Author Topic: ROXANNE GAY - Best Selling Author  (Read 1063 times)

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ROXANNE GAY - Best Selling Author
« on: April 07, 2021, 10:58:10 am »
Wednesday, 7th April  Twenty One
Roxane Gay Is Practicing Saying No
by Mattie Kahn

Roxane Gay is the kind of person people turn to for advice.

She doles it out on Twitter to her 830K followers.

She and the writer and professor Tressie McMillan Cottom cohost a podcast titled Hear to Slayótaglined ďThe Black feminist podcast of your dreams.Ē

And she is the Work Friend columnist for the New York Times, where she addresses a broad mix of workplace dilemmas. 

To someone else who is feeling anxious about measuring up in a still-new job, Gay skips the usual chatter about building up confidence with self-help books.

ďIf you can, please do see a therapist to work through these anxieties, which are completely understandable but holding you back,Ē she writes.


Now Gayówho is also the author of such beloved best-sellers as Bad Feminist and her memoir, Hungeróis sharing her wisdom with a new audience.

Last month MasterClass announced that she would teach a course on writing for social change.

The class is billed as a chance to help subscribers have hard conversations about social issues, own their own identities, and navigate writing about trauma.

Glamour sat down with Roxane Gay over Zoom to ask her advice onówhat else?ówork, of course, but also her home office must-haves, her go-to gifts, and the best Instagram follows.

Her first childhood dream job

I wanted to be an emergency room physician.

I wasn't allowed to watch medical dramas on television, but I would see glimpses and it seemed exotic and exciting.

I thought that it would be great to help people.

Her first actual job

I was a dishwasher in the high school dining hall.

How she deals with disappointment

I allow myself to feel what I need to feel when Iím rejected or when I donít get an accolade that I very much want.

If people donít respond to my work the way I had hoped and I recognize that I have to sort of do better, I just allow myself to feel what I need to feel about it.

I wish more writers would do it. Donít do it in public, but, you know, you have friends for a reason.

I try to just allow myself to sulk or to be hurt or disappointed or mad, and then I get over it and I just decide,

ďAlright, onward. And Iím going to do better next time.Ē

How she learned to set boundaries at work

I donít know that I have, and Iím still trying to fix that.

I think that we have a work culture in this country that does not encourage boundaries.

I think people are often expected to go above and beyond in ways that are really relentless simply because weíre told thatís what makes us good citizens.

We all buy into thatóthis idea that we can be better and we can do more.

I succumb to it as much as anyone.

So Iím trying to figure it out, and these days Iím trying to practice saying no.

Iím trying to say no more, and itís really hard.

Part of the challenge is that people are really resistant to hearing it.

People sometimes see a no as a challenge.

They see no as this sort of call to arms.

When I say no, I actually just mean, no.

Itís not an invitation.

So in addition to learning how to set boundaries, I think the better question is, How do we teach people to respect boundaries?

The best piece of money advice sheís ever gotten

Ask for significantly more than you think is too much.

If youíre a woman, it still wonít be enough.

Every single time I have found that to be true.

I love to think Iím a very good negotiator.

I will negotiate a contract of some kind.

And then I will find out what white writers are paid or what men are paid, and Iím like, ďWow.Ē

I think itís good advice for women.

You may not always get the answer you want, but we donít ask for what we deserveóor the better word might be what we merit, what weíve earned.

As often as possible, I hold the line.

Here is what my rate is.

If you can pay it, weíll make wonderful work together.

And if you canít, thatís totally fine, but you will not be working with me.

The hardest lesson sheís learned at work

Sometimes an employer will simply refuse to pay you what youíre worth, and then you have to make the difficult decision.

That certainly happened when I left Purdue [University].

I was drastically underpaid and not by a little bit.

When I brought it to their attention and showed them the comps of my peers with fewer books at other institutions, they came back with a raise that was ridiculous.

I realized they were never going to see my worth, even if every other institution did.

That was a really painful lesson.

Itís not that I thought I was that great, but I certainly knew that I brought a lot to the job and that I enjoyed it.

I decided to leave, even though it was terrifying and remains terrifying to not have a day job.

Sometimes you learn those lessons the hard way, and itís okay.

Her favorite low-stakes treat

On a great day, I allow myself to just not open my laptop when Iím done working.

No more looking at an electronic device.

I will read or watch a movie.

I will just allow myself to shut down and do something enjoyable

Her go-to thank-you gift

This is going to sound really bougie, but HermŤs scarves.

If you send it with a gift receipt, if the person doesnít like what youíve selected, they can exchange it for a scarf that they do like.

Itís more personal than a gift certificate, and I always make it clear: Do not feel wedded to this.

I will not take it personally if you do not like this.

Swap it for something you do like.

When Iím on a tighter budget, I like to do like custom stationery.

Thatís really nice too.