The Happy Healthy Nonprofit

I should disclose a couple of things before I talk about The Happy Healthy Nonprofit so here goes:

1) I’m not really a believer in the whole work/life balance thing. It feels like just another way to tell women they’re doing it wrong or they’ll never be good enough. I have a similar feeling about “burnout.” (Though of course, I do understand the real science behind stress, work and health issues. Those are a thing — absolutely, I’m just not 100% sold on the issues as we talk about them NOW… it’s complicated.) This means that I’m probably bringing that baggage into how I feel about this book.
2) Beth Kanter is an old friend and BlogHer buddy and I love her — which means I’m probably bringing how I feel about Beth into how I feel about her book.

Having said that, I knew I wanted to read Beth’s book even before it was released. Because Beth, clearly. Must read. Also, Aliza Sherman, good grief. Could there be two smarter women? Nope. So after I watched Beth’s KICKASS Happy Healthy Nonprofit presentation at Cause Camp a few weeks ago, I decided it was definitely time to read the entire book. So I did.

Overall, I felt pretty good about the book. What I found myself agreeing to is that you can feel X way at work and at home, as a result of … things. In my experience, it’s not so much about over-work (and not taking down time) as it is about falling out of love with my job, my coworkers, my organization/company. It can also happen when I feel under-appreciated, under-respected, and when I’m not given an opportunity to grow or contribute in a meaningful way.

The tips and ideas in this book can help you with those issues. In fact, it includes many of things I’ve done in the past, when I was really unhappy with my job. Making changes about how I worked, how long I worked, when I worked and what I did when I wasn’t working made me so much happier than if I’d just kept grinding away.

I also believe that we’re all different, an environment where I thrive may be one where you struggle. Recognizing what works for me, is important for me (and for my team.) Recognizing what doesn’t work for others is just as important for me (and for my team.) Reading The Healthy, Happy Nonprofit can give you some framework for thinking about this and help you begin to make changes for yourself and support others.

If you are struggling with work/life balance, if you’re feeling burnt out, if you’re not burnt out but are just plain ole unhappy with your job or work environment — then I absolutely guarantee you that Beth and Aliza’s advice will help you.

Besides tips for the individual, there are tips and ideas that you can bring to your coworkers and your company/organization to help improve workplace culture. I enjoyed reading about what other organizations are doing and reflecting on the stuff my org is doing.

I’m still not completely on the work/life balance, take a real vacation, keep your phone out of your bedroom (impossible for ME!) wagon … but I’m definitely glad I read the book. I circled stuff (in PEN.) I’ll be referring back to it again in the future. (And, I really do need to get more exercise. Really.)

#Readathon Book Four: The Abyss Surrounds Us

Liz Henry talked about The Abyss Surrounds us a few weeks ago on Facebook and I decided we needed to read it. It was excellent! Totally awesome for #readathon. Trained killer sea creatures, a female pirate captain, a couple of lesbians. Really excellent. And, even better — it ended perfectly. I like that.

It’s getting late, I’m getting tired and since I don’t have a bunch of picture books and early readers this time around, it’s time to move to the world of cookbooks and over-sized coffee table books to carry me through the next couple of hours.

#Readathon Book Three: Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story

I bought Fire!! when I was in DC in February and saved it specially for #readathon. It was very good but it felt … rushed, maybe? I mean it’s hard to tell someone’s life story in the span of one relatively short graphic novel, I get that. But Hurston’s story is so… interesting. I almost felt let down. Almost. It’s still a great graphic novel and I highly recommend it. I just wanted MORE.

#Readathon Book Two: I Hate Everyone, Except You

I had to read I Hate Everyone, Except You because how could I not, with a title like that. Also, Clinton Kelly (WNTW), right?

And, it totally amused me. The first chapter horrified me and amused me, both at the same time. Many of the chapters horrified and amused me. It was awesome. lol

Also, do you think you can you outrun a raccoon?

#Readathon Book One: The Doodle Revolution

I didn’t plan to read The Doodle Revolution front to back in one sitting but I got involved and ended up not wanting to put it down. It was excellent. I wish she’d talked about color with more depth, that was really the only disappointing part of this book. (And that was really disappointing.)

I didn’t do any of the doodle games or exercises, but I’ll go back and do some of them before this has to go back to the library. (I might update this post after I actually do some exercises. Maybe.)

PS. I’m categorizing this as “art” for the purpose of organizing my blog posts but DOODLING IS NOT ART. Just making sure y’all know that (and everyone knows that I know that.)

The Wild Girls

We needed an audiobook so I wandered around the library shelves until Wild Girls jumped into my bag.

It was a really quick audiobook and really enjoyable to listen to. It also didn’t end badly, and it had the potential to end badly. I was really impressed that the author didn’t take the easy way to a happily ever after ending. I liked that a lot.

I also liked Joan & Sarah (Fox & Newt) and I liked every single one of the characters. All of them.

Fun read. Let’s all be wild girls!

Two Days Gone

Apparently Two Days Gone is part of a series, the Ryan DeMarco Mysteries. Who knew? I have no idea how it appeared on our library cart. I thought TW picked it up. I also thought she had already read it and left it on the shelf for me to read because it was good.

Turns out, she hadn’t read it yet but it was good.

Dark. Very, very, very dark. Also, heart-freaking-breaking. One of those… what choice would you make if forced to make a horrific and impossible choice. Good lord.

I do kind of want to go back and read some of the other books, to see how DeMarco got to the point he’s at now. I mean, they gave enough backstory to get the gist but I might have to go back and read it for myself. Hold the phone, it IS part of a series but this is the first one? Now I’m frustrated. What do you mean this is the first one? You’ve given us a really dark and flawed character with an #ASSTON of backstory and we don’t get to actually live any of that backstory with him? Now I’m not so sure I want to read another… maybe. Hell.

Hidden Figures

Oops. I finished Hidden Figures awhile back and thought I already wrote about it. Apparently not.

Anyway.

Totally enjoyed it. Really enjoyed seeing how the movie combined bits and pieces of womens’ stories and tweaked the timeline a little and the ages of characters and the relationships of characters. That was pretty interesting to think about, in terms of book to movie stuff.

I also really enjoyed learning more about the work these women did. And loved how much time was spent on Dorothy Vaughan’s story. She’s my favorite. The only complaint I have is that there wasn’t quite enough about Christine Darden.

The Mothers

The Mothers was so good. I mean really good. The characters were amazing – real and flawed, as they should be. And the story felt real every step of the way. I didn’t want it to end and I wanted to follow these characters for another five years to see what happens to them, next.

Precious and Grace

We still love to listen to the #1 Ladies Detective Agency on audio and I really enjoyed Precious and Grace. We spent more time with all of the different secondary characters in this book and those were some great moments.

I also found myself yelling out loud about the puff adder and about Violet. Gah! Gah! No! No!