiscriminate.

You could look like this, and still get hit on in NYC.

And no matter how much we disdain such boorish behavior, secretly, it’s rather flattering.  Every woman likes to get complimented, even if the source is a lazy-eyed homeless man with a pet rat and a neck tattoo.  We can rail all we want against the superficiality of the world, but there’s a glimmer of satisfaction when we’re the momentary center of some crazy man’s attention.  It’s that same esteem-boosting feeling you might get if you were asked to pose for Playboy:

Playboy Executive: “Hey, we want you to pose nude in Playboy for our ‘Professional Women of New York’ special.”

Me: “Excuse me? I am insulted!” [Translation: “Hell yeah! Still got it!”]

Playboy Executive: “Why not?  Don’t you know our clientele?  This is a great opportunity for you to get your next job in hedge funds, private equity, or Congressional politics.”

Me: “I can’t believe you have the gall to say that to me.  Unlike those skanks who pose for Playboy, I actually have some dignity and self-respect.  I don’t need to pose nude to rise up the corporate ladder.”  [Translation: “I would look good in Playboy. Oh yeah!  Your balance sheet can’t handle my assets… ass-ets.”]

Playboy Executive: “Come on.  It’s not like we’re Penthouse.”

angrywomanMe: “You disgust me.  Your entire existence is demeaning to women, and the bimbos you select as your centerfolds are putting feminism to shame.  I don’t know how you can sleep at night.  I just pray, pray, that one day you’ll have a daughter, and you will have to explain to her what you do for a living.  And if you have any semblance of a soul, you will feel the deepest and darkest regret in knowing that her future has been tainted by your pathetic, tasteless publication.  You want me to pose nude?  I’ll pose nude the day that you tell your daughter that you exploit women, you sick bastard.” [Translation: “I love being able to riff on this guy.  Not only do I feel super sexy, but I feel so righteous as well! R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”]

Playboy Executive: “Well… let me know if you ever change your mind.”

Me: “Not in a million years, buster.” [Translation: “Unless I’m single and jobless when I’m 35…”]

[A few minutes later]

My Facebook Status: “Just got asked to pose nude in Playboy.  Haha!  I said no, of course!”

My Twitter: “Playboy wanted me to pose nude, lol.  How gross!  I said no… Woman power!”

My BBM Away Message: “Crazy day! Was asked to pose nude for Playboy.  They are such scumbags!”

…And so on.  Because everyone ought to know how hot and virtuous I am.

Isn’t superficiality great, especially when it goes your way?  Even women without daddy issues want attention now and then.

So, the next time I am fortunate enough to be hooted at in New York, I will politely thank the greasy creep who complimented me.  Then, I’ll return the favor: I’m sure every guy wants to feel good about his cardboard home or his delivery bike.  And then he can log onto Twitter and let all his friends know that he’s still got it too.

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Wall Street vs. Main Street? I’ll Take Main Street

It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the hype. There’s the wining, the dining, the company-sponsored boozing, the free meals, the car service home, and most alluring, the potential of making six-figures right out of college. Of course, there are also the 100+ hour weeks, the requisite face time, the Blackberry taking over your life, the tacit no-vacation clause, and the fact that your six figures all depends on your bonus (and thus, the volatile market).

Ah yes, the life of an investment banker on Wall Street is a charmed one indeed.

The opposite of investment banking.

Yet, even with the soul-sucking work and grueling hours, there are still thousands of recent college grads scratching and clawing for i-banking jobs every year. Some may want to put in their two years to land a cushy PE/corporate job. Others may want to prove to themselves that they can survive the torture. Still others may just want to hit on girls with the line, “I’m an investment banker”… which, oddly enough, seems to work just as well as “secret agent,” and much better than “consultant”.

But now, given the recent financial crisis, many of the remaining investment banks are cutting their recruiting budgets and giving out fewer full-time offers and coveted internships. Plus, with the plethora of ex-Lehmanites floating around in the pool of unemployed, getting that entry-level banking job will be much tougher than in previous years. Unless you’ve spent your summers running DCF models or honing your valuation skills, you may want to abandon your childhood dream of becoming an i-banker. So, here are some (mildy exaggerated) tidbits about the Street life that may help you cope:

  • Accounting for hours worked, an investment banker probably makes about the same hourly wage as the IT tech support guy in Mumbai. With an annual coup of $120,000 a year ($60K base salary + 100% bonus), 100-hr work weeks, for 52 weeks of the year = $23.08 average hourly rate.  And this is before taxes.
  • On a related note, Brooks Brothers suits start at $898, and you’ll still look cheap compared to your MD, your clients, and the club owner at Lace.
  • At most bulge-bracket firms, Big Brother will be keeping tabs on your email and web searches for signs of insider trading. Swearing is strictly prohibited through email messages (but strongly encouraged in everyday conversation). Most websites will be blocked as well, so not only will you never get to see your friends, but you won’t be able to keep up with their status updates on Facebook either.
  • If you are female, prepare to enter a world where men are vulgar and crude by default. If you are male, prepare to enter a world where there are no females.
  • Asking about work-life balance is akin to putting on a tutu and galloping through the office singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. That is, it’s frowned upon.
  • You will likely spend the majority of your 15-hour days sitting in a chair, sitting in a black car, or sitting on the toilet from scarfing down your latest SeamlessWeb order. So, if you don’t gain at least 20 lbs in your first year on the job, then la cocaina must be working wonders.

Finally, one last reason why i-banking on Wall Street may not be the best move? Two words: job security.

