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No matter who you are, you’ve probably had a rough day at the office that changed your perspective, or maybe you made an impulse purchase you really, really wish you could take back. This week, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky took our money-inspired personality questionnaire.
Fill in the blank: Money can’t buy you happiness but it can buy you _____________
I just keep thinking lipstick. My new obsession is lipstick. All I want whenever I am out and about is a new shade of lipstick. It’s the strangest thing. I haven’t worn lipstick since I was about 24 years old. I used to wear this MAC lipstick called Tramp I think, or Slut.
Lipstick is expensive too, but I feel like it’s almost like buying candy for me now. I feel an immediate thrill at owning a new shade of lipstick, and it doesn’t have to look good on me. I don’t even care anymore. If it looks strange, all the better.
What is the hardest part about your job that no one knows?
One of the best things about my job and one of the hardest things about my job is that, when you’re a freelance writer like I am, you have some editors who are like your best friend that saves you from sounding like an idiot, and then you sometimes work with random editors who can be like your worst enemy who wants you sound like an idiot.
Which, I mean that it’s very rare. I am mostly very lucky, but the the kind of merry-go-round of editors that you get into when you write freelance pieces can be kind of intense.
What is something you bought that you now completely regret buying?
The main thing that comes to mind is the most expensive thing I ever bought.
When I was 32, I was going through a really hard break up, and I had just purchased a house. I had taken my entire worldly, life savings and put it into a down payment on a house. Because I was feeling a little reckless, I immediately took out a home equity loan and bought a Lexus with it, which is really stupid.
I met with a financial planner, and I said I’ve owned my car for 10 years and I’m thinking of getting another Honda.
He said, “that’s so smart, if you’re going to hold on to it for 10 years that’s great. Or you can get a used luxury car.”
And I was like, ‘Really? It’s sensible to buy a used luxury car?’ So I immediately went out I was like, ‘I’m going to buy a Lexus.’
My dad died when I was 25 years old, and he was singing the praises of Lexus and had just bought a Lexus right before he died, and I drove his Lexus around Durham, North Carolina, right after he died, and it was kind of like a way of being in touch with him and missing him to drive that crazy, insanely nice car around town. It was a giant mistake. I loved it; I called it my year of luxury at the time.
Then it it broke down about 15 times, and it cost me a lot, a lot, a lot of money. You know it’s not right, like I knew all about the stupidity of having a home equity loan finance my car. I knew a lot of things, but I didn’t care. A lot of emotions and regrets are mixed up in that purchase.
What is your most prized possession?
I have a teddy bear I’ve had since I was about 1 year old that I just love. I use to have nightmares about losing my teddy bear. I guess I kind of transferred my teddy bear energy on to my kids and my dogs now, because I have nightmares about the dogs getting lost or something happening to the kids instead of the teddy bear. I think the teddy bear was kind of my first inkling of that kind of feeling of ‘This is my most important thing, and if anyone ever does anything to this bear, my life will be ruined.’
s that a prized possession? I don’t know, that’s just a bundle of ragged teddy bearing anxiety.
What advice do you wish someone gave you before you started your career?
I guess the piece of advice that I could always use, and sometimes followed with great rewards, is follow your instincts. The one thing that my mom taught me as a kid was you should never be miserable at any job. Life is too short to be miserable at a job.
I’ve never allowed myself to stick with things that are making me unhappy job wise, career wise. So I needed to be reminded of that when I was younger, at times.
When you’re pursuing certain career goals and they just feel worthless and you don’t like it, and even everyone around you is saying that’s such a great job how could you ever leave that job? But you just want to leave the job. It just does not feel valuable to you. You gotta leave that job.
It sounds a little bit crazy, it’s a little bit like financing a Lexus with your home equity loan to say leave any job that’s making you miserable, but you know, you’re going to have a lot of different jobs throughout the course of a career. That’s the way careers are these days. It’s good to explore, it’s good to have new experiences. It’s so good for a writer or anyone creative in particular to take risks.
So I would say, follow your instincts and be bold. Mighty forces will come to your aid.
Click the audio player above to hear the quiz.
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