About six times in my youth I decided it would be fun to start a diary. I think it may have had something to do with all the Dear America books I read.

I’d have fanciful visions of documenting my most important moments in life, and then some day a group of archaeologists would find it and glean the wisdom I had to offer about my era.

What actually happened is that I would write daily for about a week, then drop off to about once every two months (always apologizing for the time spent away…I think you know where I’m going with this..) before fading away completely until the next new year when diaries were on sale at Barnes & Noble.

It never made sense to me. I’m a writer. I love writing more than anything else in the world. Why was this so hard for me? (That’s what she said.)

Yeah, my lack of attention span probably had something to do with it.

But the truth is, my life is boring. Even I got bored writing about it. Sad.

Fortunately, I think I’ve come up with a way to make myself blog regularly. (Because apparently I need to?) I’m going to incorporate something I’ve been doing in my Twitter for a while: life lessons. I’m already up to #27 (I skipped one and two…I love a good intrigue), but maybe someday I’ll go back for the rest. Here’s the start:

Life lesson #27: Be ethical. Because I may not always do the right thing, but I always wish I had.

My mock trial team will tell you that this is my standard soap box topic, but I truly believe in doing the right thing even when it will hurt you. There are enough shitty people in the world. Be better than that just because you can be. Please.

Don’t worry, they’re not always so preachy.

Not to be confused with “The Redcoats are coming!” Although they both reference the British. (Bridge -> London Bridge -> British? It’s a stretch, I know. Shut up.)

So apparently the fact that I neglect this blog like an unwanted houseplant is going to hurt my career. And since I’m not exactly financially secure at this moment in my life, I guess that means I have to check myself before I wreck myself. (Ok, a friend used that phrase recently and I loved it, but I am now realizing I just can’t pull it off. Damn this good-two-shoes exterior!)

burned-bridge

Other career advice to consider: When is it acceptable to burn a bridge? Personally, I am not totally against bridge burning. (Not literally, I’m not a pyromaniac.) Sometimes you need to cut someone out of your life. Like a cancer. What I’m saying is, some people are a cancer in your life. *Meaningful look*

That being said, it’s generally a nice idea to smooth things over. I’m not saying you get together and paint each other’s toenails, but if, say, you were trapped in an elevator together, it would be ok if you could gab about last week’s episode of 30 Rock instead of thinking up 30 ways to kill yourself with your shoelaces.

Ways to make nice with people you don’t care for:

1. Never talk about anything important. If all you ever chit-chat about is frivolous bits of nothing like the weather and where you got your shoes, there’s really nothing for anyone to get annoyed about, right? RIGHT?

2. Find them AMUSING. Confession: I use this on my mom when she’s driving me up the wall. Instead of letting someone’s quirks and tendencies, be AMUSED by them. Find them charming and humorous. Then, instead of strangling them, you will simply chuckle to yourself. Think things like, “Oh, you!” and “Isn’t that just like so-and-so!”

3. Be the better person. There is going to come a time when someone is going to do something that bothers you so much you want to punch them. But if it’s your boss, co-worker, client, professor, class speaker, etc., you have to just swallow your rage, smile, and say, “Ok, I’ll think about that.”

Yes, a swift punch to their sternum will be more satisfying—but at what cost? So remember kids, only you can stop forestbridge fires.

original photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Remember that time I owed the government a large chunk of my financial security? Well, in the spirit of that, I’ve made a goal to not buy any groceries for the ENTIRE MONTH.

Crazy? Perhaps.

But I actually went shopping fairly recently, so I think I can swing it.

Also, remember when I said one of my goals was to find a job in a recession? Well, I got close. I’m interning at The Knot this summer in NEW YORK CITY. Specifically SoHo. And I could not be more thrilled.

Well, unless they gave me an actual job. Or at least a position that paid more than $20 a day…but really, I’m THRILLED. (Not sarcastic; I know it’s hard to tell..)

But anyway, that’ s relevant to the goal. Because a girl needs to pay rent.

You wanna know something fun? It’s possible to be as poor as you’ve ever been the EXACT SAME YEAR you make more money than you ever have before. Isn’t that kooky*?

It turns out that if your summer internship doesn’t take out money for taxes, and no one notices until March 24th, you just have to write a giant check to the IRS. And there’s really nothing I love more than giving people the money I earned.

Lately it seems like everything in my life revolves around how much money I have (or don’t have). The economy has become like the new global warming—the ultimate scapegoat.

Person A: Why didn’t you do the dishes?

Person B: Dude, in THIS economy?

But I really am trying to stay optimistic. I mean, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to have an internship this summer that will pay me $20 a day! Ka-Ching! (That’s a cash register noise…it’s better in person. Don’t believe me? My roommate Emma will vouch that I’m excellent at sound impressions.)

