Hit that ceiling

George sent along a link to a NYTimes article that discusses some of the challenges African American literary authors may face over the course of trying to build a notable career. A quote from Edward P. Jones (author of The Known World) really touched a nerve. When asked why he didn’t quit his day job after receiving critical acclaim for his first book Lost in the City, Jones said:

“If you’re born poor or you’re born working-class, a job is important. People who are born with silver spoons in their mouths never have to worry. They know someone will take care of them. Worrying about not having a job would have put a damper on any creativity that I would have had. So I’m glad I had that job.”

Lately I’ve been thinking about hanging out a shingle as an independent usability consultant/interaction designer. When I read Jones’s quote, it was as if every doubting voice I’d ever heard in my head had been put before me in stark black-and-white relief. In the years that I’ve been working in the usability game, I’ve yet to meet any black colleagues who have taken the leap into working independently. I don’t want to suggest that this is a race thing; it could be that there are colleagues from a variety of ethnic backgrounds who have grown up poor and who never want to experience that feeling of want ever again in their lives.

I don’t have a safety net. I don’t have a plan to fall back on if my consultancy fails. Although I live a comfortable existence, I am all too aware of the reality of living paycheck to paycheck. I know the security one gains from having a steady income, and I like knowing that I can provide for my family. If I were out there on my own, I’d be so stressed from the daily hustle that I’d never get any work done, and the quality of any work I managed to produce would suffer tremendously. So I sit in my cubicle feeling humbled because I know in my head that sitting back, shutting up and taking it is far safer — but not better — than the alternative.

links for 06-18-07

The “Happy Birthday, Macca!” edition:

A Democrat in ’08! But not that one – Twelve years later, and the Dems have yet another Clinton problem on their hands. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll reveals that while liberal supporters want to see one of their own in the White House in 2008, if Clinton wins the nomination, many of these same registered voters would cross party lines. My favorite part of the piece? The quote from Kevin Kidd, a Michigan bar owner. “Some countries have woman presidents, and I just think it makes them look weak,” he said. I give him credit for daring to say what many are thinking, but are too politic to say.

Black music month ranks as bogus idea – Jamaal Johnson thinks that the creation of a special month to celebrate the contributions of Black music and musicians marginalizes the impact of Black culture on American society.

Discount dentistry, south of the border – As someone who has chosen to be fitted for braces at the rather advanced age of thirty-mumble, the last thing I’d want to cut corners on is dentistry. Still, I know that there wouldn’t be a market for these services if most Americans had access to affordable health care.

Meet me in HQ 450

What is the sexiest word in the English language?
Asparagus. It’s a beautiful word, and a really nice phallic object.

Sex Advice from Librarians from Nerve.com. I’ll say it again – as professions, librarianship and nursing attract the most sex-positive (and kink-friendly) people.
(Thanks for the link, Tracy)

My three days with Movable Type 4

I’d like to revisit this a little later, but I thought I’d keep a running tally of my questions about and frustrations caused by the Movable Type 4 Beta:

  • Where do I edit themes?
  • What are modules?
  • When’s the MT4 documentation going to be finished?
  • Will the MT4 documentation make more sense than previous versions?
  • Where’s my “PUBLISH” button?
  • Why did it take me over five hours to install this over the course of two days?
  • Why don’t bulleted lists work?
  • Why do I get an error when I “view published entry”?
  • Why won’t you publish individual archives?

I’m sure there will be more to come. If you’re interested in what some interaction design folks are saying about the beta, check out this thread from the IxDA discussion list.