About Me

TL;dr:

I'm an HR, operations, nonprofit, and general work nerd. I know a lot of things about hiring, resumes, cover letters, organizational structure and workplace culture. I really want to improve the experience we all have at work, since we have to spend so much time there.

My Qualifications: 

This is more or less what I actually look like, right now

This is more or less what I actually look like, right now

The lighting in the media pavilion was  fabulous  for selfies

The lighting in the media pavilion was fabulous for selfies

Look upon my lanyards, ye mighty, and despair

Look upon my lanyards, ye mighty, and despair

the best business school I ever attended

the best business school I ever attended

  • More than 8 years of working in hiring processes in non-profits, drug policy organizations, and new media

  • I'm told by hiring managers that my cover letters are among the best they've seen

  • I've worked in various HR and operations capacities, so I know a lot about how organizations function, I'm very familiar with employment law, an I have strong opinions on what makes a job or organization good or bad, which you can find on my blog.

The long version:

I started college in 2004, when the standard narrative was that a BA would get you a cushy office job somewhere.

I graduated college in 2008, right into the recession. Suddenly, all those cushy entry-level jobs were gone. I got a good internship on a congressional campaign, but struggled to find something after that. After being unemployed for a good 6 months, I got the job I’d spend the next two years doing: working at a Jack in the Box in Oregon.

I learned a lot at Jack in the Box that I really couldn’t have learned so directly in any other way. I was there about 2 years; during the first one, we were a corporate store, meaning we were directly owned by Jack in the Box and managed through a system of districts, etc. The second year, we were a franchise: our store and some 20 others were bought by another company. The stark differences in those two experiences etched into my heart the difference, even at the fryer and drive-thru level, of a company that has a vision and true mission of treating it’s employees and customers well, and one that doesn’t, and how destructive that is to our real, human lives.

pictured above: me, hero. By way of giving money to the Colbert SuperPAC. Tbh, what Colbert did with that SuperPAC was pulitzer-worthy.

pictured above: me, hero. By way of giving money to the Colbert SuperPAC. Tbh, what Colbert did with that SuperPAC was pulitzer-worthy.

During my time at Jack in the Box, I got into a bunch of other stuff, as well; in addition to reading all the jobsearch advice I could find, I started reading all about non-profits, and even tried to start my own (RIP Kim’s Nonprofit). Ultimately, I got a gig because I'd spent years following the popular Ask a Manager blog, and it turned out Alison was looking to hire an intern for an organization she contracted with. 

After a couple months at the internship, I got a promotion to Office Manager, where I worked for 3 years in HR, operations, and accounting functions. I left to spend a year with The Management Center, creating worksheets and guiding materials, newsletters, and laying some groundwork for collecting data and evaluating the impact of their management trainings. From there, I applied a few places and landed at Vox Media, where I helped with hiring everyone from reporters to social media managers to editorial operations, in addition to managing Vox.com's freelance contracts and doing various and sundry logistics and administrative work.

Then, in early 2018, I quit my job to start my own business, Ranavain, whose website you’re visiting now. I flew solo for a bit, but it didn’t work out. I worked with Namati, a fantastic legal empowerment nonprofit, doing hiring and operations and other HR-adjacent work, for about six months, and now I’m doing operations and culture-building at a soon-to-be-announced nonprofit.

Ranavain is still a thing, as you can see by this website, but my new full-time gig is my passion project right now, and it’s pretty great. Stuff on this website is my own and doesn’t represent the opinions of any of my various employers.

Just me and Jasmine

Just me and Jasmine

Stuff I like: 

Alison Green’s Ask a Manager is just, like, the best. Lots of workplace and job-search advice, and one of the best commentariats on the internet. 

Laurie Ruettimann’s Let’s Fix Work is a podcast about how work is broken, and she has guests (mostly HR and other ops nerds) on with various ideas about how it’s broken and how to fix it.

Matt Bruenig's People's Policy Project seeks to "publish ideas and analysis that assist in the development of an economic system that serves the many, not the few." Unlike most (all?) other think tanks, they're funded entirely by small donations on Patreon. 

Luke Westaways album Short Songs with Long Titles is pretty great. It includes such golden oldies as “Friends, I Too Feel the Temptation to Jump Aboard Passing Freight Trains and Journey to a New Life, but We Haven’t Thought It Through”, “I Used Two Knives Making Toast This Morning and No I Don’t Feel the Need to Apologise”, and “I Went to the Safari Park at Night and Didn’t See Any Lions.”

Chapo Trap House is a comedy/media podcast with a leftist perspective. While emphatically not for everyone, its massively popular on Patreon and giving them $5 a month for the extra episode each week is well worth it if you’re into that kind of thing.

Street Fight Radio is the #1 anarcho-comedy show on any station across the nation. Just some solid dudes talking about whatever comes up (often stuff related to work and how we experience it sucking). I really like Street Fight because its a community of real people; in some of the fields I’ve been employed it, it’s pretty rare to work with people who come from poor or working-class backgrounds, and the Street Fight guys are as funny as they are relatable to me.

The Emotional Labor Union is a women's discussion group that started in Washington, DC but is expanding to other cities. When I was in college, I attended a weekly women's group and it was such a nourishing experience, but I'd sort of forgotten how great it was to have a community of women to talk with, help out, and lean on until I started going to the ELU.

Capital Women is a newsletter for women in the DMV, focusing on arts, business, and events. I have an advice column there!