Isn’t Main Street starting to look more attractive?

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Semi-Serious Ideas For the Workplace

1. BRING BACK HIGH SCHOOL SUPERLATIVES: In high school, we used superlatives to recognize those who were popular (“Best Looking”), and those who were not (“Most Likely to Succeed”). So, why not introduce a version of high school superlatives to the workplace? We can use the power of the populist vote to shame slackers into working for something other than their guaranteed salary. Plus, it could be a useful management tool when considering the next round of promotions…or layoffs. Some proposed categories: “Best Performer”, “Best All-Around”, “Biggest A-Hole”, “Most Likely to Become CEO”, “Most Likely to Swindle the Company Out of Thousands”, “Most Likely to Lose Their Job Because of Pure Incompetence”.

duncecap2. IMPLEMENT THE DUNCE CAP: Similar to the idea above, let’s use public humiliation to maximize work in the workplace. The dunce cap can be a great deterrent to employees who engage in productivity-thwarting exercises like surfing the Internet, arriving late to meetings, and taking long bathroom naps. Caught on Facebook? An hour with the dunce cap. Checking out Monster.com? A day with the dunce cap (and blocked Internet access). Ideally, employers should take a log of dunce cap offenders… At the end of the year, the employee with the most dunce cap-worthy transgressions should be forced to do something mildly embarrassing in front of the whole office (eg. belly dancing). Then, their picture should be taken, framed, and placed on a wall in the company bathroom, for all of eternity.

3. ENCOURAGE WORKPLACE BETTING: One of the most difficult challenges in the workplace is to maintain a high level of employee morale. By fostering friendly competition, workplace betting is the cure to individual apathy towards work. But work pools shouldn’t be limited to football season and March Madness; weekly betting can be tailored to groups of employees, and may even keep them better informed. Finance folks can bet on the closing price of their company’s stock each week. HR can bet on how many employees will resign. The winner should get their picture taken, framed, and placed on a wall in the company boardroom, for all of eternity.walkstation

4. KEEP A STASH OF DRUGS HANDY: To keep employees sharp, many companies have built nap rooms in the office. Others encourage exercise, and sometimes even make their employees work without a chair (see the treadmill workstation on the right). So what’s the right approach to keeping your employees fresh throughout the day? Make them nap, or make them sweat? It’s tough to find a universal solution that will work for iveverybody, but here’s one: keep intravenous bags on hand to inject energy into tiring laborers. The incremental cost should easily be covered by the stark increase in productivity.

5. INSTITUTE COMPANY MARRIAGE VOWS: It’s become harder and harder to find people who have lived a monogamous life, having only worked for one company. Job loyalty is rare, and employees are always looking for better positions and bigger salaries. But in the rare instance when the company falls in love with an employee–and vice versa–well, we should celebrate such an occasion. Marriage vows and fancy rings aren’t only for heterosexual couples, you know. “I take you, General Motors, to be my employer for life. I vow to serve you, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for (much) poorer, in financial sickness or in government-aided health, to love and to cherish, until death or imminent bankruptcy do us part.” There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

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In an Open Relationship… With Facebook

This is my daily routine: I get out of work, go home, have dinner, turn on the TV… and then get on my boyfriend. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not like that. I mean, 100 million other people get on him every day too. In the end, though, my boyfriend caters only to me. I call him the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but other people may call him by his given name: Facebook.

My boyfriend Facebook is really good to me. He sends me gifts all the time, like virtual chocolates, flowers, and toilet paper. He gives me updates on sales at my favorite stores. He plays Scrabble with me whenever I want, and he leaves me sweet notes, like, “Damn girl, your profile picture is fine.” He keeps track of all my new messages, draws beautiful masterpieces of graffiti on my wall, and helps my Conestoga wagon ford the river on the Oregon trail. He is attentive, artistic, and handy… everything you’d want in a man.

My boyfriend is also great with my friends, which is incredibly important to me. Most of the time I can’t keep up with all 6,341 of my closest friends, but my boyfriend has it covered. He lets me know if Lois just had a baby or if Matt proposed on Valentine’s Day. He talks to Annie to find out what she thought of Gossip Girl last night. He has singlehandedly kept some friendships alive by reminding me of people’s birthdays. And he is such a social butterfly… he’s always introducing me to people he thinks I may know. It was awkward at first, but I have to admit that I was curious about what happened to the kid from high school with the mohawk and purple leather jacket. Oh, he’s an investment banker now? Interesting…

Aside from being a private detective, my boyfriend also oversees my social calendar. After all, someone has to keep track of my scarf-knitting parties and bake sales for childhood obesity. While I may not actually go to the techno dance rave at Sweat on Friday night, I’m glad my boyfriend still sends me the invite… And even though I just sit at home with him every night, looking through his pictures makes me feel like I was there.

Some people have said that I spend too much time with my boyfriend. They think that he’s prevented me from meeting new people, going out with friends, or getting a job. But I don’t buy that. My boyfriend has always been there for me whenever I needed him (except for blackouts or bad wireless zones). He was there for me through the laughter and tears, the pokes and untags, the inadvertent status updates and awkward friend requests. Through it all, I know I can count on him to be there for me forever, and never, ever change…

…Um, well… there goes that one. My boyfriend’s getting a makeover? I can’t believe Facebook would do this to me… Why would he want to ruin what we had?

I’m changing my relationship status to “Single”… that is, until I get used to his new sleek bod. I might forgive him then.

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