food for thought: high cost of living edition

As we settle into the season of relentless encouragement to shop, it seems fitting that a number of my links from the past two weeks turn on the question of the high cost of living, particularly in areas where information professionals need to cluster (because that’s where the majority of jobs are): major metropolitan areas.

s.e. smith @ this ain’t livin’ | High Rents and Unsustainability for Workers.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock of late, you’re probably aware of the growing class issues in the Bay Area with respect to skyrocketing rents, growing tensions between the tech crowd and everyone else, growing costs of living, gentrification, and established communities being pushed out to make way for high-profit tenants. Renters in the city now pay an average of almost $3,000/month for a one bedroom apartment, which is far, far above a reasonable level for minimum wage earners. If you apply the equation that you’re supposed to spend 1/3 of your income or less on housing, residents are supposed to make $9,000/month or $108,000/year to afford to live in San Francisco.

Claire Simonich @ Feministing Community | Why Isn’t the Government Protecting Employees from Discrimination?

Women and minorities who face workplace discrimination or harassment ordinarily receive vital legal services from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). But in 2012, the EEOC cut this support in half without an adequate explanation. This unexplained drop-off hurts the most vulnerable employees; a large chunk of EEOC complaints deal with sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and other gender discrimination issues. The drop-off especially affects low-income women who are less able to afford lawyers and more likely to turn to the EEOC for help when they’re mistreated at work.

Anna @ Model View Culture | You Say You Want Diversity, But We Can’t Even Get Internships.

Earlier this year, I attended a job fair at a big tech conference. It was my first time ever attending a tech conference, and my first time looking to get a programming internship. I was nervous but optimistic. I spent a lot of time working on a good CV, printed business cards, and prepared what I would say to recruiters. I thought: at such a big conference, with a variety of companies present — many looking to hire more women — it shouldn’t be so hard to get an internship, right?

But when I asked about internship opportunities, the company representatives said no right away, or, assuming I was a CS student, asked me “What year are you?” When I told them I was self-taught, I was out. Other companies just wanted me to sign up for their newsletters, just a cheap marketing strategy, or a way of being nice. People weren’t interested in reading my CV. Out of thirty copies I had printed out, I gave out two. Some people advised me straight away to try “one of those programs designed for women.” They didn’t even listen to me. They saw that I was a woman, a beginner, looking for an opportunity to learn, and clearly not someone they would want to hire.

Anne Theriault @ Huffington Post | Calling Out Mansplainers Isn’t the Same as ‘Silencing’ Men.

I also want to ask you how, exactly, you consider yourselves to be allies to any kind of social justice cause when your main message is that oppressed groups need to make room for the voices of traditionally oppressive groups. You write about this dynamic as if the opinions of the privileged aren’t already culturally dominant, and as if privileged groups don’t already have an excess of places to spout off about their beliefs. I mean, look at the platform you’ve been given — an enormously popular newspaper with a huge reach. And yet you have the gall to worry that your voices aren’t being heard? Because I promise you that your voices are being heard.

Leigh Milligan @ INALJ | Five Tips for Interviewing Candidates Who Use a Wheelchair.

1. Make sure the location where you are conducting the interview is accessible to the candidate. For example, if there is a chair that will be in the way of the wheelchair, move it. If the drinking foundation is not accessible, make sure to provide fresh water. Make sure the public bathrooms are accessible to the candidate; otherwise be prepared to provide reasonable accommodations such as a private employee bathroom. …

Molly Mirhashem @ The New Republic | Women Who Lean In Are More Depressed Than Those Who Don’t.

Women are much more likely than men to face pushback and encounter issues of legitimacy as a result of gender discrimination. “The cultural meaning of job authority is different for men and women,” says Pudrovska. “Men’s authority is consistent with their expected status.”

Pudrovska was quick to caution against the conclusion that authority is unhealthy for women. “It’s very important, given the data we have now, to increase the number of women in authority and leadership positions,” said Pudrovska. “But this is not an end in itself.” She explained that it’s crucial to pay attention to what happens to women after they are promoted to high-level positions. “People don’t think about what happens after you lean in.”

Lambda Legal | What to Do if You’re Fired.

Q: What is an “at-will” employee, and can they be fired more easily than other workers?

A: In most states, most workers are employed “at will.” If you do not have an employment contract and you don’t belong to a union, you are most likely an employee at will.

“At-will” employees can be fired for any reason, with or without notice—but not for a discriminatory or illegal reason (i.e., race or sex) as defined by federal, state or local law.

The Editors @ Model View Culture | 25 Tips for Diverse Hiring.

Diverse hiring is becoming more and more a priority for startups and tech companies. As a tech community, we are increasingly recognizing that diversity is fundamental to building a just, inclusive and beneficial industry, and that diverse teams perform better, are more innovative, and can build better products for a diverse world. In order to be successful with diverse recruiting, tech companies must invest in analysis and improvement at every stage of the hiring process. In this post, we offer a 101-style guide to top areas of focus, with specific suggestions to improve your hiring process and build more diverse teams.

@Nixonara | “I go home to a very different place than you.”

I thought about the long-ago conversation between my sister and her colleague when I saw a tweet from a records professional this year.  The person observed about online messages posted by archivists who expressed differing views on the truth in archival records and on history and historiography:

“I want to weep for the future of archives ‘professionals’ & all this ‘diversity privilege’ crap. #shutupandgettowork.”

I hadn’t participated in the message thread.  But I once had met the tweeter in person.  I thought about the hashtag.  I said nothing in reply on Twitter.

And finally, NPR’s Marketplace has begun a series on gentrification that can be found on their dedicated website York & Fig:

This summer, Marketplace’s Wealth and Poverty team opened a bureau of its own — not in a large city like Chicago or Atlanta, but in a neighborhood called Highland Park that’s about 10 miles north of Marketplace HQ in Los Angeles.

Unless you’ve lived in LA, you’ve probably never heard of it, but you probably have your own Highland Park. It’s a working-class neighborhood that became popular, fast. People with money started in, new businesses started opening up, and everything started to change.

That whole process, and why it happens, isn’t new, but we want to know how does it happen?

As always, if you find a story you would like included in the weekly food for thought round-up, don’t hesitate to send it by email to, share it in comments, or tweet to @amiablearcsalon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s