Monday, June 24, 2019

Link List: A Sense of Duty

A photo I took of someone else's super-fluffy, super-cute, and super-friendly dog on the commuter train to the suburbs. It seems that my M.O. with finding photographs for these link lists posts is basically just to use photos of other people's pets!

1. // Along the lines of some links I shared a few months back, on the theme of people around my age who prioritize and factor in the need (whether present or future) to financially assist their parents, and/or some of their extended family members into their money management plans, here's a recent article from The Cut that I enjoyed. It's based on an interview with Lily, who also blogs. Although our life circumstances might be substantially different (among other things, I also chose my undergraduate school due to its offering me, by far, the best need-based financial aid package available to me, but I was also a second-generation child of immigrant parents who had become fairly well-established and prosperous while I was small), and the same is true about the nature and extent of our expected future obligations to our parents, a lot of the ideas she shared still resonate with me.

When I think about what steps to take with my career in the long term, I feel on occasion that some of my desires conflict somewhat with my sense of duty. In the abstract, and completely separately from this topic, I feel some obligation to try and stay in certain more intense segments of my profession, the kind where Asian-Americans are extraordinarily underrepresented, to try and pave the way for future generations of attorneys like me. More concretely, and far more relevant here, whenever I consider the prospect of making future career decisions that would likely result in significantly lower compensation than some of my other viable options, I wonder slightly if I'd be doing a disservice to my hypothetical future children, my parents when they need me someday, and also potentially to some of my extended family members of more modest means, for whom a relatively small amount of money by US standards could make a big difference in Taiwan. This sense of duty isn't necessarily enough to substantially change my plans, and there are tons of other factors also at play, but it's on my mind.

2. // Speaking of things to do with my profession, there was a discussion on Corporette recently about law school student loan payoff timelines, particularly for people working in biglaw and biglaw-ish. 

The discussion also turned to the always mysterious and never particularly transparent norms and practices surrounding when biglaw associates eventually get the "up or out' discussion, generally with very little warning and often when the firm has pretty much already decided to give you your walking papers. Both of these topics are ones where it's hard to get reliable, "real talk"-style information, so anytime there's an opportunity to get more insight, I pay attention, even if I always take anonymous internet comments with a grain of salt. 

3. // This article at Vox's The Goods about the author's affection for, and memories bound up in, the soon-to-be-shuttered Dressbarn, and about the store's role in her transition, is lovely. 

4. // I'd been holding on to this r/femalefashionadvice link, to a discussion from an experienced leatherworker about his trying out a handbag-making class, for a while now. He noted that, with all the time and labor required to make a medium-large-ish bag by hand, it'd only be viable for him to sell them if he priced them at ~$2500 to $3000, and that the raw materials by themselves cost ~$600. 

When I saw Jess's recent post about getting started with leatherworking and her first few projects, I thought hey, it's a great time now to share these links! I'm always in awe of when people are able to make and create things. (At present, I definitely don't have the physical space to get into sewing, the creative hobby I'm most interested in. There's no room for a sewing machine in my apartment! Even if I only ended up learning some basic skills, like how to hem my own pants, I'd be thrilled.) 

5. // And now for a few interesting things over at other blogs I follow: Elaine's recent post about starting to use a safety razor is helpful, this is one of those small moves to lower-waste that I've thought about, but have put off because it's sort of intimidating; Revanche hosted a good discussion regarding how our views on money can be deeply affected by how we were raised; Michelle's discussion of some possible reasons for feeling career burn out really resonated with me (I couldn't relate as much to some of the more recent viral discussions about burn out elsewhere online); and I enjoyed M's May wardrobe roundup.

One thing M mentioned was how a social media platform or online community (in her case, r/femalefashionadvice, and in my case, some of the discussions of slow or "ethical" fashion that seem to mostly take place on Instagram, and also various money-centric discussions across multiple platforms) can have its own distinctive culture or set of commonly-held assumptions that can make a participant or observer preemptively defensive, or a little insecure, when thinking or writing about certain topics. This is an idea I've long been interested in, given all the online communities and social media discussions I follow as a mostly-passive observer (it's just on blogs that I'm a super-active commenter!). 

My own writing style has always had a natural tendency towards maybe-excessive disclaimers, lots of extra and possibly-unnecessary context, and things like that. It's just the way my brain works, and I'm also long-winded by nature. Law school may have amplified some of my writing habits that can sound defensive on the page, though law school also made me a more concise and direct writer. In any case, because of work, I can't help but think about and take into account potential rebuttals or counterpoints whenever I write, because I've been trained to always write with opposing parties and the court in mind. 

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