And, I mean, any DAY now things are going to start picking up. Right? RIGHT?

*effed up

So, it’s March now. Sorry, little neglected blog. I think saying that I would only write something when I had something to say was the kiss of death. (I’m really boring…)

Quick update before getting down to business: I got the editorial director position for my capstone’s website! Yay! So that’s what has been consuming my life for the past…two months? Yikes…

So I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I coach a high school mock trial team (cue nerd jokes here). This year they’re almost all seniors, so our conversations tend to evolve from matter-of-fact discussion of whether or not is it, in fact, hearsay to something a bit more amorphous about life, love, etc.

Last Sunday, everyone else had left except for four of the senior guys, three of which I have known for over three years. A while back I had brought up the subject of prom, and one of them had recently acquired his date and wanted to tell me. (They’re adorable.) After a bit more chatting about high school, nerdery, and various other topics of interest, I said something to the effect of, “You’re all just really nice boys…in a good way.” Which sparked a whole new topic: What is the bad way of being a nice boy?

“You know,” I said, “a lot of guys don’t like to be ‘nice boys.'”

“That’s because girls don’t like nice boys,” one of them said sourly.

“That’s so not true,” I argued. We debated this a bit, but eventually I just shrugged and told them it would be better after high school. Lame advice, Justine. Lame.

So here is something a bit more concrete in the way of getting girls to like you (if you’re a nice boy):

1. Be a tease. No, I don’t mean play mind games or act like you like her when you don’t. I mean, tease the girl a little. This is the world’s most basic flirting technique, and as long as you are not actually hurtful, she will most likely secretly like the attention.

2. Sweeten the deal. Again, my subheadings seem to imply more than I intend them to mean. I just mean, when it’s just the two of you, be sweet to her. Say nice things, act considerate. PAY ATTENTION. When you’re in a group, this kind of attention could embarrass her, but one-on-one, it’s just nice.

3. Notice things. This kind of goes with pay attention, but give her compliments now and then. Try to figure out what she likes about herself, and compliment that. Try to find out what she doesn’t like about herself, and if you like it anyway, tell her so. Use the fact that you’re a nice guy by BEING a nice guy.

Maybe nothing that I’ve just said is ground-breaking, but it’s also not something you find every day in every guy. I would know. So let’s all celebrate the nice guy, shall we?

It’s come to my attention that some of my blogs are supremely lacking in…what’s the word…purpose. So in an effort to avoid becoming the very thing that made me wary of blogs to begin with (that being blogs with no purpose except to ramble about what one had for breakfast), I’ve decided to cut back on my blogging unless I have a reason to write.

Fortunately, I had my capstone interview today, which inspired me to compile all the advice I’ve garnered about interview etiquette in that blogger’s fave, the list. Ok, preface over. Begin helpful blog.

job-interview

I hate interviewing. I hate having to brag about myself. I hate pretending to be natural whilst trying to sell myself (in the not dirty way). I hate idle chit-chat with forced laughter. I sweat profusely, I tend to repeat expressions (I’m really excited about the opportunity to…), and I stutter. In my capstone interview today, I literally spent the first 45 seconds in panic that I was going to start gasping because I couldn’t catch my breath mid-sentence.

Of course, I realize that interviewing is a necessary part of life if you want to have a career (outside of homeschooling your children). Which is why I’ve tried to get better at it. Throughout my journey, I’ve gathered a few little nuggets of wisdom I’m now imparting to you.

1. Don’t memorize answers. It will sound forced, and if they ask you something you’re not expecting, you’re more likely to panic.

2. That being said, prepare a brief (30 second to 1 minute) “tell me about yourself” answer, generally about your schooling or a synopsis of the best things you’ve done career-wise.

3. Have two to three main ideas that you know you want to bring up. For example, my three were 1) I’m incredibly organized, especially when it comes to schedules, 2) I have experience managing people, and I like working with them to develop a cohesive and impressive product, 3) I have a lot of enthusiasm for this project, despite the potential roadblocks we’re facing. The idea is that these points are easy to work into conversation so you don’t sound forced or fake.

4. Have two to three anecdotes from past experience that portray you in a positive light. Whether it’s the time you saved the day at the restaurant you work at by filling in for a sick waitress AND busing all the tables or the time your attention to detail spotted a clerical error in the spreadsheet your boss was about to present to a client, these stories are ways to brag about your strengths without seeming like you’re bragging.

5. The basics: be a little early, firm but not bone-crushing handshake, look them in the eye, be friendly, and don’t say “like” before every sentence. Don’t feel like you have to answer their questions right away; it’s ok to think about it (of course, don’t have them wondering if you had a stroke mid-question).

Above all else, relax. They WANT you to be the perfect person to hire; if you are, their job is done. So all you have to do is not prove them wrong. That’s not so hard, right?

Oh yeah, and breathe.