Five Tips for Learning a New Database

When I talk to people about my work, I tell them that I write grants, manage social media, and wrestle the database into submission. I do this because, first, it’s my attempt at a joke, and second, because it’s accurate. My organization is switching over to a new database, which I’ve had to master from scratch. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.

  • The two worst things customer support can say are “That’s strange” and, after you’ve been talking for a half hour, “We’ll have to make an appointment.”
  • Leave yourself plenty of time. That 600 constituent import will take even longer than you think it will.
  • Imports as a whole are finicky. When I did the instruction sheet for my bosses, I was tempted to write “pray to your maker.”
  • Be stubborn. It took customer service and I six different tries to add all the new people and relationships to the database. But, by God, we did it in the end.
  • Wander around. Discover all the weird little functions you never knew existed.

Lastly, double check your work. You do not want to add in those 600 constituents and discover they’re all duplicates.


Women’s Work: Most Everything

March 8th was international women’s day. Women across the United States protested for their rights by going on strike. Women do a lot of work, plenty of which we don’t get paid for. If we’d really wanted to bring the economy crashing down, all we’d have had to do was stop raising kids, doing housework, volunteering, or any of the other things we do without compensation. Here’s what I have to say about those.

  • In America, women use two hours each day on chores, while men only use 82 minutes. This works out to a 231 hour difference in a year.
  • Raising kids. It’s hard and they scream a lot (I didn’t stop until I hit fourth grade), and you don’t get any time off for eighteen years.
  • Women volunteer more than men do. My job with AmeriCorps is considered volunteer, and I do it forty hours a week. If I and other women didn’t contribute, there would be a huge loss to my organization and others like it.

What’s really depressing is that when I googled, “things women do without pay,” the first three headlines that came up were “Five Things Women Want in Bed,” “Annoying Things Women Do” and “Twelve Things Men Can Do That Women Can’t.”

No wonder we’re on strike.

Six Tips to Make it through Winter

When I lived in California, March meant blue skies and flowers. Now I’m in Washington, March means gray skies and muck. I liked winter when it first came back in November. Now all want to do is lie on the porch and wear sundresses. Here are some tips for getting through until spring.

  • Keep layering. Being tired of the cold does not make it go away. I still sleep under six blankets and two pairs of pajamas.
  • Try a happy light—it’s the only light you’re going to get.
  • Go somewhere warm. This is why people from Washington flee to Hawaii. If you can’t go somewhere warm, buy a heating pad and daydream about it.
  • Vitamin D. Not getting any naturally doesn’t mean you don’t need it.
  • Dive into your hobbies. There’s nothing like constant rain to make you finish that quilt/painting/blog post. Note: If your hobbies are outdoors, you may need new ones.
  • Cuddle your pets. It’s still too chilly for them to have flees.

Finally, look at the lone crocus outside and think: “Grow baby, grow.” This will work in about two weeks.