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. A lot of it is garbage, really. I’d like to change that.
More than 6 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
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, riiight 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.
During my time at Jack in the Box, I got into a bunch of other stuff; 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 (which totally failed). Ultimately, I got a internship 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.
At that job, 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 sundry logistics and administrative work.
Then, in early 2018, I quit my job to start my own business, Ranavain. It was fun! I had some great clients and did some good work, but ultimately it just didn’t ramp up the way I wanted it to. So now I’m at Namati, a fantastic legal empowerment nonprofit, doing hiring and operations and other HR-adjacent work. Ranavain still exists, but I’m mostly just blogging right now.
I don’t view it as a failure, but one would be hard pressed to describe it as a “success” either. Such is life. I’m having fun and now I even have money again, and that’s more than most people get out of work, so I’m happy as a turtle.
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.
Street Fight Radio is the #1 anarcho-comedy show on any station across the nation. Just some solid dudes talking about whatever. I really like Street Fight because its a community of real people; it's easy to get lost in the bubble sometimes.
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. It's a bit pricey (because Casey puts a lot of work in and believes in fair compensation for fair labor), but very much worth it, and they'll work with you if you want to attend but can't afford the base price.
Capital Women is a newsletter for women in the DMV, focusing on arts, business, and events. I have an advice column there!